Changing Perceptions on World Mental Health Day

Mild TWs: Eating Disorders, Self Harm, Suicide.

This is the very first World Mental Health Day on which I have been openly writing about my mental health (specifically, my experiences with mental ill health). Last year, I sat on the periphery of the discussions, not quite ready to engage but eager to support open conversation aimed at dismantling stigma and prejudice surrounding those of us with mental illness. Stigma can take many forms, and it's important that we continue to work together as a society to get rid of it for good.

Although discussions around mental health are often linked specifically to talking about mental illness, World Mental Health Day isn't just important for the 1 in 4 (UK statistics) of us who will experience mental ill health, it's an important day for all of us!

That's because we all have mental health, just like we all have physical health; "mental health" is a general term that is focused on our mental or emotional wellbeing, and …

Borderline, Recovery, and Finding Middle Ground.

In my first blog post, An Apology to Those Caught in the Wake of My Mental Health, I talked about how in the past, I haven't always acted in ways I'm proud of, and that I've come to recognise how my behaviour at my lowest points were far from just self destructive.

I've changed a lot in the past 10 or so years, and it would be worrying if I hadn't. I'm not the same person I was at 16, 18, or even 20, and it's something I'm exceptionally thankful for. I look back on things that I used to do, or used to believe, and sometimes - often - it makes me cringe.

In the past, I have been guilty of being problematic in various ways that have little or nothing to do with my mental health. I've used ableist language, not realising the stigma it perpetuated or the harm it could cause. I was a proud anti-feminist for a time, and I had to gradually unlearn all the toxic, internalized misogyny I carried about with me. I was someone who thought people just wanted to …

Seeing Scotland: There's No Place Like Home

In the immortal words of Judy Garland, there's no place like home. I have been to some amazing places (see my Top 5 here) but nothing ever tops my love for the country I'm lucky enough to call home - Scotland. It's an absolute treasure trove of amazing landscapes, historic sites and friendly locals, and sometimes it doesn't even rain! I'm not ranking these places, so you can pick your favourite, gear up for 4 seasons in as many hours (barely even kidding), and explore to your heart's content.
There are still many places I'm yet to visit, but hopefully this post will inspire you to Visit Scotland!

Glencoe & Glenfinnan. So these places are actually pretty far from each other (about an hour's drive) but I've combined them because I visited both of them as part of the Gray Line Magical Highlands Tour which is an absolute must do for fans of all things Harry Potter. I was one of those creatures more elusive than a unicorn - a share-to-win Facebook c…

Blogger Recognition Award

As a total newbie to the blogging game, I've been surprised and humbled to have been nominated for a Blogger Recognition Award by both the lovely Lee (@anxious_lee) and Danielle  (@heldbygel) - thank you both so much! Both of them run fantastic blogs and you'll find their pages linked above, so go and check them out!
So I'm not entirely sure how this all works but I have it on good authority [Lee] that the rules are as follows:
Write a post to show your awardGive a brief story of how your blog started.Give two pieces of advice for new bloggers.Thank those that nominated you and link their blogSelect other blogs to give the award to.

Since 1 and 4 are complete or underway, I'll launch into the remaining 3 requirements!
How My Blog Started I really mean it when I say I sort of fell into blogging! After the death of Chester Bennington, I really struggled with my mental health (for reasons I elaborate on here). Some time in January, I finally felt able to sit and watch the mem…

Advice for Making the Most of A Short Stay in Budapest

Whether you are passing through as part of a larger trip round Europe, or going for a short city break, there is a lot to see in Budapest and fitting it all in is no easy feat! Filled with the most amazing architecture that borders on fairy-tale like, there is no shortage of amazing sites to see, places to go or things to experience. Whilst you're unlikely to experience everything you want to see or do in a matter of days, it is possible to get the majority of it done, and to enjoy it without rushing around as well - if you are organised!

1. Make a PlanThis one seems obvious, but organisation is key for fitting everything in during such a short stay. How you do this is up to you; there are of course guidebooks, or TripAdvisor. However if you are looking for a more relaxed approach, or don't already have specific things you want to see, you could try my new favourite, which has worked now for Vienna and Budapest - climb to a high point (St Stephen's Basilica has an excellen…

The 6 Things I Want Journalists to Know About Self Harm

TW: self harm, suicide.

Reeling from the news that, statistically, a quarter of teenaged girls in the UK have self harmed, the internet is currently awash with well-intentioned opinion pieces, along with less well-intentioned speculations online and on television about why people self harm, and about the different demographics of people affected.

Whilst part of me is glad that we are finally talking about self harm out in the open, it feels like a lot of energy has gone into battling the stigma of those still happy to band about ignorant and derogatory terms like "attention seeking" and "immature", rather than actually addressing the issue. Some of the articles that do focus on the causes of self harm seem somewhat myopic, with many struggling to address the reality of self harm, and self harm recovery in any true depth.
Most of the articles seem to make it half-way, but fall short of addressing just how complex the factors driving someone to self harm are. Blaming gi…

Unexpected Barriers: Mental Health and Life Insurance

Trigger Warning: brief discussion of self harm, suicide. ****

To those of us with mental health conditions, it’s a topic that we are all too familiar with: mental health related stigma and discrimination. Although the attitudes to mental illness are rapidly changing in wider society, it still feels like an inevitability that we will encounter it in some form or other. 
It could be in a variety of situations, and it can wear many different faces. It can be the secondary school teacher scathingly announcing to your class that people who self harm “…I don’t know, don’t get enough attention at home or something”. To her, it’s a throwaway comment; to you, it’s a punch in the gut. It can be the doctor that tells your friend she doesn’t look sick enough to need treatment because she has lipstick on, and her hair is brushed. It can be the anonymous words of a stranger online, telling people discussing mental health to “grow up”, “toughen up” or stop being “dramatic”. I know it well, and I kn…