People who inspire me…

This is a little different to what I’d normally write, it’s going to be positive and mention the people who have inspired me to be the person I am today. It is mainly made-up of people I know, however, there are a few celebrities in here too. They aren’t in any particular order as all of this people have inspired me in equal amounts but in different ways.

Time to Change Young Champions

This group of young people (of which I am a part of) are a very inspirational bunch, they have all faced mental health issues, and other issues that life has thrown at them, and have survived. They constantly battle their own demons whilst trying to help others. A few of these young champions have become my good friends, I don’t know what I would do without Jodie and Rachel and their online and offline love and support. But all of these young champions are an amazing support network who work so hard to destroy the stigma and discrimination that is experienced by those with mental health issues.

Caitlin Moran

I said some of these would be people I haven’t met and unfortunately Caitlin is on that list. The way she stands up for women and what she feels is right is so inspirational, especially in a day and age where people are telling us we don’t need feminism anymore. She made me realise how important feminism is and has inspired me to stand up for what I believe in and shout it from the rooftops. Plus, she is also just flipping hilarious!

Joss- Time to Change

Joss is the involvement officer for the young champions at TTC. Having heard her own personal story, I can honestly tell you she is inspirational. She is so supportive of all the young champions and goes above and beyond to make sure we are okay, and are getting what we need. She is honestly one of these women who I would be happy to grow up to be like (not that I’m that much younger) but still. An amazing and inspiring women who is so committed to the work she does and all of the young champions.

Wayne- Stonewall/R U Coming out

I first met Wayne and a few years ago when I was on the stonewall young campaigner programme. He was so enthusiastic about what he was doing and he is still is now, not much has changed. His openness and honesty is inspirational. He is such a lovely person and so supportive of the young people he works with. He has such a passion for what he does and that is definitely something I admire. His commitment to the LGBT+ community is amazing, and so is his kindness.

Hannah Witton

Another person I (sadly) haven’t met. But again another great person. Her work around sexual education through YouTube is just brilliant as someone who didn’t have barely any sexual education at school, I can assure you I would have loved to have known about Hannah Witton at the time. She has inspired me to make sure that other young people don’t have the experience that I had and has helped me find ways that I can educate them without scaring them away. She is also a feminist icon, who helps support the LGBT+ community.

Alan

I feel like I speak about this man quite a lot, that is purely because he has had such an impact on my life. Alan was one of my teachers, now my friend, who supported me through school during the depths of my mental illness. But the reason I find him most inspiring is not about this, it is about his resilience and perseverance. Without going in to detail he had some rough times and worked so hard to get through them. He also couldn’t have children but he and his wife carried on trying, until eventually, they decided to adopt. He could have given up, but didn’t. His resilience is inspiring to me.

Growing Up with Domestic Abuse

TW

 

 

 

 

 

 

Between the ages of 0-7 my life was pretty standard, I lived with my sister, mum, and dad. We did move towns, but other than that, pretty standard.

When I was 7 my parents split and my dad moved back to our hometown, and that’s when things really changed.

My mum got into a relationship that turned out to be abusive. He would physically, sexually, and emotionally abuse her. He never laid a finger on me or my sister however, it had a massive impact on us.

This lasted on and off for about 5 years until he finally left.

Me and my sister were impacted both directly and indirectly by the abuse my mum suffered. One of the things that happened from this abuse was my mu developed anorexia, we watched her drop to a tiny weight, and then her attitudes towards food rubbed off on me.

I also now suffer from various mental health issues, but my anxiety was the one primarily created by the abuse I’ve witnessed. I can’t even bare someone raising their voice even slightly, the minute that happens I panic, my heart races.

I thought that all of this had stopped when my mums old partner left. However, recently similar things are happening with her new ( although hes been with her for years) partner. He had always been emotionally abusive to me, and he had been fairly emotionally abusive to mum. There was also a physical incident with his son.

But literally yesterday he was physically abusive to my mum.

The issue I have however, is that i see this as normal and feel like if I complain about this then I’m just making a big deal about things.

I just hope that when I’m older I don’t end up in a relationship like that.

Lesbian and Mentally Ill

So as it’s pride season I wanted to write a post to do with the links (if there are any) between my sexuality and me having a mental illness.

Only 30 years ago was homosexuality itself no longer considered a mental health issue. Some may still believe that being gay is a mental health issue.

To me my sexuality and my mental illness and mental health are connected quite a bit.

When I was 15 I was “outed” as gay to most of my school, after this I began experiencing symptoms of mental illness. It started with me just feeling low for a prolonged period of time and then I began self-harming. After this my mental illness really developed.

The similarities continue between these two things in others ways as well. For example, the reactions I received from my family were pretty similar.

When I finally got the guts to come out to my mum she told me that I was making a big deal out of nothing, and that I couldn’t be sure that I was gay. When I told my mum that I was experiencing mental health issues she said i was making a big deal out of nothing and that I was probably making it up.

When I told my dad I was gay he was very over the top about the whole thing, the same as when I told him about being mentally ill.

Another experience I had was with my Dr who said that one of the reasons I was feeling so awful was ‘because I didn’t have a boyfriend’, she said this even though she knew I was gay.

With both of these topics and parts of my life there is still huge stigma surrounding them and it will be a continuous fight, however, I know I wouldn’t be the same without them.

Love,

Abz xx

 

My Teachers Saved Me…

My teachers saved me…

The first time I started experiencing severe mental health problems was when I was in year 10. I turned round to my teacher, A, and said “what is the point?”, and that’s when I first started opening up about my problems.

After I asked him that question he sat with me for two hours asking me why I asked that question, and then trying to make me feel better, by answering it in a way that wasn’t too miserable. Since then I began to build up trust with him, and spoke to him more and more about how I was feeling.

Another one of my teachers, C, was just as amazing, I started talking to her about things, about a month after I had been “outed”, the first thing I did was come out to her. I was worried about what she was going to say, she just smiled at me, said it was okay, and gave me a hug.

Both A and C were the first teachers I had properly opened up to, although they had a duty of care, meaning at times they did have to forward on what I said, I still felt like I could trust them.

I told A about my self-harm first, and although I knew he’d have to pass it on, he was still very nice about it and willing to talk to me about it. The key thing was that he was calm about it and not panicked.

I had a similar incident with C when I was in sixth form where one of my injuries was bleeding, and I went and told her, and she dealt with it calming and kindly, she didn’t blame me.

At home, I had a very rocky time trying to talk about my mental health, my mum would quite often have a go at me for self-harming, so to have someone who wasn’t judging me and was supporting me, it meant a lot.

A was the first person to suggest to me that I may have some mental health issues and he encouraged me to speak to the school counsellor about it. However, it was only after an attempt on my life two years later that I actually began to get help from mental health professionals.

But regardless of this, if I didn’t have A and C up to that point then I wouldn’t have made it that far to begin to get the support.

Even after I started to receive this support, they were still there, and I began to get more help from other teachers, during year 12 and 13 H began to help me and her firm attitude made sure I passed the subject that she taught me, which made me feel slightly less useless.

During my last year of sixth form my head of sixth form became very good at dealing with me, a lot of the time I’d just go into his office, have a cry, and then walk out fine. Even if he didn’t know what to say (which was quite often) he would just find something that he knew would make me laugh and then I’d feel better, even if just for a moment.

The last teacher I spoke about was my singing teacher S who was just so great at listening to me and finding the perfect song to reflect how I was feeling at the time.

The most important thing about all of them was the fact that they listened, they may not have always known what to say, but quite often that didn’t matter, just them being there to listen was all I needed. They also always made sure I was safe, and they never panicked, even when I was at my worse, they never did (well they never showed it).

I know that not all teachers are like this, but mine were brilliant, and definitely helped make up for a family who didn’t really know or accept what was/still is going on.

The best bit for me is that they are still there for me now!