GUEST POST: My thoughts on suicide- By Kate Byrne

I have been in touch with another amazing writer who wanted to write something for my site. I love that people want to share their stories and thoughts and experiences on here, and I want to give a massive shout out to Kate Byrne who wrote this post.

A previous post referenced, “suicide may just sound like something “cowards” or “weak” people do. You’ve probably cracked some jokes about it with your friends, playfully told people, “Just go kill yourself”[.]”

We’ll start with how flipping true this is: we’ve all heard the jokes and/or made them, then we’ll move on to how strong I feel when I don’t pick up the knife, don’t drive my car off the road, don’t throw myself off a cliff. Ultimately, though, the strongest I’ve felt in the last six months wasn’t the day I walked into AA, it was the day coworkers were making light of suicide and I asked them not to.

Now, it’s not like I’m cagey about my mental health issues. Even if I didn’t walk and sit shoulders and head hunched I write about my things online so publicly. I write about it on public blogs, public Twitter, heck, even on the Huffington Post. My family knows it’s not uncommon for me to feel suicidal. My friends know, the world knows. Yet standing up in a call center basement and saying, “Guys, please don’t joke about this,” was So. Flipping. Hard.

Thankfully they stopped joking about it. A number came up after and apologized. I’m fairly certain my face was flushed for the rest of my shift, but I just couldn’t say nothing.

I completely agree with this, jokes should never be made about suicide or any mental health issue. You never know who may hear these “jokes” and how upsetting they may be for people who have been through things that no one should have to. I want to thank Kate again for writing for me, you are an amazing person that has been through so much. If anyone wants to talk to me about these issues, or if you want to write a guest post please get in touch at: aleve44@hotmail.com. Thank you for reading 🙂

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Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award!

Thank you so much to Drifting Lexi for nominating me for this award!! If you haven’t checked out her blog, you need to because she’s awesome!

Here’s the rules…

  • Thank and link the blogger who nominated you. A massive thank you to Drifting Lexi!!
  • Answer the questions the nominator has provided.
  1. What makes you motivated to blog? My followers. Hearing from others who are going through the same things I am, and having people tell me my posts make them smile or have helped them makes me want to blog. Plus, I love it! I love interacting with people of all ages, races, sexualities, genders, and religions 🙂
  2. What’s your favourite thing to write about on your blog? I write about so much on my blog, so this is a really hard question! I like writing about things that I’m passionate about, like mental health and human rights etc.
  3. What is your favourite food? I’m such a boring person when it comes to food! I like really bland flavours, so if I cook myself pasta I’ll just have pasta by itself and I can’t eat anything remotely spicy. So this is going to sound really stupid but my favourite food is sweet and salted popcorn. I could eat that for the rest of my life and be happy 😛
  4. If you had to pick a favourite book, what would it be? Nope. Can’t do it. I love so many books. A book that I’m loving right now though is All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. It’s amazing, and I won’t spoil it but I would definitely recommend it!
  5. What was the last song you listened to? I worked last night (I deliver Chinese takeaway with my dad) so we had our favourite Fall Out Boy album on and we were singing to that! The last song I remember was Yule Shoot Your Eye Out, because who doesn’t like singing along to Christmas songs with their dad in the middle of June?
  6. What items are closest to you at this moment? Well my butt is on this incredibly uncomfortable chair, my elbows are on my dining room table (naughty), and my fingers (yup all 10 because that’s how I roll) are on my keyboard. Then all around me I have my junk that I’ve managed to spread all around me, like tons of post-it-notes, all my notes and resources for my tutoring lessons, and my mouse which I have to use because the touchpad on my computer refuses to work 😦
  7. Do you have any tattoos? No, I’m a giant wimp so I doubt I could last through a whole tattoo. Plus, I’m so indecisive I could never decide what i want to be permanently etched into my skin forever!
  8. What are you currently reading? Oops, I already answered this question- All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven 🙂
  9. Do you prefer going to shops and buying items or do you prefer to shop online? I like going to shops. I like going to charity shops in particular, because some of the stuff I’ve bought there is amazing! But I don’t really shop very often because I still feel really self-conscious and I get very nervous being in large crowds 😦
  10. What are you next looking forward to? Well, my 18th birthday is in just over 2 weeks so that’s pretty cool! I don’t have anything planned, so I think I’m just going to hang out with my family and boyfriend. And it’s my boyfriend’s 20th birthday in just under two weeks and I’m so excited to go shopping with him! I’ve saved up £100 to take him on a shopping spree (he doesn’t know this yet) but he hasn’t been able to buy new clothes in a year because money is pretty tight so I’m giving him £100 to spend on whatever he wants, it’s going to be amazing!
  • Nominate 10 other bloggers. I’m going to try and find some amazing bloggers who haven’t already been nominated, but I think there are hundreds of bloggers I follow that deserve this award!
  1. Shivani
  2. Perks Of Being Jade
  3. Everyone’s Friend
  4. Life Of An Indian teenager
  5. I Am Odd
  6. My Irrelevant Thoughts
  7. Hugs x Heart
  8. I Prefer Deep Blues And Sea Foam Greens
  9. My Overflowing Thoughts
  10. A Teenage Diary Online
  • Create 10 questions for your nominees and notify them of their nomination.
  1. If you look out of the window closest to you what do you see?
  2. What’s been your biggest achievement so far?
  3. Do you have any weird or hidden talents?
  4. If you could have any animal as a pet what would it be and why?
  5. What’s the most expensive item you’ve ever bought?
  6. What was the inspiration for your blog name?
  7. What is your dream job?
  8. What is the cheesiest/ worst joke you know?
  9. What is the most random and useless fact you know?
  10. What is your favourite blog post you have written and why?

Thanks again DriftingLexi for nominating me, and thank you for reading 🙂

GUEST POST: Suicidal Thoughts, Self-Harm, Depression: It’s Okay- By Matthew Tome

I’ve been wanting to include guest writers and posts on this site for a while now, and I am so glad that my first guest post is about something so close to my heart. As many of you know my best friend committed suicide when we were both very young. No body should have to feel like he did. I want to give a massive shout out to Matthew Tome at Exactlywhatyouneed.org for giving me permission to post this to help raise awareness of self-harm, suicide, and depression.

For many of you, suicide may just sound like something “cowards” or “weak” people do. You’ve probably cracked some jokes about it with your friends, playfully told people, “Just go kill yourself”, or maybe even looked down upon someone who actually attempted to kill themselves. The same goes for victims of cutting/self-harm and depression. These people seem to get rejected by society, even picked on for being vulnerable. I’m not trying to justify suicide or self-harm here. I don’t believe there is any justification in taking your own life or hurting yourself. What I’m trying to get at is, there is a major problem in our society. If someone is hurting themselves, thinking about taking their own life, or suffering from depression the LAST thing you should do is pick on them. It highlights a repulsiveflaw in your character, and is extremely detrimental to the person who is suffering. And, as for that suffering person, there is always hope.

On this blog, I search the world for things that inspire me. When I find one, I research it; study it better, so that I can find what exactly makes it so uplifting, and hopefully adopt those characteristics into my personality, and share it with you all. My goal is to encourage and help guide as many people as I can to the better lifestyles that they deserve. As someone who was formerly depressed for a period of two years (with a break in the middle of a few months), I can honestly say: Depression is no joke. 

For personal reasons, I won’t go into depth about the causes of, or specific events related to, my depression publicly. If you’re interested in learning more about me, my story, or even just need someone to talk to, you can contact me at exactlyceo@exactlywhatyouneed.org. I’ll be sure to respond to each of you, personally, as soon as I possibly can. Support is the most useful tool for overcoming depression, so don’t think you’re alone in this world. Some people honestly do care.

It’s not some momentary sadness that you can cure by buying a shiny new toy. It’s a disability that can last for extended periods of time, and in some cases, even for the rest of your life. It leaves you tired, weak, unable and unmotivated to go on. It deprives you of most, if not all, the joy in your life. I remember several occasions where I’d be hanging out with my friends, laughing and having lots of fun (or so it seemed on the outside). But, in the back of my mind, there was this lingering feeling. You could never seem to shake it. It’s like a little voice inside your head saying, “That smile isn’t real. Just wait till you’re alone. I’ll show you what you’re really feeling.” The instant you became isolated from other humans, it would all hit you at once. That nagging little voice turned into the ONLY voice. It was this overwhelming, debilitating emotion that completely and utterly consumed you. No matter what you tried, no matter how times you’ve experienced it before, no matter how badly you wanted it to stop; it just wouldn’t. That was definitely the hardest part of my life. No other hardship could even hold a candle to it-financial debt, wondering where I could find a job, not knowing what I was going to do with my life, broken relationships, divorce, family deaths. Depression was, and probably will continue to be, the biggest obstacle I ever faced in my life.

But, That’s the Beauty in All of This

It was just an obstacle. That’s not to lessen the traumatic experience of going through depression. It’s insanely difficult; seemingly impossible even. But, it can be overcome, just like any other obstacle. It will be hard, but you can make it. You will come out: stronger, more passionate, full of life, and full of love. It teaches you to appreciate every waking moment, because you never know when it might be your last.

Life is full of beauty and wonder. This goes unnoticed, overlooked, and unappreciated constantly, but it’s there. I promise you. Life is so worth living, it’s almost hard to understand how you didn’t think so before. I’ve been there; wanting to die, feeling like a complete waste, totally useless, and just wishing it would all end so you could stop feeling. It sounds horrible (and it is), but I’m actually glad it happened. It helped shape me into the person I am today; a person I am extremely proud of and happy to be.

To help drive my point, we should look at Thomas Edison. He had a fantastic outlook on life and I think we could all benefit from adopting this perspective. Ryan Holiday talks about it here on “The Tim Ferris Show”. (Lovely podcast, by the way)

At age 67, Thomas Edison returned home, one evening, from another day at the laboratory.Shortly after dinner, a man came rushing in his house to tell him some urgent news. A fire had broken out at Edison’s Research and Production Campus a few miles away. Fire engines from the eight nearby towns rushed to the scene, but they could not contain the blaze. Fueled by the strange chemicals in the various buildings, green and yellow flames shot up six and seven stories, threatening to destroy the empire Edison had spent his entire life building. Edison calmly but quickly made his way to the fire, through the now hundreds of onlookers and devastated employees, looking for his son.
“Go get your mother and all of your friends,” he told his son with child-like excitement. “They’ll never see a fire like this again.”
“What?”
“Don’t worry,” Edison calmed him. “It’s alright. We just got rid of a bunch of rubbish.”

This was, no doubt, a hefty loss for Edison. Years of hard work, millions of dollars, and tons of research/prototypes were lost in that fire. Edison knew he couldn’t let this stop him though. He lived by “Amor Fati”. It’s a Latin phrase that can be translated as “love of fate”. To put it even simpler, you have to “love everything that happens in life.” The good, the bad, the totally life-altering traumatic experiences. Love it all, and greet it with a cheerful smile. Edison knew this, Jack Johnson (first black heavyweight boxing champion) knew this, and Ryan Holiday knew this. All three of these people are/were very successful people. They all had this common belief and outlook on life, so there must be some power to it, right?. I’ve began to incorporate into my life, and it’s worked wonders. It helped drag me out of my two-year depression. Before, I was very grim about living. My life had no meaning, and I didn’t see the purpose in anything. Now, I’m well-driven. I chase after my dreams relentlessly, brushing off all opposition: the naysayers, rejections, and non believers. Of course, this doesn’t mean go running off without a plan, but that’s a whole other topic.

How to Find Help

For those of you who are struggling with depression, thoughts of suicide, addiction and self-injury, you can find help from myself or loads of good people over at Heartsupport, or even check out this cool project: Project Semicolon.

At Heartsupport, you can find people, like yourself, struggling through things right now. They have a community forum where people can post and receive support from people all over the world. They also have lots of great bands/artists give personal life stories that are remarkably relatable. Heartsupport was created by Jake Luhrs (vocalist of August Burns Red, one of my personal favorite bands for many years now). If you like, you can support his band by buying their music, donating directly on Heartsupport, or even just participating with the community.

Then there’s this fantastic idea behind Project Semicolon. “A semicolon is used when an author could’ve chosen to end their sentence, but chose not to. The author is you, and the sentence is your life.” They use a semicolon to represent that your story is not over. You’re enduring through the tough parts. If you look back at any great story though, be it fiction or nonfiction, isn’t the part where the protagonist struggles the good part? Those are the juicy bits that build the story, strengthen the hero, and builds them into the wonderful champion who overcomes all obstacles presented before them. A story without struggle is boring. Who wants to read that? Not me. You’re just giving your life character; making it interesting by enduring the hardships, so that one day, you can tell others about what you’ve been through, and that YOU MADE IT. You’re still alive right now. You’ve made it through EVERYTHING life has thrown at you, so don’t give up hope. You’re stronger than you realize. Keep your chin up, and keep trying. Together, we can make it through this world (and as a pleasurable experience, at that).

I just want to say thank you again to Matthew Tome for allowing this beautiful post on my site. And if anyone reading this wants to speak to someone about their personal experiences with these subjects you can email Matthew at: exactlyceo@exactlywhatyouneed.org or you can come talk to me at: aleve44@hotmail.com.

God Hates Fags.

I am so sorry I had to use such an offensive word in my title, but I wanted to get the attention of those who need to read this the most. Below is a video showing Russel Brand (a UK comedian) interviewing two members of the Westboro Baptist Church, who are renowned for their vocal hatred of the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) community.

The following is my personal views and opinions regarding this video and this subject in general. Please feel free to watch the video and make your own conclusions. I wrote down my thoughts while watching the video…

  • Firstly, the men from the Church give Russel Brand a sign saying “Fag Pimp Brand”. How charming is that? Not only is that so offensive to those from the LGBT community, it just seems childish and unnecessary. It also suggests they associate the word ‘gay’ with prostitution. For those of you who may be confused, prostitution is where someone gets paid to perform sexual acts. Being gay is where you are attracted to someone of the same sex. These terms are not interchangeable.
  • The men from the Church say that they love everyone in the audience, and by telling them they are sinning they are proving their love. If you encourage sinning, such as homosexuality, then you hate the person because they’re going to hell. You encourage the hatred of a group of people because you love them? This just doesn’t make sense to me. Can we not just love everyone and let God decide who deserves to go to heaven? Surely, God will let you into heaven if you promote the love and acceptance of everyone who doesn’t cause harm to others? But if you show hatred to someone who has caused no harm, then won’t you go to hell?
  • The phrase “God hates fags” was mentioned. I hate this expression. God hates no one. Are you God? No. Why are you speaking for him, when, if he truly hated gay people wouldn’t he just kill them all off if he’s the all powerful being he is depicted as? Surely God has allowed people to be born with different sexuality, and we should embrace and accept this. In fact, it is repeatedly mentioned throughout the Bible that love of everyone is the most important thing- and this is mentioned so much more than the idea that homosexuality shouldn’t be allowed.
  • Russel Brand mentions that there are more important issues that we should be focusing on. I agree with this. I think people of all religions, races, genders, sexualities etc. should unite to try and end issues that are hurting people. For example, one in five women worldwide will be raped. And one in seven men worldwide will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. Or the fact two million children each year will die because they can’t access clean drinking water. Is the fact that some people are not heterosexual of more importance than uniting to try and solve these problems? Picture this: if every time someone made a sign saying they hate gay people, each time someone bullied someone for their sexuality, and each time a protest was made against gay marriage, they donated money to charity instead. Or they protested against animal cruelty, or they just simply smiled. Wouldn’t that be a much better use of our time?
  • Ghandi is going to hell. This made me giggle a bit, but also cry a little on the inside. He’s going to hell because he said the phrase “God loves the sinner, but hates the sin”. See I quite like this quote, I think it shows that God loves you no matter what, he just doesn’t agree with your actions sometimes. But let’s just ignore the years of non-violent protests and civil rights work Ghandi carried out to improve the lives of others. This seems like such a twisted view of life and I think it’s quite sad.
  • I don’t like that they say gay people are perverts. Perverts are people whose sexual behaviour is not seen as “normal” and is unacceptable in our society, so in their eyes the LGBT community are perverts. But in my opinion their sexuality is normal for them, just like it’s normal for me to be attracted to men. I believe that as long as a relationship involves adults who give consent then it shouldn’t matter what sexuality someone identifies as and I think it is so offensive to call someone a pervert when they are not doing anything to hurt someone.
  • “God’s love is for everybody”. This was spoken by one of the gay men in the video and I couldn’t agree more. Everyone who embraces God deserves his love, and who are we to say that they can’t?

Although I am not gay, I support anyone who is a member of the LGBT community and I really hope that in the future I won’t have to write posts like this because there will be no discrimination. I am also not religious, I do not believe in any God. I do believe in the principles of religion though, love and unity and acceptance and hope. But I don’t agree with people who use religion to promote hate against people.

Thank you for reading 🙂

The “What If” Challenge!

I was nominated to do this challenge by Elm (who is fabulous) and by I am Odd (who is also fabulous). Basically you’ll be asked a “What if” question which you’ll answer, then nominate 4 other bloggers and give them a new question that starts with “What would your life be like if…”

  • My question from I am Odd was: What would your life be like if you had no fingers?

Well, it would probably make blogging a lot harder! But I reckon I could adapt and use my knuckles to type and to press the buttons on elevators, you know, all the important stuff 😛 Now I’m thinking about it there is so much I need my fingers for. How will I make tea?!! How would I poke people who annoy me? My life would be awful 😦

  • My question from Elm was: What would your life be like if you couldn’t speak?

I think I could definitely work around this. I’m a pretty quiet person (although my parents might disagree!) and I much prefer talking to people online, or through texts, or even letters! Plus, I tend to mess up what I say a lot and stumble and stutter so that problem would be solved 🙂 Maybe I’d be less awkward! Yeah, I think this wouldn’t be too bad- I’d just have to carry a notebook around with me and I’ll be fine.

Here are my wonderful nominees…

  1. Everything And Nothing
  2. Drifting Lexi
  3. Phantom Mermaid
  4. From One Teen To Another

And your question is this: What would your life be like if you randomly winked at people and you couldn’t control it?

Thanks for reading!

Social Anxiety.

Today is going to be a little bit more of a serious post. I’ve been wanting to talk about this for a little while now but wasn’t really sure how to explain it. See, I have had social anxiety for a very long time now. So if I’m put in new situations, or I have to meet new people, or if I’m in a large crowds it makes me very nervous and can lead to panic attacks. I know when it started, but as I’ve mentioned before I don’t want to talk about that part of my past. Basically when I was younger I was put in dangerous and upsetting situations and unfortunately this has affected many aspects of my life. Yesterday my boyfriend and I went to meet his best friend. I’d been putting off meeting her for a year and a half, but yesterday he “persuaded” me to go. This involved going to her house and meeting her, her mum, boyfriend, and sister. For me this is such a stressful situation. What if they hate me? What if I embarrass myself? What if I have a panic attack and they think I’m a freak? But I went, and I was terrified, but my boyfriend held my hand the whole time and helped calm me down and I’m glad I went because they’re all lovely. Everyone who has anxiety will have a slightly different experience. For me, I tend to overthink things. I’ll have bad thoughts about the situation and I’ll think of all the awful things that could happen. I won’t look new people in the eye, I’ll turn my head away, and won’t talk. And if I do talk it’s usually about someone else to try and divert the attention away from me. I’ll play with my hair and clothes and pull my sleeves over my hands. I’ll tap my feet and dig my nails into my hands. My breathing will get faster and shallower and that’s when I panic. I’ll start to cry and struggle to breathe and then I’ll try to keep it in so I don’t look like a freak, which ends up making it worse. I’m not an expert, and I’m definitely not qualified to give advice but I’m going to try it anyway. So here’s Amy’s Top Tips for Dealing with Anxiety:

  1. Panic Attacks. I know it feels like you’re going to die, and because of that it can be difficult to think logically. But what I do is try to remove myself from the stressful situation/person if possible. Lay your hands flat on a flat surface and push down. Put your head against a flat surface if you can, and close your eyes. Count your breaths, up until the count of ten then start counting them again, then repeat this until your breathing is better.
  2. Bad thoughts. People with anxiety tend to exaggerate the situation, and I do this a lot! So what I do is write down all the bad things that could possibly happen. (And I love making lists so this is great 😛 ) Then go through the list as if you were another person. How likely is it that these bad things will happen? And what could you do if this problem actually occurs? For me, feeling prepared helps a lot.
  3. Stressful situations. A lot of everyday situations can become really stressful, and there have been a lot of times where I don’t want to do anything and I can’t even get out of bed. But it’s a viscous cycle, the more you avoid triggering situations, the more anxious of those situations you become. So do try and do things that make you anxious, and I know that’s so difficult but you can put things in place to help reduce anxiety. Try meditating before, or listening to music, go out with people you trust, go out to familiar places etc.

Clearly I’m not a doctor, so if your anxiety is seriously effecting your life you need to speak to family or friends or teachers, or go see your doctor. Please don’t suffer in silence, and if anyone reading this wants to get in touch or if anyone’s having a bad day they can always talk to me  🙂

Very Inspiring Blogger Award!

Thank you to the wonderful This Is My User for nominating me for this award!! Now I know I got this award a couple of weeks ago as well, but this one has different questions and I love talking about myself so I’m doing it 🙂

Here’s the rules…

  • Thank the person who nominated you. Thank you, you are fabulous and everyone should go check her blog out!
  • Add the logo to your post. Here you go…

  • Nominate 10 other bloggers you think are inspiring. I’m going to try and find some who may not have been nominated for this award before, but in all honesty I think there are so many inspiring bloggers out there this is going to be hard!
  1. Ashish-Vision 
  2. Drifting Lexi
  3. Sixteen Years Young
  4. Life Of An Indian Teenager
  5. Someone To Lean On
  6. I Prefer Deep Blues And Sea Foam Greens
  7. Kelsee727
  8. Phantom Mermaid
  9. Vmhtx
  10. Tea Toast And Telly
  • Answer the questions given to you.
  1. Why do you think I chose you? Well I think you may have gone a bit loopy, and for some reason you consider my ramblings to be inspiring 😛 But honestly, thank you. Every time someone likes my posts, takes the time to comment, and follows me it makes me so happy. So, thank you.
  2. What’s your secret hobby? It’s not really a secret but rollerskating. If I go skating with someone for the first time I do tell them that I’ve been skating for a little while, but no one expects me (the clumsiest and most unbalanced person on Earth) to be as good as I am. This is the one thing that I love to shove in people’s faces, and I know that sounds arrogant, but it took me 5 years just to be able to skate without falling down, and it’s taken another 5 years on top to perfect my tricks so I think I deserve to brag a little 😛
  3. What makes you smile no matter how sad you are? I’m generally quite a happy person, but one thing that always makes me happy are trampolines. Nobody can be sad on a trampoline! 
  4. What’s the most important piece of advice you can give? Seriously be yourself, and yes I know that’s so predictable but it’s true! If you pretend to be something you’re not then you’re going to live your life being unhappy.
  5. How do you try and inspire others? I try to be a good person. I try to spread love and smile at everyone I meet because one day there will be someone who really needed it, and who knows maybe it’ll change their life. At the very least I won’t make their life worse by being positive.
  • Give 5 new questions for your nominees to answer.
  1. How are you feeling right now?
  2. What is your earliest memory?
  3. Describe yourself using one word. Why did you choose that word?
  4. Who was the last person you spoke to, and what were you talking about?
  5. Why did you start a blog?

Thank you again for the nomination and thank you for reading x