BOYCOTT LOVE ISLAND PLEASE

In the last two summers I have written two blog posts about Love Island; one completely slating it for the trash that it is, and the other seeing the entertaining side of it. So, now we’re in the middle of a new season it is time for another post. Only this one will be different, this one will be even angrier than my first post despite not having seen a single episode of the new series… because people have died because of this show. And it is still being aired.

I want to start with the facts, the harsh and upsetting truth to explain why I have boycotted Love Island this year, which is that Sophie Gradon, Aaron Armstrong and Mike Thalassitis all killed themselves as a result of the show. Now before you start shouting me down, claiming it wasn’t the show that killed them but the ‘fame’ or whatever else, ultimately those three people would not have been thrown into the positions they were in if it weren’t for Love Island. The fact that Aaron Armstrong was even a bloody contestant on the show and yet the damage it did to his girlfriend in turn caused so much damage to him is heartbreaking and incredibly concerning. How does Jeremy Kyle get axed after one suicide but Love Island keeps going after three suicides? Because Love Island makes ITV more money; it sucks the entire nation in and turns love into a game, making you believe you need that Love Island water bottle if you want to be happy.

What I find increasingly worrying is the number of ‘proper’ adults watching the show. I am so shocked by how many of my friends’ parents watch Love Island religiously while their children boycott it. My parents’ generation, in my opinion, should know better than to get hooked on such a toxic show. How is it toxic, you may be thinking, let’s cover some bases again like I did in my last two posts (Here and Here):

DIVERSITY. Um… what diversity…??? The fact that the only dark-skinned, black woman has been ‘dumped’ from the island and the token ‘plus-size’ contestant is barely bigger than a size 12 is depressing. The girls have had work done, some obviously more so than others and there is a distinct lack of wobbly bits which just make it unrealistic and upsetting. How many people are looking at their own ‘bikini body’ in comparison to the Love Islanders’ bodies and wishing they looked different? How many young girls’ self-esteem are we damaging and do we have to keep damaging until we wake up and realise what we’re doing?

ENTERTAINMENT VS REALITY. Okay, so why is it entertaining to watch other people get mugged off and rejected on TV? Why do we enjoy watching people cry as their very new relationships get ripped apart by a random new person entering the villa? I think it is absolutely crazy that these people think they love each other after knowing one another for a few days… but I can fully imagine what the heightened environment would do to their perspective on life and love. A day can feel like a week in the villa, and those who stay in the villa from the beginning until the end will most likely forget aspects of their life outside of the ‘Love Island Bubble’; so obviously she thinks she loves him and they will live happily ever after outside the villa… but bring reality back into the picture, give them expectations and responsibilities and it will all come tumbling down. The reason it (excuse my language, I’m angry) fucks with their heads so much when they leave the villa is because they suddenly have this audience watching their every move and very quickly have to return to reality, but their reality has changed. These people used to be ‘nobodies’ in comparison, now they are judged for everything they do. What they wear, how they speak, who they’re seen with, what they advertise… it’s a minefield which they have to try to navigate with no preparation at all. A person in the villa could think the nation love him/her, only to be ‘dumped from the island’ (I hate that expression) and discover that everyone hated him/her. This person can now sit at home for hours reading everything anyone has ever written about him/her on the internet… They can begin to believe the horrible things they are reading because, let’s be honest, if hundreds or even thousands of people were claiming you were a bitch, or a slut, or a fuckboy, or just a horrible person, you would start to believe it too eventually. Ultimately this show changes people’s lives forever, whether they expect it or not, and it is designed to entertain you. Aspects of the show are planned and staged. You are not watching a reality, but your opinions of the contestants are shaping their new reality outside of the villa based on the one hour of carefully selected clips from their 24 hours in the villa and that is not fair.

Okay, so some of you might say, well, they’ve chosen to go on the show so it’s their own fault. But in response to that I ask, would you say it is a person’s own fault for getting skin cancer because they went out in the sun? No. We make choices without knowing what the long term effects might be. Nobody can predict the future and unfortunately I think a lot of the contestants on Love Island are just hoping it will give them a better future. Nobody would enter a show knowing it would make them suicidal in the end. These people just aren’t aware of how powerful social media is. Nobody really is. Social media influences everything and if we read that Georgia (random name) is a ‘homewrecking slut’ (random phrase) over and over again on Twitter, we’ll be intrigued, maybe even watch Georgia on TV and then join the Twitter army against her, adding fuel to the fire than will inevitably engulf Georgia’s life once she has ‘left the villa’ or whatever.

Ultimately, what I want to say is this:

  1. Love Island sets unrealistic body image expectations. Girls, you don’t need surgery or injections or anything to look good. Appearance is superficial and ‘goodness’ comes from within. You could meet the best looking guy in the world but he might have the personality of a slab of concrete and no moral compass.
  2. We need to stop judging and harassing these people on social media because all it is doing is hurting them. We have to think in the rule of three when speaking: is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind? If what you want to say/post does not fulfil two of these criteria, don’t say it or post it!!! The most important to be aware of is necessity because, although it might feel necessary for you to post that ‘Emma is a horrible, fat cow’ (random name again), it is definitely not necessary at all, nor is it kind and frankly it’s probably not true because Emma is probably a human not a cow.
  3. We need to stand up to ITV and say ENOUGH. By watching the show you are putting money into their pockets for what? For people to commit suicide after leaving the villa because they can’t cope anymore? Capitalism can be a great system for creating wealth but, when it overlooks the wellbeing of people to maximise wealth, is that not a sort of breach of human rights? When did money become more important than people? Where’s the balance that we need? Why are we encouraging these businesses to exploit actual human beings for money?

 

Over and out x

#BoycottLoveIsland

Manifesto for Mental Health 2.0

So I recently rediscovered all my old Tumblr blogs and, in the midst of my cringing and wishing I could delete the internet, I find this:

Feeling down?

And I’m still shuddering with embarrassment but I’m realising the message I had back then is still applicable now; in fact, maybe even more so now. So, I’m going to rewrite it. First, go read that one. Have a good cringe, really, you can laugh as much as you want at me. Then come back here and read my Manifesto for Mental Health 2.0.

You probably know my story by now, you probably only read these because you feel your have to when I share them on Facebook, but for whatever reason you’re here I hope this might help you in your future.

(Here’s where I previously went for the tough love approach and decided to be graphic – not this time, I’ll save you from that.)

If you want to self harm, including but not limited to cutting, scratching or burning, you know what? In that very moment, that might be all you can do. So, don’t beat yourself up. If you live with suicidal thoughts and you simply make it through the day you’re doing better than you could be and that should be commended.

I was right when I said self harm was an addiction and that it can progress, so much so that it becomes attempted suicide; but it’s like drinking, as long as you keep it under control its okay.

So, next in my original Manifesto for Mental Health, I told a very graphic story about the terror suicide causes. And, though that story is the harsh truth, it’s not what people in that mindset need to be thinking. (I also put loads of random phrases in bold to try to make it more ‘impactful’ in the original).

In reality, anyone considering suicide needs to be gently reminded of all their reasons to live, not the way they will ruin things if they don’t live, because they will already be feeling as though they don’t have a choice.

The length of the effects of suicide were correct, but again when your mind is in that place you’re not thinking rationally. I would never have believed my family would still care 2 months later at my darkest point.

I’m cringing again at everything I wrote when I was, like, 14.

I think I wrote this thinking I knew so much more about mental health than I did so I couldn’t fully understand how it truly feels to be in that place.

Then I go on to address eating disorders which, at this point, I had had no real experience of at all. I think I explain the basis of anorexia pretty well, standard. But I just stop there. As if there aren’t other eating disorders.

I think I actually described the psychology (at least of my own experiences) behind the eating disorder pretty well. You do feel like you need to be punished for eating, in some way. And people do look at you differently and you can’t not notice that. (I hate using a double negative but that was the best sounding way to phrase it).

I then went on to explain as though I had come through some massive recovery journey that “it all gets better”. But that’s not true, for some people it might not get better, but it just might also not get worse if they’re lucky and they’ll learn to live like that. So, maybe from each individuals perspective it does always get better.

The rest of what I wrote made me cringe too much.

I just thought I might rewrite my manifesto, you know, keep it up to date if it’s going to be on the internet forever (because I can’t seem to delete my original Tumblr so it’s been immortalised).

mental health awareness week – an honest review of myself

Well, it’s mental health awareness week and I thought, rather than pretending to be uber happy in some “look how far I’ve come” post, the best way to raise awareness of mental health issues is to be honest.

And, seeing as the theme is ‘surviving or thriving’, I’m here telling the truth and admitting that in some ways I am thriving and in other ways I am not, I am simply surviving.

Let’s take my appearance for example. I’m eating. I’m eating more than I feel I should, I’m snacking, I’m binging. But I hate the way I look; I look in the mirror and see ‘FAT’ plastered all over it. I want so badly to be skinny but I also eat way too much and I’m too tired to get to the gym most days and I don’t even know why I’m so tired because I’m sleeping well. But I do know why I’m tired; I’m tired because of my depression, it does affect me in the same way any other illness like flu might. And I’m in this cycle because I hate myself and the way I look, so I eat my feelings, literally. It’s horrible and it’s what I need to work on at the moment. At least I can recognise that.

I have phenomenal friends; there are genuinely some incredible people in my life, however there are also not so incredible people in my life. And I have been learning which is which since coming to university. There are people I can just ‘be’ with, we can just sit in my room and mellow out and not need any words. There are people who give me the best laughs of my life. There are people who make me feel important. So yeah, some fantastic people. So, I just have to focus on those instead of the not so fantastic people.

I feel the happiest I have been in a long time and yet also, at times, the emptiest I have ever felt. Most of the time, I’m happy; I think for once in my life I really, truly am just happy. And I can admit for the first time publicly, I am happy on my own. I am content. Content is the best word to describe it because happy does still feel a little too strong of a word to describe myself. I think that’s possibly why I notice the emptiness more, because I’m embracing the fact that I am on my own. I’ve learnt to realise that emptiness, though bad in itself, isn’t always the worst in the world. It can be moved through, you have to admit to yourself that you are lonely, and question what you need to do about it. If, when I ask myself why I feel lonely, I am able to actually do something about it, I will. But, if it’s out of my control, you just have the ride through that wave of emotion. There’s no point fighting it because you just won’t win if there is nothing you can do about it. By “nothing you can do about it” I mean when the loneliness goes beyond just wanting to be in someone’s company, or you can’t be in someone’s company, etc. So, I just go with my thoughts – it’s mindfulness – I have the thought, acknowledge it, and then do what I can with it.

Sometimes it is hard and, right now, some aspects of my mental health are a lot harder than others; but it isn’t all bad. Like I said, for the first time I can honestly say I have moments where I feel true, genuine happiness, even if they are fleeting moments sometimes. For the first time since being ill I can see real hope.

Am I worthy of anything?

I have to tell the truth and admit that my self-worth has plummeted. I was so positive, my medication has been at the right level, I was happy (ish), you know? Now, I’m just not. I look at beauty and I feel unworthy of it, even just a simple sunset. I’m not good enough, not special enough, not anything enough for that. I’m just. Just.

I don’t think I will ever be good enough for anyone. I mean my ex had already moved onto his new girlfriend before we had even broken up, that shows how sub-par I am. I might as well start on being good enough for someone, as in someone special. I have never truly felt like I have been good enough for anyone; even when I was in my relationship because I constantly have those voices in my head telling me and I wasn’t exactly made to feel worthy by the end. I look at all these other girls around me in clubs, all of my best friends, and I think compared to them I am a 2/10. They are easy-going, slim, beautiful, funny, charismatic – everything I am not. I’m going to lay it out there and say I let guys have me but then they want nothing more after one go. So, I am not good enough. I am an eternal disappointment. But how can I expect someone to be able to love me if I don’t love myself? And how can I be good enough for someone else if I’m not good enough for myself? And I will never be good enough for myself so let’s face that destiny then, eh?

I mentioned my best friends, well, this refers to any of my friends really now. I consider them my best friends but I have never felt like anyone would consider me their best friend. I am not a good enough friend for that label, I am not a good enough person. I try so hard not to be the way I am, I try not to be selfish, I try to be supportive and caring and I just fail. That’s why everyone ends up leaving in the end because they realise I’m not good enough in any sense.

I will never be skinny enough, nor will I ever be toned enough. I will never have the butt and boobs that everyone desires. I will never have a perfect face, I will never look as good as other girls. I will forever be the one with the worst sense of humour, I will always be the one who brings everyone else down. I don’t deserve the happiness I wish I could have and it’s only now I’m realising this. I end up left alone while others move onto better things. I will never love myself, so nobody else will ever love me. And I’m coming to terms with that.

I appear to hate my appearance

So, I get notifications on Facebook with memories from X years ago. One came up in the summer which knocked me back and I haven’t shaken this thought off since. It was a picture of me with my friend and one of my brother’s friends from summer when I was 14. I looked at the picture and thought to myself, “why do I not look like that anymore?” I look completely normal. I was sat there looking at this old photo of myself wondering why I wasn’t still that size. It’s fucked up because I thought I was obese at the time of the photo. Okay, so I wasn’t a size 0 in it but I look at the photo and I am definitely not obese. I’d say I was a healthy size. So, why did I spend that entire year hating myself? Why have I hated the way I look ever since I can remember? In a few years time will I look back at pictures of myself from now and wonder why I hated myself so much again?

I constantly look back at pictures of myself from late 2015 and early 2016 because that was my skinniest. I will sit there and mourn for the body I have lost, and in turn this makes me mourn for the deepest parts of my illness because it put me into that body. I have such an unhealthy relationship with my body because I would rather put it through hell to go back to being that skinny than look after myself. And yet I don’t even have the strength in me anymore to put myself through that at the moment. So, I eat. And I regret it because I’m longing for that Loveday to come back.

Why though do I look back at older pictures of myself and remember how awful I felt at the time and sort of laugh at my younger self for being blind to the reality of how I looked? I look at them now and I know I wasn’t as big as my brain (or other people lol) told me. Therefore, surely I should be wiser and understand that I have a dysfunctional and distorted perception of myself but I don’t. I get told constantly I don’t see myself for what I actually am, but I disagree. I see myself for more of what I am than anyone else because it’s a common known fact that you notice your tiny little details and flaws more than anyone around you does. So yeah, you might not see what I see, but what I see is more of a reality.

The bottom line is: I am fundamentally unhappy with the way I look and I have come to realise that I always will be because, even when I was at my lowest weight, I hated the way I looked. And what I’ve been thinking about everyday is whether I’m okay with that because it’s going to be my life – I am never going to feel good enough for anyone else, I am never going to think I’m beautiful, I am never going to be completely happy with myself. And I sort of ask myself, well, is anyone completely happy with him/herself? And then I think, how important is my appearance to me? And I realise it’s disproportionately important. I’m so angry that something so shallow means so much to me that I let it ruin my life. I’m angry that I can’t embrace the person I am, the way I look, because I live in constant fear that it’s going to be used against me again. I’m angry that I’ve grown up to be the person I am. Why do I detest myself because of the way I look? Is it ridiculous? I’m not making a new year’s resolution but I am making a wish, a late birthday wish, a christmas wish, a life wish – I want to be happy one day. I want to love myself one day so that someone else can love me. I just want to stop fighting these voices in my head and live peacefully eventually. Please.

letters and words

So, when I was younger I used to write letters all the time, especially when I was angry or upset. I remember writing these emotional (or at least I thought so at the time) notes to my parents when I felt like I wasn’t being listened to properly or when I felt angry about something. I’d leave them on the landing outside my room so that my parents would find them when they came to make sure I was in bed. I would literally write “I feel so unloved and I feel like nobody cares what I feel” – it seems ridiculous now thinking back because I had an amazing childhood at home so let’s not make any assumptions that I had some traumatising childhood, okay? Okay.

When I was about 15 I thought I was in love for the first time – even now I’m wondering whether that really was my first experience of love because I almost still think it was. I told myself I had loved him since I was like 14 and I felt completely downtrodden when we didn’t work out. This was when I was 16. I mean, what does a 16 year old know about love? Yet, I wrote myself a letter to open when I was 18, which I did. The letter described how I felt – obviously it was all very cliché, but I think I truly did feel that way at the time and I shouldn’t belittle that. I wrote down all these intense emotions and thoughts I had that I didn’t feel like I could share verbally. Just like I did when I was little and wrote letters to my parents.

Even this year, only a couple of weeks ago, I had an awful night and ended up writing my flatmates a letter. This letter was pretty much me trying to explain why I had been behaving so erratically and apologising for everything. Again, this was a situation where I felt like writing it all down was a lot better and more eloquent than saying it out loud.

So, clearly letters are very important in my life. I suppose I see this blog like a long letter I’m writing to the world in various snippets. And it has got me thinking about the future of my letters. Rewind a couple of years and I’d have told you I wouldn’t make it to my 18th birthday, let alone my 19th. I couldn’t have seen myself leaving school and making it to university. I truly thought I would be dead by now, in fact long before now. And yet here I am. Still breathing. Still living. Still writing.

So I’m going to be honest now. This might hurt some people to read, and that’s not my intention at all. My intention is always to be as candid as I can with everyone who reads this and to show every angle of mental illness, the good and the bad, the rose-tinted, the bleak, everything. The truth is, I still think eventually I will be dead. And I don’t mean in the normal sense. I think there is only so long I can be ‘strong’ for (I put that in inverted commas because I’m not sure how strong I actually am). One day I will break and lose this battle. And, as I have been thinking about letters, I realised what my last letter will be. A letter to everyone, a letter explaining why I had to go, a letter begging for your forgiveness and telling my family to keep going no matter what. It will be a letter because I can never say what I write, the words end up stuck in my throat, but when I write they flow out of my fingers as though there is some muscle memory of it all. So, I will write and keep writing until my last letter because that’s how I get my words out best.

my problem with #metoo

This is going to be controversial. I can be sure of that. So, I am going to first put in place my disclaimer:

I know that sexual assault and the rape culture within the media and film industry is a problem. I do not deny that there are disgusting, disrespectful people (not only men, but women too) who have and even some still will assault other people both physically and verbally in any manner, but in particular sexually. There is no dispute about that, and I have the deepest sympathies for anyone, famous or not, male or female, who has had to endure anything of the sort from anyone. Especially when said person, for example Harvey Weinstein, had a position of authority and control over their victims to make them feel more vulnerable and less in control of themselves. Please bear my disclaimer in mind when reading the rest of this.

Here is my problem. Too many people can now falsely accuse notable people of sexual misconduct or other such behaviour. We live in a world where people do disgusting things in fits of anger and everything is instant. Now, I’m not saying we should just immediately assume every victim is making up their story, nor should we assume every accused person is a criminal. The difficulty is, people throw around these habitual argumentative phrases such as, “let’s all believe in the innocence of a white good looking male and discredit the woman’s testimony as always” and “no one ever believes women, this is why we don’t talk”, and these call upon every discrimination that we so violently hate in society nowadays. In particular, sexism and racism. We are all turning so firmly against “the white man” because he must be a criminal based on the way we, as a society, push for equality in everything.

Now, this argument of mine could become far longer if I go into exploring my view of ‘feminism’ vs. ‘Feminism’ and why that word is completely antiquated and should be, because of how far we have come in getting women equal rights already, called ‘equalitism’. But let’s not. Let’s save that one for a rainy day. Let’s just look at the way society is now. Frankly, we live in a world where nobody can keep themselves whiter than white (what an ironic saying in these times…) and everybody slips up, whether it be big or small. Yes, sexual assault is more than just a slip up. Yes, there are boundaries to draw the line between human nature and unforgivable behaviour. However, nobody is a saint. Saints do not exist. Human nature dictates that, no matter who you are, you put your survival needs ahead of anything else when it truly comes down to it. It is only when there is an imbalance in the chemicals that human nature can begin to shift, which I think must be the case for assaulters. I truly don’t believe anyone can be of sound, sane mind and believe that sexual assault and rape is acceptable at any time. No. I’m not excusing their behaviour at all. I am simply saying, we need to understand the intensity of the world we live in, especially for people in the public eye.

What I am angry about is that I believe that all this will do now is make more men (and even women) turn against ‘feminists’ (or ‘equalitists’) due to the storms of abuse that have and still will be thrown at innocent men, especially white men, about sexual assaults. It will also make those people who believe so strongly and passionately about this that they hurl this abuse at innocent bystanders, purely because they are angry at the world and human nature for being the way it is quite frankly, even more abusive. Abuse is never the answer to abuse, is it? I am scared that more and more women (or men) will come forward and falsely accuse these “white, privileged men” of rape or similar things in a fit of rage. Think about how easily you can sometimes send a text in anger, or spit out some hostile words at someone or about someone. In this day and age, with social media, it only takes one second for something to move across the entire world and make headlines. I can’t imagine a situation where I would ever falsely accuse someone of that behaviour, to such an extreme that I could ruin their entire lives and have them end up in prison. However, equally, I cannot imagine ever believing it would be okay for me to force myself upon a person and sexually assault them without consent. And yet, people do believe that that is acceptable behaviour. So, I believe it must work for both sides.

We live in a far from perfect world, full of far from perfect people, living far from perfect lives. Of course, victims of assault of any kind should speak out and get the support they need. Of course, nobody should ever assault anyone. Of course, nobody should lie. But we cannot guarantee any of that. We cannot force human beings to be this ideal, every person has different wiring in their body and we are far from understanding the true depths of the complexity of the human brain. So, for now, we have to accept that this world is fucked up. And all we should want to try to do, is make it that little bit less so by being fair and honest.

3 important things to understand about being in a relationship with mental health problems

If you’ve read my other posts you’ll be aware I suffer from mental health problems. If not, hi. Yes, I do have depression, anxiety and an eating disorder. WOO. I am also in a relationship, have been for around a year and a half. I know that people don’t tend to like it when others post about their relationships online so I’m going to try not to be too annoying.

I was first told I had depression in October 2015, so I was ill before I went into my relationship which was a hurdle I very much had to overcome with him in the beginning. So, how did I tell him I had these problems? To be quite honest, I’m not the master of subtlety so I just told him whenever I took mental health days from school at first – a tell tale sign of mental health problems, isn’t it? I think that kind of introduced him to the idea that I wasn’t completely stable. I told myself that I needed to be honest, because if I kept something as big as my depression from him it would become more difficult to be honest with him about it if the relationship did go anywhere.

Which it did, obviously, otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this. And the most amazing thing happened, the relationship helped my recovery so much. I don’t really know if you can say you go into “remission” when you have depression, and I think it was a combination of therapy, medication and having that positive element in my life that really helped me become happier for a while. So for the first few months I don’t think he faced the true darkness of my illness, because really by the time he showed up I had it far more under control and I didn’t really have any episodes (he may of course correct me on that, because I may be forgetting something).

I don’t know when he first witnessed an episode of mine, but over the past couple of months things have become harder for me again, I have to admit that. And he has definitely seen me in my darkest moments now. One huge difficulty I have is my brain switches off when I’m in an episode, I don’t remember a huge amount of what I say or do. So a couple of months ago, after a meaningless spat, I went into a horrible place and he had to physically hold me down to stop me from hurting myself. I can’t even remember most of what I said other than repetitively telling him “I can’t do this. I want to die”. Imagine that, hearing your girlfriend/boyfriend say those things. They say in relationships you see the best and worst of each other; this is definitely true of our relationship. It is something that we have had to face to make it work, because my worst moments are inevitable and worse than you can imagine unless you suffer from mental health problems yourself. So, the first thing about being in a relationship with mental health problems is that you show your weakest points and lean on your other half to keep you alive sometimes.

I struggle when he can’t understand my brain. I don’t expect him to, because to be honest I don’t even understand it myself! However, it can be hard when something small triggers a huge response from my “bad brain” and he doesn’t really understand how even the tiniest things can turn my entire world upside down. When you’re ill like this, you turn into an eggshell, one little tap and you crack. It makes us both angry, and inevitably we argue and things get worse and even then he doesn’t understand why I got so upset in the first place, or how we got to the point of screaming at each other. The difficulty is that, when I get into these states, I find it impossible to explain my thoughts and rationalise them, which makes me very frustrated with myself and I often end up shaking and hitting myself, in these sort of spasms, which only makes the situation worse, but I can’t help it and I need his help to calm down. He has to figure out how to handle me in the exact moment, what to say, what not to say. It is not easy as my mind isn’t the most consistent, it definitely puts a strain on our relationship because one day one response might be perfect and the next it might ruin everything and that’s something with which we both have to cope.  But I have to make allowances for when he gets it wrong, because he’s only human and he can’t carry all my weight on his shoulders and predict how every little thing will impact me. All you can ask your partner to do is be there for you and take care of you when they do crack your shell accidentally.

It has taken him time to understand my illness as much as he does now, and with every down I have he learns more how to handle it. He’s not perfect at all, and sometimes I get so angry because I expect the world from him in those moments, when really he can only cope with so much at a time. So, I suppose that the second thing about being in a relationship when you suffer from mental health problems is a lot of give and take, much more so than in any normal relationship. You have to be understanding that your other half can’t always fix everything, and be grateful for whatever they try to fix anyway.

When you’re in a relationship and also have mental health problems your mind constantly tells you horrible, untrue things and claims that’s what your partner thinks. So, mine tells me that I’m not good enough for him, that he’d far rather be with a skinny girl, that he’s going to break up with me any minute. There’s not much to say about that other than you have to look to your other half for reassurance; I constantly beg him to remind me he likes me just the way I am, to tell me that it’s just my stupid brain speaking. And sometimes I don’t believe him, sometimes I let my brain win because it’s just easier, but I am always honest with him about how I feel. There. That’s the third thing. You have to face horrible, bullying thoughts and ask your partner to help you knock them away. Punch them right in the face. The thoughts that is…not your partner.

So, there you go. Three things about being in a relationship with mental health problems; I’m sure there are so many more but those are the three main things I wanted to talk about. It’s normal if you’re suffering from mental health problems and these are some difficulties you face in your relationship. That’s what I’m trying to do, remember, make sure you know that your illness doesn’t make you weird and point out the normal effects it can have on your daily life.

Until next time, World. Remember, you’re not weird because you’re ill, you’re wonderfully imbalanced.

 

I HATE LOVE ISLAND

Confession: I do NOT watch Love Island. WHAT?! HOW!? BLASPHEMY! You say. It’s true, I do not watch Love Island. Sorry, I’ll stop saying that now, I know it’s hurting some of you. 

However, in order to be able to appropriately argue my corner I had to endure two episodes of it, just to get the gist – frankly it was hell on earth, worse than my previous bout of tonsilitis this month. 

Let me explain why I have this bitter hatred towards that show from watching only two episodes, wincing at the number of times they say “d’you know what I mean?” and wondering whether I should start a drinking game with it in an attempt to enjoy myself a little more. 

THE GIRLS. Okay, you’re not all stupid, you’re fully aware the girls have had work done. But, there are fourteen year old, twelve year old, ten year old girls watching that! If I had watched girls like that running around in bikinis EVERY DAY when I was ten, I’d definitely have felt even more self-conscious than I did anyway about my body – my lack of perky breasts, my tiny lips and my not perfectly curled thick eyelashes. Yes, you and I know that these women have had work done, but there are so many girls out there who will now strive to look like these women, some of them so much so that they will push their bodies to unhealthy levels. Let’s not beat around the bush, eating disorders such as anorexia affect so many people, please can we just stop adding to that number ITV? It’s not fair to push these subconscious ideals onto young, impressionable girls without them realising. 

THE RELATIONSHIPS. So the premise of the show is to create relationships, yeah? With a bit of drama sprinkled here and there. But these people have known each other all of one month and they’re already saying they love each other?! That’s something we did when we were twelve and it was ridiculous – but there are twelve year olds watching this who will think it is completely normal to tell someone you barely know that they’re the love of your life. It isn’t, in case you didn’t realise. Okay, yes, sometimes you do just know but that’s a very rare exception. In the episode I watched whatsherface and whatshisname (after doing some research I discovered I am referring to Olivia and Chris…or maybe it’s Tyla and Jonny – you tell me) were saying how much they love each other but can’t be themselves around each other. Let me just say, if you can’t make it work in the first month it’s very unlikely it will work beyond that. But then there will be massive drama if one of them gets with someone else, and I’m pretty sure there’s some love triangle between Tyla and Jonny and someone – inevitable when you essentially hot box a bunch of single people looking for love. “Looking for love”, I regret that choice of words because if they’re looking for love they wouldn’t be on a dating show designed to ENTERTAIN people A.K.A designed to create drama in early relationships. Put simply, the people on Love Island are looking for fame, which is absolutely fine, but don’t mislabel it please. 

THE SEX. Okay, I’m not prudish and I have no issue with what order people decide to do things in when it comes to sex and relationships. But, in a time when rape culture is rife and young men’s attitude towards sex with women is, generally speaking, misogynistic, why are we being presented with a norm of sex (and everything else under the sun) before actually getting into a relationship? The problem being that it sets up a new option of “persuasion” (I prefer the word “pressure” in this case though) whereby men can say “we don’t have to be in a relationship to do this” – which you don’t, if that’s what you’re comfortable with, but don’t publish it on national television for all the country to see and be influenced by. ITV, you are essentially giving men a scapegoat for being called out on sexual pressure. 

Maybe I’m old-fashioned and need to relax a bit, but with every rant/message/natter I post I hope to make a difference to the media-controlled, still bustling with inequality society we live in. We should live in a world where women and men don’t feel pressure to look a certain way because of the media, where relationships mean more than just a label of “boyfriend” and “girlfriend” and where sex isn’t a poker chip in the game of love. If I can take any step to get closer to reaching that point, I can be proud of something I have achieved. 

HOPE YOU ENJOYED MY RANT. Over and out.

PSA: I’m not OK.

I’m writing this from a dark place. I have to confess from the start; this isn’t going to be positive. I don’t think. I haven’t planned it. But I’m making myself vulnerable, thinking that possibly this might help someone. Of course, that someone may only be me.

Answer me this, how do you tell the people closest to you everything you’re feeling, all the screams from within your head which are starting to hurt you physically, without seeming to be seeking attention? I think it’s impossible. Opening up guilt-free and innocently is a myth. Bloody hell, I’m exploding from within. I have to show you.

So, here it is,


a segment of my whiteboard in my room (which I put up because I wrote this sort of stuff on my wall before – baby steps to improving behaviours). Here are tonight’s feelings: one serving of self-loathing with a side of guilt for being so selfish, garnished with temptations of temporary relief strategies. Why am I sharing this? Why have I posted this for all the world to see if they wish? Because I’m sick of being scared to admit how I feel.

I want to make this clear to everyone. Mental illnesses are constant, as I’ve said before, some days are easier than others but it’s continuous endurance. Every single day I am under attack from my own brain and it hurts me relentlessly. How do you explain that pain to someone else though? You can’t. That is the most terrifying part; no matter how you try to get it across, nobody else can understand the suffering inside your head. Not even those who suffer themselves. And I have to admit it, there’s not a magic “but” coming next, no sweet phrase of reassurance. Suffering from mental illness is frankly s-h-i-t-e: So Hard It Takes Everything. Always. It takes everything to will yourself to get up in the morning. It takes everything to try to want to keep fighting. It takes everything to hold back when your brain tells you to hurt yourself. It takes everything to remind yourself to keep breathing. (obviously you do that naturally but you get my metaphor, yes?)

I can’t pretend to be fine all the time. I need to admit that I’m struggling. That doesn’t mean I’m giving up (there’s your reassurance I suppose), it means I’m fighting harder than usual. And it’s tough.

But there’s my public service announcement, admitting I’m not very strong at all sometimes, admitting that for the time being I’m not A-OK, and confessing to those who care that I’m struggling. And I suppose the reason I’m sharing this with everyone is, as I said at the start, in the hopes that it might help just one person in any microscopic way.