My Mental Health Journey · Random Thoughts and Ideas

Everything You Have Ever Heard About Bullies is Right

We all know the cliche sayings; “They are just bullying you because they are jealous of you”, “They only bully people because they have low self-esteem” etc.

How many of you have heard these, or similar, sayings? Probably most of you, if not all.. And how many of you that has had these sayings said to them thought “Yeah right, whatever”, accompanied by a roll of the eyes and possibly a shake of your head? Again, I am going to guess and say probably most of you, if not all.

But, I say this with 100% sincerity, they are both accurate, they are both correct. Again, I can almost hear the collective sigh as you read this. But bear with me on this, because I dont say it lightly; bullying is a real problem in society, across most age brackets and in all different forms and levels of severity.

I have, like most people unfortunately, been a victim of bullying. I am currently 28, and I honestly still get it at times.. Yes, at 28. If you are in your teen years reading this I with great sadness inform you that even though you age through years, not everyone matures and “grows up” with age. Whilst kids and teens can be cruel, adults can be just as cruel. I wish it werent the case, but in my experience, it is true.

By why would that bully be jealous of me? What do I have that they dont? They have everything in life and I dont. And on the list goes; they are prettier/skinnier/taller than me, they have nicer hair/eyes/skin tone/complexion, they are better than me at sports/maths/literature skills/people skills and popularity, they have more money than me/my family, they have a better job/house/car/spouse than me…. Human envy has no ending. But see how easy it is for your brain to point out how and why they are better/better off than you?

So is it really that much of a stretch to think that others have the same thought processes and journeys that you do? That you can look at them and see good things about them and their life, even if they have an “ugly” side, that they are currently displaying to you. Different people have different ways of dealing and coping with different things. Some people unfortunately use putting others down as a method of making themselves feel better. The theory behind this? If they make you feel like crap, its easier to make you feel even crappier (like wearing you down, the more they push you down the quicker and easier you go down), and when they cant pull themselves up they find it easier to push you down. And when your down, they are up, right?

Depending on the bully, and your relationship to/with them, you may or may not know what about their life isnt so perfect. And it could be any of the things I mentioned above. Or it may be something else entirely, something else I havent even thought of. But this is the important thing – you dont need to spread or increase the level of hatred that exists in the world by then feeding on what they are bullying you with, and responding to their bullying by bullying them back.

As well as being the important thing, its also the hardest thing. Believe me, I get it. It is all to easy for us to listen to what they are saying; we are our on worst enemy. Seeing our own flaws and imperfections and faults is second nature. So when others tell us that we are inadequate we just believe it. Whether its straight away, or whether it eats away at us.

We also have the fight or flight instinct. Which means that another natural response is to become angry. Which also then increases our chances of lashing back at them in a self defense move. But you know what? That makes it harder, makes it worse. Because you then activate their fight response, and around in circles it goes. And goes. But where does it end?

It will take practice, and I feel that it is easier when it is an ongoing issues (due to the re-occurrence), but you can let it go. You can let it not affect you. And once you get to that point, you will feel so at peace. And maybe you do this by recognizing that their life isnt perfect. That they have flaws. That they have things that are unhappy about with themselves. That they arent perfect beings. So long as in doing this you DONT then become the bully yourself. This isnt about doing to them what they are doing to you by throwing it back at them, but by reassuring yourself that whilst you arent perfect, neither are they. 

Or, maybe, when you are having a good moment, on a good day, you can sit and write yourself a reminder list of all the things you like about yourself, and all of your successes. Or start the list and build upon it as time progresses. And it could be anything. A physical attribute, and achievement, even how you felt when you helped someone else. And draw on that positivity in these times. Remind yourself what you are proud of, what makes you happy.

And let their negativity just float past you. Like cars on the other side of the road to you; it approaches you, you see it, and then it is behind you.

And remember, this will take practice to master. You wont get it the first time, but if you practice, you will get it.

On a last note – if you need help, ask for it. From friends, family, loved ones, professionals. There are so many resources available to those who need help. It is never ok for people to make you feel any less of how amazing you are.

My Mental Health Journey

Scars On Top Of Scars…

So, today… I have been thinking about this post all day, however now that I am sitting here to write it I am drawing a bit of a blank. On what to say. And how to say it. So I will just type and see what happens I guess………..

So, today, I met a girl. And her mother. I spoke to them for less than 5 minutes, probably. I was at work. The girl, at a guess, would have been 15-17 years old. And she was nice. And her mother was nice. Anyone reading this is probably thinking yeah ok whats so special about that?

This is where my breath catches. Where my stomach turns upside down and knots itself. And the more I think about it, it makes me want to throw up. It makes me sick and upsets me so. It makes me want to cry. I cant tell whether the urge to vomit or cry is stronger at this point.

You see, this beautiful girl has scars on top of scars. On every inch of her body/skin that I could see. Which was both of her arms from the mid-upper arm down, her neck/top of her chest that I could see from her shirt collar up, and even her face.

Not just any kind of scars. Most of them were pink or purple in colour. Thick. And layered and criss-crossed over the top of each other. As I said, on every inch of her skin that I could see. The cause of these scars? Self harm. Cut after slice after cut. Even on her face. She was wearing makeup, but you could still see the slices on her cheek….

The amount of pain that this girl is in to have inflicted herself so badly over time truly breaks my heart. A lot of people who cut (or I guess self-harm in general) will do it on parts of their body where no-one else can see it. I was like this when I was self harming years ago as well. Why? Because when you are truly in that amount of pain you are not doing it for “attention”. You are doing it because of the pain that you are in. And you want it to stop. And its stupid, but it does help. I dont know why. In the short term at least, anyway.

But this girl has obviously surpassed that level. By miles. And thats what hurts me. I have, dealing with the general public, over the past maybe 2-3 years seen an increase in the amount of people I have seen with self harm scars. And being a past self-harmer myself there is no judgement coming from me aimed towards these people. But these have all been past scars. This girl today. She has so many scars, but so many of them were fresh cuts too….

Now I am not going to judge this mother, I dont know their circumstances. But I can say, when I have children, I will do everything in my power to try to help my child/ren be happy and healthy. Obviously my first go-to would be to help them myself. But if that didnt work, I would seek outside sources. Whatever I needed to do. Counselling, medication, meditation, etc. And if that didnt work? Honestly, I would look at options to have them in housing with nurses and psychiatrists available around the clock. I would rather have my child hate me and be alive, than commit suicide and lose them forever. Even if they come out alive and recovered and still hated me, I could at least sleep at night knowing that I did what I could to give them a chance at a happy and healthy life.

All I can honestly say is I hope with my entire heart that this girl is getting the help that she needs.. My fear for her breaks my heart.

My Mental Health Journey

I Cant Tell You What It Really Is, I Can Only Tell You What It Feels Like…

Some of you will recognize this line from Eminem and Rihanna’s “Love The Way You Lie” song. For me however, it is the best description of my anxiety that I have ever heard.

My anxiety isn’t rational. It isn’t logical. It isn’t “sane”. Therefore; I cant always see a situation for what it truly is. I can only see it through what my anxiety makes me feel. I have used this term on here before, but my anxiety is a living, breathing thing. It is like a shadow that floats over me all the time. No matter where I am, or what I am doing, it is there. And sometimes it just hovers and whilst I know it is there it otherwise leaves me alone.

And then there are other times that it doesn’t leave me alone. It whispers hurtful things. It throws fuel onto the fire that is my paranoia. It tells me that no-one likes me. That no-one would miss me if I wasn’t there. That I am useless. That everything I do is wrong. That no matter how hard I try whatever I do will never be right. It will never be enough. I will never be enough.

From the outside I may seem… I don’t even know. I can’t even say “perfect” or “happy” or “together” or any other good adjectives to describe myself. But sometimes I feel so overwhelmed it isn’t funny. That logically I can think “All I have to do is fix one thing/get one thing off my plate and everything will be fine”, but it isn’t always that simple….

My Mental Health Journey

What is Real Wisdom? What is Real Strength?

I once read that real wisdom and strength was knowing the difference between when to fight, and when to give up. And knowing that you weren’t “giving up”, but making the right choice? The best choice, for yourself; for your health, your happiness, your stability, your future?

Sometimes it can seem easier to see what is best for someone else, but not what is best for yourself. 

So what is that point? How do you find it? When do you respect yourself enough, to tell yourself enough is enough. To move on with your life and let go? 

But then there’s that fear, underneath your “fuck you” strength. That fear telling you that darkness it deepest before dawn. That nothing easy is worth having. All of the “what ifs” – maybe if I hold on a little longer that person will change/ I will change/ things will get better/ that person will recognise me/ I will get that promotion/ I will get that grade/ I will get that payrise, and on and on and never ending is that list of what may happen if you keep holding on. 

But when do you know? When do you accept the fact that nothing is going to change, and that the only change you can make is to remove yourself?

My Mental Health Journey

Dont Let ANYONE Dull Your Sparkle!

I dont know how long this post will be, but I still want to share 🙂

So, as I have been for the past 1-2 weeks since my brain storm, I have been waking up mostly happy and content; tired, but still in a good mood. Today, I get to work, determined to review my stats for the past week and set myself up for the day.. And as usual, when dealing with the general public, you come across people in less than optimistic moods/mind-frames.

And its so hard to not let these kind of people get to you, and bring you down, and affect your mood. I know this all too well. I used to work with a guy who was so hard-pressed to view things positively instead of negatively; and as much as you would try to fight it it was hard to repel it on a constant level.

But today I made it my mission to, in the words of Taylor Swift lol, “Shake It Off!”. And I was pretty successful I have to say! I happen to know abit about this particular person, but regardless, you know what realization struck me? It was very close to sympathy for that person; I am actively trying to control my thoughts and actions to become a better, happier person. But not everyone has reached this point. And whilst I cannot control the thoughts and actions of others, I can control (mostly – and I am getting better with practice!) my thoughts and actions. And why does this matter in relation to others? I can control how others’ behavior does, or doesnt, affect me. I can wallow in their negativity, or I can “Shake It Off’ and move on with my day.

Today when I practiced this, it was hard at first. But honestly, only for like 5-10mins. Then I pushed all the negativity out, with the knowledge that although the other person wasnt able to interact positively with themselves or others, I was capable of feeling joy and I actively wanted to share that joy with others.

My Mental Health Journey

My Favourite Buddhist Quotes

  • We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.

 

  • You will not be punished for you anger, you will be punished by your anger.

 

  • Those who are free of resentful thoughts surely find peace.

 

  • The mind is everything. What you think you become.

 

  • You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.

 

  • Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.

 

  • Holding onto anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burnt.

 

  • Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as your own unguarded thoughts.

 

  • Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.

 

  • There is no path to happiness; Happiness is the path.

 

  • No matter how hard the past, you can always begin again.

 

  • Everything that has a beginning has an ending. Make your peace with that and all will be well.

 

  • Pain is certain, suffering is optional.

 

  • If you light a lamp for somebody, it will also brighten your path.

 

  • If the problem can be solved why worry? If the problem cannot be solved worrying will do you no good.

 

  • One moment can change a day, one day can change a life and one life can change the world.

 

  • If you are facing in the right direction, all you have to do is keep on walking.

 

  • Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care for people will hear them and be influenced by them for good or ill.

 

  • An idea that is developed and put into action is more important than an idea that exists only as an idea.
My Mental Health Journey

Be KIND To Others

So earlier today I posted about the importance of being kind to yourself. I honestly cannot stress enough how important this is. Happiness comes from within, and if you are too busy beating yourself up all the time you will never let that seed of joy grow. 

However. It is also really important to be kind to others. A simple remark can be enough to make some bodies day, or ruin it. I’m sure you have experienced this; you may have received a compliment etc and it has just perked you right up, or dealt with someone unpleasant and your mood has plummeted at the speed of light. Or maybe you are lucky enough that you don’t let others effect you as much. I am not this lucky however (although I am working at it!). 

It can be hard shaking yourself out of a bad mood sometimes. And it can be equally as hard to not take that bad mood out on people you are surrounded by at the time. And again, I will be the first person to admit I am guilty of both of these things. But. After having people take their problems out on me, that I have nothing to do with, one day it hit me; “it isn’t this persons fault that xyz happened, so why should I treat them like it is?”. 

Now this is not to say that you aren’t allowed to feel crappy. Or even behave in a human way. But think of a time you had someone behave in an agressive manner towards you for no reason. And how that made you feel. You may be having a hard time, but that random stranger, or loved one, that you are talking to is probably going through some battle of their own too. And you don’t have to tell them your life story, and listen to theirs, but you can be kind to them, and allow for them to respond in likeness. And if they don’t, just hope that one day they get it too. That kindness is free, but is also priceless with the effects it can bring on not only individuals, but on the whole world. 

I am setting a challenge for myself that every time I get annoyed at someone, either through their actions or words, I am going to try to turn it around. Whether it is by keeping my patience and being polite, or giving them a compliment, or maybe even pointing out a positive they may not have realised/noticed etc. 

Feel free to join me!