The Unmarked Road

Life On The Other Side Of Mental Illness

Tag: mental health (page 1 of 3)

Why Having A Baby Is Not Always An Easy Decision

We all know this scene: a pregnant woman crying over an advert on TV or threatening murder because she has run out of her favourite pickle and jelly flavoured ice cream. Every media outlet we come across shows a scenario in which the pregnant woman behaves in a ‘crazy’ and unstable way due to the hormones raging through her body and we all laugh because it’s just a small snippet in a woman’s life where she can truly become unhinged and no one will say anything.

Everyone but me. Having gone through hormonal imbalances in the past that ended with me taking an overdose, I was terrified of being pregnant. If women with no history of anxiety and depression went ‘nuts’ during pregnancy, what hope was there for me?

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Could Your Mental Health Story Help Others?

Do you have a story about mental health you would like to share because you believe it could help others? Would you like the opportunity to make a difference? Whatever your experience, someone, somewhere, can identify with YOU. And I invite each and everyone of you to come and join me in the fight against mental health stigma by sharing your stories! YOUR mental health story could help others!

SHAREYOURSTORY

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Does This Letter Prove That Society Cultivates Mental Illness?

Last week I wrote a post about publishing an old letter I wrote to myself at age 18 during my first year of university. I have spent all day fretting about whether or not this is a good idea. Whether it will leave me vulnerable to ridicule and judgement.

Reading it has however made me wonder about the role society plays in nurturing psychological disorders amongst young adults. For instance, how much does our society cultivate and even benefit from low self-esteem and does it trigger a host of serious mental health issues such as social anxiety, self-harming and eating disorders?

And how much did my own insecurities about how I looked, feed the dark demons of my depression?

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Anxious Traveller – Making Decisions

When backpacking, you have to make decisions every day about where to sleep, how to get to the next destination and which travel agencies to choose for excursions such as Machu Picchu (eek!). In this video I talk about why I find it so hard and also how to not let anxiety stop you from going out and living your adventure!

Mental Illness Doesn’t Discriminate

You’re not anxious or depressed because you’re weak. How you feel isn’t abnormal or wrong just because it’s different to the way other’s feel. You do not need to feel ashamed.

My ‘Whiny’ Mental Health Blog: A Letter To My Favourite Troll

As many of us know, there’s a huge stigma when it comes to mental illness and discussing sometimes difficult emotions. Those who’ve seen my posts will know the problems I faced; I self-harmed, was diagnosed with depression and eventually tried to take my own life.

In all honesty it was just a bit shit really. No one understood or wanted to know because it would make their uncomplicated happy little existence uncomfortable. And so, like many who suffer, I suffered alone and in silence.

Well I’m proud to say I’m not that person anymore. I don’t have the uncontrollable desire to hurt myself or punish myself. And so I stared a blog about mental illness, dealing my experiences and giving support and advice on how I conquered my demons. Something I wish I’d had 15 years ago.

So imagine my shock and surprise when, on the mental health part of reddit no less, a place where people should be able to come for support and non-judgemental advice, one rather eloquent and wonderful member called my blog ‘whiny’ and nothing but ‘teen angst’.

While my initial reaction wasn’t great – you don’t come away from years of self-hate unscathed – it dawned on me the sheer irony of this comment and that this kind of attitude is exactly the problem. Because many don’t feel they or their feelings are important enough to be taken seriously. Because it’s just ‘teen angst’ and people’s general view point is to ‘just get over it’.

Which for those of who have truly suffered know isn’t that simple.

Because what might seem like a very small problem to the outside world, can eat us alive from the inside out until there is nothing of ourselves left but a hollow place where our souls used to be.

So thank you to the commenter who proved exactly why it’s so important  to carry on with my ‘whiny’ mental health blog, to not stop talking about these issues. To never stop fighting against the discrimination.

The Things I Don’t Want People To Know

They say you should write what you know, but I think it’s the things we don’t want people to know about us that have the most power to invoke real emotion and change because it’s at our most vulnerable and honest.

I have always written openly about my thoughts, shared my hopes and dreams, and generally opened up my heart to those who wish to read about it. However, I believe everyone has a side they don’t want anyone to see. It’s this part of you that you try to forget or pretend doesn’t exist, that you protect ferociously from all outside predators, like a lioness protecting her cub.

There are things I don’t want people to know about me. Because I’m embarrassed, ashamed. Because they are not self-depreciating, humble or ‘cute’. They are ugly and often extraordinarily absurd.

Moving house (which we are at the end of this month) always means clearing out a lot of things you haven’t looked at since you last moved. You know, the things that move from one unused drawer to another? During a clear-out last weekend, I came across my old letters and memorabilia documenting my life. Like the scars on my arms and legs that will never completely fade, these letters to myself mean I will never forget the pain and destruction I felt as a young girl. While they make for incredibly uncomfortable reading, they are also an amazing way to remember how much I have overcome.

Deciding to publish one of these on my blog was an incredibly difficult decision, one I’m not even sure right now is the right one. But, while I do not recognise the scared young 18 year old who wrote those words, they might help another young girl or woman not feel as alone or ashamed as I did.

Opening myself up to judgment and ridicule by revealing the deepest darkest secrets of my past is not something I have done with ease. Because I have come such a long way from the scared little girl I was, it is as a strong and well balanced woman that this is an incredibly humiliating experience.

Be kind, for unless you have experienced the demons that can possess your mind and drive you to the deepest darkest moment of your life, you will not understand how reality can become completely distorted by your own truth. It is as though you are wearing broken glasses out of which you see the whole world and the people in it.

Unless I change my mind (highly possible!), one of these letters will be published early next week.

Help End The Stigma!

Welcome to my Blog! You may have found your way here due to my experiences with mental health. Or you may well be feeling the way I have felt all my life; that you were meant to be living the life of a Disney princess or something equally fantastical and adventurous!  

After losing my job at Christmas (2014), I became painfully aware of the crossroads before me: one path was a clear and well-travelled road that I had gone down many times and knew would make me miserable, the other less use, but still without the FREEDOM that I so desperately longed for in my heart. 

It was as though something inside my that I had been trying to bury for so long, could no longer be caged and the desire to help people overcome mental illness, suddenly overwhelmed me with a force I had not felt before .

And so I decided to risk it all and follow my dream by going down what I call The Unmarked Road; a road that no one has gone down before, which I can mould and create as I go.

I HAVE ALWAYS FELT LIKE MY LIFE WAS JUST ABOUT SURVIVING. NOT LIVING.

I was a passenger on a train just taking in the scenery and experiencing the things that were happening to me without any real control or influence. An over-thinker and anxiety sufferer this lack of control often caused bouts of depression. Suffering from mental illness both personally and witnessing it with family has meant that I have throughout my life felt isolated in every way. Difficult emotions that wouldn’t let me sleep at night or intrusive thoughts that plagued me so much that I thought I wasn’t normal and felt ashamed, meant that for a long time I tried to silence those voices in hope that they would go away.

I never knew or understood the kind of power I had within me.

Throughout my 10-year journey of learning how to overcome self-destructive behaviour, I came to realise that to live the way I want, the only person to make that a reality was me. No one was going to give me a healthy mind and it wasn’t going to happen by itself. Ignoring it certainly wasn’t going to help.

WE ARE 100% RESPONSIBLE FOR MAKING THE CHANGES IN OUR LIVES TO ACHIEVE WHATEVER IT IS WE WANT.

So what do I want?

  1. I want to help people who struggle the way I struggled for so many years with various mental health problems. You are not alone.
  2. I want to end the stigma surrounding people like me, but I also want to show that a life of mental illness does not mean no life at all.
  3. I want to write about these issues; honestly, openly, and without limits.

I want to take the really overgrown scary road which looks like it’s clearly not meant to be gone down for a reason! and to document it, hopefully showing people that, while the path may look dark and frightening, the journey is worth overcoming that fear. Because what’s on the other side is everything you could have ever dreamed of and more.

So that’s what started it all. This blog will not only serve as a diary to see if and how I find a way to break down the boundaries of our society that try to categorise us and put us into boxes, but will also hopefully give others the courage to go out and do the same.

I hope that through it, it may bring some people comfort in knowing that there is another way. That change is possible if you’re willing to put in the commitment and take responsibility for the actions required to bring about change.

YOUR PAST DOES NOT HAVE TO DEFINE YOUR FUTURE.

 

And so my journey down the Unmarked Road begins! Every day is a chance to be in the driving seat. This is my story. This is our story. Let’s make it one worth telling.

Dani xx

6 Easy Ways To Get Healthy Right Now!

As promised, I will be sharing my healthy living guide with you for the next 4 weeks. This is not just going to be about what I am eating, but also about busting some myths about food that are currently going around, as well as sharing all round general health tips. Having a healthy body and mind is not just about food and exercise, there are many other things you can do!

Now as you know, I am not one for hitting the gym or restricting myself to eating only raw vegan food! However there is something everyone can do to generally improving their health just by making small manageable changes. Remember, it’s all about elephant sandwiches 😉 (basically, you would never be able to eat a whole elephant! So break it down into bitesize pieces!).

I challenge you to make one positive change a day. Here are some examples of what you can start to introduce into your life over the next 4 weeks.

Imagine how different your life could be in 4 weeks if you introduce just 1 new habit every day?  Continue reading

The 3 Minute Memoirs – None Anxious Shop!

Such a great day! When something that usually makes you anxious (like shopping) gets done without anxiety having a chance to rear it’s head, it can mean the whole of the rest of the day goes smoothly.

How did I do that you might ask? Well we were in a rush so I literally just went in to get what I needed. No chance for the anxiety to take over!

😀 HAPPY FRIDAY!

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