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A Bowl Of Irish Stew

I was honoured to share a small part of my story and my Mental health journey as part of this wonderful book.

A Bowl Of Irish Stew is a fantastic collection of stories filled with hope and courage by some very inspiring people.

The proceeds of this book go to a good cause too so it’s well worth looking in to getting a copy and reading more about the wonderful work being done by the AWESOME people that put this book together! You can see the website and where to get a copy HERE

Be sure to give them a follow and some love on Twitter too ♡♡♡♡

Along with my own contribution there are many other stories that just ooze courage, hope, resilience and pure awesomeness from people that have survived and conquered in some way.

Please do take a look and grab yourself a copy – it’s all for a great cause too!

Posted in mental health, Uncategorized

Who would have thunk it?!

So today I Did a shoot for Lloyds Bank #GetTheInsideOut campaign.

Who would have thought just as little as three years ago that I would be doing the things that I am for mental health awareness?!

Today I’m stood there being filmed and realised how far I had come and how none of us know what will happen.

Here’s why…..♡

#GetTheInsideOut

Talk to someone – Don’t be ashamed of your story. One day it will inspire others ♡

Posted in mental health, Uncategorized

To You On World Mental Health Day 2018

It’s World Mental Health Day 2018 and it’s great when these dates come around as there is so much more conversation around mental health which can only be a good thing.

It’s also important to remember however that mental health is something we need to be aware of everyday. For ourselves and for those around us. Mental health awareness needs to be there 24/7 the same as our physical health.

For people affected by mental health which is 1 in 4 it’s not exclusive to mental health day, it’s a day to day battle of fighting for ourselves and far too often, our lives.

With the success of my recent campaign “hearts of hope” with personal notes being an effective way of reaching people struggling, for those of you that don’t live local and so haven’t been able to go and get one of my notes and whom haven’t received Happy post from me I wanted to write you a letter here, to anyone that may be struggling and finding things difficult – This is for you.

Dear You,

To the person that feels lonely, scared, ashamed, hopeless and who is struggling today, I want to tell you that you are going to be okay. It may not feel that way now, but it will.

You see I have felt hopeless, lonely and had given up on my life once too. I planned to end my life. I was in so much pain with so much confusion that I didn’t know which way was up. I barely functioned and I battled my way through 15 years of trying to get the right treatment. That may be the last thing you want to hear. 15 years is an awfully long time but there were good times within that too and I battled my way through. It’s not like that for everyone, everyones journey and path is different. Even with the same diagnosis no two people are the same. For you, your journey will be different too, it wont go the way mine did – because you are you and that alone is something to celebrate. There is not another you on this planet – just you – one of a kind and you are all kinds of amazing.

You may be new to struggling with mental health and wondering what you’re supposed to do and may not have told anyone yet how you are feeling. Or like me you may be an old hat and more aware of what is going on and how to manage that better. Wherever you are on that journey however it still hurts the same when it hurts and the black is as black when going through a depression, the delusions are still as scary each time they roll around – Whatever it is that you are struggling with when it’s bad it’s bad and we all cope in our own ways as will you.

What I want you to know today is that I know what it’s like to feel hopeless, I know what it is to break in to a million tiny pieces and feel like it’s impossible to glue all those pieces back together to resemble something called life. I also know that is possible.

Now I’m not perfect. Far from it. I have moods that flail around at times, I have anxiety and that gets the better of me, I still check pointless objects at night as part of an OCD ritual to make sure they are still there. I still take lithium and quetiapine to keep my brain on track and throw in a clonazepam a day to keep the anxiety at bay. There is no such thing as a perfect recovery in mental health. It’s a process of management. Of learning about yourself, what makes you tick, what makes you break, your limits and learning to manage your life and your illness but do you know what? That’s okay!!!! if you’re not there yet then you will be.

You may be thinking “That’s great for her and I’m never going to feel that way” That’s okay too because that’s exactly what I thought when I read things like this, I thought it happened to “other people” and how great that was for them but that I was too broken.

This is why I created the hashtag #InBloomNotBroken which will also hopefully be the title of my book when it’s published because no one is too broken, we are simply in bloom. That means you too.

I nearly ended my life and quirk of fate stopped that from happening and now my god am I glad I didn’t!! I struggle but i’m better than I was, I do things that matter to me, I have a beautiful daughter to see grow up. I may not have the uni degree or the career…I’ve spent so much time in hospital and in the depths of mental illness that wasn’t possible but just because that’s what society tells us is success, actually it’s not. Success derives from happiness in whatever form that will take so screw what anyone thinks – If I have a period where I’m happy and healthy then I deem myself very bloody successful.

You have a purpose. If you feel you don’t then you just haven’t found it yet. You will find it. If you are struggling remember – This isn’t the forever you, it’s just the for now you and you will find the true you again, just give yourself time. Everything needs time, a cold, a flu, a broken leg – Mental Illness is no different.

You will be okay. I promise. Just be gentle with yourself, give yourself time, don’t push yourself to do what you think you should just for that reason alone, listen to your gut, take time for you, listen to yourself and fight for the right help and treatment – you deserve that, don’t put up with being lost in the system.

If you are struggling but haven’t told anyone yet please take the first step of doing this. It’s hard, scary but it’s vital. Holding it back doesn’t nothing but make it grow. Tell a friend, a family member or talk to someone in confidence like the samaritans who you can call free 24 hours a day on 116 123.

Don’t suffer in silence.

Don’t be ashamed to be you.

And don’t be ashamed of your story. One day it will inspire others.

Take care of you

Lots of love

Katie

xxxx

Posted in mental health

Hearts of Hope – From My Heart To Yours

Hearts of hope in Shirley Park – World Mental Health Day 2018

I am so pleased at the response to this project, the converstations around mental health that have taken place surrounding it have been so positive.

Many of the hearts have been taken and hopefully hone to hands that need little hope ♡♡

I will be replenishing them later with another 40 ♡

I decided to make a little video about why I did this project.

You never know who you are speaking to and what they are going through. Every one is potentially fighting a battle you know nothing about.

I wanted to create conversation around mental health particularly in people that need to talk, that need to take that first step in speaking out about how they are feeling and I am very proud that this project seems to have created some of those converstations. ♡♡♡♡

Posted in mental health

Hearts Of Hope – World Mental Health Day 2018

World Mental Health Day 2018 is on Wednesday 10th October.

In aid of this I made 150 handwritten hearts of hope to attach to the entrance of my local park ♡

The aim with this project was to raise awareness on mental illness and create conversation around mental health.

With the help of a few lovely humans who offered to help (who were very much appreciated as it was very cold and I was losing the feeling in my fingers!) We attached all the notes as well as some signs and also some pebbles that I had painted to decorate the entrance of Shirley Park in Shirley, Solihull.

The aim is that people will not only read the notes but that if anyone is themselves struggling with mental health issues or knows someone that is that they will take one or two away as they have been attached so that they are removeable.

 

I was very proud of not only how this looked when all the hearts were up but more Importantly that were people were stopping and reading them within a short space of time and shortly after attaching starring receiving messages about conversations around mental health that had taken place and a few people approached me and spoke openly and that was what it was all about so I feel hopeful for the week or so that they will be up that they will have a positive effect which is awesome and makes it worth while!

I do love a plan that comes together and I am ready thinking about what I can do for nearer to Christmas which can be difficult time for many with mental health issues.

Posted in mental health

Coming Through The Worst Times – Suicide Awareness

Are you ever too “broken” to come through the worst times and planning to end your life?

No. It may seem that way, even truly feel like this is it, this is the end but it doesn’t have to be. It’s possible for things to change even when you’re sure they won’t.

I’ve spoken about this before but I believe it’s an Important topic so I’m touching on it again with the the help of my manuscript.

Sometimes it’s only possible to see how far you have come when you look back. That’s a hard thing to do, but sometimes necessary.

Going through multiple diaries to write my story which I hope to have published was difficult but extremely therapeutic and made me realise what I have been through and just how far I’ve come. Not only that but that even when all hope seems to have gone and you’re utterly spent it’s possibly for things to change.

If you’re reading this and going through depression, anxiety, an eating disorder or a really impossible point of your life please know that things can and do change. You just have to hold on.

Posted in mental health

As They Say – Never Judge A Book By It’s Cover.

Judgements, assumptions. We all make them.

It’s part of being human but maybe we need to stop and think before we make an assumption of someone before knowing them or the full facts.

I know I have had assumptions made about me. I have been told I look “Bitchy”, “Unapproachable”

I was even told recently that i had not been accepted on to a counselling course due to my “vulnerabilities” All they knew about me that could possible have registered as “vulnerable” in their minds was the fact that I have bipolar disorder. Regardless of telling them all the awareness work I do etc etc I was deemed “vulnerable” – That is an assumption based on not a lot of information (Irony was part of the interview was talking about how counsellors shouldn’t make assumptions)

We all do it, it’s part of being human but I think It’s important to try to not make snap judgements about people and situations until we have learned the full facts.

As they say – You can’t judge a book by its cover!

This vlog is me talking about this and why you really can’t judge someone before knowing them first.