Posted in mental health, mental health awareness, mental health campaigner

What does someone with a mental illness look like?

“You don’t look like you have depression / bipolar / anxiety……..(fill gap as appropriate)

Ahhh if I’d had a penny every time I have heard such a statement.

The big question here is what ARE we supposed to look like?

What would make some one say ” ah yes I thought as much” unless they saw you in melt down mode?

This always makes me curious … What is it that people expect to see?

The truth ANYONE can suffer with a mental illness. The same as anyone cam get a flu, break their leg…..Mental health is no different and peaks and troughs just the same….just more so for some than others.

I made this video to try and make that point.

If someone saw me me on the street would they think I have bipolar? Used to have anorexia? I highly doubt it.

Mental illness is Invisible to most. Hidden. Secret at times and this is what makes it lethal at times. Never judge or make assumptions before you know facts. You can’t judge a book by its cover. You can’t judge a person by their face.

Posted in mental health, mental health awareness, mental health campaigner

When a nightmare turns in to a passion & Lloyds Bank #GetTheInsideOut campaign

So in one day it was my birthday, I started the counselling course I’ve wanted to do for 10 years and I got engaged! The following day I was featured in stylist magazine as part of Lloyds Bank #GetTheInsideOut campaign and It got me thinking about how and when me and my partner got together at the worst point of my life, how I never thought I’d do anything useful and ultimately how my living nightmare has now become my driving force and passion.

This just reinforced to me how you really don’t know what’s around the corner, where life will take you and get even if you think you’re way off the course of life it may just be leading you somewhere!

Mental health issues become such a big part of someones life, it’s hard to see past them sometimes.

Mental illness doesn’t always have to be a bad thing I’ve found though – it gives you a bigger heart, ears that listen better and eyes that view things from different angles.

stylist magazine, katie houghton, mental health ,Get the inside out
Stylist magazine, lloyds bank #GettheInsideout campaign mental health awareness Katie Houghton
katie houghton mental health campaigner
Katie Houghton , Bipolar disorder. Stylist magazine Lloyds #GetTheInsideOut campaign

You can see the online article in Stylist HERE

Don’t give up and keep walking your path – you never know where it might lead! ♡♡♡♡

Posted in mental health, mental health campaigner, Uncategorized

You Are You

Just a little reminder to all you out there reading this right now that you are amazing.

There is one of you, mental health, be proud
there is one of you, be proud

You are YOU! DO you know how amazing that is?

There Is but one of you. One in this whole universe. Of all the humans out there right now there is just ONE of YOU!

That’s amazing. Add to that all the things that you personally do, That you personally have achieved, whatever they may be….That’s incredible.

Don’t underestimate YOU.

Don’t underestimate the power of you and all the things you have achieved and are yet still to achieve.

Don’t downplay those achievements. They are different for each of us and each one is amazing. You are here. Right now you are here. Being. Achieving. Growing. Learning. That’s something to be proud of wherever in life that may be. At whatever stage. It doesn’t matter.

You are you. That’s all that matters.

Posted in mental health, mental health campaigner, Uncategorized

Just a note to you this Sunday evening

There will be someone somewhere this Sunday evening struggling with their mental health.

Depression, anxiety, suicidal feelings – whatever it may be there will be so many people right now struggling.

I wanted to out out a short post. Just a little note from me to you. YOU sitting there right now struggling, feeling hopeless, worthless, like there is nothing left to do, no where left to go.

This is for you.

To tell you that I know it hurts feeling this way. I know it might feel like you’ve tried everything. Nothing is making this any better. That it can’t get any better. I know how much this hurts and the depths of these feelings because I have been there too, many times.

I also sit here now writing this to you knowing that if you give yourself time you will sit there as I sit here now feeling how glad I am that I am no longer in that place. Granted I know that it might sneak up on me again at any time, I not totally free from it’s grasp. The difference is now I have been through that and come through it time and time again I know that I am stronger and better equipped to deal with it next time, to almost watch it from a distance and let it run it’s course.

Nothing lasts forever, everything waxes and wanes and moves in and out like the tide.

This will too, even if it feels it wont.

Be kind to yourself in this time. Do what you need to do to get through. Be gentle with your mind as you would a broken leg. Don’t push it, let it heal and rest.

You will be Okay. These aren’t empty words. Believe me I know. I also know recovery is possible. That means different things to different people but to whatever extent that means for us – you – me, it’s possible.

Hand in there.

It’s going to be alright

x

suicide letter , mental health awareness
Mental health awareness. From me to you
Posted in mental health, mental health campaigner, Uncategorized

Publishing And Puppies!

Don’t be ashamed of your story it will inspire others.

Sharing mental health stories is powerful. There’s a lot to be said for one person’s journey resonating with other human and that is the reason I have wanted to share my story.

Today was a special day as I got the final manuscript back from my editor to pass on to the publisher ♡

It’s been emotional writing and reading and ‘re reading…and ‘re reading my own journey. It’s made me realise what I lost, what I miss but most importantly how far I’ve come.

Putting your story to the world for others to read is both empowering and terrifying.

It’s putting things out there there are personal, That you don’t speak of much, That others may not agree with and that may even tread on others toes.

For me if I was going to share my story. it had to be the truth. My version of events – regardless of who may or may not agree. I wanted it to be raw, honest, no heirs and graces. I didn’t want a fluffy story that sounded poetic but false. It’s about mental illness at its very core and so I wanted it to be real and I hope that it helps someone out there. That will make it worth while.

I have experience with more than one mental illness, a chaotic upbringing and multiple hospital admissions and so it was important to me to portray that messy and seemingly hopeless situation and show that it is possible to achieve normality…..whatever that is and whatever that means to the individual.

I will post updates when it is ready to buy and I hope some of you will read it and find some hope in there that you can relate to ♡♡

katie houghton mental health campaigner author
Katie Houghton -Mental health campaigner – author In Bloom Not Broken

This is something i’ve wanted to do for so many years and somehow makes all that has happened mean something. It’s given me a passion and something to say that I’m now in a place to be able to share.

On a different note today has been the best. Not only have I sent off my manuscript to be a real live book but I’ve been and bought a new puppy to be named Eddie who will be part of our family in four weeks time! I LOVE dogs and already have my 10 year old fur baby who is my best friend and also featured in my book so this little man is a welcome and fitting addition ♡

katie houghton mental health campaigner
Eddie the new addition to our family!

So between puppies and publishing it’s been a fabulous day!

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. ♡♡♡♡