No therapist? Problem.

I don’t have a lot of bookish content to share these days, but it seems I have a lot of things to vent about, and since I consider these issues important, I wanted to share my thoughts with you all. As usual, feel free to share your opinion with me!

The matter I wanted to address today is this add that keeps popping on my Facebook feed.

no therapist problem

It is promoting an app called “BetterHelp”, supposedly for people who have mental issues and don’t have time to see a therapist. It also seems to target people who can’t afford one, but considering their cheapest plan is $35 a week, I wouldn’t exactly say it’s affordable.

I have a few problems with this ad, and the first one is that it keeps appearing on my Facebook feed as if it knew that I am the targetted audience and that makes me slightly uncomfortable to say the least.

My second problem is the image featured on the ad – let me just mention that this is not always this one, but I wanted to talk about this one in particular. It also makes me super uncomfortable for the very reason that I am the targetted audience for this app. I don’t know. It seems really triggering and I remember that the first time I saw it, I really didn’t feel good afterwards.

And finally, what really bothers me is their motto “no therapist? no problem” because it promotes the wrong idea, even if the point here is that you will get a therapist through the app. I wanted to pinpoint the fact that for some people, having no therapist is a real problem. And it’s not necessarily because they don’t want to, but can also be because they cannot afford it. And that’s a real problem. It also promotes the idea to people who don’t understand this kind of problems – that mentall illness is a real issue – it promotes the wrong idea, that having no therapist is not a problem, when it is. It gives the wrong idea that you can deal with this yourself, when sometimes, you just can’t.

I think this app may be a great thing for people who don’t have time to meet a therapist regularly, or simply don’t have a good therapist nearby. And I would be glad to hear it helps some people. However, I really don’t like the way it is marketted. And I personally don’t think it is “affordable” as promoted.

Basically, my point with this article was simply to once again raise awareness about mental illness, and tell you that YES, THERAPY IS GREAT though its cost may be a major problem. Don’t hesitate to talk to a doctor if you have suicidal thoughts, or if you suspect you have a mental illness. It can help to talk even if the problem is not that major. Everyone perceives things differently. Please contact a therapist if you think you need to. If you are a high school or college student, your school/university should have a therapist that you can consult for free (I know that really helped me this year). Please take care of yourself.

Anyway, this is only a few thoughts I wanted to share with you all because I think it’s important. Please let me know your opinion if you feel like it, remember that you are valid whoever you are, and have a wonderful day ♥

What Depression Feels Like

Before I go any further I just wanted to point out that everyone lives with their mental illness differently, and what I’m going to describe and talk about is just how I feel, and how I live with it. I plan on being really blunt and unapologetic about my feelings, so bear with me if you want to read this.

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I have depression and anxiety. And sometimes, it can be a horrible nightmare, though you probably won’t see it.

Have you ever felt like you didn’t have energy anymore, that you couldn’t do anything, that you simply didn’t have the strength? I feel like that almost every day. Going out of bed in the morning every day is a huge accomplishment. Going out of my room to go to the kitchen I share with five other people is an even bigger one. And going out of my flat an even greater one. And I always congratulate myself for that. It means I haven’t given up yet. Everything is a challenge. Walking to the bus stop? Talking to people? A challenge. Making food when someone else is using the kitchen? Perhaps the worst challenge of all.

I want to use examples of things my friends have told me to show how depression and mental illness are misunderstood, but also how they work – at least with me. And I’m not blaming my friends for what they said. It’s just to illustrate that they really don’t understand. And in a way, it’s good for them. Because I don’t wish that on anyone else.

I wasn’t planning on making my article this way at first, but basically this is how it ended up after a while, so I decided to roll with it. In bold, you will find things that people have told me. And then, how I feel about it.

“I like to think a good friend is like a therapist. You can tell each other everything. It’s like you are each other’s therapist.”

THE. HELL. NO.

I have already talked about that in previous posts I believe. I don’t want to burden people with my depression. And though I’m getting more and more open about it, there are some things that are not for my friends to hear. And it’s normal. I have too much thoughts, and too much dark ones at that. A therapist knows how to deal with this. Of course I talk with my friends. But I can’t talk with them every time I feel like shit, because that’s basically all the time. Just because it’s unbearable for me doesn’t mean it should be unbearable for them as well.

And if you compare a friend to a therapist it probably means you don’t need a therapist anyway. However, please consider their feelings in that matter.

“I had four mental breakdowns last week.”

Girl you clearly don’t have any mental illness, talking with your friends helps just fine, and you just made it very clear. You also know I have real mental illness issues. We have talked about it. So please don’t go around using words that don’t fit. If you say that I’ll get really worried for nothing. It was clearly not a “mental breakdown” even if your life clearly has ups and downs. And it also makes me feel like my feelings are not valid. How many time to we need to say it: stop misusing mental illness terms when you don’t have an actual mental illness. It hurts.

“I just think you can train your brain to stop having those thoughts if you work really hard.”

Oh trust me I have tried. I can recognize those dark thoughts. I can recognize the symptoms that are coming from my depression most of the time. But oh how I wish I could make them go away. When someone tells you you suck, you can’t help but hear it. Even if you know it’s not true. You still hear it, and it hurts. Depression is like this. It’s like having a shadow in a corner of your mind dancing at your unhappiness, and feeding on your darkest thoughts, and telling you that you are worthless. The worse you get, the happier it gets. You can’t not see it. You can’t not hear it. It hurts. But you can’t do anything about it. It’s here, it’s always here. And yes, noticing that this unhappiness, these dark thoughts, all this spiraling down (and so on) comes from your depression and your mental illness is a step. You can, if you take a step back, realise that those thoughts are untrue. But you can’t stop thinking them no matter what. It’s okay. Your pain is valid. Never let anyone tell you otherwise. (I’m both telling myself and you if you also feel like this. Stay strong. We’ll get through this.)

“She told me you don’t share a lot.”

First of all it’s up to me what I share or not. Second of all I don’t want to burden her (we were talking about one of our common friends) because she is a precious human being who is also going through a lot. And third of all, these horrible things are hard to put into words. And I’m afraid no one will understand. And I don’t really want to talk about it, maybe, have you considered that? Talking about suicidal thoughts isn’t exactly easy. And then again, I have a therapist for that if I need to.

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“I don’t know how you manage.”

Well trust me, neither do I. Though thank you, that is really comforting. Yes, there are also some positive things that I heard! And honestly, this is one of the most beautiful ones. By saying this you’re acknowledging my pain. And it makes me feel valid and stronger. And I want to go on.

“You’re such a strong person.”

This is something I don’t see myself. And having people tell me that is beautiful and troubling and comforting. Honestly I want to cry when people tell me that I’m strong. And a lot of my friends have told me that lately. It is the best compliment I have received. Please, if you have friends going through mental illness and problems, tell them that they are strong. They deserve to hear it. And be ready to hug them afterwards.

*

I think I will stop here for today because this article is already long enough. I just wanted to give you a bit of an insight of what it’s like to be in my head.

And don’t forget:

important

Body Issues: Why I Wear Makeup

After writing my posts about mental illness and mental health this month, I decided to talk about other things here, that are more or less linked to it. Because if mental illness is certainly something that is disregarded by a lot of people and needs to be talked about more, I believe body issues are also something that needs to be spoken of more. Which is why I have come up with this idea. I hope you enjoy, and as usual, feel free to share your (respectful) opinion in the comments.

For the past few weeks, I have been arguing a lot with my friend’s flatmate, who announced very proudly that when he would be prime minister, he would forbid women from wearing makeup. Because according to him, women are prettier without makeup. Good for him. But that brings up (at least) two problems.

The first one being that men always believe women wear makeup to be more beautiful, and to impress them.

And the second one being that men think they can simply decide what women can and cannot wear.

Which shows once again that no matter what my mom says, we live in a patriarcal society, and we need feminism.

Dear men, what if I want to impress a girl? What if I don’t want to impress anyone in particular? What if wearing makeup just makes me feel good, and that’s why I do it? Why do you always have to think everything we do has to do with you?

Yes, of course, #NotAllMen and so on. I know. Spare me with your comments, because you can’t deny that it’s a very common behaviour that needs to be addressed.

And while I’m at it, if you’re a woman commenting on other women’s makeup and belittling them, please don’t do that. And if whoever you are, you criticize men and boys wearing makeup, you also need to shut up.

Makeup is wonderful and no one will persuade me otherwise.

The question here is not whether women are prettier or not with makeup. Who cares. What really annoys me is the fact that men always assume women wear makeup to impress them. What really annoys me is when men judge women for wearing makeup and looking different with it. Because makeup is important to me, even if I don’t wear it abundantly. Makeup is my armor. And yes, I wear makeup even if I’m just going to the supermarket which is practically downstairs from my flat. Because makeup makes me confident. And why should I deprive myself of that confidence? I need it.

When I don’t wear makeup, my dad constantly asks me if I’m sick. No dad, I’m not sick, I’m just not wearing makeup thank you very much. My own father thinks I look terrible without wearing makeup, and trust me, that is not helping with my self-confidence issues. And yes, I feel prettier with makeup. I am allowed to do that. I need that satisfaction to carry on with my life. By now, wearing makeup every day is just part of a ritual, a daily routine. I wake up, have breakfast, shower, brush my teeth, wash my face, put on some make up. I honestly just wear BB Cream, eye shadow, mascara and lipstick. That’s enough to boost my confidence and make me survive the day. And no one should judge me for that.

Makeup is an accessory. Do you judge people for wearing clothes or shoes or carrying a bag? No. Then why would you judge them for wearing makeup? Just let us be. What is that to you anyway? It won’t change your life.

Before I end this article, I wanted to say that I really admire and respect people that are very good at makeup. And I also really admire and respects those who have the confidence to go out everyday without wearing makeup. And yes, part of me really wants to find someone who thinks I’m pretty without makeup. But that’s not gonna stop me from wearing makeup everyday. When I look at myself in the mirror with makeup on, I like what I am seeing and it makes me happy. And that’s all I need.

Don’t let the haters get you down. If people tell you you wear too much or not enough makeup, just ignore them. You are strong and beautiful no matter what. It’s what you feel that matters.

Mental Health Month: Week 4

Okay so first of all I can’t believe it’s already the fourth week of May, but let’s move past that and procede to what really matters here. If you haven’t followed my previous posts, mental health is a subject really dear to my heart, as I have seen how it can affect friends, family members, and of course myself as I suffer from depression and anxiety. Mental health is more frequent than you think, and yet people misjudge it often. It feels like a taboo, and it’s hard to talk about it. But it shouldn’t be.

Prompt for this week:
Post it for the future
Committing to continuous reflection and improvement

I like how optimistic the theme for this week is.

I was actually talking about the future with my new therapist last week, among other things, as it is something that bothers and worries me a lot. I’m actually talking about it a lot with everyone these days, and the common thing getting out of this is that I should try things rather than assuming I would get rejected before even trying. I promised one of my friends I would send at least five job applications for next year. I’m planning on moving in with a friend when I go back to Paris, rather than moving back with my parents.

But what I really wanted to talk about is something simple and concrete. Last semester, I had most my classes in the afternoon, and I often would sleep until noon and later feel like I hadn’t accomplished anything at all that day. At some point, I was congratulating myself when I got out of my dorm to buy some groceries. So one day I decided it had to stop. Let’s be more healthy – at least to some extent. I now set my alarm at 9 every day – except if I have to get up earlier of course. I can this way get some sleep, and not feel like I get up ridiculously early, and still have time to actually have a productive day. And it works.

The thing is, my body – as everyone else – really need to have a schedule. And waking up every day around the same time really helps you fucntion better. One of the things I really want to improve is the amoun of work I can get done. So I will try to make a schedule for my studies as well, and hopefully, I can work more productively and peacefully. This is really something I want to try out, and I hope it works.

I hope you also find ways to get out of bed everyday, and do what you need to do. And maybe it will not work all the time, but it’s also okay to have some off days where you stay in your pyjamas and binge watch Netflix or Dramafever or anything that you like to watch.

bellarke hug

Stay strong, you can get through this!

Mental Health Month: Week 3

I’m so busy with the blog tour for Summer Crush and all the books I want to review that I almost forgot about mental health month… Though my depression is definitely not forgetting me. These past few days have honestly been hell. I don’t feel like doing anything, I go to bed early and try to forget about all the misery that seeps into my thoughts. Thankfully, I am going to see my therapist again this week. But I am not here to waddle in dark thoughts, on the contrary, I am here for the positivity. As I mentioned in previous posts, I found this post on tumblr, and decided to follow the prompts every week – but on my blog rather than tumblr. The idea is to share about your experience, and try to find some positive things in life, which is something we all deserve.

And I have to say, talking about it on my blog really helps. I am writing some poetry at the moment, because it really helps with my feelings, and I ended up writing something among the lines of “I’d rather have stranger read this than people I actually know” and it perfectly sums up my feelings. Writing is so relieving, even more, maybe, than talking to people face to face. Partly because, probably, I don’t have to see the look on people’s faces, which is something that really scares me, something that I don’t control, and therefore would rather avoid.

The prompt of this week is
Post it for reflection
Sharing stories of personal growth and development

And I have to say, it really speaks to me.

Something that I realised about me is that it’s easier to stand up for my friends than to stand up for myself, and realising this has taught me a lot about myself, and about my self-care and my problems.

When I was in the tenth grade, I somehow became the personal confident to two of my friends, and got to bear all of their problems with them, to the point that it became unbearable. One of them was about to move towns and was afraid because she wouldn’t see all of her friends again. The other one had confidence issues, but the real problem was that her mom had cancer, and of course that is something that was very hard to bear. The thing is, neither of them realised realised how much of a burden it was two me. They would text me until 2am and I wouldn’t go to bed until I knew it was fine. I eventually ended up in the nurse’s office crying a river, and she told me something I will never forget: of course it is important to be a good friend, and pay attention to other people’s needs. But sometimes, you have to put yourself first. If your friend’s burden is also a burden to you, to the point that you are not able to help, you should speak up. Maybe they should seel the help of a professionial. Whatever the problem is, never forget that your health – both mental and physical – is important.

What’s also important with this story is that when I was in middle school, I used to be a very positive and happy person. But this visit to the school’s nurse put a lot of things in perspective, and made me think a lot. And I realised I wasn’t this happy, cheerful person anymore. I even wondered how I could have been happy before. I didn’t know what it felt like anymore. I figured it must be what growing up felt like. But now that I look back, it was my first warning sign.

That was the first story I wanted to share. But of course, there is more.

When I started college, things started getting worse. This is something I have already talked about on my blog. I was attending a very hard college, with general studies (I had 6 different subjects, and about 30 hours of class, plus tons of homeworks, and exams every Saturday). The thing is, I was just there because my high school teachers had recommended it. And the only good things is that I met amazing friends there. Otherwise, it was horrible. I wanted to transfer at the end of the first year, but eventually I didn’t. Figures.

My second year was even worse. My roommate was a nightmare. She was really making me feel bad about myself, and at first I didn’t realise, but as time went by, I really couldn’t stand her anymore. She kept making awful comments, and honestly made me feel like shit. She was really inconsiderate, and I’m not sure she was even realising it. But whatever. We’re not in touch anymore. By the end of the year, I was crying myself to sleep. I stopped writing for a month. And then I spent a month in Germany, and I started writing again.

The thing is, when I reread my diary from this time, I realise something must have snapped inside of me at the time. Because when I started writing again, I was finally feeling much better, I felt free. I was hopeful. But when I reread what I wrote, I realise I had actually become sarcastic and bitter. And that should have been the second sign that things were actually not getting better.

One thing I realised during this month, though, is how much I enjoyed being on my own. I love traveling on my own. I love being independant. I need to be alone. I need “me time” way more than other people, I guess. And I loved being away from my parents (which is something that became quite recurrent the next year, as I moved back home…)

Fast forward to September 2015, I started my third year of college in a new university, and in the span of a month I lost 10kg. My mom told me happily: “Didn’t you want to lose weight anyway?” Thanks mom. I didn’t want to lose my appetite and my sleep though.

My doctor eventually recommended me a therapist, and gave me meds. And those two things, actually, finally, made me feel better. Another thing that helped was talking with my friends, because they were really supportive. So don’t hesitate to do that as well if you need.

Finally to answer the prompt about self-growth and development, I have another story I have already shared on here, so I will just give you the link if you feel like reading it as well…

ON GETTING A JOB AND QUITTING AND MY LOVE FOR BOOKS

So first, thank you so much if you read up til now. It means the world to me. And my best piece of advice if you suffer from depression, or anxiety, or any mental illness, would be to never forget that you deserve to be cared for.

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You’re awesome, and you deserve love. You deserve to be put first, and if no one does that for you, then you gotta do it yourself. It’s hard, I know, but I promise it’s worth it.

(And if you need, you can always talk to me.)

Mental Health Month: Week 2

May is mental health month, and as it is a subject that is close to my heart, I decided to post something every week, following a prompt I found on tumblr. First of all, I wanted to thank everyone who commented on my post last week, I really didn’t expect it, and it really warmed my heart and sometimes brought me to tears. Thank you ♥

I also wanted to let you know that I am seeing a therapist again. I saw her for the first time last Thursday (I stopped my therapy after moving to Berlin) and it really helped. It’s like a cry for help. Sometimes I feel like I’m drowning and suffocating, and I just don’t know what to do. And I know I need to talk, but I just don’t know who to talk to. So hopefully, this is going to help me get through the second semester.

The prompt for this week is
Post it for each other
What ways can you be there for each other

Being there for each other is very important, because people who don’t suffer from mental illness often don’t understand how much of a nightmare it is. And I don’t blame them, how could they know? So it’s good to know that you have people who understand you. Know that I am always there if you want to talk, on here in the comments, or on any of my social media (which are linked pretty much everywhere on my blog). And I mean it. I will find time for you. I know your pain. You are not alone.

You are worthy. You are strong. You are amazing. You are valid.

Don’t hesitate to seek help, if you think you need to.

Don’t be afraid of people.

Don’t forget to eat, drink, and sleep.

Don’t forget to always take time for yourself, it is important.

In your darkest time, try to listen to your favourite music, rewatch a movie you loved or reread your favourite book. Look at pretty, beautiful, soothing people. Try to sleep it off.

And it is something I will never say enough: you can cry, it helps.

You are not alone.

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♥ Sending you lots of hugs ♥
♥ Stay awesome, stay strong, stay safe ♥

Mental Health Month: Week 1

As it turns out, May is mental health month, and as it is something that is very dear and important to me, I wanted to do something significant. I saw this post on tumblr and it gave me some inspiration. Hopefully I can work this out. Rather than doing this on my actual tumblr account – which is a mix of fandom gifsets and sarcastic text posts – I decided that I would write a blog post every week, following the ideas given in this post I just mentioned before.

The prompt for week 1 is
Post it for you
How you practice self-care and personal well-being

The idea is to post acts of self-care, and positive things.

As you may or may not know, I have been dealing with depression and anxiety for some time now. When I look by and read my old diaries, I actually realise it may have been longer than I actually realise. I could have gotten help way sooner. But let’s not dwell on that. I’ve been seeing a therapist last year, and it really helped. But then I moved to Berlin. And for a time, I was still feeling okay. But now, not so much. You see, mental illness is a tricky thing. It has ups and downs. You can have months where you feel better, you feel like you finally have your shit together. And maybe it’s going to last forever. But chances are, it’s not.

Here are some things that I like doing when I feel like I am spiralling down again into my dark thoughts and the prison of my mind:

* Drink something warm, tea or hot chocolate
* Listen to some piano, either classical music, or covers. I have made some playlists on 8tracks, like this one and this one.
* Scroll through the sunset tag on tumblr because it’s beautiful
* Go to bookstagram, just to watch pictures of books, because I always find it calming
* I have this picture of me and two of my friends making ridiculously ugly faces, and for some reasons, when I look at it, it helps cheer me up
* When I have inspiration, I also write poetry
* Accept it, and know that eventually it will get better
* Talk with a friend

I also sometimes do breathing exercise, as my therapist recommended to me last year. I try to do cardiac coherence, it usually works when I am about to have a panic attack, or just feel very stressful. It only takes 5 minutes. I used to leave class all the time last year when I was feeling like I was about to lose it, or explode, and would just go sit on the toilet and do this. You can do it with a video like this one or just take 5 seconds to inhale, 5 seconds to exhale. The video helps to focus if you need to. And it’s very helpful and simple if you need to calm down. This breathing exercise also helps concentrate on something specific, which can help me escape from my thoughts before it gets out of hand.

And always remember, that it can get worse, but it will always get better.

I know that my parents are not a happy place for me, we have too many things we disagree on, and over the years, as much as I love them, it seems to be getting worse. But I also know that I have wonderful friends who will always be there for me, even if in my dark times, it is hard to convince myself of it.

Sometimes, I will go to bed crying, and hoping that I never wake up again. But always, in the morning, I will feel better.

happy kitten

♥ Here’s a happy kitten for you ♥
♥ Stay safe, and stay awesome ♥