*MAY BE TRIGGERING – PLEASE BE SAFE*
I’ll never forget the darkest night of my depression. I’d been off work for months due to the state of my mental health. The medication I was taking, rather than helping, was contributing to the growing feeling that I was losing any control I had over my mind. Night after night I’d go to bed and lie there, unable to sleep, while my mind raced along at a mile a minute. I couldn’t even form a narrative to my thoughts. It was as if I had two or three minds, each thinking about different things, thoughts forming too fast to begin to comprehend each one in isolation. Trying to sleep only exacerbated the situation, as with no outside stimulus there was nothing to distract my mind, allowing my thoughts free reign over my consciousness. I’d open my eyes in the hope of some respite, but that didn’t help. Now, in addition to the thoughts in my head, I had the shadows to contend with too. Each dark shape that was cast onto my bedroom wall had a life of its own, moving, taking up new forms, almost at will. They seemed less like shadows and more like entities, not just a mere absence of light, but some form of dark power swarming around my room, preparing to envelop me at any moment. When I closed my eyes to block them out, it just led back to the rampaging thoughts that were impossible to tame.
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The great Rocky Balboa once said “It aint about how hard you hit; it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward”. At this time of year, people normally reflect on what’s gone before, and if you do, remember that no matter how hard it has been, no matter how shit life has been, you’re still here, taking the hits and still going on. You should be incredibly proud of that.
If there’s one thought to take into 2014 I can give you, it’s that, like Rocky Balboa, you’ve taken everything that the Apollo Creed that is life has thrown at you. You’ve gone the distance with the champ. Whether or not you fight the rematch, whether or not you defeat Apollo, the person responsible for that is you. Chase your dreams, believe in yourself and become the champion of your own world.
Happy new year, make it the best one yet xxx
On Monday, social media was awash with the news that UK Diver Tom Daley had announced he was in a relationship with a man. What followed was a lot of good will for the Olympic medallist, mixed with an equal amount of people saying how “no-one cares” and that it wasn’t a big deal that he opened up about his private life, with most of the latter coming from adults.
While it is an overwhelmingly positive thing that his announcement didn’t bring about abusive and homophobic reactions, to write it off as not mattering is to underestimate the impact that such declarations can have on young people. During teenage years, many people struggle to understand their sexuality and the emotions that surround it. Indeed, many people fight against attraction to members of the same sex, due to long-lasting cultural influences and stereotypes, and the fear of a negative reaction from those around them. Seeing a young, successful role model be brave enough to say “this is who I am” can inspire so many people going through similar experiences, and Daley deserves so much credit for this.
It got me thinking about the subject of sexuality as a whole. Society is so quick to label people as gay, straight or bisexual, and there is always speculation around the sexuality of people in the public eye. What strikes me as odd is the need to put people in boxes, the need for people to decide upon what they are, and how it really doesn’t matter.
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Since I was a child, I have believed in the fairytale ending. I don’t know why. Maybe witnessing abuse at an early age triggered a yearning for the “hero”, maybe the television and cinema I watch conditioned my mind to expect that eventually the happy ending always comes, I don’t know, but for whatever reason, I’ve spent my life hoping for, waiting for and anticipating the day when everything makes sense, when everything fits into place and it’s all happy ever after.
I’m not naive; I know that in real life it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, and that even after the light entered my life, there would be times that darkness invaded. Especially with my history of mental health problems and my disastrous former relationships, I’m well aware that happiness takes work, it doesn’t just happen. I just always figured that if it (and by it, I mean love) arrived, that I’d be able to face any future problems head-on and overcome them.
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Winter is coming
Rolling round once again
Ice enclaves my heart
Like an old friend
Summer’s been and went
The warmth has gone
So nice when it’s here
It never lasts long
Yet the feelings linger
Like a forgotten dream
And though it feels familiar
Nothing’s quite as it seems
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