Therapy. Possibly the most vile and repulsive word I know. I have avoided it for over 10 years..until now. I figured life was finally getting better, my hard work was paying off and I would be a total moron if I didn't put a safety net in place to catch me if disaster hits. If Bipolar Disorder rears its ugly head, I already know I don't have the energy to start my life over from scratch. Yet again. Career, family, friends, money and happiness can be taken in an instant. That's why I realised it was super important to start Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). Medication will stop the symptoms of mental health conditions but what you really need is the tools to manage it from inside your own head.
Now I have settled in Manchester, I thought I would give CBT a go at my local GP surgery with a trained specialist. In our first session we identified areas I wanted help with and in particular how to manage stress levels. Next week we will look at at my relationships with people and what I can practice to make sure these remain positive in stressful situations.
As much as it comes easily to share my story to help others, it's completely different to a one-to-one CBT session. The vulnerability that appears in these sessions to someone like myself who is so proud, is incredibly tough to manage. I'm really feeling hopeful about the power of CBT and I am looking forward to my next session.
Keep checking MML as I will continue to share my ongoing progress with CBT over the coming months!
In June earlier this year I managed to break my collarbone in half by snowboarding. I had just moved to start a new life in New Zealand and was happy, carefree and in possession of a two year visa. Unfortunately an operation to drill a metal plate in to my shoulder, forced me to come home. The recent weeks have given me plenty of time to reflect on how important exercise has been for my mental health. I've also now understand why I take on fast paced and high intensity jobs.
I am constantly on the move and since being on a exercise ban due to my shoulder, I've been working music festivals and anything else physical that I can reasonably do. For me to sleep I need to be happy. To be happy I need to be physically and mentally exhausted. There is so much going on in my head with having Bipolar Disorder that I need to wear myself down so I can function normally. Sleep and exercise help my brain to work properly but I often find I push myself too hard. For, example last year I got in to long distance running. The only downside was the endorphins stopped working, so I had to run further and further to get that 'kick'. 12 miles was my limit and I gave myself shin splints which also ruined my ability to play hockey. Snowboarding was next on the agenda. I picked it up fast in France and then headed over New Zealand. Cruising runs and learning tricks very quickly, stated feeling easy so I started pushing my speed. Anyone who knows me knows that I go way too fast anyway. I was smashing black runs and feeling confident right before disaster struck. I'd almost finished a run, was at the bottom, heading on to a flat bit and I had a slight lapse in concentration. Stupidly I was going fast enough that when I caught an edge instead of stacking it, I smashed straight into rock hard snow with my right shoulder. This was all because I was chasing the buzz of feeling like I was flying on my snowboard. I also started pole dancing. No fear at all, I would just launch myself at the pole. The same with boxing, never scared just chasing the adrenaline. I've now started to realise my love of exercise can be broken in to two parts. The first part is practical and sensible. It helps me release stress, build an appetite and feel tired. The second part is an addiction. I chase the adrenaline, endorphins and exhaustion to the point where I hurt myself. It becomes self-destructive.
I see the same traits in others that I know. A life of excess is replaced with extreme nutrition or exercise. I'm fortunate to enough to have injured myself badly enough to have had the time to reflect on my patterns of behaviour. I just looked at my diary for work and cancelled a new job because its too much. I don't want to burn out. Life is all about figuring out balance. This way I still have time to follow some creative projects. Just for fun. Because everyone should do things they love just because they are fun.
Ok so one thing I have learned on this crazy ride with Bipolar Disorder is that "you gotta have faith". I may have also been watching the Channel 4 documentary on George Michael but go with me on this one. Having faith links a lot to having perspective. When you are in middle of a shit storm it's pretty easy to put on the distorted perspective goggles and start falling down a hole of despair. Take me for example. I have been in a shitter of a mood the last couple of weeks. I have been eating healthy, going to bikram yoga and doing everything possible to improve my life. Yet here I am, living with family at nearly 30, working for free, broke and unable to get a lucky break. I was enjoying this particular wallow in misery until that god damn line "you gotta have faith" got stuck in my head. I started thinking about what that line means . To have faith is to believe in yourself no matter what the world throws at you. You made it this far for a start so you might as well start repaying the universe by picking yourself up off the floor, putting one foot after another and not letting your demons win. Once I had the realisation that essentially; happiness was in my power, I realised that my perspective had changed. Living with family? How lucky am I for it to even be an option? I genuinely have no idea where I would be without them. Homelessness is on the rise in Manchester at the moment and its scary how common it is becoming. I work for free? I received an education so fantastic that I was able to have many jobs and save up so I could work an internship in my dream area.I'm broke? Ok, don't have much positive to say about that so lets move on. Lucky break? My whole life is a lucky break. I was born with a chemical imbalance in my brain that could have either shortened my life with suicide or left me very alienated and alone. Instead, I have more friends and family than you shake a psychiatrist at. The fact I have the sheer drive to put one foot in front of another instead of giving up, is why I am still alive. And that ladies and gentleman is faith. Faith in yourself. Faith that you can do whatever you want. It's just the perspective that needs a little help.
Ok so this blog post is going to make me sound horrendous. Please bear in mind it is directed towards dealing with people in mental health recovery. I also appreciate all the people who truly make an effort to understand mental health conditions.
Do you know what is worse than somebody who is uneducated on mental health? Someone who is over-educated. The type of person who reads all the scandalous articles online. The articles about how someone with Bipolar Disorder had a bad day, so they went out and had sex with an entire rugby team, followed by jumping off a building high on heroin. You get my drift...
I have Bipolar Disorder. If I am stable (which can be for years at a time) please don't treat me like I don't know my own mind when I am making important decisions in my life. If I want your advice I will ask for it. Don't forget that I have held down a job since I was 15, have 3 degrees and travelled the world ON MY OWN. Don't assume I am having a breakdown just because I have a bad day at work.
I'm human and I am just like you. Sometimes I just need to vent or have a time out. I am not going to slit my wrists. Obviously if over a period of time my behaviour becomes erratic then let me know. Until then, please remember I am not made out of glass and if life gets tough I will not break. If anything I probably know better than you how to start over, having done it so many times before.
A previous boyfriend of mine once said he didn't want to read up on Bipolar symptoms. At the time I was pretty pissed off, thinking he didn't care. He told me "your Bipolar is part of you so I just want to know you". He was so right. I really urge anyone dealing with someone who has a mental illness to take this approach. Do your research but don't treat the people you love like they are incapable. Deal with shit when and as it happens. Trust me, the person you are trying to protect is probably pretty capable of doing it by themselves if you give them a chance.
Problems with mental health tend to hit harder when under stress, in physical pain or just generally having a tough time. 2 weeks ago whilst in New Zealand I broke my collarbone snowboarding. Having had severe sporting injuries before I knew how much the pain meds, broken sleep and lack of appetite could induce a Bipolar episode. This time I was determined to beat the disorder and this is how I did it:
All of the above helped me to keep my mind active and not get too upset that my adventure was over. I think a big thing with Bipolar Disorder is knowing your triggers and having an action plan for challenging times. I like to keep busy and make plans for the future. It stops me wallowing in a situation I can't change.
Last time I posted on the blog, I mentioned my upcoming talk for Ragged University. Ragged University is the brain child of Alex Dunedin; an open space to talk, engage, think and discuss. The talk focused on my own experiences with mental health issues and how I've found a combination of medication, creativity, exercise and nutrition to have a positive effect on my own general mental state. Perhaps the most interesting part of the talk was the audience participation at the end, under the guise of a Q & A. The audience really put me through my paces and I had to think fast to offer relevant answers on a range of topics. We covered: change of lifestyle, alcoholism, travel, psychosis, medication, exercise and much more. I think for me the most rewarding part was when a group of friends told me that because of the talk, they had all just had their first honest discussion regarding their own mental health concerns.
The work I do can be very practical. For example, the fundraisers raise much needed donations for vital charities. However I think raising awareness and encouraging an open dialogue of communication about mental health issues is just as valuable and I intend to keep dedicating my time to this cause.
On a personal note I'm still doing fab with sobriety as I'm approaching 8 months! I'm seeing and feeling constant improvements in my day to day life and overall well being. I still exercise regularly, eat healthily and have been working on lots of creative photography projects. I feel I've turned a big corner. Recently I returned to Edinburgh for the MML fundraiser and talk. In life you lose friends but usually one or two at a time. Not most of them in one fell swoop. Apparently sobriety is the spring clean most friendships just can't stand. It turns out it was a blessing. I now had time to reconnect with old friends and even make some new ones. I spent quality time enjoying other people's company. It wasn't about getting wasted, it was about friendships based on a love of music, art, sport or laughter. To all those people who made the effort to spend some time with me you will never know how much you brightened some rather dark days <3
First of all a massive thanks to everyone involved with the MML fundraiser earlier this month. We raised £400 for the UK Mental Health Foundation !!! Go team!!
This week MML is giving a mental health talk in collaboration with Ragged University (raggeduniversity.co.uk) on Thursday. at 7pm in Cab vol, Edinburgh. Its a free event (www.facebook.com/events/1962892743942149/) with snacks provided and doors open at 6:30pm. I will be talking about my own experiences with mental health and how I have learnt from my many many mistakes regarding medications and lifestyle. Would be amazing to see some familiar faces and new ones too! Will be writing a more in-depth blog once the talk has been given as it will also involve a Q&A segment.
Chat soon guys!! xxx
Time to meet the Edinburgh team behind next month's Mental Health Foundation fundraiser...(6th May @ Studio 24, 11pm). Just click on the images for more info!
The whole reason I started this blog was to be honest about mental health issues and encourage people to start talking about them. But I myself have not been truly honest.
By the time I return to Edinburgh, Scotland in May, I will have been sober for almost 6 months. From previous blog posts you will know (or not. I've actually no idea if anyone reads this blog) I quit drinking due to the side effects of my bipolar meds mixed with medication. In retrospect, although this fact is true I think it helped me hide a much bigger issue. I've come to realise that over the last 15 years, I have repeatedly abused alcohol in order to manage my illness. For example, manic states would mean bottles of red wine to help me sleep, I would party night after night because I couldn't face how intense my anxiety got on my own and severe depression would result in drinking until I blacked out and no longer had to face being me. It's all rather sad. I have come to accept my relationship with alcohol has never been a positive one. All I have to do is remember how it affected my behaviour in the past and the many incidents it caused. Obviously at the time it was an absolute riot and it's only as I'm getting older, I'm starting to understand how truly devastating the long lasting effects of alcohol abuse were on my life. My behaviour, (already thanks to untreated bipolar disorder were rather like that of a mad woman possessed) became even more self-destructive as I developed a uncanny ability to push away the people I loved.
I've been assuming that when I come off my meds in a few years (after a long period of stability PLEASE UNIVERSE) the psychiatrist would declare me not crazy (I don't think that's how it works but here's hoping) and I would be able to drink again. I'm now all too aware that this is not a option. I feel I've come too far to fall down and start over again. Again.
I think the biggest thing that has been holding me back about permanently banishing alcohol is the thought of losing my friends. I can't go for casual drinks, nights out or festivals anymore and that sucks. I can't even go and stay sober because if any of you have seen my willpower with chocolate you'd know how pointless it would be. I am trying so hard to say goodbye to my old life but it's engrained in me. It's a part of me that is very hard to break up with. But you gotta have faith (rest easy George). And I have faith in myself. Faith that I picked the right friends and that I'm making the right decision to openly talk about having both a mental health condition and a problem with alcohol (and I wonder why I'm single...)
I've been looking and there aren't too many people out there talking about this kinda stuff. So for anyone that needs someone to chat to or even just a laugh every so often. I'm here. Read my blog. Get in touch. It sucks to be crazy but it's a lot better when you aren't on your own.
I've been waiting for a worthy reason to update the blog and I think I finally have it. Plans. The future. The stuff that keeps us stepping forward.
I've spent the last month working on a number of mental health projects. Firstly, I am currently in talks with Ragged University (https://www.raggeduniversity.co.uk/about/presentations/ ) based in Edinburgh (Cabaret Voltaire) about giving a talk on mental health as part of mental health awareness week. "Ragged University is about the free exchange of knowledge and skills in social spaces. It is about people who love what they do sharing what they have invested their time in. At the heart of this is that we should enjoy knowledge and talking over ideas whilst breaking bread…" This talk will take place in May and I will be able to give some more details soon.
Secondly...looking to the future often comes from letting go of the past. I did that a while ago now. I changed my lifestyle and with that i improved my own wellbeing. Unfortunately I felt I lost a part of me. Anyone who remembers me from my days in Edinburgh knows I can throw a party. But I don't party anymore and it's hard to be in that type of environment when living clean and healthy. Ultimately I miss my friends. I miss music. I miss dancing. I miss creating social environments for people to have fun. So I thought...sod it. I don't have to drink but I can still throw a party worth remembering. I'm throwing one last hurrah to say goodbye to everyone before I leave on my travels in June. This hurrah is one with a difference. I'll be hosting an evening (Sat 6th May) at Studio 24 to raise money for the UK Mental Health Foundation (https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/ )!
Thirdly...it's funny how the world works. I contacted the Mental Health Foundation to ask for a registration number and to explain a little bit about the fundraiser. They ended up checking out the My Mental Life blog and were impressed enough to ask if I could get in touch about blogging for them! Couldn't be more proud :)
From hard work comes a lot of ball ache, frustration and waiting. Then one day you realise someone else has noticed your hard work. And you start to hope you're finally making a little difference in the world <3
A lot has changed since my last post...the weather, my job and me! I never thought working with kids was my sorta thing but it turns out I kind of love it. Their energy is infectious and each one has an uncanny ability to make you laugh, just as they've pushed you to breaking point. I work with an amazing team of nannys, 6 days a week. When we aren't nannying, me and my pal Elise can be found crying, ;laughing and falling down the slopes, all under the guise of claiming to 'ski;'.
Living high up in the mountains is an awesome lifestyle and the views are unreal. I've still quit drinking. I thought it would be difficult to make friends without alcohol but I was so wrong! My La Tania ski family are something else :) Love you guys so much! Everyone has endless energy and loves being outdoors! Since quitting drinking and smoking three months ago, I have saved just over £1000. Brilliant incentive! I now stick my money in my savings account and at the end of this year I will have finally paid off the bank loan I took out to study a masters.
Mentally there isn't a lot to say. My mind is pretty quiet at the moment and its a pleasant change. I'm loving learning to ski and everyone has been so helpful with offering to teach us. I super enjoyed my first snowboarding lesson but its been hard to get out since :( Will keep persevering though. My mum comes out in March so my goal is to be good enough to go out with her on a few runs. I did my first green one last week and I loved it so much I did it twice (thanks teacher Esme <3). As I overheard the other day... NO GUTS NO GLORY!!! Check out this link vimeo.com/201204293 to see what I get up to at work!
On that note dudes, have a wicked day :)
Sorry for the recent silence from MML HQ but I've been transitioning from one hemisphere to another for work!
The Australian dream came to an end when my visa expired and I was unsure where I would be headed next. Early in the year I imagined it would be home and most likely to another dead-end and depressing but much needed job.
Recently, since changing my lifestyle and mindset I've started stepping out of my comfort zones and feeling more confident about doing so. I've started actively hunting out what I want from life and not giving up till I get it. It's paid off. I'm moving to the French Alps to work as a nanny for a ski company who own a number of chalets and a hotel. It's a paid job with free accom, food, insurance, ski lessons and equipment. I can't quite believe it's happening. Ski season is a dream I've had for a while and it's becoming a reality!!
To top things off I applied for a NZ 2 year working holiday visa in August. I had a lot of problems with it being approved due to being Bipolar. I had to jump through many hoops, one of which was to see a psychiatrist and be approved to travel in NZ. I'll leave you with this excerpt from my report. Never give up and get healthy <3
Wow I don't even know where to start with telling you about this weeks interview. If you are interested in mental health, creativity, slowing down or generally being fabulous at life, its so worth a read!
From DJ & club promoter to Hunter Gatherer Forager, we speak to Anne Howlers about how much her lifestyle has changed since switching from party kid to slow living.
1. Can you tell us a little about your lifestyle as a DJ & club promoter in Australia and Scotland?
I got interested in music and putting on events when I was 15 years old. Not playing a instrument myself, I loved meeting like minded people and experiencing the energy at live music events. When I was 20, I was part of a crew that formed an arts warehouse collective called Push gallery/figure8 in Sydney. It was here that I was taught to DJ and able to put my love of reggae/dancehall music and events together. From there I travelled to London, then Scotland, where I worked in the club and bar scene. Although my lifestyle at this time was full of beautiful creative people and it was fun, I wouldn't say I was healthy. I worked long hours to support myself and any free time was spent partying and I wasn't taking care of myself. Being in my early 20s health mental or physical wasn't something I considered.
2. Did you encounter any mental heath conditions at this time?
Oh definitely my mental health wasn't great, I suffered depression and at times self harm. The partying didn't help but I guess not knowing better I thought I was 'self medicating'. I've known many people who suffer from mental health issues but it was never something that was talked about. I've always been blessed to have a really supportive community and friends but even so I had a hard time reaching out for help and I think many others did too. There's definitely a stigma surrounding mental health and often you want to sort it out yourself or not trouble people with your problems.
3. Do you think any of these mental health conditions could be better managed witha change of lifestyle?
I know for me personally my mental health has greatly improved since I started living a healthier lifestyle. I did go on anti depressants in my late teens but I didn't like them and now prefer diet and exercise. I still get down days but I'm aware of the signs and what I need to do for self care. There's still areas I would like to improve, the main being my addiction to sugar! I probably use less than most people as I only have It in fruit ,coffee, tea and home baking but I can feel it bringing me down if I don't have it and I'm not ready to go through the sugar withdrawal. I'd also like to up the amount I exercise to get some good endorphins!
3. Who is Hunter Gatherer Forager and what is the ethos behind what you do?
Hunter Gatherer Forager is made up of myself and my partner Dane. We wanted the best food and lifestyle but didn't have the money to buy it, so we started small by growing, preserving and fermenting our own food.. We are constantly learning more and exploring new areas. Currently I'm teaching myself to spin yarn. I love living this way and dream of buying our own small patch of land to teach others some of the skills involved.
I do feel we are part of a grass roots movement and more and more people in our generation are moving towards slow living.
4. What initiated the change from city life to slow living?
There were a few signals from the universe while Dane and I were in Europe but we ignored them, preferring to party and go to festivals. The real initiator was when we were in Croatia and found out I was expecting our daughter. We had a month helping in Slovenia before we returned home. Surrounded by farms we spent a lot of time thinking about what sort of life we wanted to live once becoming parents.
5. Has this lifestyle change had any positive impacts on you or your familys?
I'm not sure I'm happier as I was happy before but it's a different type of happiness - more soul fulfilling and nurturing. It certainly feels more natural to be up early morning and in bed early evening. When we lived on the farm we worked hard long hours but you slept deeper and I often wonder if our hard working pioneer ancestors struggled with mental illness as much as society today. It's hard to know though as things were very different in those days.
6. Do you think nutrition can have an effect on mental health and clarity?
I probably don't look into nutrition as much as I should. We eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables and very little processed foods. I trust we get lot of good nutrients that way. I do feel I have more clarity and clearheadedness these days and that's very much a result of a cleaner lifestyle.
7. What is the most important lesson you have learnt from changing your lifestyle and nutrition?
Follow your passions and you will achieve great contentment even if it's just a hobby in your spare time.
8. What communities have you discovered and can recommend to people to reach out to if they are interested in improving their nutrition?
There's so many wonderful and inspiring cyber communities, blogs and Facebook pages out there. Personally, I was very inspired by Rhonda hertzels blog "down to earth" and Sally Wise who both live slow food , frugal lifestyles.
8. Where can we follow your adventures and purchase your latest products?
Etsy store HuntaGathererforager
Blog - huntergatherererforager.WordPress.com
If you have been following My Mental Life on Instagram (www.instagram.com/mymentallife.co.uk/) you will have seen me having the time of my life in Bali with some pals from my home hockey team (Gaby Little and Georgia Perkins <3 ). On planning the holiday the girls knew I would be unable to drink so we decided to go for an active and healthy trip. Here's how we did it...
No alcohol and no fast food! We found the best place for healthy food to be on Gili Trawangan where we splurged on dragonfruit smoothies, zucchini lasagna and poached eggs with fresh greens. Absolute bliss! The food was a little more expensive but as we weren't spending on alcohol we didn't mind. If we fancied something a bit cheaper we went for either barbeque or traditional Indonesian cuisine. Not gonna lie...myself and Georgia may have developed a rather unhealthy obsession with pancakes and sorbet but we now both believe this to have just been two foodies bonding on holiday!
To keep alcohol cravings at bay, we jam-packed our days with so many activities we barely had time to ring home or sleep, let alone party! Highlights included mountain treks (lets just say the way up was hard but the way down was absolutely hilarious for everyone apart from me, as I spent most of it on my backside), temples, monkeys, volcano craters, swimming on tropical islands, surfing, yoga and much more. We crammed all the major activities in to the start of the trip, which was a great plan. As we started to relax later in the holiday, we were able to really enjoy some lazy days by the pool and recover from jetlag.
I've always loved photography but I'd lost touch with it over recent years. My focus when travelling had shifted to going out, drinking and dancing till the early hours and trying to avoid the dreaded hangover by sleeping late. This trip was completely different. I was rewarded for my 6am photography efforts with some of the best photographs I have ever taken. Definitely made the no alcohol worth it, as I'll be able to keep these photographs forever and when I'm old and wrinkly, I'll be able to remember just how good our girls holiday was.
If you would like to see the photos you can follow my work over on www.instagram.com/louiselordphotography/
Last but not least, the key to having a healthy and happy holiday with no alcohol, is to have support from the people you are travelling with. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank both Gaby and Georgia. It didn't matter how many times I said I didn't mind about you drinking, you were both adamant that you had committed to a healthy, no alcohol holiday. I appreciate this act of friendship more than you'll ever know - you are both bloody fantastic friends. Big love xx
Last month I did a 4 week detox to be bikini ready for my upcoming girls trip to Bali. No alcohol, dairy, sugar, caffeine, processed food, gluten etc. It was a great success with wonderful results for my figure, skin, hair and nails! The bit that surprised me the most was how much better I felt not drinking. My day to day anxiety drastically decreased until it completely disappeared. In the past my Bipolar meds have never mixed well with alcohol. With every year that I continue to take Lithium, the side effects get worse when combined with alcohol. This is my third year on meds and in the last 6 months I have noticed some scary changes. I have started to experience short term memory loss (not when recalling the evening before but actually during the evening), blackouts (luckily I have never hit my head too hard), vomiting (up to 20 times and last but not least seizures/fits (up to 3 an evening). This is because Lithium causes severe dehydration and tremors when mixed with alcohol. It also starts to go toxic in your bloodstream. When I wrote this down and read it back, it occurred to me that it would have been smart to stop drinking altogether a long time ago. Unfortunately drinking is such a big part of our society as a universal form of socialising, that it is hard to imagine life without it. I am worried my friends might not want to hang out with me anymore and I'm certainly worried that I may find it difficult to find someone to have a relationship with. Social situations are just so much easier with alcohol. I am really determined to say goodbye to alcohol as I'd rather be able to take my meds and be mentally stable than go out partying. I am really excited to never have a hangover again and take up even more exercise. Who knows - maybe one day there will be a Bipolar medication which allows me to still enjoy a drink!? I have also decided the money I save from not drinking will be spent towards more travels! Wish me luck - who would have ever thought Lou would be teetotal?! :) xxx
Many many years ago a dear friend of mine encouraged me to try a yoga class. This was in Edinburgh, UK and my friend soon went on to do her yoga teacher training. After many wonderful yoga classes both in Edinburgh and Brisbane, Australia my wonderful friend and her partner went on to launch their own yoga retreat... Hide in the sky - I'll let them tell you more about it below and how you can get involved!
"Life is complicated. And hard! And overwhelming.. Everyone feels it I'm sure, but not everyone knows how to deal with it. How to take a step back and slow everything down to a point of reflection. To a place where you can safely explore your emotions, your actions, your stress,anxieties and find some resolve or better still, peace, quiet & self acceptance. We (Hide in the Sky) feel so passionately about creating a supportive space where people can feel comfortable nourishing themselves, taking that `time out` that everyone deserves.. Reminding people to care for themselves, to love themselves and to accept themselves for all of their perfect imperfections.
We are lucky enough to have a lifestyle where we can go off and explore.. Whenever we feel suffocated or stressed by the city pace we take a timeout in nature, in the mountains or by the sea.... The restoration we feel from nourishing ourselves in the wild is our inspiration for (Hide in the Skyline) After taking a group out to the French alps on retreat in September, and observing the powerful positive effects this nurturing space created, we wanted to bring that life changing experience home with us and share it with as many people as we can, popping it on the doorsteps of city people who's lifestyles don't necessarily allow this luxury. So we bring it to them, by using secret locations around the city where people can meet, move together, breathe together, share wine, delicious food and a lot of chatting!
Come with us and hide in the sky
Hide in the sky ~ weekend retreats in locations around Europe ( next retreat may 2017 - location TBC)
Hide in the skyline ~ day retreats in locations around UK ( next retreat 29th Oct- full )
Insta ~ www.instagram.com/hide.in.the.sky/
Fb ~ www.Facebook.com/hideinthesky
I've been thinking a lot about perspective recently and what direction I hope My Mental Life will take. Starting this project has opened up a lot of channels of communications with friends, artists, musicians and many more. I personally believe the stigma surrounding mental health is outdated and needs a radical overhaul. We need positive reinforcement from society and realistic solutions for individuals. When I think back to when I was first diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder at 21, I remember I was so relieved. I finally knew why I was different. I truly believed everything would get better. And it did. From my perspective. What I didn't realise was from that very moment, I would start a very lonely journey. People fear what they don't know and in todays society we are brought up to not talk about how we are feeling. How can we progress as individuals and also as a community if we can't talk about something that is wrong?
My hope with My Mental Life is to eventually provide a space for people with mental health conditions. In this space will be somewhere to hang out, take yoga classes, get involved in art projects, play with turntables and learn to cook healthy food. When I was younger I had to go to community centres and outpatient clinics where the professionals had the best interests for the patient but no time to get to know them. The environment was depressing and you always felt like you were being put in a corner where you wouldn't bother anyone. I want to celebrate all the people who battle inside their heads every single day and say well done! You deserve to feel good and have a space thats wants you in it. The picture above is a piece I created today. From now on I refuse to say I have a mental illness. I have a mental health condition and its going to get better.
I have set up this site to provide information and support on how nutrition and exercise can better manage your mental illness. I will also be investigating the benefits of having a mental illness - yes they do exist! In particular I will be looking at the creative arts and how we can utilise them for our own gain. Being "mental" isn't a taboo subject here and it certainly doesn't limit what you can do with your life. I'm proud to be different and I want you to be too!
Exercise has helped me gain confidence and relieve stress. It also beats taking anti-depressants and benzodiazepine often used to treat depression and anxiety. My insomnia has disappeared and I no longer need to take mirtazipine (a zombie like drug, also used to treat anorexia so you can imagine the weight gain!). Exercise helps me feel in control. If I'm having a bad day/week/month, it enables me to gain some perspective and release some feel good endorphins!
I'm currently on Lithium Carbonate to treat Bipolar Affective Disorder. By changing my diet, I have combated the negative side effects of tiredness and weight gain. I removed sugar, processed foods, caffeine and stodgy carbs from my eating plan. I live off fruit, veg, lean meat and tons of water. The first two weeks were tough but once my body got used to the change, I noticed a sense of calm descend and my energy levels increased.
Over the following months I will be further exploring exercise and nutrition and how they can be implemented in to everyday life with as little hassle as possible. I will also be featuring awesome creative projects and some wicked music from my lovely pals. Don't forget to check out the recipes section to have a go at making your own simple and tasty meals!