How My Depression Started …

Hey guys,

So recently I started counselling for my depression and anxiety, it hasn’t been easy in the slightest getting to the root of where it all began. However I’ve decided to share my story because I feel it may help others as well as myself … It’s a difficult journey but I am determined to get to the finish line and finally start my life anew.

So after a few sessions I realised my depression and anxiety started nearly four years ago when I was with a certain ex-boyfriend. An ex-boyfriend who whether I like to admit it or not shaped me into this person, an empty hollow shell of the person I used to be. When I met him all that time ago, he seemed so sweet, a little damaged as we all are but a nice guy, someone I thought I genuinely connected with and someone I gave my very heart and soul too. It felt almost like true love at the time, I was young and in love but as always in some love stories things did take a nasty turn.
It was about three months in when it all started, we were out one night, drinking, having fun when his mood suddenly switched, it wasn’t until we got home did the abuse really begin. At first it was all verbal saying how I was fat, ugly, how he could have anyone he wanted and didn’t even know why he was with me in the first place. We slept in the same room but I won’t lie that I did cry myself to sleep while he slept peacefully next to me.
That was the beginning of the anxiety, I started to feel very self conscience the next day, constantly looking in the mirror, and it all escalated to a point where I was checking my weight every day, being careful not to eat too much and then I started smoking a lot more than before. He did apologise after a while, when he realised it had hurt my feelings and affected me but the damage had been done …
A few weeks later, the same situation happened again except this time, the abuse wasn’t just verbal, it turned physical. Being pinned down, alcohol forced down my throat, my head ricocheting off a door and then darkness … I woke up where I’d been left, near the front door lying in my own blood and vomit from what had happened. I left and went back to my mother’s house to clean myself up, I wasn’t gone three hours when he knocked the door begging forgiveness, saying he had been spiked in the club and he would do anything to make it all right. I hung onto his every word, blinded by some sort of twisted love I had for this vile human being stood before me, and I went back with him. That was the beginning of my depression.
Then it became a routine, something I learnt to grow accustomed too. As if I felt I deserved it, what was a drunken weekly bit of abuse turned into a daily routine where it was a mixture of verbal and physical attacks, constantly grinding me down as if I was his pet he was trying to tame. Whenever I went to work and I had bruises I would make excuses and say I’d fallen down the stairs or I’d walked into a door or lamp post. They never questioned it further so I never said more than I had too and got on with my job. The job was my escape, my safe place where no one could hurt me. I was scared to go home most days, afraid the next time I walked through that door it would be the last time I would see anyone I loved and cared for …
However things all changed when I decided to fight back, it was the worst night of my life. He had decided to get drunk once again, and he decided he wanted to attempt to inject me with heroin. It was the final straw, I fought for my life that night, it ended with the syringe on the floor, still full, him on the floor out cold and me standing against the wall holding a broken bottle from where  I had smashed him across the head as hard as I could when he came towards me with it …
I packed my bags, took all my belongings and moved back to my mother’s house. I didn’t see him again for a very long time. He knocked my door about six months later asking to talk, I couldn’t do it, I didn’t stand up to him or tell him what I really thought of him I just closed the door. I thought it was the end, I’d get over it.
He destroyed the person I used to be, before him was so carefree, bubbly, joyful and full of life and now … well I’m still bubbly but not so carefree as I used to be, it’s like there is a constant weight on my shoulders and I am always on edge to the point where I will have a panic attack on just a half full bus because of what he did to me.

Saying all that though, I got out, granted I should have left sooner because it was the most toxic relationship I could have ever got into. But I am stronger than I was, and I am stronger because I am brave enough to share my story with the world.
I was told by someone recently my smile could give others strength because although my eyes reflected sadness, my smile shows how much strength I have and I can pass that onto other people. So while I wrote this, please know no matter the flashbacks I am smiling because I have come out the other end stronger. I am still taking everyday as it comes, but now knowing where and how it all began, my journey will be easier and I will get through this no matter what. 
Before I end this though, I just want to say something to all the people in the world who may have gone through or be going through what I have right now:

You are enough & you’re going to do amazing things.
You probably have a smile hidden under all that pain that could change the world.
You can do more than you think & you are more than you think.
No one get’s to control and manipulate you, you are the master of your own fate.
So get out of it before it’s too late, be free and please … Be Happy x


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Don’t Ever Let Go Of Your Dreams! They Matter! 

Hey guys,Completely off topic of my usual posts but today I want to talk about following your dreams …

Dreams are important to have and to keep, it’s what gives us all hope and a goal to reach am I wrong ?

A friend of mine recently lost his way and is going through a rough time following his dream, a dream he’s put a lot of money and time into. He’s frustrated and he’s hurting and in a way this is a bit of an open letter to him.

His dream changed my entire perspective on life, his determination and passion changed my entire world just by showing me exactly what it was and what he wanted to achieve. My response to all this anguish and pain he is experiencing right now is: you are the most inspiring person who has changed a life, something you wanted to do no ? You changed my life through your music, not just your friendship. Each lyric you write is filled with emotion, some emotion I can’t even delve into myself and that gives me hope. Gives me the hope that I’ll be able to achieve my dream of being a successful writer, a someone who people will remember on this earth, and I have no hesitation in saying that you WILL make an impact and you will change more people’s lives with just ONE SONG. You have come so far, grown so much and I am so proud to call you not just my friend but my greatest inspiration.

Keep going, you are destined for greatness and I can’t wait to see it happen when you least expect it.

Now go and change the world, because if you don’t then no one else will.

All my love,

Al x

Is Being Judged Any Reason Not To Find Your Silver Lining ?

So it’s been a few days, I’ve been pretty busy trying to figure things out especially with my depression. I recently realised how much you can be judged for being like this, being a way that is not always within your control, by being trapped in your own mind and not being able to escape. People will not understand your battle, the endless corridor you run through trying so hard to reach that light at the end but all it does it get further and further away while walls close in and you’re trapped once again, consumed by the darkness, the fear and pain all at once.
The funny thing I’ve realised is we who suffer with depression and often anxiety, we don’t deserve to be judged, we deserve to be understood. Don’t get me wrong, it is our choice if we seek help to get through depression and who we open up to about how we’re feeling but let me tell you something, humanity is cruel and there won’t always be a silver lining every single day. However that said, the people who really matter in this world won’t judge you, they will understand. Those people often become the silver lining just through simple acts of kindness whether it’s friendship, family or something more. These people’s actions speak louder than words, for me when my best friend is just simply with me, no words have to be said but that kindness, that compassion of understanding that words don’t always help, that is my silver lining almost every day. He understands my battle more than anyone else and for that I know I’m not judged by him of all people. He helps me realise I don’t have to conform to society or lie about who I am or feel judged because of who I am, or at least what depression makes me feel the need to do.

The message I want to pass on more than anything is when you find someone whether it’s a friend or more, who wants to understand what’s going on without that judgemental look hiding behind their eyes, that is the person you should talk to about how you’re feeling. Never feel judged, you are stronger than that, and one person can make all the difference.
The people who make us feel something other than sadness are never the people we expect, so when you find them, cherish them … that’s when you have your silver lining.

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Do You Live For The Important Moments ?

In our lives we define a lot by what we do with our time, but we often forget the beautiful moments we share with the people that care. We forget to live in the moment of things, the beauty and liberation of them. We forget to live by the most magical moments, whether it is a beautiful landscape on top of a mountain or even just looking up at the stars. It’s the sad truth, we spend so much time wanting things, things so trivial but things that are in fact in front of our very eyes.
I suppose romance is one of those wonderful moments we should live in but more often than not take for granted. We are all looking for our romantic soul mate, we may find soul mates in friendship but it isn’t the same kind of feeling as an actual partner to share things with, no matter who you are you have to admit you want your happy ending as much as the person who is next to you right now. It’s difficult on the path to love, you come across many people on your journey, people who could be more than just a fleeting glance across the bar or street but yet we spend a lot of time thinking “oh wait, I’m sure there’s more for me out there, someone else out there who is my PERFECT match”. Here’s the problem with that theory, what is your perfect match exactly? And why isn’t that person you just glanced at the person you could share beautiful moments with?
I admit, what I’m saying I have done on many occasion, but thinking about it has led me here because I have realised I have been missing out and not appreciating the moments I do share. The romance I have missed because of my own inability to comprehend that I could in fact be happy where I am. I have spent a very long time being bitter. It’s true, it only makes me human, but is that any reason not to enjoy the moments I am lucky enough to be a part of? Having depression has made me bitter, and everyday I try to turn that bitterness into joy, I try to get through another journey of the day and find a new moment to appreciate and fall in love with. We should fall in love with something new everyday, it could be the sunset, it could be the moon, it could be a piece of art like music or even a photo overlooking a beautiful lagoon hidden from the chaotic world around us. These moments matter, they don’t define us, but they can define the way we feel and look at the world around us. Moments are all about love, whether it’s the love of a friendship, a partner or just the love of general solitude.
Yes, I talk a lot about love, because love matters to me. Romance matters to me. I think a friendship can be romantic, I think a city can be romantic, I think loneliness can be romantic, I think standing in an open stadium watching your favourite music artist can be romantic. Anything can be romantic if you live in the moment and present time of it happening. Moments matter, and whether you’re in a good place or not, you should appreciate every moment and live in them because you never know what could happen tomorrow.

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Music Really Can Help Beat Depression!

Have you ever listened to a song that can instantly change your mood? Whether it’s a good or bad reaction doesn’t really matter, it’s the outcome of a certain song or artist that can change your entire world in only a few short minutes with their lyrics that you feel a strong connection to, a feeling like that piece of art was made for you …
It’s an odd feeling really isn’t it? Feeling something so deeply, feeling inspired to do something you would never have dreamed of. I’ll be honest, my blog started because of music, the fact that music can tell stories in so little a time made me want to get out there and write stories of my own, share my experiences and well just blog in general! It’s a magical feeling knowing something that can often be taken for granted changed my entire world.
Now to the point of this post otherwise I’ll just carry on rambling (which is more often than I like to admit), what has often helped me and I’m sure many others when you’re having a day from hell and depression is creeping in through the cracks of the walls you put up to shut it out, a little music can often help those cracks seal themselves back up. Personally my favourite thing to listen to is Taylor Swift, she inspires me, makes me remember that I am still me, and that their is hope out there in the world that I often forget is right in front of my eyes. There is so much magic and wonder in the world and ONE single artist can make me realise this with just lyrics, words that touch the heart and mind deeply.
It is proven already that music does affect the mind, it affects how we feel, how we see things, sometimes how we act. For example, who has ever put on a random song and just danced in their room singing their hearts out and forgetting your worries? Even if it’s just for ten minutes? Because I have, god I am GUILTY of that big time! When I do these things, with music, it beats the depression back for days and days, and when I feel it coming back, I put that cheesy Spice Girls song on and dance and sing to my bloody hearts content!

And so should anyone who feels that connection to music, because music is freedom, it gives us a chance to express who we really are without even trying. It makes us remember that the fear of being average is nothing, because we are not average, we are amazing.

If there’s one message I’d like the pass on, it is this:

Music Is Freedom, Freedom Is Living

&

Living Is An Awfully Big Adventure Don’t You Think ?

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Is A Relationship Possible With Depression?

So … it’s been an interesting few days guys, and it’s given me A LOT to think about it and inspire me into writing this post I suppose. So as you are all aware, I also suffer from depression and anxiety, the whole idea of this blog is to share experiences and what not. Yet the one thing I haven’t touched on yet is how to be in a new relationship, WELL technically any relationship when you suffer from depression and anxiety. Do you tell your partner from the off-set ? Or do you hide it and wait for a right time to tell them?

Honestly, I’ve met someone this week. Who has completely taken me by surprise, he’s a bit older (not that that bothers nor concerns me), but there is something about him that completely captivates me. Something about him is different from other men I’ve known in the past, something tells me I can trust him, so I did.  I told him the second day in about my depression and anxiety and do you know what his reaction was? Honestly I was not expecting it, I’m normally used to people freaking out or making an excuse to leave etc, but he genuinely opened up about how he knew what it was like because he’d suffered from it in the past. That’s the best feeling, knowing someone not only understands but has been through it. Oh and of course he didn’t run away.
But what if he hadn’t suffered from it before? Would that change how he looked at me? I doubt it highly, and this is where this post is going. If someone who claims to care for you, defines you by your depression, looks at you and that is all they see. They are not the one for you love. To be with someone, truly, they should like and/or love you and be with you for all your sides, and yes that includes depression. It should god damn well include your depression because it is a part of you as long as you are fighting to defeat it, it should include your depression because they will see every side of you including  your ups and downs. The ups will have nothing to do with depression, but sometimes the downs will, not always but sometimes. That person will have to see all of this, and they will know when it is depression and when it isn’t because they will know you well enough to know exactly what is going on.
There is one flaw with this however, depression can often lead you into only showing certain parts of yourself in little snippets, sort of like little jigsaw pieces slowly being pieced together until it comes together into a beautiful piece of art … BUT if you are honest very early on about what you are going through, the sooner you can slowly learn to trust that person. Without trust, then it won’t go very far or anywhere at all.
My advice is, just be honest, because if you aren’t then it could spell the end of something magical and loving before it even get’s off the runway. Everyone deserves happiness, and there is no reason we can’t have it just because of our mental health. It’s a long process, it’s a long journey, but that one person can make the whole difference to your world, but only if you let them.
One last thing, especially if you are a bit insecure about telling that special someone about what’s going on, just do one thing for me, don’t lie, don’t pretend to be someone you’re not to please them whether they are you dream partner or not.
Just:

Be True To Who You Are & Love Will Find You.

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Do you really have a good support system?

A support system is what most people need to get through various things in their lives, whether it is starting a new job or making a career change, moving to a different city, a break-up and so on. However when you do not have the support system you need, that’s when mentally you start to go down-hill.
Feeling disconnected, alone and like you have nowhere and no one to turn too. What’s worse is that when you’re depressed every single feeling can often be amplified to the point where although you know you should ask for help, the so called “help” should already be there. I know more than most that life can get busy and complicated for a lot of people, but is that any reason to neglect important people in their lives, or at least the people who have shown the support they so desperately crave ?

We as human beings are selfish, it’s true, we won’t admit it but we are. We are always out for number one. Does that mean for any reason what-so-ever that someone in your life you haven’t heard off for a while might actually appreciate a phone call or text message just to see how they’re doing? What is five minutes out of your day to call someone and let them know you were thinking about them and wanted to know how they were? The smallest things go the furthest with people who think that no one cares or supports what they’re doing with their lives.

Personally from my experience, I always try but it is NEVER a two way street. It probably never will be. I have a very small support network who genuinely care for me and check up on me. Do I wish others did though? Do I wish that my so called “friends” would pick up the phone every now and then and see how I am? Of course I do.

However the support network I do have keeps me afloat, keeps me level and continues to remind me that I am NOT ALONE. Not ever. So please, when you are going through a hard time and what not, the people who truly care, truly want to be apart of your life will support you in every single way you didn’t know was possible in this world.

No matter what the voices in your head tell you, no matter how low you are feeling please remember one thing, and be selfish when you do this.
Remember:

You Are Not Alone.

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Learning To Love Yourself

Love comes in many forms, from family, friends, colleagues and a partner. Do you know what the hardest thing about love is? Learning to love yourself.

Learning to love yourself when you feel broken and abused, insecure about your looks, weight and whether you fit in with a crowd is the most difficult task to learning to love yourself again. I want to say to anyone who is going through this struggle, it will be OK. It all begins with making a change in your life. However saying that, the change needs to be for you, not the boy or girl you fancy, not because you’ve seen it in a magazine or across social media, it has to be for YOU.

You will not and cannot change anything if it’s for anyone other than yourself. You want to start exercising to feel comfortable in your own skin again ? Great, exercise is a great outlet for stress and is scientifically proven to boost and improve your mood. It’s a start, but it’s not the be all or end all to your entire world. There are lots of ways to boost your mood such as reading a book, grabbing a coffee with a friend you haven’t seen for a while, anything you can think of that could lift you up and set you on the right path to looking in the mirror and loving yourself again.

The problem often with depression is that there is no quick fix, but there is always a way back. There will always be a way back to the person you can once again recognise in the mirror, not a shattered image of multiple problems you think are impossible to get past. The problem is only as big as you make it, narrow down one and begin to figure it out and soon enough all the broken pieces and shards of glass will start to mend themselves together. You won’t be the same person you used to be, but you will be a better and stronger version of yourself you never knew was even there. It is a long process, it will take time, but only YOU have the ability to do this, and only when you have changed can you accept yourself and truly, deeply love yourself for the beautiful human being that was put on this earth for a reason.

I have found that learning to love myself again has given me purpose, it has set me off on a more positive path. Not everyday is easy, it isn’t supposed to be, but I smile, laugh and love from the moment I wake up to the moment I go to sleep. Life is too short to not love yourself and anyway, if you can’t learn to love yourself how the hell is anyone else going too?

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Freedom Of Friendship

I have had a lot of friends come and go over the years, most people do, most people still will. With every hardship and heartbreak your friend circle will decrease and you will soon realise which ones stand by you, love you and support you. Those are the people you should cherish the most in this world, they become a part of your family without you even knowing. The bonds become stronger and before you know it, almost everything you do HAS to involve these people.
The one thing I have learned over the years is that with depression, friends of the past have stated it is nothing and I will be fine. They were right in the sense I turned out fine, but they weren’t there when I needed them the most, to get me to feeling fine and comfortable in my own skin. As years went on I made new friends, who inspired me, believed in me and saw something in me that I lacked to see. A spark that ignited a flame inside me that I didn’t realise was even there to begin with.
To the people I have had the pleasure and privilege of meeting, the ones who are still here for me  … Thank You. You have helped me shape who I am today, and I have never been more proud of the person I have become, and it’s because of all of you who stood by me at my lowest point, who showed me there was a light in the dark … and most importantly that I was not alone in this endless battle with depression itself.
What I’m trying to say is, friendship is one of the best support systems to get you through this mental illness, the truest of friends will listen when you need to talk, they will speak when you can’t, they will go to the ends of the earth to make sure that you never lose who you truly are. Those are the friends you NEED in your life. Those kind of people are rare, and they should be cherished forever. Without them, you will never truly be free.

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Pride

Call me a cliche, but growing up I always knew I was different from the other children on the playground. I saw things differently, felt things differently, dressed differently. For a while I was completely okay with that concept and state of mind.
It wasn’t until I grew up into a teenager I realised how different I really was, I took an interest in fashion and art. I cared more about my appearance than the girls at school. I was sensitive, insecure and tried my best to fit in, even if that meant betraying who I really was. Then I started looking at the boys as well as the girls, and that scared the hell out of me. It scared me because I was starting to realise I was becoming something my family frowned upon, so I pushed the notion from my mind and pretended it wasn’t there. And that is how my depression started, because I was afraid to be myself. No one was accepting of being gay when I was growing up, those who were brave enough to be themselves were bullied, tortured and ridiculed until they were nothing but shells of who they used to be. The very thought of being the next victim in the changing rooms was probably some of the most terrifying moments of my life. I soon changed schools to escape being the next victim after rumours started spreading, it gave me a chance to start fresh, maybe I was just going through a phase I told myself. Of course I was not going through a phase but when you’re between the ages of fifteen and eighteen you are striving to create an identity, to maintain some sort of image that fits you and only you. Long story short I did exactly the same as the previous school, I hid who I really was, put on a mask and got on with it. Hiding my true identity from everyone around me.
It wasn’t until I got to about nineteen years old that I realised I couldn’t do this anymore, so I stopped pretending, I let my mask fall and expose who, what I really was, to everyone.  The scary thing is, even though I did finally become myself, the depression never left. It was always niggling away telling me people were making jokes behind my back etc. It wasn’t the case, it was really the paranoia of what my family really thought of me.
The sad thing is that for a long time, I was afraid to be who I am because I was taught by my family that there’s something wrong with someone like me. Something offensive, something you would avoid, maybe even pity. Something that you could never love. I was afraid of the gay community because I wanted so badly to be a part of it. So today, I’m standing up for that part of me that was once too afraid to be who I am. And for all the people who are afraid of being who they are… the people living lives like I did. Today, I stand to remember that I’m not just a me. I’m also a we. And we stand with pride.
Depression is nothing but an obstacle in you discovering your true identity, do NOT let it win, stand with pride of who you are and make the difference to not just your life, but the others around you. You are not alone in this, and you never will be.

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