ECS Group

The Emotional Coping Skills Group is a group based therapy of DBT, it helps with regulating and dealing with strong, overwhelming emotions that some people find harder to deal with. 

I’ve now been in this group for 5 weeks and I’m starting to notice major changes. After going through 8 months of unsuccessful counselling a few years ago. I decided to try my luck with ECS. 

To start with, I didn’t have high hopes for the group. I thought it’d be mumbo jumbo and reading from leaflets I could probably find online.

But I’ve come to realise that the people in this group are like family. It’s a place of free speech where no one is judged. This is a group of 10-15 people going through raw, unbearable emotions all at once.

In a way, this group has started to bring the best out in the people who were strangers to me only a few weeks ago. Hearing about the positive changes however small they may be that have been happening is inspirational.

Relating to people who are in very similar situations and fighting this battle as a team has been a true test on us all. I never saw the day where I could sit in a room with strangers and open up about my problems comfortably.

I’ve made new friends and I hope to keep them around for a very long time after the group sessions end. If any of you from the group are reading this post – thankyou for being so open and making it so easy to be able to talk about issues. You’re all such remarkable people and in a slightly strange way. I love the way we have all connected so quickly!

If Kiwi can cope, so can you. 

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It’s The Little Things That Count

We’re so wrapped up in our busy day to day lives that we forget to appreciate things that are all around us. 

I always see people rushed off their feet, heading from A to do B then to pick up C to go back to A again like robots. Day in, day out with no time to breathe. 
These people miss the little things, the person that could have smiled at them if they had looked up rather than looking into their lap gazing into the depressing world of Facebook.  The person with their headphones in who misses the guy in the small town shopping center playing his guitar so effortlessly. 
I always make sure I have time to enjoy these little moments, the ones you will remember for a very long time.

I remember walking through the field close to my house one morning before school a few years ago in Winter. Not a single footprint was in that snow other than the ones behind me, following my every step.

These little things always go unnoticed. If you find yourself missing these little things, make time for them. When you’re travelling to work, notice the person who holds the door open for you. Notice the person who tells you that you have toilet paper stuck under your shoe. Say hello to the elderly couple at the bus stop.

Believe me, these gestures will stay in your memory and theirs far longer than any boring commute to work.

You don’t need to have a lavish lifestyle to appreciate the simplicity of everything in the World. You just need a moment. 

If Kiwi can cope, so can you.

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Living With Mental Health Issues

1 in 4 people in the UK suffer from a mental health issue every year. That person could be the person sat next to you on the bus, the person screeching their horn at you, the young person crossing the road or you yourself. 

Mental health illnesses have been just as common over the past 100 years. But the understanding of what causes them and how they can be treated has only really hit mainstream conversations in the last decade or so.

Living with mental health issues isn’t poetic nor romantic. Under this so called ‘silver lining’ of kissing scars better and writing songs about suicide. There is a harsh reality that, unfortunately, many people have to face daily.

The reality of not physically being able to get out of bed, having a mental block on happiness. People become so desperate, people want help. But it’s not being able to find the courage to get that help. 

The honest truth of suffering is not pretty. I’ve been through times where I’ve not washed in 7 days, the only thing that would pass my lips would be alcohol. I would sleep around with strangers. I would take Ecstasy and Cocaine weekly. I would try and kill myself on such a regular basis, it seemed normal to me. I would gamble stupid amounts away, I would spend money impulsively and take out loans to feed my habit of buying. I would have constant nightmares of the same situations over and over, I would make excuses to miss work or to not see friends. I became a stranger to myself. I was going off the rails. 

Fate had it’s way with me and somehow, for some reason. I just couldn’t destroy myself, I’d tried on and off for 4 years and it just never happened.

I’ve slowly come to terms with the fact that these demons in my head could be here for many years to come. Instead of letting them make me weak, they keep me on track.

Hurting yourself and neglecting yourself is not the right answer. Even when times get tough, keep on loving yourself.

If Kiwi can cope, so can you.

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The Fundamentals of Happiness

On a lighter note from my previous post, I thought I would share my thoughts on what I think the fundamentals to living the happiest life you can are.

1. Love Yourself

By love yourself, I don’t mean belittle others around you. Just be confident in your own skin, it takes months if not years to finally become content within yourself. The main way I’ve managed to achieve this is by letting go of my negative thoughts. Negative thoughts only circulate around in your head making you start to believe them. If you find yourself with such thoughts, distract yourself with your favourite album or talk to a friend about them. After all, they are only thoughts and with practice you can learn to minimise them.

2. Let Things Go

Had an argument with your girlfriend/boyfriend? Fallen out with your bestfriend? Are things at home a bit tense? You need to understand that conflict is a natural thing and no one REALLY wants to keep a grudge against someone. If things are still heated after a row, take 10 minutes to calm down. Make yourself a drink; I always make myself a coffee. Sit outside and think about everything that’s been said. Were you justified with everything you said or were some things said uncalled for? If appropriate, talk to the person you had the argument with and get it sorted out as soon as possible. Don’t harbour bad feelings for someone longer than needed.

3. Stop Comparing Yourself

Do you find yourself comparing everything you do with people around you? I used to experience this on a daily basis… there were three main things I hated about myself; the fact that I don’t have defined facial shape, the fact that I have smaller breasts compared to a lot of women and that my ribs stick out a stupid amount. I’ve learnt to love these characteristics I have. Also, always remember that something you have that you may not like. Someone would give anything to have!

4. Strive For Your Life Goals

I’ve recently decided to on a whim start applying for jobs in Science. I’ve always been so enthusiatic about it and have loved learning the most intricate of details to do with it. I, as well as many others have been deterred from applying for their dream jobs due to lack of experience or not having a University degree. Well fuck that! I’ve landed two job interviews for the NHS in the past week and have already been offered one of the jobs! Do not give up on your dream!

 If Kiwi can cope, so can you.

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Kiwi Can Cope

This is definitely not the first blog like this and it won’t be the last. I have thought long and hard about how or when to start my own blog – seriously, I’ve been contemplating it for over a year!

I guess I should start with the basics… My nickname is Kiwi and I’m a 20-year-old living on the South Coast of England. I tend to keep my private issues exactly that – private. However, when I was about 14; I had started to notice I wasn’t quite the same as my peers. I tended to isolate myself away from the majority of people I knew. I would always make excuses as to why I couldn’t go out and do things with my friends. I was purposely drawing myself away from any form of social groups.

I started finding comfort in online ‘friends’, only going by a username and a little Avatar with ‘bacon hair’ on Habbo hotel. I found this virtual world a huge escape from the person I hated being in the real world, to the person I could only ever dream about being in the Habbo world.

It was around this time that I began talking to and hanging around with someone far older than myself. At first, I assumed the explicit messages and garish content was flattering – an older male was interested in talking to me. I never took any notice of the messages on how he “wanted to take my virginity” and that “he wanted to make me scream”. I mean hey! I was a 14 year old who hadn’t even had the painters come in yet! What was I to know?

So fast forward a year of this continuous cycle of coversation… My family  (to those who know them can vouch for me), the most open people going – allow this certain male into our home. He saw them as a set of parents and my brother was a brother he’d never had. He finally had the support he had needed after the rough life he’d had.

It’s funny, I remember when I was 14 that a group of kids from the local school had created a Facebook page calling him out as a ‘paedo’. I wrote on every single post on that page saying that he wasn’t and that he was a ‘lovely man’. *shudders*

So we get to Christmas eve eve, stuff happens between us. Completely consensual (although a lot of people will argue that a just turned 15-year-old can’t consent – but whatever… I did). The next day (Christmas eve) I end up going over to his shared house.

I remember thinking “that’s odd – he’s just locked his bedroom door…”. He had also put the key on top of a huge bookshelf/storage shelf – I was about 5’3″ at the time and the ceilings were pretty damn high so there was no chance in hell I was reaching that!

But hey ho, he’s older… he’s interested in me… right? We then agree (again people will disagree that I wasn’t of age to consent) to have sex… within minutes I say that I don’t want to anymore. I say no… this is when things start to get weirder.

He continues, I say it louder assuming he hadn’t heard me… he stops. I get off of the bed to go and get my clothes, I bend down for a split fucking second and again. He starts now against my will to have sex with me. At this point I’m freaking out, “I’ve said no – why does he not understand that?” I then again in the most stern voice I can demand “no, STOP”. The rest is a blur, other than remembering him saying “don’t tell anyone or I’ll get into big trouble” and those clichΓ© words “this will be our secret”.

So that’s the back story in complete detail. 5 people know the full story, including him. Ofcourse though, he denied everything to the police. I was told by the police officer that dealt with my case that ‘he had had a hard enough life that it was and that I shouldn’t make it any worse’. My parents both being witnesses to that bent fucking copper’s words.

Feeling like I had lost complete control, I decided to take the reigns and put in a complaint about the police officer who so disgustingly said that to me. A victim of a crime, being made out to be the bad guy. What a fucking joke!

Fast forward through 8 months of counselling, countless suicide attempts, detainments under the mental health act and so forth.

We hit the present day, I am now taking anti-depressants (for an amalgamation of things). I’ve been diagnosed with 4 different mental health issues and I’m currently in the process of group therapy sessions.

I can’t change my past, but I can definitely make sure my future is 1000 times better.

If Kiwi can cope, so can you.

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