Products of Our Environment

So as the title states – I’m gonna be sharing my own story about my younger life and growing up with a history of mental illness in my family.

Now, I’m not sure whether it’s purely coincidental, whether it’s hereditary or whether being in an environment where mental illness was prevalent was a norm for me as a child and perhaps made me more susceptible to becoming mentally unwell.

Does mental illness flow through my veins, beat in my heart and thrive off my healthy mind?

A woman very dear to me has struggled with inner demons for as long as I can remember. I was about 9 when I first began to notice that something wasn’t quite right. She’d spend days in bed, she wouldn’t eat, she wouldn’t even wash. With hind sight and personal experience I can now see that she was in an incredibly deep rooted depression.

It didn’t last days, or weeks… it lasted years.

I began to notice these traits in myself a number of years ago which was a very scary thing for me. I didn’t want to have a halted life because my mind would throw a fit every once in a while.

I decided to push on through, to finish studying Forensic Science, to get an unconditional offer at the university I wanted to study at – although I dropped out! I’ve worked in the Mental Health field and am now heading into working for the Ministry of Justice.

It’s ok to be abnormal, I wouldn’t have thrived as much if I was never unwell or had never battled with addiction.

If I could meet my 9 year old self, I would tell her that she would be okay. That her mum would win the uphill struggle. I’m now 21 and have almost set myself up for life.

This is the year everything changes!

If Kiwi can cope, so can you!

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Master of Deception

I’m not gonna bore you with all of the stuff most bloggers will be posting currently… the whole ‘new year, new me’ bullshit. You’re still the same idiot you were a week ago, a month ago, a year ago. You aren’t foolin’ me honey bee!

I want to write an uplifting post for the first time in around half a year – that makes me sound like I’m still a depressive mong doped-up on all kinds of meds from the doctor. “Here’s 5 Cyanide pills just incase one isn’t enough to put your stupid ass to sleep for the rest of eternity” – thanks doc!

In all seriousness though… I’ve really grown the fuck up since last year and even the year before that. I was selfish, manipulative and arrogant… basically a massive arsehole! But a switch flicked inside me and I realised I was a raging douche that needed to sort herself out. During the previous couple of years, I felt sub-human, I felt like I deserved no one’s love or compassion except the black dog that was always barking in my head. 

I found solace in the havoc. The sense of self I was adamant was true, was just a facade, to cover my deluded mind set. 

I was a master of deception.

I had grown so used to putting on an external mask, I convinced myself I was better when really I was just trying to polish a turd. Things were mounting up to the point that it was almost unbearable. I could see the surface of the ocean but had an anchor tied to my ankles.

Last year was a true test of my character. I did many things I never thought I’d have the courage to do.

I rid myself of toxic people, negativity breeds negativity. I worked in a mental health unit as an Auxiliary nurse. I applied and successfully got a job which will set my career path up. I travelled through Europe and visited Auschwitz, the Berlin wall and the Red Light District! And after everything… I forgave my rapist and got the closure I needed to be able to move on.

This year will be full of light, love and positivity!

Trust me, if Kiwi can cope… so can you! πŸ™‚

πŸ’šπŸ’šπŸ’š

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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