*Short disclaimer: I drank three times in January, technically a failure but also still of an achievement – 3 isn’t 31 people! Okay, it was four.* I can’t be the only person that has woken… More
Mental health problems are something that are so underrepresented in our society; there are many issues with the ways in which we view mental illness and particularly how we attempt to cure it.
I’m not here to tell you how to live your life or provide you with some miracle cure – as much as I wish I could. However I thought – particularly on World Mental Health Day, it would be a good idea to write about supporting somebody with mental health issues. It’s widely known that mental health problems affect one in four people – so I think we should be raising awareness so that we can all offer support for people affected by this.
Listen – but allow them to share as much or as little as they’d like:
Never underestimate the power of listening, often getting out feelings or providing somebody with an outlet for their thoughts can make a world of difference. It’s important however to remember not to push anybody for information or ask them anything they’re uncomfortable answering.
Don’t try and diagnose:
Naturally it’s easy to form an opinion, particularly if you have knowledge in the area but unofficial diagnosis can be damaging so it’s probably best to steer clear from doing so where possible.
Equally as important, don’t doubt or hesitate about what anybody is saying:
Questioning a person’s honesty is never good – particularly if they’re struggling.
Discuss wellbeing and helpful methods of staying positive:
Sharing ideas for maintaining a happy and healthy mindset can go a long way! If you have suggestions for wellbeing techniques then share them, they may provide someone with help when they need it most.
Try not to make assumptions:
Similarly to diagnosis, it’s important not to make assumptions about the cause of any mental health issues or what will help somebody to overcome them.
Be patient and remember that this is like any other illness and takes time to heal. Never use the words ‘mind over matter’ or anything even slightly similar.
Keep social contact:
Even if somebody is shutting you out or finding it hard to keep in touch, try your best to remind them that you’re there whenever they need you.
Just be there:
Sometimes everybody just needs someone to be there. Don’t worry about saying or doing the right thing – just be around, whether that’s sitting in silence together or being on the end of the phone. Make it known that you’re there for support whenever it’s needed.
If you’re struggling with a mental health illness, I hope you can find comfort in the knowledge that there is always somebody to turn to. I think I speak for many people when I say that I am always available for a chat, whether we are best friends, complete strangers or simply acquaintances – nobody deserves to suffer in silence and I will make every effort I can to make every single person on this planet feel hopeful and loved.
As a short disclaimer, I don’t intend for this post to be insensitive or ignorant towards anybody that may be struggling for any reason. If anything I hope to encourage happiness in all of you that do read this.
As I’m sure many of you are aware after so much complaining, often on this blog; I’m at an annoying age in which I’m constantly questioning my next step in life. Never truly living in the moment or appreciating what I have and always worrying that I’m not doing enough, not seeing enough or that I’m not as far ahead as I should be.
A month ago I realised that I was overlooking so much that is brilliant in my life and is a cause for celebration everyday. So with this in mind, I decided to film a second from a blissful moment of each day for the month of September – so that I could finally see the joy in the little things and stop focusing so much on what ifs and worries.
I realise now that whether it’s a night with friends, a relaxed evening in or just seeing puppies in the street – there is happiness to be found in the smallest things & it is around us every single day.
Heartbreak must be one of the worst things that a human can face, it’s an obscure feeling that completely consumes you. The person that has hurt you becomes everything, you see them in bars that you visited together, the mutual friends you share – their favourite breakfast option.
However, if you’re blissfully happy, you’re probably reading this thinking I’m an idiot. If there’s one thing we can be certain of it’s that we have all been there – and we have all thought that it would be the end of us.
LUCKILY because it’s so common to be dumped and depressed – there are many solutions to this problem. Often in the form of music, alcohol and if you’re sad like me, a lovely little poem. (If you haven’t already, check out Rupi Kaur, suddenly every piece of sadness you’ve ever felt will rear it’s ugly head and then magically dissolve away)
I’ve wanted to write something like this for a long time but was unsure that the tone would be correct, I think it’s always better to write things whilst reflecting on a situation, as opposed to in the heat of the moment. If you’re showing it to the public anyway.
So without further ado, here are my words of wisdom – my break up cheat sheet, if you will:
Find an album that you can relate to and listen to it as often as you like
If nothing springs to mind right now, borrow mine. Made of Bricks has gotten me over every crush, boyfriend and particularly upsetting deaths of favourite TV characters in the past 10 years. Get on board, you can never listen to Foundations too much.
Spend as much time as you can with your friends & remember that they’re only trying to help you
Naturally you’re going to feel upset when they are saying that the person you love isn’t worth your time, but you must remember that they’re your people and have nothing but your best interests at heart. AND in two months you’ll be agreeing with them.
Stop looking through old pictures, obsessing over memories shared and questioning what went wrong
You’re not helping yourself and you’re certainly not finding answers – so just stop. You’ll feel a hundred times better and deep down you know that too.
The most important thing you can do right now is find the version of you that believes they are fabulous. After all of the drinking, junk food and shower neglect of course. A friend of mine dyes her hair after break ups – it works. Give it a go.
Get a routine
Find a new routine that works for you, distract yourself when you need to and start doing things that will make you feel great. Appreciate the fact you have more time to yourself, see your friends and do the things that you love (especially if your partner didn’t really enjoy them so much.)
Ignore their social media channels
Nobody wants to see the person they’ve broken up with moving on blissfully. It’s just a cold, hard fact of life.
Sidenote: If you are looking, remember that people only want to show the best of themselves online.
UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES should you have any contact with them if you are drunk
Even if you “feel great” and you “just need to tell them one last thing.” It’s stupid. You’ll regret it. Trust me.
Think about seeing other people, but only if you’re ready
Try not to rush into anything before you’re truly ready to, it might make you feel worse in the long run – and you could end up hurting somebody else.
Also, I learnt from a week of Tinder that sometimes it can be a confidence boost, often it’s just another thing that makes you question what is wrong with the human race.
Remember your self worth
Most importantly, you must learn to love yourself again. Don’t give away everything you are to somebody that can’t see you. Remind yourself daily that you have felt this pain before and you will get over it again. That if somebody is going to hurt you, they have never deserved you.
Basically all of the stuff that you think is nonsense when you’re happy – but you need to hear when you’re sad.
Just focus on getting back to yourself and look forward to the day you can scream I AM EVERYTHING and actually believe it.
I just want to preface this by saying that a few weeks ago I listened to the philosopher’s stone soundtrack whilst on a flight – staring out of the window, trying not to sob. It was perhaps the best thing to happen ever. 10/10 would recommend to a friend.
Harry Potter is without any shadow of doubt, one of my favourite things to have ever existed. It fills me with so much happiness that it’s actually weird. Luckily I’m not the only one – so I compiled a list of things that my fellow Potterheads will understand (luv u guys let’s play Quidditch sometime soon yh?)
- You still worry about the chance that you’re a squib,
I just couldn’t live with myself…not that squibs are any less important #equalityforall
- Or that you’re letter never made it to you,
Living everyday holding onto the knowledge that Voldemort’s ministry deleted all muggleborn records between 1985-1998. That must be the only reason, right?!
- Years later, the deaths of certain characters continue to ruin your day,
A lot of great people died okay, I don’t even want to think about it.
- You’re baffled when people don’t know what house they’re in,
Do us all a favour (and let me know your results.) I’m a Hufflepuff, sure you’re dying to know.
- You re-read the books once a year
& it is a perfectly acceptable use of your time!!
- You will always have a deep rooted hatred for Peter Pettigrew.
He was their friend. And he betrayed them. HE WAS THEIR FRIEND.
- If the chance came, you would drop everything and be a mature student at Hogwarts.
- You’ve accepted the fact that you’d spend extortionate amounts on a toilet brush if it had the Hogwarts shield emblazoned on it.
- Nothing brings you more joy (or jealousy) than seeing someone experience Harry Potter for the first time.
- No franchise will ever compare!
Yeah Lord of the Rings is great and everything but where’s Sirius?
- It still hurts to think that the series ended (but you accept that it was time to let go)
Cursed Child and Fantastic Beasts just isn’t the same really, let’s be honest.
- And when somebody says that they preferred fantastic beasts:
- You may have spent a
yearweek or two doing absolutely nothing but playing Pottermore in bed.
Why is it so addictive JK, why?
- Whilst people around you scoff at a friend that owns a wand you’re screaming “WHO’S WAND? WHAT’S THE CORE MATERIAL?”
- You spend hours watching “12 things you never noticed about Harry Potter” videos, only to be disappointed that you learnt nothing new.
- You shamelessly listen to the soundtrack and have maybe forced friends to play it at the pub.
- You’re still waiting for the day that somebody buys you a Hogwarts uniform,
You even make incredibly subtle hints about it in blog posts.
- You constantly find yourself thinking about spells that would make your life 100x easier,
- Now that you’re a real life adult you can’t help but have conversations about how complex Harry Potter is.
The underlying messages about racism, class hierarchy and government corruption make it a true gift to literature.
- You still feel an overwhelming sense of joy reading the words “Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.”
- All of your future pets (and children) have already got Potter themed names.
- You’re still kept awake at night by some of the best things that were left out of the films…
Where was Peeves? Where was Harry giving the twins his tournament winnings? Where was S.P.E.W? Why was there no mention of Ron winning the Quidditch cup? Where was Voldy’s back story? WHERE WAS THE UNVEILING THAT RITA SKEETER WAS AN ILLEGAL ANIMAGUS?! I’m calm, I’m calm. Get prepared for this to be a separate post of anger.
- Some of the character portrayals in the films deeply, deeply upset you.What happened to Ginny Weasley?
- “Aren’t you a little old to still be into Harry Potter?”
- Harry Potter has been the bonding moment between you and some of your best friends,
Will taking Harry Potter quizzes and discussing which character you relate most with whilst ignoring all of the muggles at a party ever get old?
- You know that even when you’re 52, you’ll pick up a Harry Potter book or walk through a place that looks vaguely like Diagon Alley and be filled with warmth and fuzziness, thinking about all of the happiness that JK bought you (thanks gal.)
One of the best things I’ve ever read has to be a collection of essays by Roxane Gay, she is an absolute goddess and the mastermind behind “Bad Feminist.” It completely reaffirmed my beliefs and taught me a lot about how I conduct myself (particularly around other women.) There is nobody on this planet that I would not recommend this book to.
As a feminist, I often find myself thinking “that wasn’t very ‘feminist’ of you” as if that even means anything. I think it’s easy to get caught up in unwritten rules within a social movement and feel as if you’re doing something wrong. When realistically, as long as you’re supporting equality between every gender, you are a feminist.
It was however, amusing to collate the things that I thought made me a “bad feminist” so I thought it was only right to share them with you here.
Defending why I don’t want children
I often find myself in conversation with people in which I state that having children really isn’t something that I’m interested in ever doing. The odd thing here being that in my head I know that this is completely okay and I have absolutely nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed about. BUT then I seem to go on to say the words “I mean I probably will in the future, I guess I can never completely rule something out.”
Now for all I know I could wake up one cloudy Tuesday in 2024 and decide that all I want in the world is 2 kids and a holiday home in France so this isn’t a completely ridiculous statement to make.
The problem is that I only say these things to try and defend myself in front of certain people. There’s something in my crap feminist head that can’t bare that look of “oh…so you just don’t…want…kids?” So what I’m trying to confess is that I pretend I might one day want them so that my womb can feel better about itself. Sad, I know.
Defending my body hair (apparently I’m a very defensive person)
I’m an inherently lazy person. If I don’t absolutely have to do something, I simply won’t. So when it comes to body hair, all I’m saying is that I’m not going to spend an extra 20 minutes in the shower fixing something that is not broken.
And once again – as with the children – I AM OK WITH THIS. BUT. I find myself getting awkward when people mention it, I make an active effort to cover my legs in certain social situations and I have no idea why. It’s so frustrating to me that I clearly still care about these stupid social constructs.
To quickly clear this up, I’m not saying that all feminists have body hair or trying to encourage stupid stereotypes that should have never existed in the first place. I’m simply saying that if I’m comfortable with something within myself – why the heck am I still hiding it away?
Feeling accomplished when hearing the phrase “you’re not like other girls”
WHY DO WOMEN FEEL LIKE THEY HAVE TO COMPETE WITH EACH OTHER?!
We should be praising and empowering each other, not putting one another down and accepting sub par compliments that single us out from everybody else. It really upsets me to admit that I used to be filled with joy at the sound of these words, as if I’d done something spectacular when realistically this is another way of saying “being a woman is a bad thing” congratulations, you’ve succeeded in beating the rest of them.
Don’t even get me started on the term “you *insert any verb* like a girl.”
Being in awe of an authoritative woman/thinking that a female is “too bossy”
The fact that I look up to authoritative women will never be a bad thing, the thing that upsets me about this is that is constantly seems to come with a side dish of “wow, she actually got to this position of power – good for her.” As if having anything other than a male boss is an achievement. Another thing that is worth noting is that is the old “bossy” comment.
Now, I could be wrong, but I just need you to take a minute and try and think of any situation in which you’ve thought a man was being bossy in your workplace. Please tell me if you’ve found something. Because in my experience, a man telling their colleagues what to do is them doing their job. A woman on the other hand, is being bossy. If this isn’t a clear example of inequality at work, I don’t know what is.
Judging another persons’ sex life
Ok, we’ve all done it. Unfortunately it seems to be part of human nature to judge other people. BUT we need to make sure that we’re judging people EQUALLY.
I’m kidding, this is my public statement saying that I will never judge another person on their sexual activity. As long as their not hurting anyone, of COURSE – and even then, what problem did judging somebody else ever solve?
Openly not doing “feminine” things
This one is just silly. When I was younger I remember actively not doing things because they were deemed girly. Whatever gender you identify as, you should be able to wear giant pink fluffy everything or make up or a t-shirt that literally says “I’m a big masculine manly man” because clothes don’t mean anything. Objects do not contribute anything to your gender or who you are as a person.
Saying the words “I only hang out with guys”
Firstly, why I ever wanted to only associate with guys baffles me – not that I’m throwing shade at the “male race” but purely because it just seems so closed off and weird. That statement in itself confuses me but sadly, it used to be something that frequently left my mouth.
It really gets me down that there was a time in my life where I would instantly assume I wouldn’t get on with a “girly girl.” Because it’s one of the silliest things I’ve ever heard.
Roxane Gay actually says something that perfectly epitomises what I’m trying to say in Bad Feminist:
“If you’re the kind of woman that says “I’m mostly friends with guys and act like you’re proud of that, like that makes you closer to being a man or something and less of a woman, as if being a woman is a bad thing…it’s okay if most of your friends are guys but if you champion this as a commentary on the nature of female friendships, well, soul-search a little.”
I’d definitely recommend reading the article that this quote comes from, It’s fantastic. We need to stop the toxicity and competition in our friendships and accept that we’re all fabulous.
ALSO, while I’m ranting – on a slightly unrelated topic – there is a meme that circulated a year or two ago about girls that are only friends with guys. You may have seen it, the woman with hot dogs in her mouth? Maybe I’m just being a negative nelly and not taking a joke but did it annoy anyone else that this makes the assumption that a woman can’t be friends with a group of men without engaging in sexual activity with all of them? As if – oh I don’t know – women were sex objects. I could have completely misread it, but I figured there’s no better time for me to have this rant.
Feeling uncomfortable about doing things that are typically aren’t “feminine”
The best example of this that I can think of is when I was younger and I felt really uncomfortable eating large amounts of food in front of other people. Or being messy or gross in any way. As if it was a strange thing to do because I’m a petite, polite lady. Luckily I got over that and frequently shovel mass amounts of food into my mouth for all to see – throwing it everywhere and causing a huge mess of course. (You’re welcome.)
But this is completely the same for hobbies, media, sex – the list goes on and on (and it shouldn’t exist.)
Not knowing what to do around a crying man
…as if it were any different to comforting anybody else. This is something that I think needs a lot more attention in our society. Men have been emotionally repressed for far too long and the idea that’s emasculating to cry is ridiculous. Similarly, the idea that it’s hysterical for anybody to cry is. We are all human, everybody needs a good cry sometimes.
Gender equality still has to come a long way and although it’s undeniable that things are better than they were – I think we all need to continue to work towards building a society in which everybody is equal, regardless of their gender, race or any other construct that seems to segregate us even though we are all human.
We appear to spend our lives seeking one person, that glorious person that will comfort us when we’re ill and somehow still laugh at all of our jokes after ten years. That’s the dream, right? The old couple eating chips by the beach.
Unfortunately, our society is flooded with quick fixes and tricks to get into relationships. Maybe they’ll be the one and you’ll live happily ever after, realistically you’ll realise 9 months in that you have little in common, they’re not actually that funny AND you fancy the bartender at your local.
And yet we continue to do it, we subject ourselves to hours of scrolling through Tinder, rummaging through hundreds of creepy messages in the hopes that one day someone will openly post about you on their Instagram. True? Probably. Sad? Definitely.
But it’s not to worry chickadees because your friendly, local Claire Cross is here to tell you how to stop seeing these people (you’re welcome.)
Don’t rely on dating apps to find the one
I know that your friends, sisters’ best pal found the father of her children and co-owner of a country house in Surrey on Tinder – but that doesn’t mean it’s going to happen to you. In fact, it could well happen – the possibility is absolutely there, unfortunately I doubt its Dan who’s bio reads “don’t swipe right if you’re just gonna friendzone.”
Stop ignoring red flags
You know the things that you tell your friends after the break up, the small instances that you brushed off at the time but now you’re finding yourself questioning why you ever continued that relationship. Yeah, those are called red flags and you should absolutely start believing in them. If your partner starts telling racist jokes or dictating what you should be doing: they’re probably not the one.
Small coincidences do not a good relationship make
So they have the same favourite film as you, they love dogs and used to be really into tennis as well. So do millions of other people in the world. Don’t get me wrong, shared interests are obviously a brilliant thing in a relationship but it’s important to figure out if they’re the only thing you’re relationship is resting on.
Ask yourself, do you have similar lifestyles that push your relationship forward and give you a means of enjoying experiences together? Or are they one of the thousands of people that love eating pizza in bed whilst watching Peep Show?
Don’t feel pressured to be in a relationship
We’ve all seen our friends and their partners being dead cute and thought ‘I’d like that.’ Obviously this is perfectly normal; this however, is not a reason to go looking for a relationship because it seems appealing. Ask yourself if the person you’re interested in is actually somebody you want to be with – or are they simply a comforting and beneficial friend to share hungover mornings with…
Location, location, location
Of course, you’ll occasionally meet someone in a club, they will have been dragged along by their friends – they want to go home and have zero interest in the pull. However, it’s more likely that you’ll meet the guy that spent pre-drinks telling his friends he’s gonna smash and dash whilst necking voddies and lemonade.
Stop trying to chase this guy, the chances of him actually dedicating any real time to you are slim – and let’s be honest, you’re probably not that into him anyway.
Question if it’s just lust
On that note, every now and then we are in need of affection and I’m sure we can all agree that sometimes that need clouds our judgment. Ask yourself, is he the one? Or was he the one at the time?
Don’t settle for less!
The next time you’re waiting by the phone for a reply, or spending hours asking your friends what his actions mean – remind yourself that you are fabulous. That although you might not have matching candle holders or anecdotes about long weekends in Greece: you are still brilliant.
No relationship status will change that, particularly one with a half-hearted 6/10 that spends his time bragging about doing body shots in Magaluf.
I am absolutely counting spoiling a vote as a vote with this. Just so we’re aware.
Come on kids, voting can be fun too! You just need to watch loads of BBC News and look at this funny man called Boris bumble around. I don’t mean to sway your opinion but I heard that this party leader has Snapchat L O L.
I know, I know, you hate me right now. I think it’s very important to point out that I am entirely kidding and despise the generic methods of engaging young people to vote as much as the next person. Is there anything worse than an Eton-educated politician that has never stepped foot into a Wetherspoons tell you that they’re “down with the kids” and aiming to cater for younger generations of people?
However, this does not change that fact that it is so important that we, as a group a young adults, make our vote. In ode to Buzzfeed, I thought it’d be best to break these reasons down into a list – because we all know that the attention span of 18-24 year olds is crap. Curse you Facebook, down with Instagram.
In all seriousness, if you haven’t already registered to vote and think that you might skip this general election that please peruse this list before making up your mind.
- We complain enough.
No Tea No Shade, but we do like to moan. Have you ever found yourself complaining about increases in student loan interest rates? Maybe you’ve been unhappy that the people that lead your country have decided to hurt innocent civilians in a bid for power?
By rejecting the vote, you’re silencing yourself. You’re telling the people that collate data for the Daily Mail that our generation doesn’t care. If you have a problem with the government, take action to change this. I understand that you may not agree with any political party, but we’ll get into that later.
- Change the stereotype.
I don’t know about you, but I’m sick of being tarnished with a brush that says that younger people are lazy and careless. I’m sick of my voice being interrupted because I’m in a certain age bracket that people associate with a lack of information.
The only way to bust this stereotype and be taken seriously within our society is to make a stand and show that we care. We’re can’t stand by and watch people with no idea about the life of a ‘millenial’ tell us what is best for us.
- Politicians work to please people.
I’m sure this does not come as a surprise but politicians are selling themselves, they’re essentially a walking brand desperately attempting to convince people that they are different.
If there is a presence of younger people registering to vote, they will make more effort to appeal to us. Even if they have no idea what we want or need from society.
- A snap election hasn’t happened in over 30 years.
A snap election does not happen every day. There is a big chance that we will live the rest of our lives without one happening again. This is literally a chance to be part of history; it’s a second chance at trying to push change.
- Not voting is not rebelling.
I often hear people say “there’s no point in voting because nothing will change” and it makes my blood boil. This literally translates to “I can’t be bothered” in my head. I completely understand why politics is seen as corrupt but by sitting back and ignoring it, you are not changing anything.
Registering to vote, going to your local ballot station and spoiling the vote will make a stand. If every person that has said to me that voting changes nothing in the past few years did this simple task – their voice would be heard.
- Policies affect you directly.
It may seem like the policies discussed and debated in parliament have no affect on you but they directly affect each and every one of us. Also, no offence but not voting because you’re unaffected by it is pretty selfish dude.
- Voting used to be exclusive.
People quite literally died for the right to vote. Refusing to vote is almost insulting to the people that fought tirelessly for their voice to be heard. I understand that in modern society it may seem futile and we’re often told that we’re unable to make any change but that is absolutely not true. If people take a stand and actually give their opinion, changes will have to be made.
- We’re an open-minded generation that needs to be heard.
I feel as though our generation is so liberal and accepting, so we absolutely need to get out there and spread our views – to ensure an inclusive and safe society in the future.
- Good ol’ technology can come to the rescue.
You no longer need to sit and read through manifestos or watch hours of debates. There are great websites available so all that you need to do is input your opinion on certain topics and you’ll be provided with results based on which party reflects your views.
This is one that I used and I was actually really pleasantly surprised with my results.
- Caring is COOL
In all seriousness, actually caring about our society and taking an active role in the government is ‘cool.’ I know that politics is corrupt and in many ways, it may seem like we’re tiny people that will never be heard but the horrid truth is, if we stand by and accept that as fact – we will never change anything. We can’t keep pushing these things to the side because of an age-old belief that we can’t make changes.
It won’t be easy but we can’t sit back and do nothing any longer. This is a second chance to actually stand up and have your say.
Click here to register to vote and you have full permission to laugh at me if we’ve all voted and nothing changes anyway.