How I Manage My Mental Health (Requested Topic)

How I Manage My Mental Health (Requested Topic)

 

Hi there little readers,

I hope you are well and minding yourself. I’ve been struggling with basics but we can get back to that later.

This topic was supposed to be a podcast but unfortunately my schedule has just like tripled in capacity. The people that requested it have asked a few times and I realise that with topics like this sometimes there’s a sense of urgency. I’ve put off the podcast for almost three weeks now and I am so sorry for that but hopefully we can put all right with this blog post. I know that I won’t be able to fit the same amount of information into a blog post as I would a podcast BUT I’m gonna try. And of course, if you want to chat further or would like me to talk more about it- hit me up on Snapchat (jademccannx) and I can elaborate on my story or write to you personally. Whatever ya like.

Before I start, I just want to refer to a blog post that I put up a few months ago. It talks about what exactly mental health is. And it’s important to note that everybody has mental health, just like everybody has physical health. So, before you think this blog might not apply to you because you have good mental health- think again. Illness does not discriminate. So mind yourself. And click here to read more about that.

Managing my mental health isn’t exactly easy. I generally suffer with whacks of depression, stress, anxiety, paranoia and obsessive thinking.And they have not left me yet. I don’t feel one bit sorry for myself and I don’t argue the fact anymore. I’m actually so relieved to say that I have a certain level of acceptance around these things now. That, and I have picked up tools over the years and because of this it has gotten a lot better.

The first trick that I learned, and I always stress this, is that I stopped putting mood altering substances into my body. That includes weed/hash and codeine based painkillers, alcohol and all recreational drugs (not that I ever took all of them, but you get the point). And there’s a very good reason for that, just hear me out. Not only have I got an addictive personality and do these things get me in a bit of trouble, they also interfere with my emotional and spiritual growth.

Imagine a snow globe. Every time you get a certain length of clean/sober time, the snow globe is still. It begins to collect itself. You can think clearer. You are more connected with yourself. You have a little bit of raw emotion and that can be hard but at least you can feel. But when you use something mind altering, the snow glob is shaken. It gets disrupted. It doesn’t know where it’s going or how it feels. You’ve knocked yourself off whack. All parts of you become confused. And that’s the best way I can explain it. If you’re susceptible to mental health struggles and find it hard to tell how you feel anyway, why would you make it harder? You can probably relate to this if you go into a depression after a night out with huge anxiety and panic attacks. That used to happen to me a lot. I hated it. I used to think that I used drugs (alcohol being a drug) because of my mental health state. I never questioned whether or not the drugs were interfering. Until someone explained the snow globe analogy. And that’s why I’m sharing it with you.

By staying away from mind altering substances, it gives us the opportunity to connect with how we are really feeling. It allows us to feel how we really feel. Which can be really difficult if we don’t want to face it. But it’s like ripping a plaster off. If you feel it now, you won’t have to feel it again. If you deal with this stuff now and talk about it, let it out and come to terms with it. You can bury the hatchet. Don’t get me wrong, staying clean can be extremely testing. And unfortunately, not everybody can get clean in one try. But there are programmes and places that provide support if needed. And if and when we are supposed to stumble across them, we will. I do not regret getting clean at all. It has given me so much. Not only superficially- like the jobs of my dreams and a beautiful car and life- but emotionally and spiritually- I can connect with myself and faith. I know that I’m going to be okay and I am able to make decisions based on how I really feel- most of the time. That’s not to say that I’m perfect and can see everything clearly because I’m clean. But I’m one step closer. There are also other positives: like being more hireable because you’re not a liability, learning how to have fun sober, remembering nights out and other events, being the one that your friends can depend on and of course, being able to depend on yourself. Drop a comment if you’d like me to write a post about the pros and cons of being clean- that could be a could one!

Now, when it comes to mind-altering substances, there is the whole other topic there of anti-depressants. If you’d like me to put a blog post up about my experience with anti-depressants then let me know. For the most part, I have no objection. but I do believe that they should be suggested and prescribed by a doctor. And I don’t believe they entirely resolve the issue. I think they work as a good temporary tool but can cause problems long term- that’s based on my experience.

Unfortunately as clicheéd as it may sound, in my experience I’ve learned that the most important way to maintain your mental health is to maintain your physical health first. I’ve learned this through my experience of not eating, not sleeping, not communicating, not showering, isolating, not drinking enough water- and basically doing all of the things that basic human beings need to do in order to feel safe. This kind of behaviour has never helped my case. And I understand that when we’re in that mind set, it’s almost impossible to get ourselves to move. But we just have to. It’s literally like forcing yourself to do something that you don’t want to do. No matter how I feel, I get up, dress up and show up. Even if I have nowhere to go, I just go. I get in the car. I get on the bus. Somedays I do it crying. Somedays I do it with my heels dug into the ground. I have gone out some days with my face raw red from a night of not sleeping and crying but brought face wipes and just constantly wiped tears away as I sat in a cinema. I’ve taken breaks at family meals to go into the bathroom to cry. I’ve sat in the most happiest of environments with family and friends trying to cheer me up with the sole thought of ending it all. But staying locked away in isolation has always made me worse. And I do not want to be ill. I want to be well. I’ve spent too much time ill. It is not easy to do this. Leaving the house when everything in your entity is telling you to hide is probably the hardest task I face regularly. But I always feel better when I’ve done it. And I’ve started to see the rewards of doing it. When I get promotions in work or make new friends or meet a reader… I know that it’s important for me to keep trying.

I find showering before I go anywhere helps. Sometimes when I can’t convince myself that going out is a good idea, I convince myself to take one task at a time. So I’ll get out of bed. I’ll comfort myself with a dressing gown. I’ll make it to the kettle. I’ll pick some clothes out ‘just incase’. I’ll have a hot shower. I’ll moisturise and do my hair, sometimes my makeup. And by the time I’ve done some of these things, I want to go out. I’ll have come around a bit.

I learned this trick called ‘HALT’. And basically what ‘HALT’ is is that, anytime I feel down or confused, I stop and ask myself- am I Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired? And usually, I’m one of those things. And in the process of rectifying that, I begin to feel better. I might eat and be given energy, or sleep and feel refreshed, I might phone a friend and talk it out or realise that my angry is as a result of any of three things listed. Basic care is so important. We are human beings. We are not machines. We don’t run on coffee (although, I’m giving that a right bash) and we can’t neglect our basic primal needs. And if you watch my snapchat, you’re so aware that I cannot preach this. If I’m being one-hundred-percent honest, almost everyone I know asks me regularly if I’ve eaten today. Mainly because I find it really hard to nutritionally fuel myself. And I don’t do it consciously- honestly, I don’t. But it’s like I just put it at the bottom of my priority list sometimes. And I don’t feel hungry or in pain or anything like that. I don’t do it to hurt myself. I just don’t love myself enough to eat sometimes. I put it off. I tell myself I’ll eat later. And sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t. Like, in the last two days, I’ve eaten twice. And that’s while I’m working 12 hour days. I survive on coffee. Literally. And I am so aware that is not good for me. And I’m so aware I’ve to be careful because when I get like this and run on nothing for a while, my mental health eventually crashes- because as mentioned before, I’m not feeling my brain or my body. Sure wouldn’t anyone lose their mind? But important to note at this point is that I am not striving for perfection. I want progress. So although I struggle with food, I have to look at the positives. Last night I got enough sleep. I got up this morning and made it to work on time- clean, dressed and in a good mood. I want to be kind today. I can’t wait to live today. I’m excited to be in work because I love my job. And if I eat, I eat and if I don’t, I’ll get around to it. But at least I have the awareness around it and the tools to notice these things. Before, I never would have figured that this may be linked with my mental health or influence it in any way. So if nothing else, I’m learning.

H-A-L-T

Am I Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired?

I suppose the next elephant in the room is that I work a lot- y’all are like… 12 hour shifts?!? And this can be unhealthy because it fits as an escapism. When I’m working, I don’t have to deal with my problems. I can easily ignore my home life, my friends  or my own emotions. But for me, working helps. I always get around to checking in with myself eventually- asking myself how I feel physically and mentally. But work helps me to meet new people, keep active, get out of bed, stay out of bed, engage with people on a professional level and all of these things give me a sense of achievement. It helps build my confidence in myself. I challenge myself daily. I set new goals weekly. And I aim to meet them. And if I don’t, that’s okay. But when I do… I swear sometimes I feel like I am on fire. There is no greater feeling than setting a goal and meeting it. And that’s how I feed my soul. But everybody has something different. My point on this paragraph is find something that interests you and chase your dreams. Because unfortunately outside things aren’t going to fix you– as convenient as that would be. If you are struggling with your mental health that’s something that has to be accepted. Everything external is a temporary fix. Soul rewards are ones that we get when we work on ourselves internally. And I really do believe, based on my experience, that hobbies and passions can enhance confidence and help us to reward ourselves. That’s not to say it’s not testing. Trying new things can be really scary, meeting new people and going to new places can be absolutely terrifying. But that sense of overcoming something, it just really helps to remind me that I can do anything I want to and I’m stronger than I think.

I hate saying this but I always feel better when I drink water and eat healthily. I hate saying it because for some reason I have something built into me that loves to self-destruct. And if I could live de-hydrated and survive nutritionally off chips and pizza, I so would. But the problem with that is when I fall into those patterns, my mental health suffers. So I have to be really aware of triggers that I have. Exercise really helps me, too. I feel confident after the gym. I can push myself at the gym. It’s great way to let off stress and burn all of that hot, pressured energy. At the start, I didn’t like going to the gym. I felt self-conscious and I didn’t feel like I could do it. I thought I wouldn’t achieve my goals. I thought I was doing everything wrong and that I would be judged. But I got a personal trainer to teach me. I did some research and I started making more of an effort to overcome my fears. And I feel so confident in the gym now. I even allow myself to wear sports bras and leggings- I’M THAT YONCÉ. I don’t have a perfect body but that’s just an example of how by working at something and chipping away, you do reap what you sew.

As well as all of the physical elements of self-care, there are mental/emotional ones, too. I had to learn to be aware of how I speak to myself, how I think about myself. So, I had rewire my brain in many ways. I realised that if someone else followed me around telling me the same things I don’t myself, I probably would have knocked them out a long time ago. I would never say these things to anybody else. I would never call someone else useless, or tell them that they’re stupid or less than anybody else. So I have to work on that all of the time. I have to be aware. I used to spend hours telling myself how terrible I was. But now, whenever I have a negative thought about myself, I try to counter-act it with a positive. It doesn’t always work. But, it’s helps me move on to the next thought.  I have to be kind to myself. I am not a bad person. I can just feel unwell sometimes. I wouldn’t beat myself up for hurting my leg. So, why should I beat myself up for struggling mentally? It’s the same thing. It’s about health and maintenance.

Obsessive thinking is a huge thing that I struggle with: becoming obsessed with people, places, things and thoughts. And the only thing that I have learned that makes this ANY easier is to just let the thoughts come and then let them go. I used to spend months telling myself not to think about things. I’d force myself to forget or distract myself. And let me tell ya, they just come back with a vengeance. Well, for me they did. So, now when a ‘bad’ thought comes, I just question it. I meditate on it.  Why has this thought come? What has triggered it? Is there a reason it’s so irritating for me? Why am I hurt by this? And I also call a friend sometimes just to take the power out of it. Sometimes when I hold things in, they take control of my mind. They consume me. But by just saying it out loud (no matter how many times I have to), eventually it lifts. And it passes. Everything passes. Everything always has and everything will continue to pass. Life goes on. This, too, shall pass.

I’m trying to think of all of the things that I have to force myself to do that may just come naturally to other people. And to be honest, I can’t really preach these things because let’s be real, I am not perfect. I find it hard to sleep. I sometimes go days without food. I sometimes eat a 2 day calorie intake in one sitting. I get angry and I become obsessed with things and I don’t always do what I should to help myself. But I’m still alive and I’m still trying. And I’m a hell of a lot better than I was. There have been times that I honestly did not want to live. And there have been times that I definitely did not want to try. But here I am. And I understand this blog post might not have helped and it was probably really vague but my basic point is just not to give up. Don’t let this win. It’s not real. I know for us it seems real and like the world is ending and it’s never going to pass. But clouds clear. And people do come out the other side. That’s not to say the clouds won’t return from time to time. But it does get a hell of a lot easier. It can be conquered.

As always, I am going to just pop a disclaimer here and state that I do not write about these topics for attention. I write about mental health in the hope that it might reach someone suffering and also, to slay a bit of stigma around it. Not enough people have the capacity to be completely honest about their struggles and I am so grateful that I’m capable in that sense. I don’t want to waste it and allow someone else suffer in silence.

If you would like to hear me talk about this some more, let me know in the comments below or on any of my social media platforms. I genuinely love hearing from you guys because I like to identify, too. And I love to think that this kind of material is reaching someone. So please don’t hesitate to get in touch. There is so much more that I would love to say but I’m strapped for time. I will be chatting about this over on my Snapchat this week to correlate with the post so if you want to hear some more, come on over and join the Snapfam!

Until next time,

J X

Facebook: Click Here

Twitter: Click Here

Snapchat: jademccannx

Instagram: Click Here

 

Advertisements
THE REAL BACK TO SCHOOL ESSENTIALS: MY TOP FIVE MENTAL HEALTH HACKS FOR GOING BACK TO SCHOOL!

THE REAL BACK TO SCHOOL ESSENTIALS: MY TOP FIVE MENTAL HEALTH HACKS FOR GOING BACK TO SCHOOL!

One of the hardest things that I have ever done was defer college. But I needed to admit to myself and to the people that cared about me that I just was not mentally stable or emotionally ready. And since I’ve been in recovery, I have needed to learn how to properly look after myself all over again. It was almost like I went straight back to childhood. But that’s what happens- sometimes, we forget the most simple but absolutely crucial things that keep us mentally well. We get caught up in the fact that our society tells us that our schooling will determine the rest of our lives, our standard of living, our place in that society. Trust me on this, there are ways and means around absolutely everything. And sometimes, we just need to do our best and leave the rest up to whoever is running the show. Because school does not define you. You define you. And your grades? Do not define how good of a person you are. How kind you are does, how genuine, how compassionate. Before we know it, all of this school business will be over. And what will really matter will be the same as before- our relationship with ourselves, our family, our friends and our morals and beliefs. Everything after that is an asset. THAT DOES NOT MEAN DON’T TRY. It just means that your best IS ENOUGH. So, give yourself a bit of a break. Be on your own team. And once you’ve done your best, let that shit go. Oh and while you’re at it, let go of comparisons. Stop comparing your pace to other peoples. We don’t all travel at the same speed- and it’s okay to go a little slower! Comparing yourself to other people will set you up for low self-esteem, anxiety and feelings of worthlessness. So before you even go there, DON’T. You are a unique little bunny and wanting to be like someone else is a complete waste of who you already are. So, let go of expectations. YOU AND YOUR BEST ARE ENOUGH!!

Some days are better, some days are worse. Look for a blessing, instead of the curse. Be positive, stay strong, and get enough rest. You can’t do it all. But you can do your best.

I get asked on a regular basis how I manage my stress around my college life. And I do try my best to, but sometimes I still get upset, worried and stressed. I’m beginning to see that that’s just life and it happens to everyone. However, there are certain tips and tricks that I have picked up over the last while that help me stay as grounded as possible while studying, working and keeping on top of my other bits. I am an extremely busy woman. I live with my partner, parents and brother. I have to keep on top of bills so working is not a choice. I have two ongoing college courses. I’m also training for the World Barista Championships. And my favourite of all, I have you guys to entertain and keep sweet! So, yeah, stress can be a factor. But, my recovery comes first. Because without that, none of the above would be possible. So here are the crucial basics that I keep in check to keep myself well throughout the college year!

5. SLEEP LIKE A BABY- LITERALLY!

I cannot stress how important it is to get at least eight hours of sleep each night- REGARDLESS OF YOUR DEADLINES. Sleep is your meditation- especially when your busy. If you have a life that is non-stop, maybe it’s the only time that you can truly just relax. Make it worth it! Sleep is the foundation of each day. And without a good foundation, how can you build your empire?  And I know what you’re thinking, too. This does not mean lying in bed on Facebook until 3am searching your crush’s ex partner and their sisters. This means phone off, lights off, TV off. Face washed, teeth brushed, pyjama ready. I can promise you, you will feel the benefits!

4. EAT THOSE NUTRIENTS!

I remember when my mental health really got bad initially and someone said to me that I should eat more vegetables. I actually lost my temper. I couldn’t believe how ignorant they were. I thought that they didn’t understand and that I most definitely was completely on my own. But, here I am before you quoting their very words. I’m not stating that eating more healthy food will cure you or keep you immune to a decline in your mental health- that’s clearly impossible. But, we are what we eat. If we are filling are bodies with junk food, chocolate (yum), crisps, chip shops… we are going to feel sluggish, our bodies are not being sustained. We are constantly putting crash foods into our system, and as a result, our systems crash. We get bouts of energy and then feel tired, we get bouts of happiness but then feel sad. And why? Because sugar and salt are powerful. They work, kinda like coffee, but not in the long run. So, if you’re planning on sustaining your body and mind for a whole semester, OR THREE, I suggest you consider filling your plate with the best options: veggies, fruities, beanies, ricies, oaties & nutties! These foods have been proven to be the best for slow energy release and system sustenance. GET A GOOD BREAKFAST, LUNCH AND DINNER AND DRINK LOADS OF WATER. Your body literally is your temple when it comes to your mental health. Anyway, don’t we deserve the best? Sp, if you’re in a hurry and need an  energy boost at lunch- grab a smoothie instead of a coffee. Grab a banana instead of a chocolate bar. You won’t feel as bloated, as tired or as miserable. I can promise ya that.

3. GET UP ON TIME & GET YOURSELF READY PROPERLY!

I’m an absolute devil for this. Waking up ten minutes before a lecture, being ten minutes late, leaving my bra at home, wearing crocks. But, I do find that when I get up on time, have a hot shower, pop a bit of cream on, a nice outfit… I feel so ready for whatever the day may throw my way. It’s almost like a little morning boost to just spend some time with myself, check in with Jade and just prepare for whatever may come. So, set that alarm, be in bed on time and get the HELL up. No matter how you feel. Make it to the kettle. Make it to the mirror. Make it to the bathroom. Once you start, all of the negative thoughts will lift. And by the time you arrive at your destination, you will be bright eyed and bushy tailed. You got this. Every day that you live is worth an amazing start.

2. LEARN TO RAISE YOUR HAND, ASK QUESTIONS AND SPEAK UP.

For so long, I was so scared to ask questions in school and especially college. I thought that if I made it look like I didn’t know, everyone would think I was stupid. But my Dad explained something to me and I soon got over that. He said that it takes courage to raise a hand and ask, but someone else in the class may be just like you, afraid, and maybe it’ll help them, too. You won’t be alone. You’ll just be a bit braver.

Something that I also needed to understand was that I have just as much as a right as anybody else in the classroom to learn. With regards to college, I pay my fees. I’m there to learn. If I don’t understand and I leave without asking, what am I going for? Why am I paying my fees? Why would I bother applying for a grant? Or going to work? Doing any of it!?

Have enough respect for yourself to get the best of the services provided. When it came to school, I decided to mess. Deep down, I didn’t feel good enough so I didn’t do my best (all of the time). But, I should have. I was there regardless of what I did so, I should have just taken part and got the best out of it.Do not regret sitting on the sideline! You deserve a good education. And you’re not stupid. You’re not worthless. And you are only as good as you paint yourself. Don’t be afraid. Be brave. It is within your rights- the ability to use your voice. Use it!

  1. DO NOT WORRY ABOUT WHAT YOU CANNOT CONTROL!

When people tell me not to worry, it just doesn’t help. But what does help, is differentiating what is worth worrying about. If you’ve already handed the essay in, fuck it, it’s done. If you’ve already sat the exam, IT IS IN THE PAST. And it is no longer worth your pretty little head space. If you have an upcoming assignment, be organised, get yourself prepared. But once it’s done, it is done. Things that are within your control, are yours to dictate. So, if you’ve an exam tomorrow but a party tonight, miss the party- there’ll be more. Study instead. Because you will be the first to cry if you fail. Do things today that your future self will thank you for. And if you complain about the harvest, always remember that you reap what you sow. ON THAT NOTE, I will be the first to say that sometimes certain subjects just don’t suit people. For example, in school I really liked languages. But maths? I cried and had panic attacks and left the room COUNTLESS TIMES. I just couldn’t grasp it. And that was out of my control. I learned to just pass ordinary level and be okay with my best. Because my best was enough. It had to be. It’s all I have!

Just to keep it in the day. Remember that yesterday is gone and tomorrow hasn’t happened yet. So, keep your abilities within the day. One step at a time. You can’t run unless you learn to walk first. You can do this. This is all for you. You are worth this much. Mind your own goddam business. Look after yourself. Love yourself. Give yourself a break. The rest will follow. You will be okay. This just a chapter, not the whole book.

On another note, MENTAL HEALTH LETTERS ARE BACK IN ACTION. If you or someone you know could do with a little inspiration, motivation & sparkle, please send the name & address to my Facebook page and a magic bundle will land on the requested doorstep- FREE OF CHARGE!

AND AS ALWAYS, all of my social media platforms are open to messages, questions & queries. EVERY SINGLE PERSON receives a genuine reply.

FACEBOOK: NOT ANOTHER BEAUTY BLOG

INSTAGRAM: JAYDAMCCANNX

SNAPCHAT: JADEMCCANNX

TWITTER: JAYDAMCCANN

 

 

 

 

Self-Doubt | Not Another Beauty Blog

Self-Doubt | Not Another Beauty Blog

Self-doubt (noun): lack of confidence in oneself or one’s abilities.

One of the hardest things I have ever had to try and learn to do is just trust myself. Trust how I feel. Trust who I am and what I know. For some reason, ever since I can remember I’ve asked for second opinions, followed everyone else’s advice. I could never just accept that maybe my own thoughts on a situation were alright, enough. Of late, I’ve had a lot of self-doubt and not around any particular situation or topic, just in general. I can doubt my thoughts, my opinions, my wants. I feel like I never really know what I want or where I need to be. And that can really panic me. When it comes to thinking about the future, I worry that I won’t accomplish all of my goals and the ‘not good enough’ monster jumps on-board. But I’m learning that it’s okay not to have it all figured out. It’s okay to want something else. It’s okay to be confused. Life wouldn’t be any fun if everyone knew exactly what they were supposed to be doing all of the time! Nobody would learn, be, or feel anything different. And on that point, it is also okay to be different!

While all this was going on, I was doing my internet research on how to keep it all under wraps and how to, in time, change all of this confusion and self-questioning. Not because it’s not okay, but just because it can be a bit of a bother. As I grow emotionally and spiritually, I really want to be sure that everything I’m doing is the next right thing. I, personally, don’t want to look back at my life and have everyone else’s advice to credit for where I am. I want to be sure of myself and be well enough to get where I am on my own advice and initiative. So, I’ve decided to share what I’ve found with you all- just in case you ever have a time that you’re just a little unsure of yourself. Always know that you are never alone.

“When you doubt your power, you give power to your doubt.”- Honore de Balzac

  • Ground Yourself

Sometimes I can be sucked into other people’s drama and opinions and I may not even realise but within a few days I genuinely do feel heavier, like I’m carrying a bag full of rocks. Own what you own and leave everyone else’s belongings with them. To bring me back to myself, I like to have a hot bath or shower and have an early night. Some people like to meditate. Some love to venture in to nature. Every little helps! Basically, just try staying in the moment and taking things as they are. Carrying around the negativity will not help you focus on and care for yourself.

  • Balance The Negative

If your bad thoughts are becoming too loud, argue them with some self-praise. It takes me a while, but sometimes I nit pick my life and write down a huge gratitude list. It really helps me to be more grateful and appreciative of what I have achieved so far- helping me to feel better about future Jay.

  • Take A Break

If you’re really giving yourself a hard time about something and you can’t shift it no matter what way you think about it, let it go and do something else for a while. Jump, sing, paint, online yoga, stretch, draw, ANYTHING! A fresh head might have some better ideas.

  • Nurture Yourself

It’s easy to doubt ourselves when we forget to look after our basic needs. Have you been sleeping okay? Eating right? Have you had enough down time? These are things to reconsider when we get ourselves into emotional frantic. Keeping a diary helps me to organise me time. Although, I’m not always so strict on it. The thought does stick and I do get around to it!

  • Let Go Of Comparisons

You are not her. You are not him. You are not them. You are you and that is more than alright. You have something that nobody else has- your own person. Why would you want to be like someone else when you can be even more spectacular just by being exactly who you are? I can fall into deep comparisons and I find a lot of it is based around social media and how people present their lives. It is so important for me to remind myself that social media is not real and how I am in real life, without filters & likes, is perfectly okay.

  • Connect

Self-doubt, for me, usually kicks in when I’m living up in my head or in isolation. It is a clear indication that I need to spend time with friends or family, and distract myself from my negative thought patterns.

What helps you overcome self-doubt or negative thoughts of self?

Reach back on Facebook or Instagram.

For business or collab enquiries: jadeshannonmccann@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

“Compulsive skin picking, or dermotilimania, has been a huge part of my life…” | Mental Health Awareness Week w/Not Another Beauty Blog *FEATURE POST*

“Compulsive skin picking, or dermotilimania, has been a huge part of my life…” | Mental Health Awareness Week w/Not Another Beauty Blog *FEATURE POST*

Hi duckies! 

Today’s blog post is a feature post, as I shared on my Snapchat (Jademccannx). All feedback is welcomed and please join me in thanking Elaine for being so brave as to share her story with us this week.

Speaking out is strength. Identification is courage. Happy Mental Health Awareness Week!

  

My name is Elaine, I’m 21, and I suffer from eczema. I have eczema on my face, neck, arms and hands. I sometimes get patches on my legs and feet, but they’re nowhere near as out of control as the eczema on my upper body. The type of eczema that I have is dyshidrotic eczema. It’s like little bubbles under my skin that raise and get irritated. And it’s insanely itchy. It’s known as the itch that rashes, as the more you itch, the more it intensifies. Usually it’s caused by an allergic reaction, but sometimes it just, well, appears. I’ve had an allergy test with the hopes of finding something I should avoid, but I can’t seem to find anything. I’ve tried to cut out certain food groups, but to no avail. It feels like I’m fighting an uphill battle. For every patch that clears up, another two appear.  
 I had bouts of eczema throughout my childhood, but nothing severe. When I was nineteen, it appeared on my wrists. I thought it was no big deal until it spread… and spread. Already suffering from periods of depression and anxiety, eczema just felt like another item to add onto the already exhaustive list of issues and insecurities I struggled with. I’m the first one to crack an alligator joke about my skin, or say in a creepy tone ‘in my spare time I like to compulsively pick my skin’, but underneath my easygoing and clownish facade, it actually really bothers me. I still think it’s important to laugh at myself, but for so long I hid behind humour. If anyone asked how my skin was, I would crack a joke and pretend it wasn’t bothering me. Truth is, it was bothering me a whole lot more than I let anyone believe.

  

 Eczema drains you; emotionally and physically. It’s hard to believe that I can be in any way attractive when an angry wave of redness is engulfing my body. I had to learn how to adapt to my new condition. It’s so much more than just having to slather on cream. It’s not being able to do your dishes because it stings too much. It’s not being able to go outside unless you’re caked in makeup. It’s not being able to bend your fingers. Rubbing your hands on your jeans in class and hoping no one will notice because you feel ashamed at your compulsion to itch. Sneaking off to the bathroom while working to indulge your insatiable desire to scratch already broken skin and then panicking when you bleed. You’re afraid to stay over at other people’s houses incase your skin flakes and bleeds on their bed sheets. Waking up with blood caked under your fingernails. Not being able to sleep because you can’t stop scratching, and having to lie in such a position that you’re not putting pressure on any of the rash. Avoiding college because you don’t want anyone to see your skin. Not being able to turn your neck to check for traffic before crossing a road incase you open the freshly healed wounds. That feeling of insanity when you know you shouldn’t itch, but you just can’t stop. It’s not a pretty picture, but that’s just my everyday life.

  

 Compulsive skin picking, or dermatillomania, has been a big part of my life since my eczema decided to make an unwelcome comeback in adulthood. Dermatillomania is like trichotillomania, where you compulsively pick out your hair. Instead of pulling my hair, I pick my skin. It’s a form of O.C.D. (obsessive compulsive disorder). I noticed pretty early on that the worse my anxiety was, the worse my dermatillomania got. I didn’t even know that dermatillomania was a thing that other people suffered from until I was browsing youtube, looking at short films, when I came across this:

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nwn15-xghd0

 I was honestly overwhelmed when I realised that I wasn’t actually crazy. A lot of people will think ‘your eczema wouldn’t be so bad if you would just leave it alone!’, but it’s really not that easy. It’s an addiction of sorts. The short film shows a girl trying to get ready for her day, and highlights the very real impact dermatillomania can have even when carrying out the everyday task of having a shower. The shame of trying to hide it from your family, the frantic search for bandages, and worst of all, when the blood seeps through your clothes. Dermatillomania is not a self-harming practice. It’s more so the irrational idea that you want to pick away all of the imperfections (by ultimately, creating more). I know it’s irrational and that I’m not helping myself, yet I can’t stop. Even when my eczema isn’t itchy, I still pick constantly. I’ve been trying to get my dermatillomania under control, but it is really difficult. I do it without even noticing sometimes. I’ve done little things, like timing myself going to the bathroom so as I’m not tempted to stare at myself in the bathroom mirror for 20 minutes, silently seething with hatred at the scars I’ve inflicted upon myself, and trying to resist the urge to pick more. I’m getting there, really, really slowly. Resisting the temptation to pick is a little victory for me. Looking at my scars and not feeling grossed out any more is a little victory for me. Beginning the journey to loving myself is a huge victory.

  

 I used to think of myself as some kind of flakey, red monster. Falling into that dark way of thinking is so easy. And it spirals. What I kept forgetting during my darkest times was that fact that eczema is so common that people will identify with you more than be repulsed by you. I always used to misunderstand when people would suggest a cream for me to try, thinking it was a low dig, when in reality that suggestion is coming from a kind place.

  
I was in a long term relationship when my eczema got really bad. He had loved me before I had it and he loved me after it rampantly spread over my body. When that relationship ended I found myself in a bad place, believing that I would have to learn to be alone – that no one would ever love me and that the skin that I detest so much would mean that no one would ever want me. Seriously, how the hell can anyone find me sexy? And if they do, surely there must be something wrong with them? As I said before, a lot of people are extremely understanding and I am now in a happy relationship. Eczema changes the dynamic of our relationship quite a bit, considering I don’t sleep a lot or sometimes can’t do things with him due to the pain or feeling self conscious, but all that won’t matter to the right person. Sometimes I can’t even hug him because the salt in his sweat burns me (I’m like a really big slug). He doesn’t suffer from it himself, but he tries to understand what I’m going through. And my friends and family help too. They see me, not my eczema.

The overwhelming amount of support I’ve received throughout my journey with eczema has been unbelievable. Friends reassuring me that I’m not as monstrous as I feel, housemates putting the pieces back together with me by helping me go back to college and listening to my late-night ramblings about my frustrations, family who are like on-call counselors ready to perk me up a little bit, and kind strangers on the internet who reach out to you (reddit.com/r/eczema is full of these fantastic people).

  

 The only person holding me back is me. Eczema is something I just kind of have to get on with, and I’m not going to let it hold me back or limit my ambitions. It controlled my life for long enough. I’m taking a stand now. I’m making the best of a bad situation and working on helping others with similar issues. Turning what I once saw as a negative into a positive, I joined the Eczema Council of Ireland, and preparations are underway for Eczema awareness week and we have so many exciting plans; such as events with guest speakers and educational resources for school. With a lot of self love (even though it’s really hard sometimes) and support from the most fantastic bunch of people ever, I feel like I’m finally beginning to accept that it’s just something that I have. I’ll wear that cute top that I avoided because it showcases my red elbows. I’ll leave the house makeup free. I’ll do what I want, because although I suffer from eczema – it does not define me. Everyone has their shit, eczema is just a little more visible (and flakey – oh the glamour!)

 

For those eczema suffers/dermatillomaniacs/anyone who feels kind of rough: you’re fucking amazing you beautiful human and don’t allow your skin, or any of your issues to lead you to believe you’re anything less than magnificent. You are not a slave to your skin. You’re stronger for your illness as you have had to adapt to stuff that isn’t pleasant. We’ve got this. We are strong. And we will not let this define us.

   

For anyone that wants to reach out, I’d love to hear from you. If you want a chat, or a little bit of cheering up, I promise I’ll tell you the cringiest dad jokes I know to try and help. You can find me at the following places;

https://logicat.wordpress.com/contact/

https://www.facebook.com/logicatmedia/?fref=ts

 

Thanks for reading ^_^
Elaine xxx 

 

 

What Is Mental Health? | Mental Health Awareness Week w/Not Another Beauty Blog

What Is Mental Health? | Mental Health Awareness Week w/Not Another Beauty Blog

 

images (1)

Hello darlings!

I’m just gonna get straight into the writing without an update for two main reasons: 1) Absolutely nothing important has happened in my life & 2) We have A LOT of work to get through!

So as we all know, I work around mental health all year long. However, due to the fact that it is MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS WEEK 2016, I have a special week planned for all of you wonderful readers that keep me afloat during my tough times. You are all fabulous and I appreciate every single reply, response and kind message or thought you send in. It really does mean so much to me and to show you just how much, there will be a HUGE competition on my Facebook page at the end of the week- the cherry on top of a week full of wonderful reading!

Read more

Hi, I’m Eric & I have schizophrenia | Not Another Beauty Blog 

Hi, I’m Eric & I have schizophrenia | Not Another Beauty Blog 

As you all know, I am a huge mental health enthusiast and I am incredibly eager to slay all discourses surrounding mental illness. 

And although I love connecting with you guys and sharing my own experiences, I feel like some feature articles might give us all a nice break, along with some new information. And show us some home truths, that maybe we have gotten too comfortable to recognise. 

This article features a man that I have grown to know quite well over the last year through college. And one thing I truly admire about Eric is his ability and passion to speak out about his struggles, silver linings and experiences with scitzophrenia. And one really powerful message that I want you to take from this article is that not everyone with a mental illness is female. Shocker. This is a man, that stands openly and speaks out (like me) against discourses, binaries and can say without fear: I suffer with my mental health and that is okay. 

If that isn’t beautiful to you, I don’t know what is. 

I asked Eric to share his experience with me through his writings as, like myself, he is a writer at heart. This is what Eric had to say: 

Jade and anyone else who wants to read this. The following piece is me…

The following piece is a poem that Eric wrote within one of his scitzophrenic episodes. Open your mind, find identification rather than differences. In my opinion, this is a truly powerful piece. 

 Erik, doing something to help a friend, or friends, that will take me about  

 twenty minuets. I write, bit of everything really, and never edit the work. It  

 is one shot. Go with gusto. Double down and you are in the world I inhabit.

 To me skizo-reality, as I kall it, is a mesh where the most magical moment  

 kan and does kome along. Duality stops spinning the second you lay your  

 hand on it. Every choice is no more or no less important than the rest. And  

 that means everything is up for grabs. The anger at a society that tries to  

 kontrol behavior through drugs they deem worth the side effects if it  

 kontrols your mood does nothing much for a consciousness or existence  

 that lives every thought with an audience of every type of specific or  

 unique thing I kan perceive and then welkome into the fold that is writing  

 down, as quick as I kan, a poem or a story or the themes of a play about a  

 wedding where half and half kome together to kelebrate the life party we  

 are all a part of. Enjoy the good, bad, indifferent, in disguise, indecisive and

 whatever the hell else kan be kramed into my mind that if anyone other  

 than the voices understands a unit of it, a thought of it, it will matter  

 somehow to me and brother, sister, angel, demon, god and gods, bring it.

 I’m on a roll, the house is stacked and I keep bouncing on in. We all hear  

 voices in our heads. If they are real then accept them as real units just on  

 a path where some are here and some are there. I wrote that. I thought  

 that. I don’t have to do anything with it. Some might like to read it. Anyone  

 kan think, even the dead in my take on things. It kan get sad, surreal, sexy,

 scary, soul destroying as well as soul enkouraging. There is so much going  

 on that I kan’t help but think we shouldn’t need a friend to help a friend,

to maybe help some friends. You kan perceive anything you kan imagine  

 and trap it in words; thoughts that kome true and thoughts that don’t.

 What matters is that everything gets a go, understand all you know and let  

 the spin flow as we wobble on the planet’s axis, as we orbit the sun, as we  

 spin around in space with all the mad yokes in the Milky Way. And the rest. ©

 I wrote that. I thought that. I don’t have to do anything with it. Some might like to read it.


Well that was definitely something different. In my opinion, well being and mental improvement stems from expression and some sense of awareness. This piece reinforces, to me, the importance of finding a safe outlet for your inner turmoil. I was also politely reminded that despite gender roles and social expectations, MEN DESERVE (are worthy of, and definitely qualify for) JUST AS MUCH MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT AND ENCOURAGEMENT AS WOMEN.

If you would like to be in with a chance of a feature article, sharing your experiences, strength and hope- contact me through one of my provided social media accounts below.

Until next time, 

Jay 🎀

Find me on: 

Facebook
Instagram
& Snapchat: Jademccannx 

A Letter To My Fifteen-Year-Old Self | Not Another Beauty Blog

A Letter To My Fifteen-Year-Old Self | Not Another Beauty Blog

I was scrolling through Facebook a few days ago and came across an apparently therapeutic method of counselling toward self-acceptance. It was recommended (and I can’t remember who by) to write letters to your past and future self, to encourage engagement with past and future emotions. Apparently, it helps to move towards self-acceptance in the present and create an understanding of emotions, lessening guilt, regret, anger and pressure that may be built up inside. And boy oh boy! What have I got to lose!? Obviously, this can be done within the comfort of a diary or your laptop and doesn’t have to be published online. But, I’ve decided to make mine public in hope that someone out there may relate. I feel like this is going to be fun for both the writer and reader! I’ll also include some pictures for a giggle!

I did ask a few of my SnapChat friends what they would tell their fifteen-year-old self and I received a LOT of replies that have led to beautiful conversations. If you would like to take part in my SnapChat engagements, add Jademccannx. See ya there!

283530_158164854260302_5968130_n.jpg

Dear fifteen-year-old self,

I am writing this letter to you today in hope that I may get some things of my chest. I feel as though I need some forgiveness for just how hard I’ve been on you in the past, and continue to be right up to this present day. In order to forgive myself, I feel as though I need to address each issue individually and talk through all of the ‘little’, HUGE things that I have held you responsible for. Let’s begin.

The first and most important thing that I would like to point out to you is your beauty. Naturally, you are so radiant. Inside and out. Unfortunately, you’re a sensitive soul and allow people to dim your radiance. But let me remind you, aesthetically and through personality, you are beautiful. The picture above is a selfie you took before you boarded a plane to New York with your distant cousins. You spend the entire holiday in a complete daze and fell in utter love with the city. You deserved that holiday and you deserved that happiness. You deserved that peace of mind, you deserved those beautiful memories. You are not ugly. You do not look ‘butch’. You look absolutely stunning and your cornrows are hella cool. And anybody that tells you otherwise are simply jealous. And I know how hard that is to believe. All our life, our mama and papa tell us that ‘people are mean when they feel threatened’. But if you have been told something repeatedly and if you are treated a certain way by certain people for a long period of time, you begin to believe it. But you should rise above it. You should be stronger. You should believe in yourself that little bit more. You hold so many keys to success and you don’t even know it yet. You, are, beautiful. Inside and out.

599981_344382612305191_1036525251_n

At the age of fourteen, you put yourself out there with your own organically written music productions. You released an E.P and gigged in some really amazing places. You met wonderful people and grew in so many ways, ways that don’t seem imaginable for such a young girl. You uploaded videos to YouTube of your songs, your covers, your thoughts. And then at fifteen, you let bullies take all of that away from you. You began to believe that you were bad at singing. You began to feel like the loser they framed you as. You found it harder and harder to fit in. Anxiety developed to larger scales. You blamed yourself for bothering to put yourself out there in the first place. You blamed the victim for the perpetrators actions. You took a step back from your dreams for four years. For four years you were filled with fear and shame. You developed paranoia, you allowed people to speak down to you and leave you out. You found comfort in loneliness and alcohol. 

Dear fifteen-year-old self, fuck them. They ARE jealous. They are jealous because they are not as brave as you. They are jealous because you are adventurous, you are honest, you are inspiring, you are interesting- and all they can do is watch because they are everything that you are not. 

Dear fifteen-year-old self, do not be so mean to yourself.  Do not let people take the most precious thing about you and destroy it. Do not blame yourself. Do not hate yourself. Do not stop your tracks in the hands of bullies. You are allowed to feel sad. You will find that in your life, there will be worse situations than girls making a video mimicking you. You will find that there are more petty and horrible people and things out in the world. You will find that not everything is worth fretting over. You will find that no matter WHAT you do, be it spectacular or mediocre, there will be someone waiting to drag you back, hold you down. So just do you and be the beautiful person you are. If you had not have stopped, you would be so much further right now. You may even have reached your goals. Somewhere in an alternate universe, you are standing on a stage playing in front of thousands with a huge smile on your face and a heart full of bravery.

 Dear fifteen-year-old self, do not let them stop you from being who you are, from getting what you deserve.

247861_132281760181945_7207122_n248396_132280163515438_4119816_n

Dear fifteen-year-old self, please stay as wise as you possibly can to peer-pressures. There are people that will pose in photographs with you, holding cigerrettes and alcohol, pretending to be your best friend- but they couldn’t care less if you succeed in life or not. Real friends are the kind that push you to go to training and pratice, come to see you fight and play music, stay on your back about focus and goals. Music was not your only asset. You were an incredible 247781_132282706848517_191937_nfighter with huge potential. And although to this day you’re still fit and practice, there is no doubt that you would have exceeded all expectations within that ring. Instead, you chose to spend time with people that had not your best interest at heart. People that held the key to escapism. People that provided alcohol, drugs and cigarettes illegally. You chose to pose for profile pictures instead of news paper articles. At this time, you want to fit in. You want to feel a part of something. You want to make friends. But those people are not your friends and your self-worth is more important. Funnily enough, you learned this the hard way. You really should listen to your parents more. Fitness is a wonderful thing and although your ‘friends’ may tell you so, it is not for losers. Drinking and drugging is not for the cool kids. You will see this unravel later in life. For now, have faith in your decisions and passions. Let people be who they are and focus on your strong points, your talents, your goals. Don’t let them take things from you.

379856_215509138525873_923799617_n

 

Dear fifteen-year-old self, although there are people that pose in pictures and are not your true ‘friends’, there are also people that are the purest of pure. Unfortunately, being caught up in all that is society, you can’t really tell the difference. My advice would be to hold your family close. The word family suggests that they will never leave, that you will always be this close. Unfortunately, that is not the case. You will grow up and find that every single person you know, at one stage, decides to focus on themselves. Every single person that you cherish will move on, find partners, find new friends, new hobbies, new jobs and new happiness. And that is perfectly alright. They deserve that and more. But cherish them while you can. Because although you may believe that they are forever, they aren’t. Hold the good times close to your heart and create as many as you can while you have the chance. Some people really are worth your time and really do love you. I know that it’s difficult to tell the difference between everyone’s intentions right now. But if you’re going to do one thing for me, hold your family as close as you possibly can. Say thank you. Hug for longer. Kiss harder. Laugh harder. Be there more. Don’t get angry when they borrow your clothes. Don’t argue over petty things. Let them be who they are and love them, pride and all. This is important.

 

383962_215508468525940_1586876393_nDear fifteen-year-old self, I understand that Gaffer has been your pet since you were six years old. I understand that he may annoy you when he growls and trips you up, I understand that he’s getting old and bothers you are the best of times. But can you please understand that he will not be alive forever? At times, he may feel like an extra limb. At times, he may feel like the annoying sibling. But through all of these times, remember to capture photographs in your precious little mind. Photographs of your favourite walks, your funniest times, your hyper shenanigans. He will pass in 2015. You will be hard on yourself for not being more mindful throughout your teenage years. You will remember those times that you were crying over boys and mean girls and he sat at the end of your bed like a guardian angel. You will remember how he licked a cut when you fell as a child. You will remember how he hated the bath. You will remember how you were that little bit distracted and could have cherished him more. Dear fifteen-year-old self, kiss him goodbye for me.

224657_131630843580370_960628_n

 

Dear fifteen-year-old self, you do not need to grow up as fast as you may think. You do not need to have the most fashionable hair style, you do not need to wear heeled-boots and huge handbags, your mom’s clothes and you most definitely do not need makeup and hair-dye in abundance. Dad nags you. He pleads with you to be natural. I know that you truly believe it’s because he doesn’t want boys to like you. But fifteen-year-old self, he just wants you to be the best you that you can be. He wants you to live as innocently and pure as you possibly can, for as long as you possibly can. Because once you cross the line of adulthood, there is not one chance that you can go backwards. Accept that you’re young, embrace it. Be a beautiful fifteen-year-old. Stop trying to be twenty-odd. That day will come. And when it does, you’ll be willing to sell your soul to go back in time. Live in the moment.  Accept your age. Accept yourself as you are. Be fifteen. Boys can wait. Boys aren’t all they crack out to be anyway! Someday you will meet the most amazing man, that will never lead you to question yourself, that will love you and honestly adore you. Until then, fuck them. Let them line up. Let them want you. Let them have someone else to use, to call names, to mentally abuse, to claim and move on from. You really don’t need it that kind of negativity in your life. 

Dear fifteen-year-old self, sex can wait. Sex doesn’t matter. Stop reading magazines that are directed at grown women. Stop letting yourself be encouraged by public forums that do not concern a fifteen-year-old girl. Read KISS, or Mizz. Fuck Cosmopolitan. Fuck Soap Operas. All of these factors may seem small, but they build and develop into a huge influence of expectations for young women. It’s just not realistic. And unfortunately, you’re caught up in that. But dear fifteen-year-old self, be smarter than that. Be smarter than them. Be yourself.

 

Dear fifteen-year-old self, you have a lot to learn. Alcohol and cigerett228383_128377717239016_402150_nes aren’t cool. Makeup isn’t compulsory. Fashion isn’t a ‘follow or die’.  You’re not fat. You’re not ugly. You’re not a loser. You’re just different, beautifully!

Boys can wait. Sex can wait. You are talented in more ways than one. You can sing. You can model. You are athletic. You are clever. You don’t need negative people. You don’t have to be your own worst critic. You don’t have to spend your days comfortably alone. You shouldn’t let bullies control your success. You shouldn’t allow other people’s opinions to have such a high impact toward your future. You should listen to your family more. You should take more photographs in your mind. You should lighten up a bit. You should walk away from people that are upsetting you, block them out. You should move on more. You should let go more. You should care a lot less. And for God’s sake, love yourself. Learn now. It will make the future a hell of a lot easier if you develop the foundation of self-acceptance right now. Trust me, I’d know.

The list is endless. I could write for years about your true worth, your potential and your lessons that you’ve yet to learn. But how would I be where I am if you weren’t who you were? What’s meant to be won’t pass you. Just don’t lose who you are.

What would you tell your fifteen-year-old self?

Click HERE to find me on Facebook.

Click HERE to find me on Instagram.