GUEST POST (*Trigger Warning* Child Abuse)

A little while after I started this blog I started talking with another blogger, Zion. I consider him to be a very good friend now, and after exchanging emails for a while I discovered that, although he is only 15 years old, he had a very challenging upbringing. A couple of days ago Zion asked me if he could write a summary of his experiences growing up, and if he could publish them here. The following is just an overview of his childhood and he chose not to talk about some aspects. I would be extremely grateful if you could show some love for this wonderful guy, I know it wasn’t easy for him to do this, so if you could give him all your support it would mean the world. Thank you.

I was born into an abusive household, the abuse wasn’t towards me, but my mom and 5 aunts. Before I was 8 months old my mom left and I was homeless for about 3 years of my life being in and out of motels, or someone’s room for rent that we would be kicked out of for not being able to pay. My mom started staying with “friends” of hers from when she was younger when I was almost 4. They were really controlling and mean to her making her do things because it was “the best choice” when it was really because they wanted her to. My biological dad wasn’t around my life until around then when I spent a grand total of 1 hour with him before he dropped off the face of the earth again.

During this time my mom met her first husband she would marry. His name was Steve. The guy was really creepy and I had just a bad feeling about him. My mom and Him would have sex all the time when I was in the room with them, and they would tell me to just look at the TV. Thankfully I did just that and didn’t see them do anything. They got married about 3 weeks before Christmas  and during their honeymoon my mom got pregnant with my sister.

Now that my they were married they moved into a apartment and that’s where my abuse started. When ever my mom wasn’t home (which was a lot because she was going to school) he would beat me for doing just about anything. I couldn’t breath without the fear of being punched or slapped or kicked. Once my sister was born it got worse, my mom started getting into the abuse. She would lock me in the bedroom for hours and only let me out to eat or for school (I was in 1st grade at this point) or when someone came over to the house. If I had to go to the bathroom I would be hit and yelled at for it and wouldn’t be allowed out for a meal, or something like that.

After less than a year they got a divorce because he cheated, so my mom, sister, and I went to a city a few hours away with her friends.  I was really far behind in school because they tried to “homeschool” me after the school questioned the bruises I was getting. The “homeschool” was really just them keeping me home all day cleaning and getting beaten. While we were living there, the abuse stopped, and her friends took really great care of me. I didn’t get locked in a room, or have the crap beat out of me, or have to do ridiculous amounts of work.

I started 2nd grade there and sadly had to leave only a few weeks into school because my mom moved on with my sisters grandparents. There I started getting treated like crap again. My sisters grandparents treated her as if she was God and me like I was the scum of the earth. After her grandpa had a crazy melt down and got super drunk, my mom moved out and we started staying with the person names heather and her hell spawn of a daughter. Her daughter was 8, and would bite, scratch, kick, yell, cuss out, and just about anything else you can think of on a daily basis. Her mom would just make excuses for her being crazy. At school (I’m now in 3rd grade) some kids would call her the Devil’s daughter because of how she would act.

I had to say with them about a year before we moved into a house with just my mom sister and I. She let her friend from when she was younger move in and his name was Brett, and he started cheating on his girlfriend with my mom. He slowly but surely started making my mom do things for him, making her parent different, and telling her the different things she was and wasn’t allowed to do. We ended up moving from that house to an apartment where Brett moved in a little later, and this is where things went downhill again. Because they were a “couple” he decided to start making the rules for is all. What would happen in a day is: he goes to work my sister and I go to school, I come home get yelled at from my mom because of her mess, she goes and smokes weed (because he also had a drug issue that he passed on to my mom), I clean the entire apartment make dinner and do my homework, do my night chores ( the entire apartment because they made it a mess again), and then stay up until 3 in the morning to finish my homework. Mind you I’m only on 5th grade at the time. Now this goes on and on for years, but ever so slowly getting worse and worse.

When I was in 7th grade they moved to a new house, and things got worse. They started drinking really hard alcohol and drugs so the screaming got worse, the fighting between them got worse, my punishments got bigger (if the stove wasn’t perfect then I would have everything I owned taken from my room and usually only half of it would get back to me), and the workload even bigger. This new house had an acre of land now so I had to take care of all of it myself, on top of the massive size of the house (4500 sq feet) and school all made life impossible. After being in the house about a year Brett started to shove me and threaten to beat me. I told people about that and when my mom and Brett found out said I lied and made this huge thing of none of that happened, then threatened that if anyone else heard of it I would be put into a  juvenile facility.

My mom left Brett and I went and stayed with my aunt and uncle (who I am now with permanently). My mom went back to him a couple of times, but I never went back. She is now homeless because he threatens to kill her and so she left, and she has a “boyfriend” from the mental hospital she went to in the last couple months because of her bipolar and other mental health issues. My sister is with her grandparents, and I haven’t seen or talked to them in almost 3 months. My sister because I don’t have a way to talk to her, and my mom because I want nothing to do with her.

I’m currently in 10th grade (for America not sure of its different around the world), and have been with my aunt and uncle for almost 6 months. They are helping me with all that in processing and dealing with like my nightmares and aggression. I’m also with my 2 cousins (5 and 1.5 years old) who are the main reasons that I work through what I went through. So as of now I’m finally out of the 15 years of abuse and in a place that is safe.

I know this is a tough read, but Zion is such an amazing person and is now starting to deal with his past. If anyone reading this wants to talk to me about this post, or if you just want to have a chat, please email me. Or if you would like to speak to Zion about his experiences, or if you have been through something similar please feel free to get in touch with him (ziondutro@gmail.com). Thank you for reading.

GUEST POST: Have Faith In The Universe – by Sean

I’ve been in touch with a lovely blogger, Sean, and I want to say a big thank you to him for allowing me to post this wonderful piece.

Hello everyone…

Let’s discuss Depression today. I’ve been in that dark place before and it’s not something I ever want to go back to, actually I’ve been there twice. Once when my mother passed away then in my Sophomore year in High school. These would have to be the hardest times in my life and I’m thankful I was able to come out of the dark cave. Let me dive deeper.

I was nine years old when I lost my Mom to Breast Cancer. It was horrific and sad, but the thing that depressed me was that, neither of my parents would be around. My father, I can only guess what he’s doing right now but anyway, I didn’t have either of my parents. I ended up living with my older sister who is great but the thing was, my mother was gone as well as my father. I fell into a depression because I felt like a burden on my older sisters. One was working and the other already had a family of her own so what was a Sean suppose to do? I remained depressed for the next two years. I never thought about killing myself but I didn’t want to be alive. I was 11 now and I was more mature. I had to grow up and come to the harsh realization that the world did not owe me anything. The universe took my mother and I had to deal with that. Once I came to terms with my mother’s passing, I got better. Things got better. For a while I had to fake my own happiness until I eventually was happy and it wasn’t until I was 13 when I realized I was finally better and my laughter and smiles were actually genuine.

It was my Sophomore year in High school and it felt like I was losing my mind. Not only were my grades sub par but I felt as if I wasn’t sleeping or enjoying myself. No matter what I did I was not happy. (Again with the theme of happiness.) I felt this way until the summer going into my junior year. During the summer I lived on a college campus as part of this program I am involved in, isolated from everything I knew was troubling me. My friends within the program helped me through this tough time. They believed they were just being my friends but little did they know, they helped me through and out of my depressed phase. Along with coming out of my depressed phase, I also grew into my own body. I used to always say I was a 9 year old in a 22 year old’s body, (I have the body of a 22 year old college football player) but I finally grew into myself. My personality evolved, I became the Sean I was born to be.

Depression can be tricky. Depending on if the issue is internal or external there are different ways of handling it. The depression with my Mom was dealt with internally, it just happened that I molded into being happy. The depression during my 10th grade year was dealt with externally. My friends helped me through it. If you’re depressed or someone you know, tell them that it gets better. TRUST ME. It does. Have faith in the universe.

Sean (forever hopeful)

Thanks again, Sean, and if anyone reading this would like to talk or would like to write a guest post please get in touch!

I avoid the elderly.

That makes me sound like an awful person, right? And it is awful, but unfortunately it’s true. If I see an elderly customer I will be polite to them, but I will finish the transaction as soon as possible. I visit elderly relatives as little as I can. And I absolutely refuse to go to funerals. Why? Because I’m terrified of death and everything that reminds me of it.

When I look at someone so fragile and tired, it just makes me so sad. I’m sure they’ve lived such a wonderful life, it’s just not fair that it has to end. I have quite a few elderly relatives. (My family seem to live forever.) I have two great nans who are still alive, but both of them are very ill, and can hardly walk or eat by themselves. For the past year I’ve made so many excuses to avoid visiting them- I’m sick, I’ve got coursework, I’m seeing friends etc. Anything I can do.

I have never been to a funeral. I want my last memories of my friends and family to be good ones, where they were alive and free and happy. I would hate my last memories of that person to be cold, and filled with sadness. But sometimes I feel so guilty too. I’ve missed out on so many of my loved one’s funerals, and although my parents haven’t said anything about it, I’m so scared they’ll think I don’t care when really it’s the opposite.

It just scares me so much that every memory I have, all my hopes and dreams and achievements will one day not matter. How fair is that?

So, what can I do? Is there any way to get over this fear? Is there anyone out there who feels this way too? I know I can’t keep going on like this forever.

Thank you for reading, and as always I encourage anyone reading this to get in touch with me if they need someone to talk to.

How to deal with being ill, like a pro.

My immune system is a piece of junk, so if someone even sneezes within a 100 mile radius of me I know I’m going to get ill! Yesterday I woke up with a sore throat, but that’s fine I can handle it so I babysat as usual. But last night I just felt like crap, so tired and my throat was burning. Then when I woke up this morning (at 5am) I was not a pretty sight. So here I am, laying in bed surrounded by pillows and three blankets, coughing, sneezing, and feeling like I’m going to be sick. But the worse thing, the thing that makes me so sad, is that I don’t have enough energy to make myself a cup of tea. It’s 3pm here and I have only had one pathetic cup of tea which was begrudgingly made by my brother, and the only reason he made it is because I recorded myself saying “Please bring tea” on my phone then played it at full volume  about 300 times until he made me one. What can I say, desperate times call for desperate measures!

So here’s my top three tips on how to deal with being ill, like a pro:

  • Make sure everyone around you knows how ill you are. Cough loudly and dramatically, especially during crucial moments of people’s favourite TV shows. Call up all your friends and let them know you won’t be available today, because you are ridiculously ill, it would also be helpful to make your voice as deep and hoarse as possible and cough as much as possible during the phone call.
  • Neglect all personal hygiene. You’re ill, and the shower is so far away! Take my advice, keep a pack of wet wipes near your bed and you won’t need to shower for days, even weeks! Plus, the grosser you look (and smell) the more sympathy you get!
  • Watch DVD’s. You know those movie’s you’ve seen 1000 times, the ones where you can quote every single line? Watch them. Watch them all! So far today I have had a movie marathon consisting of Mean Girls, Mrs. Doubtfire, Beauty and the Beast, Frozen, and The Princess Diaries.

Good luck! And if any of you could send me some love, it would be much appreciated! Thanks for reading 🙂

Harassment on WordPress.

Yesterday I wrote a post called The British Tag, which was just a jokey post where I answer questions about my Britishness. I never thought it would lead to me be harassed.

A few minutes after I’d published my post it was rebogged. Yay! Right? So I clicked on the site who had reblogged it and that’s where I saw that the only other posts this person had were pictures of his penis and posts asking people, specifically young British teens, to text him. This made me really uncomfortable, and I didn’t want my post being linked to someone like this. I commented on the post and asked him why he posted it, and if he could take it down, and that he needs to label his content as mature because anyone could visit his site.

He then apologised, and I thought that would be the end of it. Until he sent me three comments in a row asking what I thought of his pictures, and whether I’d be impressed. I felt disgusted. I was Skyping my friend, Zack, at the time and I asked him what to do. He helped me message the guy back and basically we told him to stop. But in the time we had replied to his comment, he had already sent me four more and all of them were asking about my friends and whether my friends were girls and if I knew any teenage girls. At this point I reported him.

I reported him for a few reasons:

  1. He kept sending me explicit messages/comments on my posts. I won’t post them here but seriously, it was actually disgusting and very threatening.
  2. His blog was not labelled as mature, so anyone could go on it without verifying their age.
  3. He had no idea how old I was. I could have been a 10 year old girl for all he knew, and to send me messages asking for me to send/receive explicit images was not okay because although I am a big girl and I can handle it, there are young children on this site and they could be put in upsetting situations through this.
I am so glad I had my friend to talk me through this, because the whole situation made me feel really uncomfortable and upset. Many of you know I have had a rough past with things like this, and I have been sexually abused before. Although this was nowhere near as upsetting as my past, it still really affected me.
In the end I messaged the guy and I told him that if he didn’t stop messaging me/commenting on my posts, I would call the police, and since he had conveniently left his mobile number on the site it wouldn’t be too hard to find him. A few minutes later Zack let me know that the guy had deleted his account! We won!
However, there are still countless blogs and websites and people out there that are encouraging young people to put themselves in sexually compromising situations. So please, if any of you reading this have had something similar, or has friends who are in a similar situation, go tell someone. It doesn’t matter if it’s a teacher, friend, doctor, therapist, parent, or a trusted family member. Or come tell me! Because although this story had a happy ending, I know that is very rarely the case. You do not have to do anything you are not comfortable with, and if anyone says anything or does anything that makes you feel uncomfortable that is not okay. You do not have to put up with it. Even if you have had a relationship with that person, or if you are currently in a relationship with that person, or if that person is someone you trust, you still do not have to do something that makes you feel upset. And if any of you want to speak to me about this, or anything else that’s bothering you, my door (or should I say my inbox) is always open.
Thank you for reading.

Well, that really didn’t go very well…

Many of you will know I’ve been struggling lately, and my anxiety is starting to get overwhelming. I’ve been feeling stressed and have recently self harmed again and had a major panic attack, the worse one I’ve ever experienced.

My parents are aware I have anxiety and get stressed, but they don’t know the true extent and they don’t know I self harm and have panic attacks. The reason for this is that my parents are very busy people, they work full time during the week then part time during the evenings and at weekends. Then any spare time they have is either spent doing errands or sleeping. They do an incredible job of keeping our family afloat, and I have so much respect for the work they do. However, I feel as though I have no right to tell them I’m struggling because it’s not fair for me to add another burden to their load. So, for the last eight years I’ve downplayed my anxiety.

But lately, my situation has got worse and a major reason for this is my fifteen year old brother. It’s the Summer holidays so both my brother and I are off school. The Summer holidays means that I have to start babysitting my cousin from 7am-7pm one day a week, I have to tutor twice a week and I also have to start ‘tutoring’ my brother too, I still work delivering Chinese takeaway three nights a week from 5pm-10pm, and I also have to do a large portion of the housework. What does my brother have to do? Karate lessons. That’s it, that’s his only commitment. So it would make sense for him to help me with the housework, right? Nope. According to my parents, they can’t force him to do the housework so I’ll just have to do it all until he decides he wants to. This just adds to my stress because not only do I now have to do all of it by myself, it makes me feel like my parents  value my brother’s happiness over mine. All of this can get overwhelming sometimes.

I decided to speak to my dad first, and I told him I’d been feeling upset and stressed lately. Before I’d even had a chance to explain why he said this gem: “It’s probably the amount of time you spend on that pathetic blog, it’s just sad.”. First of all, ouch! This really cut deep because I’m so proud of this blog, and there’s an amazing sense of community here. I told him he’d upset me and that he should apologise, and he just said that you only say sorry when you don’t mean something, and he meant it. He then went on to say that I’m just being silly, and that I don’t have anxiety and I’m clearly just looking for attention.

I then decided to speak to my mum. Again, I started off by telling her I was feeling stressed lately. She asked me why, and I said I felt like I had a lot of responsibilities and it would help a little if my brother could share some of those. She got really defensive and basically just told me to either suck it up or just stop doing the housework then, if I was going to complain about it so much. I felt like she was being so childish. She then told me to leave.

The next morning I woke up at 6am so I could go visit my boyfriend, and they both pretended like nothing had happened! It made me feel like I was going crazy! When I came home after seeing my boyfriend, my mum came up to my room and she asked me what was wrong. Seriously. Parents. Come on! I told her nothing, and she kept repeating “Tell me” until I eventually told her they’d both upset me and I didn’t want to talk to them right now. So she left and I haven’t spoken to them since.

Perhaps I could have approached the topic differently? Or maybe I am just being silly and I do just need to get on with it? I just feel my parents could have handled this whole situation better, because now I’m not going to tell them when I’m in trouble. Why would I? If they’re not going to take my concerns seriously about little things like this, then there’s no way I’m going to talk to them about the more important things. I feel as though this has pushed us even further apart than we already are. I hate feeling like I’m the only adult here, and I hate feeling worthless. This really didn’t go very well…

Blogger Recognition Award and a HUGE thank you!

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Excuse me, WordPress? What do you think you’re doing?

Before I start my award post, I’d like to address an incident that occurred a couple of days ago. Do you see the picture above? I had what WordPress called “A spike” and it’s all thanks to this wonderful man here. I wrote a post, inspired by a post he had previously written, and you can see my post here and this man posted it to his Facebook page which you can see here. Within hours my view counter shot up from about 100 views (which is roughly what I aim for each day) to 200, then to 300, and it didn’t stop! It felt amazing to know that not only was I spreading awareness of anxiety, but so many lovely people commented and messaged me saying they’re going through the same thing and to know that I’m not alone in this was wonderful. And since writing this, my post has been seen over 1200 times!! Thank you again Chris, and thank you to everyone who read my post!

Now onto another huge thank you…

Thank you to Brighton Bipolar for the Blogger Recognition Award!

Here’s the rules:

  • Select 15 other blogs you want to give the award to. Do some digging if you must! Find those blogs. You cannot nominate yourself or the person who has nominated you. Oh gosh, there are so many bloggers who have made me feel so welcome here and who inspire me but I’ve got to narrow it down to 15, so here goes…
  1. Aiden
  2. 21 And Sensory
  3. A Little Daydreamer
  4. Sophie Speaks Up
  5. Jasmine Honey Adams
  6. Three Hands One Heart
  7. Daydreamer 52
  8. Mon
  9. Luna
  10. Drifting Lexi
  11. Sheetal
  12. A Teenage Diary Online
  13. Everything And Nothing
  14. The Crazy Perfectionist
  15. Elm
  • Write a post to show off your award! Give a brief story of how your blog got started, and give a piece or two of advice to new bloggers. Thank whoever nominated you, and provide a link to their blog. List who you’ve nominated in the post. Make sure to also attach the award itself! (You can do this by right-clicking, saving, and uploading the image above).

How did my blog start?

My blog started because I was an invisible 17 year old girl. I had so many thoughts and opinions and ideas, but no one to listen to them. So I started talking to myself on here…And nothing happened. Nobody liked my posts or commented and  felt so defeated, and then lightning struck! People started to listen to me and it was such an incredible feeling that since I started, my blog has been viewed nearly 7000 times! So thank you, you all truly do mean the world to me.

My advice:

I’m still a complete newbie at this, I’ve only been blogging for 3 months! However, if I had to give some pieces of advice this would be it:

Network. Go like, follow, and comment on amazing blogs! Not only will you get to read some interesting posts, you’ll be making fellow bloggers happy, and it’ll help bring people to your site if they see you as a genuinely supportive person.

Write about what you love. We can tell if a blogger is passionate about what they write, and if you show emotion in your posts it just makes for a more interesting and engaging read.

Don’t blog for fame. There are millions (possibly billions) of blogs out there. The chances your blog will give you any kind of fortune or fame is slim. Blog because it makes you happy, because it’s cheaper than a therapist, because you love to write, because you get to talk to amazing people, because you have a story that just has to be told.

  • Comment on each blog and let them know you’ve nominated them. Provide a link to the award post you created if you want.
  •  Provide a link to the original post on Edge of Night . That way, anyone can find the original guidelines and post if needed, and we can keep it from mutating and becoming confusing!

Thank you again for everything, you all mean so much to me 🙂

50 Important Facts About Having Anxiety…

I was inspired by this post which listed 50 facts about having autism, so I thought I’d do a similar post about having anxiety. I’ve had anxiety since I was around 10 years old, and if you’ve been following my blog for a little while you’ll know it has improved in the last two years. But I still do have panic attacks and anxiety still plays an important role in my life. I’d love to hear your thoughts about this, and as always I’d love to hear from you if you have anxiety yourself.

  1. We’re not attention seeking. We are genuinely scared of social interactions or triggering situations.
  2. We’re not vampires. Okay yes I am as pale as a piece of paper, and I burn like one too. But I do actually like to go outside, and I do like to socialise it’s just very stressful.
  3. It upsets us if you cancel your plans last minute. I have spent days, even weeks preparing myself to go out with you and then you’re cancelling 10 minutes before we’re supposed to meet up? Not okay. At least 24 hours notice please!
  4. It upsets us if you’re late.  Don’t be late. Or if you can’t help being late, text me! Anywhere I have to be I am there 15 minutes early. And if you’re not there on time I start to freak out. Have you been hit by a car? Have I got the wrong place? Do you hate me?
  5. We blush. A lot. Like 90% of my life is spent looking like a tomato. If I get embarrassed, or I start to feel anxious I tend to blush. I know I’m bright red! Please don’t point it out! Then everyone looks at us and it makes us feel a thousand times worse.
  6. We sometimes don’t like eye contact. Eye contact feels so personal to me. When I get nervous I might avoid eye contact. The correct response is to carry on speaking to me as normal and let me get used to you. Don’t point it out and try and force us to look you in the eye!
  7. We might run away. I have actually ran away from people when I get too overwhelmed. No I’m not just looking for attention. Please don’t point out that I look crazy. I know what I’m doing isn’t seen as normal but sometimes life is too overwhelming. Wait for me to calm down, then just stay with me. We can sort any problems out later.
  8. We have anxiety attacks. But they might not involve us struggling to breathe. My anxiety attacks come in many shapes and sizes. I may suddenly need to go somewhere I deem as “safe” which is usually my bed, I might start crying, I might run away. All these can be panic attacks, so if you notice I look scared then chances are I’m freaking out. Stay with me, don’t raise your voice, remove me from the stressful situation if possible and lay my hands on a flat surface. I’m not doing this for attention, I am overwhelmed and stressed.
  9. Getting drunk is not going to cure my anxiety. It is surprising the amount of people who tell me to smoke or drink to solve my anxiety. I personally do not enjoy drinking and it actually makes my anxiety worse, as I feel as though I’m not in control of my body and I feel very vulnerable and weak. Don’t force me to do anything.
  10. You don’t have to have a bad upbringing to have anxiety. Although my anxiety personally stems from traumatic events, not everyone’s does. Do not automatically assume someone has had a crappy childhood just because they have anxiety, this can make people feel as though they are wrong or silly for being anxious when they “Don’t have a reason to”.
  11. Anxiety is not just being nervous. Just like being sad does not mean you are depressed, having normal feelings of anxiety such as around exam season or before public speaking does not mean you have an anxiety disorder. However, if you have very high levels of anxiety during these times to the point where you are physically suffering then you need to speak to your doctor.
  12. Our brains exaggerate everything. You take longer than 3 seconds to reply to my text? You’re either dead or you hate me. You don’t hear something I said? You’re ignoring me, you’re angry with me, and you hate me.
  13. Forcing us to socialise does not help. Yes, please ask me to parties and to hang out with you. But don’t pressure me it into doing it, and if I say no I mean no. I love going out, and I love feeling included but if I feel like it would be too stressful or I’m doing something stressful the day before I might say no.
  14. We will probably leave the party early. Although I love socialising, there is a limit. Socialising is exhausting for me and so I will most likely leave after a couple of hours. Don’t get upset or offended and don’t make me feel guilty for doing this.
  15. Telling us “Don’t be shy.” does not cure our anxiety. Oh thank you so much. My anxiety is now suddenly cured. Where were you 8 years ago when this all started?! You truly are magic.
  16. If we say don’t touch us, we mean it. Because my anxiety comes from a traumatic point in my life being touched can feel threatening, so when I feel stressed I may tell people not to touch me. I mean this. If I am touched whilst having a panic attack it makes me feel terrified and increases my anxiety so much to the point where I have been physically ill. However, some people like to be hugged or comforted so ask the person if it’s okay to touch them.
  17. New people are terrifying. There’s so much pressure to make a good impression on new people. What if I mess up and they hate me? What if I have a panic attack and they think I’m a freak?
  18. New places are terrifying. I personally feel so exposed and vulnerable in new places and I hate feeling weak.
  19. We struggle to sleep. You know when you lay awake and think of all the things you need to do and you can’t sleep? Well imagine that 100 times worse. I think of everything I need to do tomorrow and the next day and I’m so scared I’ll forget them I have to get up and write them down, I go through all the conversations I’ve had and I panic about them, I then think about the next social event I’ve got and I play all the possibilities through in my head. Because of this it usually takes me 1-2 hours of worrying before I fall asleep.
  20. We hate being left alone. If you come with us somewhere, say a party, do not leave us alone. It freaks us out and we start to panic. If you have arranged to stay with us, then do that, don’t change plans suddenly.
  21. We love being left alone. Then again, if I am upstairs in my bed surrounded by pillows with my laptop and a cup of tea in one hand, I want to be left alone. I don’t want to socialise at that point and I am honestly perfectly happy with my own company.
  22. We have scars. I have a lot of scars actually, and although I am not ashamed of them I feel the need to hide them a lot. Mostly because you get called “disgusting” and a “freak”. Please, if you see someone with scars, and they’re a stranger, don’t point them out and don’t be mean to me. I have gone through more than you will ever know. And please, if you know me and see my scars for the first time, don’t tell  our entire class I’m an attention seeking whore. Thank you.
  23. We are not just shy. I am actually really bubbly and excited when you get to know me. But you have to earn my trust. And calling me “shy” and teasing me about it is not the way to do that.
  24. We are proud of our little achievements. For example, for the first time since I was 10 years old I am going swimming. My 7 year old cousin asked me to go with her and I promised her I would. For me this is amazing! I am actually going to show off my body to the world! Okay, I’m going to be in a bikini top and shorts and it’ll be in my town’s local swimming pool. But still, it’s an incredible achievement for me and although I am very, very nervous I’m excited too! Please don’t put us down for being proud of little things like this, because these little things are what help us overcome our anxiety.
  25. Anxiety is not depression. These are two very different mental health issues, and although someone may have both of these, they are not interchangeable. If you are confused about the difference, please take 10 minutes to research both of these terms.
  26. Some people with anxiety take medication. Although I personally do not take any medication for my anxiety, some people find it very helpful. No one should feel guilty for taking prescribed medication to improve their daily lives, just because their illness effects their mental state doesn’t mean they should be ashamed of getting help.
  27. We know we’re not acting logically. I know that I shouldn’t be afraid of going to the supermarket, or meeting my boyfriend’s friends, but I am. My brain tells me these are dangerous situations and there’s nothing I can do about that, so telling me I’m being stupid doesn’t help.
  28. We hate feeling abandoned. I personally get really upset if I feel people are abandoning me, even when I know that’s not the case. For example, if someone calls me I have to hang up on them first otherwise I feel as though they don’t want to talk to me. This sounds really silly, but if my boyfriend needs to walk away from me (such as if he’s going to get a bus or is going into another shop) then I can’t watch him walk away because it just makes me feel nervous and upset.
  29. We get flashbacks. If someone’s anxiety comes from a traumatic event (similar to PTSD in a way, but that’s not an anxiety disorder) then they may get flashbacks to times where they have been under stress. For me these usually take the form of nightmares. If your partner has these then don’t underestimate them, to us they feel very real, when we wake up just comfort us and like I’ve said before ask before touching us because that can make the situation worse.
  30. We’re not ashamed. We want you to know we have anxiety, and don’t be afraid to talk to us about it. In fact, talk to us about it! Research anxiety. Anything you can do to educate yourself on why we feel and act certain ways can only be helpful.
  31. Anxiety isn’t just a mental problem. There are a whole heap of physical issues that go along with it. Shortness of breath, high pulse rate, shaking etc. Not only does this make us more anxious but it can affect our daily lives.
  32. Work can make us very stressed. A lot of people get stressed at work, but for people with anxiety it can be 10 times harder. My main job involves delivering Chinese takeaway, which means I have to talk to 15-30 strangers in a night. This is very stressful for me, and when I first started I wouldn’t look customers in the eye. But now I have definitely got more confident, and can speak to new customers quite easily. So if you work with someone with anxiety give them time to get used to the job and used to you.
  33. We’re good at offering support. We’ve been through so much that we can handle any problem you throw at us and we can remain calm and offer advice and support, without judgement (most of the time!).
  34. We care a lot about what others think. People tell us all the time, we shouldn’t worry about what others think. But I do. All the time. I care whether people think I’m talking too loud, or if people think I’m horrible or a mean person. So, just be careful what you tell us, because our minds may exaggerate what you say.
  35. We love compliments. Seriously, someone telling me they like my shoes can make me happy for the rest of the day. It makes me feel like I’m doing something right, I know we shouldn’t rely on others to make us happy but honestly I love getting compliments. If someone you know has anxiety, giving them a compliment can definitely help them relax and can help reduce their anxiety.
  36. We are really good at problem solving. My mind is constantly thinking of all the bad things that can happen, and I always think of what I can do in case that happens. Also, because of my anxiety I am prepared for everything! Got a papercut? I’ve got 30 plasters and a bandage in my bag. Your hairtie broke? Don’t worry, I tie my ponytail up with three of them just in case. Your button fell off? I’ve got safety pins in my front pocket. I am a lifesaver!
  37. We don’t like confrontation. If someone yells at me or argues with me I worry about it for days afterwards and it makes me feel very sick. If you can, try and remain calm and discuss the problem because I won’t be able to sort out anything if I’m having a panic attack.
  38. We like our personal space. Just be aware that if I don’t know you, or I don’t trust you yet, you need to stay well away from me. I don’t mean avoid me, but I shouldn’t be able to touch you if I stick my arm out. If I move slightly away from you, don’t step closer to me! I’m feeling uncomfortable and suffocated.
  39. We care so much about others. We do so much to help others, and because of our anxiety we are constantly worried about how others are feeling or whether they’re safe. In fact a lot of people with anxiety will put others before themselves because we are more worried about them than ourselves.
  40. We get moody. But we don’t usually mean to. Sometimes our anxiety makes us irritable. Imagine that every day you wake up and you realise you’ve got a really important exam to take, but you haven’t studied for it. That’s how we feel. Would you find it easy to be happy and upbeat in that situation?
  41. You are important to us. If we say that we love you, and we trust you, and we let our guard down around you then that means you are so important to us. We don’t choose friends or partners easily, so know that we love you even if it doesn’t seem like it sometimes.
  42. We’re not weak. In fact, we’re the opposite. We’re some of the most courageous and bravest people you’ll meet because everyday is a struggle for us.
  43. We can’t “Just relax”. How the hell do you relax?! Every single waking second my mind is racing with thoughts, no matter what I’m doing. The only thing that helps is running in complete silence, just me, my breaths, and my footsteps. Please don’t tell us to relax, because it’s pretty much impossible.
  44. We need you to be there. If I need to call you at 3am because I’m alone in the house and I just heard a noise downstairs and I’m pretty much dead right now, then you need to answer it. If I trust you enough to ask for help, then you need to be there to give me that support. Don’t be angry if we call you at inconvenient times, we need your help.
  45. We need you to listen to us. If you do not have anxiety then you don’t know how it feels. Please don’t try and give us advice when we’re having a panic attack because we’re too far gone, just listen to us complain and rant and freak out.
  46. We need our sleep. It is exhausting to be on edge every day, so if we’re sleeping please don’t wake us up unless you really have to. Getting to sleep is so difficult, so although we might go to bed at 10pm we probably didn’t fall asleep until midnight so please cut us some slack!
  47. Our words are precious. We might not say a lot, but what we do say has been well thought out. We don’t feel the need to fill silences with stupid small talk. We’re quite happy just listening in conversations, so don’t force us to speak when we might just not have anything to say right then.
  48. We’re good observers. We notice everything. We pick up on every little detail of your body language and the way you speak, and we make judgments on this. This also means we’re good at reading people because we’re very aware of when someone’s body language or tone suggests they’re angry or sad etc.
  49. We use a lot of body language. We might not tell you we’re panicking but our body language might show it. Everyone is different, but learning how someone acts when they get upset helps you handle their behaviour better. I personally get very quiet, I pull my sleeves down, I might visibly shake, and I avoid eye contact.
  50. We are not our anxiety. We are people. Some of us are so sweet and kind, and some of us are assholes. Take the time to get to know the person behind the anxiety, who knows you might just find someone amazing…Like me 🙂

Thank you so much for reading!

Thank You.

I woke up this morning and I checked my emails as I usually do and there you were. My internet family, giving me more love and kind words than I could have dreamed of. Thank you. Thank you to everyone who liked and commented on my previous post. I’m not going to lie, I needed you. I’m sorry I’m not going to reply to your comments directly because it’s too overwhelming. I’ve never had support like this. Ever. All my friends and family and even my boyfriend are going through to much, whether that’s mental health issues, financial struggles, work etc. I don’t blame them but sometimes it feels as though they’re too busy with their own lives to worry about mine. I’ve always been the sort of person that people go to for advice, the one whose the adult, the one who stands strong in a crisis. I love it. But that’s a lot of pressure on an 18 year old girl who has only been legally allowed to drink for the past 9 days.

So I’m going to thank those who have supported me here, and I hope that’s okay. These are the people who sent me lovely comments, sorry I was going to thank everyone who liked my post as well but there are too many of you it would take me ages!

The Award For Best Blogging Family Goes To….

  • Ruined All The Right Ways – It can be a lot sometimes, but it’s just something I have to do and I think everyone has things they have to worry about. Thank you for your comment though, and I’m glad we worked it out too 🙂
  • The Introvert – Thank you, sometimes it doesn’t feel that way but it’s definitely nice to hear it 🙂
  • My Darkest Places – Thank you, it’s so nice to be called inspirational! And you most definitely are brave for writing about your experiences (and you’re an awesome guest writer) 🙂
  • Three Hands One Heart – Thank you, you and your son are such sweethearts 🙂
  • Bear Next Door – Thank you, it’s so sweet of you and I hope I haven’t let you all down, although last night it did feel that way.
  • Waffle Me This – Thank you so much, it’s so nice to know you’re there if I need to chat 🙂
  • Phae Merveille – Thank you, waking up to someone telling you you’re amazing is definitely a nice feeling! I’m glad, in a way, that I have so much responsibility because it has helped me be who I am today. And I hope I go on to accomplish a lot!
  • Kelsee – Thank you. Just remember you can always come talk to me if things get too tough. You’re right, we’re both human and we’re entitled to have off days, but we both have to get up and brush ourselves off and try again 🙂
  • Everything And Nothing – You’ve always been there for me. Every single time. So thank you. And you’re so right, the few bad days I have does not define my wonderful life 🙂
  • Ciara Cakes – Thank you, it’s so nice to know I can talk to you if I need to. Your comment made me so happy. Just, everything you said was so kind and just knowing someone out there thinks I’m a strong person and brave is wonderful. And it’s okay, my boyfriend shouldn’t yell at me. I’m not making excuses for him, because what he did was wrong and he knows that, but he does have autism and so when he’s upset he can have panic moments. However, he’s never yelled at me like that during our whole relationship, which I think made the situation 10 times worse because he’s usually so sweet and quiet. But don’t worry, I made sure he knows how much trouble he’s in and this morning I woke up to a bottle of pink lemonade next to my bed (that’s my favourite drink) so he definitely knows he’s in trouble! In our relationship we’re very quick to forgive each other but we let each other know that what happened was not okay and it’s not going to happen again. *Blows kisses back*
  • Pajama Reader – I wish I could give you a giant hug! Waking up to someone telling you you’re beautiful, strong, AND amazing! Now that’s how to live life 🙂 Thank you.
  • Idiosyncratic Thoughts – You’re right, I can’t be perfect all the time. (Just most of the time :P) Thank you.
  • Luna – You’ve just always been there. Every time something goes right you seem to be there congratulating me, then every time something goes wrong you’re there cheering me up. Thank you. I will admit, your comment made me cry. You remembered Josh. You truly don’t understand how much that makes me so happy that he’s still remembered. So you get an extra thank you for that 🙂
  • Mon – It feels like you’ve been there for me right from the start! Thank you. Blogging definitely helps, and if you ever need to chat I’m here 🙂
  • Life Of A Dropout – Thank you. You’re right, everyone makes mistakes once in a while. I just gotta move on 🙂
  • Lost To The Dark – Thank you. I definitely feel like I have a lot on right now!! But I think a lot of people do. I really appreciate your comment, it’s nice to know I can come talk to you if I need to 🙂
  • Lost In The World Of Blogging – You think I’m inspirational? Thank you 🙂
  • Drifting Lexi – Again, you are a blogger who constantly seems to be spreading the love. Your positive attitude amazes me, please never change 🙂
  • Amb – Thank you. Your comment was so sweet, it made me smile 🙂
  • Under The Guise Of Glitter– Please don’t apologise to me!! You are going through so much lately, and I haven’t been there for you like I should have been. I really hope everything works out for you because you are such a kind and sweet lady with two beautiful (and lucky!) children 🙂
  • My Teenage Madness – Woah thank you. Seriously your comment made me smile so much! I have so much respect for you too, and I hope you’re having a brilliant day wherever you are 🙂
  • I Prefer Deep Blues And Sea Foam Greens – Thank you. I know you’re not having the easiest time right now, so it means a lot that you’re giving me support. I’m sending you a giant hug!

I hope it’s okay I replied and thanked you all this way, I just didn’t feel like I could thank you enough in the comments. I just want to let you all know I’m happy, I’m okay and I’m drinking a cup of tea right now so I think things are going to be just fine 🙂

The Struggles Of Being A Teen.

As a white, British, straight, non-religious, female living in England I am statistically one of the safest and happiest people in the World. I think people forget sometimes that all teenagers have struggles, no matter what their background is. So here are the struggles I face on a daily basis…

I struggle to go to sleep at night because I’m terrified I’ll go back to that time where I didn’t want to wake up. Those days when I used to stay in bed until 10 minutes before my parents got home from work, then I’d quickly get dressed and spray on tons of deodorant and dry shampoo so they wouldn’t realise I hadn’t showered in a week. Then when they got home I’d make excuses that I’ve had a busy day, or I didn’t feel very well so I could go back to bed and stare at the ceiling. But I am not alone. It is thought 1 in 8 teenagers will suffer from depression, and many of these then go on to have further mental health problems.

I struggle to shave my legs without thinking of all those times I abused my razor. It scares me how easily I could destroy myself with a bit of metal I can buy in my local supermarket. Each time I shave my legs I can feel the bumps of the scars and I hate it. Those scars remind me of a time where I hated myself, but I’m not ashamed of them anymore because they show me how far I’ve come. But I am not alone. It is suspected that 1 in 12 teenagers will self harm, but of course the actual figure is much higher than this.

I struggle to meet new people without feeling like I’m going to be sick or have a panic attack. For those of you who don’t have anxiety, imagine the feeling you get when you’ve got a really important exam but you haven’t been taught any of the topics. We feel as though we’re completely unprepared and overwhelmed with life. But I am not alone. It is thought that 25% of teenagers have some form of anxiety disorder. In a time when we’re expected to be outgoing and to have an extensive social life this can make life extremely difficult and exhausting.

I struggle to talk to people whose name is Josh without getting upset. My friend Joshua committed suicide when we were very young. He was bullied at school because he was gay and one day he came home and hung himself. Every time I speak to someone who is called Josh I get nervous and awkward around them because they remind me of the friend I should have grown up with. But I am not alone. On average, each day 12 teenagers commit suicide. Every single day 12 young people lose their future, 12 families lose a loved ones, and 12 groups of friends lose their partner in crime.

I struggle every single day. And according to these statistics, most of you reading this will be struggling too. If any of you feel overwhelmed please go have a chat to someone. Teachers, friends, a doctor, family, or me. Never feel like I’m off limits because I’m a stranger who doesn’t want to hear your crap, because that’s not true! It’s okay to struggle, but you should never have to do it alone.

This was in response to the Teens Tell Their Story Project, and thank you for reading.