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

 

 

 

 

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HOW I OVERCOME BREAKOUTS & MANAGE OILY SKIN- DRUGSTORE STYLE! (FULL PRODUCT LIST WITH LINKS INCLUDED)

HOW I OVERCOME BREAKOUTS & MANAGE OILY SKIN- DRUGSTORE STYLE! (FULL PRODUCT LIST WITH LINKS INCLUDED)

I think I had only ever had about three spots in my life. I had never encountered a breakout. I had never had oily skin. I didn’t even know what skin type I was! It didn’t concern me. I never had a particular skin routine or ritual because, to be honest, I didn’t need one. I literally just washed my face, moisturizer when I felt I needed to, kept a clean canvas before and after makeup applications. But that went all downhill a few months ago.

I decided to change my diet. Sure, why not? I wanted to feel a bit less bloated, save some animals & try a new lifestyle. So, I tried on the vegan hat. But literally within a month, my forehead, jaw line, cheekbones, eyebrows, temples and CHEST were just completely covered in greasy face produce and probably the ugliest spots and blackheads I have ever seen. I have no photographs because I literally couldn’t help but cry about it the majority of the time. For so long, I felt like it was out of my control. That my body was adapting to a new diet, that maybe I was stressed, that I was doomed and was getting some kind of karma for all those years of skin privilege.  I also didn’t even want to hear people talk about it or get recommendations because I was almost blocking it out. I actually couldn’t, and still can’t, believe how much it shook and affected my confidence and personality. I felt I couldn’t wear makeup because it would worsen. I felt I couldn’t go without because I was hideous. I was constantly battling with myself. At one point, I thought if I went to a cafe for lunch, I would put people off their food or tea. But enough became enough. I left my little pity party (population: 1) and decided to have a look about some shops to see what might help. And yes! I found some amazing, AFFORDABLE products that are EASILY ACCESSIBLE and ACTUALLY WORK. But some of the best remedies are free, and I came across them completely by accident. But, I wanted to share them all with you. I’ve had a lot of questions sent in on my Snapchat & I’ve been emailing a few of you about the new beauty regime and products I use…so why not just have it public for a constant point of reference?

I really hope this helps at least one person because I can absolutely assure you, these products and regimes are completely my own choice and my own combination. I am not sponsored by any of these companies or lying about my results. So, invest and feel your best. Because these tricks worked for me!

So, as I said above, I literally did not know what to do on a daily basis. But the first helpful product that I came across was suggested to me by my local beautitian just as a toner. However, me being a complete nerd and having researched it, it turned out to be a magic substance for all skin types. So, I visited my local health food store and got some. And if you follow me on snapchat, you are gonna know that I am talking about rose-water.

I cannot stress enough how amazing this stuff is. When I first started buying it, I was picking it up from health food stores and it was costing a fair bit. But I did my research, and turns out you can pick it up online from Salon Services (you get a whole load for a tenner!). I STILL USE THIS RELIGIOUSLY. Every morning (EVEN IF I’M IN A HURRY), I quickly get some cotton wool and rose-water and just rinse my face. I do it on my break in work to get rid of excess oils and cleanse all redness and it works. I do it every night before bed. I do it sometimes in the car, without a doubt before and after every make up application & wear. It just breaks through all grease, and even when I’ve got the biggest, most ugly spot, it takes away the redness and swelling and almost makes me look presentable. Also, while I was doing my homework for this post, I discovered that rose water can be used as A SETTING SPRAY FOR MAKEUP. I will most definitely try this & report back. In rose water I trust. And the best part about this product? You can make it at home. CLICK HERE for an easy guide on how to boost your beauty and save your skin.

So, after I realised that rose-water helped me cope on a day-to-day basis, I also realised that I really needed something affordable that would take all of the gunk out of my face. I asked some of you over on my snapchat what kind of masks you used and got some amazing suggestions! But a lot of them were expensive and not within my shopping perimeter. So, I went to Boots and spent about two hours reading labels, googling reviews, reading blog posts, walking isles, asking staff members and almost dying inside. I finally picked one.

When I picked this up, it was mainly because the label was fairly specific and suited my skin type. It was so affordable that I really didn’t have an excuse not to try it. And nearly every review that I saw online was spectacular. And from the very first application, I was so content with my choice. It’s a standard clay mask, so there is no confusion. A simple apply, dry and wash. But the aftermath of this product is unreal. Similar to the rose-water, it calms all breakouts and redness. And I’ve found that if I use a cleansing brush to scrub it off, it takes away a lot of my blocked pores. It also really helps with oil control for days following the application. SUCH A GEM. The label told me everything, including how many applications I’d have. For 6.99 (euro), I’d have ten applications. If I were to apply twice a week (which I do), I would have a five-week supply of face mask. And the best part is, I’ve managed to get myself to seven weeks by not using as much on some applications. CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT MORE OR ORDER THIS PRODUCT ONLINE. 

So, although both of these products were working absolute wonders and I was feeling much better in myself, I was fairly sick of having to wash with rose-water and spare a half an hour most evenings for a mask. I realised that if I had a good moisturizer that would mattify my skin, it would save a lot of hassle. Also, most of my breakouts were due to the oil, so if I could control the oil, maybe the breakouts would stop. The product that I chose does not only contain no animal bi-product or have no animal testing affiliation, it actually works. And it’s all natural. I even use it on clients!

 

I  carry this product in my handbag. I’ve also purchased one for my makeup kit. I’ve got one in my car. It is so refreshing, it smells absolutely UNREAL. It really is a total miracle worker. I thought that I would forever be controlling my oil, and never actually be rid of it. Products like this genuinely give me hope. Also a drugstore product, a little bit pricier than the two before costing me 13.99 (euro). But, in my opinion, totally worth it. You only need a pea size for each application as it spreads so well.  CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE WEBSITE, FIND OUT MORE OR EVEN PURCHASE THIS PRODUCT.

Lastly, I just wanted to share with you some of the makeup products that have helped my full face applications stay, not slip, not sweat, not dewy and just fab. It’s difficult to find products suited to everybody’s oily skin because well, every person will have a different balance or a different texture. But given my research there are a few products that cannot be faulted and I thought pinpointing them might help someone on a similar journey. Also, a lot of the online info that I find on topics like these are super out of my reach. I totally cannot afford Laura Mercier powder or ABH setting spray. It’s just not a reality for me, and I bet a lot of people feel the same way. So drugstore style, I conquered my oily skin makeup nightmares.

 

Firstly, let me say that the L’Oreal Infallible Mattifying Base Primer has literally saved me from actual meltdowns. There is nothing worse than having a night out planned and literally considering not going because of how you feel about yourself. This primer just fills in EVERYTHING. It also blends all of my humps and bumps in with the rest of my face. I picked this up in Boots for 11.99 (euro), which is more expensive than most drugstore primers. But, given the results, I regret nothing. Also, just as I got the link for this product, I realised these is a current sale on it- it’s now £7.99 on the Boots website! CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THIS PRODUCT.

I’ve also included a picture of the twin foundation, incase you thought of teaming them up or what might go with it best. For me, I use the Estee Lauder Double Wear foundation, which is a tad pricy. But I also love the Catrice range in Even Sand, and even Rimmel have a fabulous Stay Matte option which I LOVE. As I said, everybody has different oil ratios and different experiences with makeup. But these mattifying products have worked for me in the past and continue to do so. CLICK HERE to find out more about the Estee Lauder Double Wear foundation. CLICK HERE to read up on some Catrice foundations that helped me keep everything under wraps (this link will help you find a fitted foundation based on your exact skin tone & type). & CLICK HERE to find out more about the wonderful, and affordable, Rimmel options available in most pharmacies and online (Rimmel also have an amazing Stay Matte powder to match the foundation!).  As far as I know, NYX also do an amazing Shine Killer range that is totally worth looking into.

Lastly, I understand that the Ben Nye products have mixed reviews. I know that a lot of really highly regarded beauty bloggers and makeup artists have claimed them not to work, or to take terrible pictures, or to leave blotches. But for me, in all my oily skinned glory, both the Translucent and Banana Ben Nye Powders continue to save my face daily. I purchased them both from Camera Ready Cosmetics online and they were totally affordable, which I wasn’t expecting due to how popular they are! I think they cost me about 10.oo (euro) per medium pot. But hey, I use them daily. I even use them on my clients for baking and contouring- and there are plenty of amazing tutorials online if you struggle with anything like that. But picking myself up a decent powder really improved my finished looks and confidence through all of this. CLICK HERE to see the purchase link for the Ben Nye Powders.

And VERY lastly, on some of the hottest days over summer I forced myself to conquer my fear and jump in the sea, only to find out that salt & mineral water is a perfect, amazing, easily accessible, flawless and dependable, oil-busting, skin-clearing MIRACLE WORKER that I have ever come across. So now, I find myself in the sea a lot. Try it, it’s free, organic… VERY COLD but it sure as hell works!

 

So, there you have it. My research and experience so far in the life of oily skin. It is a total journey. And one of the main reasons that I wanted to share all of this is because, when I realised my skin had problems, I genuinely didn’t know what was wrong with me. I even did a skin patch test in Boots to figure out my skin type. I really struggled with finding information and getting help. But there are affordable options and free public platforms that offer information, you just have to reach out and ask for help, or pick yourself up to go and find them. And with regards to the mental aspect of it, I’m really just trying to learn to love myself regardless of how I look. That’s where the answer is, it’s where the hardship is, but it’s where the growth is. At the end of the day, we’re all human. We get gross sometimes. Society might tell us that spots are ugly, skinny is better, collar bones are a must, eyebrows are more important than our actual intellect and all other sorts of nonsense. But, sometimes it’s just about accepting that we’re never going to be perfect. Nobody is. And we can’t always correct or abolish our flaws, but we can cope with or work on them.

And as always, feel free to get in touch on any of my social media platforms. Thank you for your constant love, acceptance and support.

CLICK HERE to find me on Facebook.

CLICK HERE to find me on Instagram.

CLICK HERE to find me on Twitter.

SNAPCHAT- jademccannx.

 

 

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!

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10 Alternatives To Self-Harm | Not Another Beauty Blog

10 Alternatives To Self-Harm | Not Another Beauty Blog

 

As you are all well aware, I am a huge mental-health enthusiast and aim to break all boundaries and discourses around it being a taboo in Ireland. And self-harm, for me, was definitely something that (even today) I find difficult to speak about. Self inflicting pain on ourselves can be seriously addictive, but sometimes it can be the only plausible option in our unwell (and sometimes distorted) minds.

One thing that I did notice when visiting doctors, was just how quickly they can dismiss self-harm- almost as if it is a side-effect of our illnesses and unmanageability. Well, I have news for you. For me, it was not a side-effect. It became an addiction. Something that at one stage was the ONLY WAY that I could let off steam. I couldn’t find another way to channel just how much I disliked myself. I could not find a way to express the guilt and blame I had against myself, my mistakes and even future things that hadn’t happened yet. It became a little bit of art for me to sooth my pain. And as time went on, it made me dislike myself more- for my scars, for doing it, for thinking of it, for my obsession with it. I often wondered why other girls my age were so happy. I wondered why they didn’t have scars, why they didn’t need to hurt themselves. I couldn’t answer that. I could never answer for other people as much as I would have liked to. As time went on, I realised that everyone’s journey is different. And although mine bore a little bit more pain, in the end I became the wiser one. So, I don’t wonder about other people very much anymore.

The main reason that I am writing this blog tonight is because I feel that not only is self-harm considered one’s own stupidity, rashness or  fault, it is also dismissed quite a lot. It is not spoken of very much within the public sector and there, in my opinion, doesn’t seem to be any alternatives presented to people that cannot control their self-destructive urges.

In my own personal experience, I found professionals telling me to stop self-harming. Not only did this enrage me further due to their lack of understanding, it led me to feel even more isolated. I present to you all today some coping mechanisms that I learned ON MY OWN, that probably are not presented to you on public platforms surrounding mental health issues. Let’s have a look at what else we could do to let some steam off- and I am not going to tell you to eat healthy or exercise, which seems to be every professional’s cure to depression and anxiety.

  • Use a pen or marker to draw/scribble on the places in which you are urged to cut. I used to write things on my body that I don’t like about myself. For me, it helped the acceptance process.
Self Loathing
  • Squeeze ice cubes in your hands- this will be uncomfortable but you will find it has a similar effect.
Ice IDGAF
  • Snap a rubber band against your wrist.
Emotional Britney
  • Scream as loud as you possible can- into a pillow if you don’t want to be heard!

Annie Screaming

  • Punch a pillow or punch bag- it may be a good idea to consider taking up martial arts.
  • Have a good, old-fashioned, whaling cry.

Sad Yelling

  • Throw a cushion as hard as you can against a wall.
Weak throw
  • Tear up an old phone directory, magazine or newspaper.
strong
  • Play some loud music and dance as energetically as you can (once again, use earphones if you don’t want to be heard).
haay
  • Write down exactly how you are feeling in a diary and tear it all up!
Tim Gunn Loves You
Although I am feeling so much better in myself, I sometimes have overwhelming feelings about who I am and what I have done in the past. Everybody makes mistakes. But that is so easy to forget and I am so quick to beat myself up over little bits that I can’t change or do anything about. And I do still resort to alternatives like these to blow some steam off. I also like to run really fast for as long as I can, thumping my feet off the ground- I’m sure I look a bit odd but it’s better than drawing blood and feeling even more horrible afterwards. Stomping my feet also helps.
My Facebook page is always open to messages if you need advice or a little enthusiasm. I actually encourage readers to write to me whenever they feel the need to. Even if you have nothing on your mind and just want a chat- hit me up!
However, if you are suffering from overwhelming depression or anxiety, I do suggest you make an appointment with your GP and seek further advice.
Thank you so much for reading.
Until next time,
J (Not Another Beauty Blog)
My Experience With Deferring College | Not Another Beauty Blog

My Experience With Deferring College | Not Another Beauty Blog

I recently received a message on my Facebook Page from a girl (about a year younger than me) asking about my choice to defer college for a year. This girl was in a different situation than I was but she was just wondering how it benefited me and if I would recommend it. I gave her the best advice I could, based on her situation, however, it got me thinking: there must be so many people going through something, struggling or just having doubts- leading them to think about deferring. For me, I was really lucky because in the college I attend (IADT, Dun Laoghaire), they are super supportive and have an excellent Student Union that were there for me every step of the way. And, as well as that, actually getting the deferral granted sometimes isn’t the problem, it’s figuring out what you’re going to do with a year, further more, if you’ll regret taking the time off in fear of having wasted it. Let me start by noting to you all that this is simply my college deferral experience. I am no expert but I have been there so by sharing my experience, I hope you gain some knowledge that furthers your decision.

I want to start off by telling you why exactly I deferred. I deferred college because I was diagnosed with mental issues that affected my ability to perform academically. I had depression and anxiety and was also suffering terribly with panic attacks and nausea. For the whole of first year, I was fine! I got mostly B’s and C’s and furthered to second year. For the first three months of second year, I guess I was okay. But when my Christmas exams and end of term work started piling up, I just couldn’t handle it. Every time I set foot on campus, I’d just cry. I tried to force myself to work, one day, in the library while I was crying and having a panic attack. I sat there for nearly two hours barely breathing properly forcing myself to read Psycho by Robert Bloch. I had to call my Dad to talk me down so I could drive home safely. 

I can talk about it now and it doesn’t seem real. It seems like I’m talking about a different person. I was so ill and I actually didn’t realise, at all, just how sick I was (to become). Anyway, my parents sat me down and told me that I couldn’t go on like that. Considering we pay my fees with all of our wages (pitched in), we couldn’t afford to waste a year tuition to have me repeat or even drop out. So we made the decision to apply for a deferral. The Student Union of IADT all helped me write my letter to the head of the college and on my grounds of being unwell (along with a doctor’s letter), I was granted a deferral. 

I was so embarrassed and devastated. I’m an ‘all-go’ kind of girl and I had this plan that I would graduate when I was twenty-one and do such and such. I had it so planned out in my head what was going to happen, that I wasn’t even really sure what was going on. Anyway, I looked into part-time college courses and tried to go to work part time but eventually I got worse and had to go on sick leave for a while. Then when I went back to work, I got bad again so I had to stop working. I spent days in bed, not eating, just throwing up.I didn’t know why but I couldn’t stop crying- I mean, whaling. At one stage my mom was convinced she’d have to hospitalize me fully in order to see any recovery! It was horrible, so surreal. I started to make myself do small things like get up and make a cup of tea. Go to the garden and water something. Drive to the shop and get something. Go see my nan. And eventually, I wasn’t afraid of the world anymore (not as much as I was!). Then I got a full-time job in a really nice café (where I still work now and love!) and eventually with the help of both counselling and medication, I have gotten better. When I say that, I don’t mean that I am the best I can be. I mean that I am better than I was yesterday or six months ago. 

If I hadn’t of applied for the deferral, I would never have addressed any of my problems and they would still be compressed and festering today. I would never have learned certain lessons that I am so glad stand by me now. I have learned how to be an adult. I get up, I go to work, I deal with people, I go out with friends, I see my family, I’m still with my amazing boyfriend that (I DON’T KNOW HOW) stayed by my side through all of that. I needed that time, as much as I didn’t want to admit it. As much as I wanted to graduate at twenty-one (instead of a year later), I know that this year has made me who I am going to be for the rest of my life. By taking a time out, I’ve learned patience and responsibility. I’ve also learned the most important thing- which is how to love and respect myself- which I could never understand or do. 

So, all in all, on my half of it, yes, I recommend the deferral. I think it was the best thing I could have done, even though I didn’t want to believe it at the time. I gave myself a break. I let myself have time to breathe, reflect, learn and just live. I’d never just lived before, I was always waiting for someone or something. I was always worried about something- don’t get me wrong, I still worry most of the time- but I just let myself have a break. And just because it was the best for me, doesn’t necessarily mean that it will work for you. Just because that was my reason, doesn’t mean you need the same one. There are ways and means around everything! So don’t get your panties in a bunch, look at other options, ask around, do your research and hopefully you will know in your heart what the best thing for you to do is. Trust your gut. 

Regarding an update, I have applied for the same course to pick up where I left off in September. I have purchased all of my notebooks and pens and I’m excited to go back, I feel ready to learn more. I still have bad days where I cry, get sick, stay in bed, but I know that it will pass so I try to stay patient and let myself have that moment of downtime. I still take my medication daily, however, I haven’t needed counselling since May. Which is a miracle considering at one stage it was all I lived for.

So, there you have it, me in all my vulnerability! I hope I’ve helped some of you learn more about my decision to defer. My main point in this blog is that I am so happy with my decision and if you are having any doubts at all, find out more first because every college is different. However, don’t think that it’ll be the end of the world if you give yourself a break. There’s always next year and everything doesn’t have to happen right now. The college isn’t going anywhere, the course isn’t going anywhere. Hopefully, you’re not going anywhere. So let yourself have some time to grow. Come back to it when you’re feeling fresher. I don’t see anything wrong with that.