Friday, 7 August 2020

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE MEDIA & MENTAL HEALTH | IN COLLABORATION WITH TIME TO CHANGE STORYCAMP 2020





The latest theme for Time To Change StoryCamp 2020 is mental health and the media and I thought it might be a good opportunity to talk about my own experiences with the topic, the positives and negatives I’ve discovered, and my advice on dealing with those negatives of the media…



My first memory of the media

I guess that my first real recollection of the media and the impact it could have on the world was when my cartoons were paused to break the news of the death of Princess Diana in 1997 – when I was just six years old! I guess this meant that the first thing I learnt was that horrific stories could put a stop to fun and laughter. They could over-rule them, take priority and become the focus for everyone. I also saw how media can influence your feelings in projecting emotions appropriate to the content. Finally, with the circumstances of the Princess’s death being around photographers chasing her car (I realise this is debateable!) I saw the impact the media can have on a more practical level and that once you’re in the ‘spotlight’ you can almost completely lose any sense of privacy.



The lack of content on some topics

My next thoughts on the media have come through the abuse I experienced when I was 15. In 2006, when the abuse started, I felt that there weren’t a whole lot of stories in the media about abuse and rape. The lack of this content meant that the only reason I suspected what was happening to me was wrong was because it hurt so much! The absence of these stories also meant that I felt so alone in my experiences and thought I was literally the only person in the world who had ever been raped or abused. Feeling lonely with something like that can be so debilitating because you’re thinking that you can’t talk to someone as they won’t be able to empathise, understand, or identify in any way.

There was also a huge lack for content on mental health, suicide, and self-harm back then which meant that I was absolutely terrified when I started experiencing hallucinations and thoughts to self-harm and attempt suicide. I think that it stemmed from the fact that without any information to the contrary, I thought if I told anyone what I was experiencing and feeling I’d be locked away in a psychiatric hospital and medicated! I also didn’t know who I would even talk to in terms of professionals. Like, I didn’t realise you could speak to your GP or even that you could have therapy on the NHS.

Monday, 3 August 2020

BEHIND-THE-SCENES OF A SUICIDE AWARENESS TRAINING SESSION WITH THE BRITISH TRANSPORT POLICE




I wasn’t sure how to blog about the training session I’ve just facilitated with the British Transport Police, and then I noticed that my ‘Behind-The-Scenes’ posts seem to do really well… I think a lot of that is about the naturally curious nature of people and the want to gain insight into something you may be interested in but have little or no experience of. So, here’s a bit about what goes on in training with the Police; from the initial discussions to the actual session…


How it came about

Over a year ago, I was on a train when a drunken man began giving a ton of verbal abuse to the Train Manager and myself. So much so that we ended up going to the British Transport Police (BTP) when we got off the train and gave our statements. The Officer who took charge of the entire incident; Richie, was really lovely and helpful and I ended up telling him all about my mental health problems and that I’d helped Steve Baker and Claire Andre deliver mental health training sessions for the new recruits of Northumbria Police. It didn’t take us long to start discussing the prospect of me facilitating some training for the BTP officers too.


Saturday, 1 August 2020

THE RECOVERY TOOLKIT BOOK TOUR | RELATING TO THE BOOK & A COMPETITION




TW: this post contains discussion of abuse


Book blurb:

‘Have you left an abusive relationship?

Are you still carrying guilt?

Do you still think what happened to you was your fault?

Do you find dealing with new people in your life something to be scared about?

If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to the above questions you are not alone.

Many people who leave an abusive relationship behind are affected by that former relationship in many different ways. Perhaps you feel guilty when making decisions on your own? You may worry about what motivates others to befriend you? Maybe your children are having to re-learn who it is that’s the adult in the room now that your ex-partner has gone from their lives.

If this all sounds familiar then The Recovery Toolkit is the book for you. Written in an easy and accessible style, the book will take you on a journey that is part discovery, part guide.’



‘To start with, congratulations you are an amazing person. What? How can I say that as I have never met you?’


I was approached on Twitter to be one of a few Bloggers who were given an exclusive preview to The Recovery Toolkit and initially, I was sceptical that it’d be relevant to me personally as the book is a twelve week plan to support a person’s journey through Domestic Abuse. Then, in the book’s preface, the Author – Sue Penna, quotes George Orwell with “knowledge is power” and I realized that I could actually, probably take many things from this book!

Friday, 24 July 2020

EMMY’S SECOND BIRTHDAY




Not going to lie, I’ve kind of gotten hooked on doing wishlists for my pets’ Birthdays! I realize it’s really not the content people come to I’m NOT Disordered for, but my blog is my own and I have to be happy with the content I produce. I think it’s also important that I take as many opportunities as possible to reiterate how important my pets are for my mental health!


After having to make the decision to put Dolly (my previous cat) to sleep in October 2018 (which you can read about here), myself and Pixie (my bunny) couldn’t live without a cat in our lives! Whilst I knew that no cat could ever replace Dolly, our home just wasn’t the same without that third presence.

Monday, 20 July 2020

RELATING TO QUOTES FROM THE HILLS | IN COLLABORATION WITH THE HILLS & MTV | AD




I can’t even put into words just how excited I was to discover that all six seasons of The Hills had been added to Amazon Prime Video UK! If you haven’t heard of The Hills; it’s basically a ‘fly-on-the-wall’ series that began in 2006 and which is centred around the lives of really wealthy, young people living in LA (for a proper description: http://www.mtv.co.uk/the-hills). 


I think I first started watching it because I’m definitely one of those people who enjoys gaining insight into the lives of others – not in a nosey, rude way. I wonder if it’s maybe to do with me being a mental health Blogger? Like, I put almost my entire life out there for so many people to read, and maybe I just like to get a little something back? Or maybe it’s because in the same way as I want readers to use I’m NOT Disordered to gain insight into mental health, I’m interested to gain insight into the lives of people who I maybe can’t relate to or who I don’t have much in common with. 


The Hills also puts a massive focus on fashion with the main character; Lauren Conrad securing an internship at the fashion magazine; Teen Vogue. Fashion is an area that I don’t often talk about on I’m NOT Disordered because it hasn’t been a big part of my life for a while now… I think I always loved fashion and used to design little outfits but then, in my Textiles GCSE class, my Teacher was very critical – and not in a constructive way. Her constant negativity around my work left me completely reluctant to continue with art and drawing and initially, I thought that was the only way I could be involved in fashion until I was eighteen and got a weekend job at a huge retail store. One of my duties was to arrange the displays and improve the shop’s appearance and it really sparked an interest in – what I later found out was called – visual merchandising.