Keith is a regular contributor to Bring Change 2 Mind’s blog, and to the Good Men Project. If you are interested in working with Keith feel free to reach out. Contact WL if you want to be a Guest Blogger.
Worth Living Ambassador & Official DJ Scratchley Q
This week we are counting down some of the best music to celebrate St.Patrick’s Day with. Enjoy some Irish themed music and Irish musicians. Let’s Celebrate! – Scratchley Q
Worth Living Top 10 – Luck of the Irish
10. Brown Eyed Girl – Van Morrison
9. An Irish Pub Song – The Rumjacks
8. High Hope – Kodaline
7. The Blower’s Daughter – Damien Rice
6. Guinness – The Sunday Punchers
5. The Irish Rover – The Dubliners & The Pogues
4. The Rocky Road To Dublin – The Pogues
3. I’m Shipping Up To Boston – Dropkick Murphys
2. Ordinary Day – Great Big Sea
1. Paint The Town Green – The Script
Bonus Track…Irish Celebration – Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
Worth Living Ambassador Becca Shipley
Hi, my name is Becca, I am ‘Worth Living’s’ newest ambassador and I couldn’t be happier to help make a change! But first it’s worth telling you how I got to this point in the first place. I live in a little town in the North of England, but I am hoping that my words reach much, much further! I write a blog over at http://www.postivfworld.wordpress.com where I talk about my life now that our IVF journey has ended, what brought me to this point in the first place, my mental health, my issues with food consumptions, my osteoporosis and generally what life is throwing at me, feel free to take a look or reach out at any time!
This weekend has been an interesting one for me, it has also been exhausting, both physically and mentally!
It’s amazing what can trigger my anxiety and how things can change from on top of the world to hardly being able to breath from anxiety! Things that most people take for granted or even enjoy can make me feel like I am falling into a big black hole!
At home with Hubby is my comfort zone. Where I know he understands how I feel where I can hide from the world and try to feel more positive in times of anxiety! It is also the place, that on the good days, I can run around making jokes doing stupid dance,s and not fear anyone would judge me!
Saying this, we love to have a busy household, people coming for dinner or a cuppa on the weekend. It means a lot to me to have those close to me to feel comfortable here where they can get themselves a cup from the cupboard and make some tea. It makes me feel less like I need to make an effort and more like they are just extended family. That’s not me being lazy, that is me wanting to surround myself with people I know and trust more than anything!
What I am not used to however is someone staying with us for any prolonged period of time. I am a creature of habit (stemming from my control issues) and I have a whole routine at night after work to wind down and prepare for the next day.
Last Wednesday night, I had a friend come to stay from London, she stayed until Sunday night.
I couldn’t wait to see her in the run up to it but in the days just before, I began to feel nervous. What if I can’t do the things I usually would on a week night? What if she gets up before me and wakes the dog? What if she wakes after me and we try to shower at the same time and one of us is late for work?
All sorts of crazy things that ultimately weren’t really problems went through my mind. Even before she arrived, my anxiety levels were through the roof. She is a long distance friend. What if she doesn’t get my anxiety and thinks I am just being silly, I don’t want to be seen as that especially not in my own home. I am used to being able to feel whatever it is I need to at the time when I am in my safe space.
Does it make me selfish that I don’t want to share my safe space?
One (relatively helpful) activity I seem to take up in times of high anxiety is cleaning. So in the days before I blitzed the house more than it really needed on a Monday and Tuesday after work. But at least I had a clean house for my guest. But in that positive line of thought, my little negative brain was there, shouting from the background. By the time she goes it will have been a whole week of non-normality and I started looking forward to the next day so I can do everything I usually do.
It is times like these that I wish I was more ‘normal’. That I wish could just look forward to quality time with an old friend. Instead of wishing it away before it even begun!
Once she was here, we had a wonderful time but in the back of my head I was craving routine and normality. There were times when I was on top of the world and then something small would happen and I would be feeling the complete opposite. I tried my very best to push those feelings down, which in turn didn’t help my mental health! But I don’t think she noticed much. There were times I wanted to just take myself away and take a breather but I felt like I couldn’t.
Looking back now, I think I would have enjoyed it all more if I had done thi, but hindsight is a wonderful thing!
It sometimes baffles me how I got to this point. How I became so complex. Once upon a time, nearly a week with a friend would have made for the best memories. But now it is tainted by my anxiety, a part of me I can’t control.
Has anyone reading this ever struggled in this way? Do you have to force yourself to be outside your own comfort zone because in normal ‘society’ it is perfectly normal?
Worth Living Ambassador Beth Allen
Mental Health Recovery – My New Journey, Your Recovery Stories & Recovery Songs!
This week’s video is about that all important journey to recovery. Recently I have been struggling with my mental illnesses & my recovery. (Thank you so much for all of your support – each and every one of you has been truly amazing!) I felt it was SO important to show this footage.
Worth Living Ambassador & Official DJ Scratchley Q
Sometimes I need a good balance of upbeat and calm music. This week I bring to you, some of my favourite trap songs/ remixes. Enjoy! – Scratchley Q
Worth Living Top 10 Countdown – Trap Music
10. Innerbloom – RÜFÜS DU SOL (What So Not Remix)
9. Let Me Go – Paris Blohm ft. Karra
8. Poseiden – Neptunica
7. White Noise – Ella Vos (R3HAB Remix)
6. Seventeen – Devault (Ratatat Remix)
5. How Long – Charlie Puth (Two Friends Remix)
4. Chemicals – James Mercy ft. Keaton Vegades
3. Without You – Price & Takis
2. Day dreamer – William Black
1.We’re All We Need – Above & Beyond (Vanic Remix)
Worth Living Ambassador Jessie Fawcett
Hello, my name is Jessie and I’m a first-year student attending Ryerson University to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work. I am dedicated to being able to work in a juvenile detention centre in order to help aid youths who are struggling with their own lives. Mental health has always had a huge impact on my life and I’m finally starting to be able to share my story in hopes to help others who are also struggling with the same issues as well as shedding some light onto mental health.
7 Things Not to Say to Someone in Crisis
There are many things that people say to others that suffer from mental illness in which they have absolutely no idea how much damage they could actually be causing. It’s fine to think that you’re helping someone in need but to actually know what and what not to say to someone in crisis is extremely important. Here is a list of things that you shouldn’t say to someone in crisis and things to replace them with instead:
Don’t tell me to calm down.
When someone is having a panic attack or a manic episode, they can’t help but explode. It feels like it’s their only option. I know from personal experiences, telling me to “calm down” is an ignorant thing to say no matter how “nice” you were trying to be. If it was as simple as just “calming down” don’t you think we would? How can a person calm down if they think that their entire world is crashing down from under them? Let me use an analogy. If your arm was on fire and the pain was seeping through your flesh and all you could do was panic and scream and someone came up to you and said “just calm down” how would that make you feel? Angry or frustrated, right? It would be painful wouldn’t it? So, perhaps instead of telling someone to calm down, ask them what they need. Maybe try distracting them or help them focus on a good memory. It really depends on the situation. Think before you speak.
Don’t tell me to get over it.
Ah yes, the dreaded “get over it” saying. Tell me, who defines how quickly a person should “get over” something? If something hurts, it hurts. Do not argue with a person who is in pain. It is condescending, to say the least. See, what people don’t realize is that people who struggle with certain types of mental illness can easily be triggered. Speaking on a personal note, I am extremely sensitive. So sensitive in fact, that if someone changes their tone of voice with me there is a high possibility that I will start to cry. It’s not for attention, it’s not because I’m being overdramatic. It’s because I have little control over what my brain tells me to get upset about. For instance, in a situation where someone got angry with me, maybe I would be quite hurt by what had happened between us. Even if the issue at hand seems minor, do not tell me to “get over it, it happened a while ago” because it just makes us feel like sharing our pain is pointless and that no one cares. You have no idea how often we already think we’re overreacting. “Get over it” is not helpful. Instead, try saying something like “what is bothering you the most about this situation? What can we do to make it better?” That way they feel acknowledged and that you care.
Don’t tell me that other people have it worse than I do.
Yeah, we get it. There are people out there who have been and are going through “much worse things” in comparison to what we’re struggling with. Why is it okay to discount someone’s feelings just because there are people out there that “have it worse”? Regardless of who’s struggling with what and why they’re struggling it doesn’t change the fact that what we’re going through still affects us. Don’t compare my struggles with someone else’s because what you’re really doing is comparing oranges to apples. We’re all unique people and deal with things differently. Something that hurts me at an 8 on a scale from 1-10 could hurt someone else at only a 4. We all react to things differently. Speaking on my own behalf, I already feel guilty enough as it is when I’m upset about something. I usually already think that people have it much worse than I do, so hearing you say it does not help matters. Maybe try saying something like, “you’re not alone,” or “I’m here for you.” That way, you’re not discounting anything and you’re letting them know that they have a support system.
Don’t tell me that it’s not a big deal.
So, tell me. What is and is not a big deal? What categorizes something as being a “bigger deal” than others? If someone in your family dies, yes that is a big deal. Nobody would argue with that. But, what if you lose yourself? What do I mean by this? Well, I can’t speak on behalf of everyone suffering from depression, but I can speak on behalf of myself. Some days, for no particular reason, I lose a part of me. I don’t know what it is, and I don’t always know why I lost it. But, it is this feeling in me that something is very wrong, and I become distraught over it. Sometimes, when someone asks me what’s wrong, I will honestly answer them with “I don’t know.” But other times, when I don’t know what’s wrong, I usually just reply with what I think could be bothering me. Like a bad grade perhaps. Maybe to you, receiving a bad grade “isn’t a big deal”, and that there will be other grades to make up for it. But, like I mentioned earlier, somethings can hit harder than others. What may not seem like “a big deal” to you could be seen as the end of the world to others. Please, stop comparing what and how something affects you with how it could affect other people. Instead of saying “it’s not a big deal” try asking why it hurts so bad and what are some ways to help alleviate that pain. That way you’re not disregarding their feelings even if you don’t think it’s “a big deal.”
Don’t tell me to just ignore it.
Honestly, I think this should be common sense by now. Why on earth would you tell someone to just ignore their pain or panic? There is obviously a reason as to why they’re feelings that way. How do you turn a light off when you can’t find the switch? Feeling pain or panic is not something we have control over. If we did have control over it, why wouldn’t we choose to turn the switch off? Telling someone to “just ignore it” is actually super dangerous. I know for myself, I ignored my symptoms for years. I didn’t think they mattered and that the problem would go away by itself. Life, just doesn’t work like that. I’m going to use another analogy again. What if you had a bleeding gash on your hand that wouldn’t stop? Obviously, you’d be freaking out. And what if someone just told you to ignore it? Um, hello?! How can I ignore it if it hurts and it is right in front of me? That’s how it feels for someone in crisis. If something hurts or is scaring us, it will absolutely be all that we can think about and panic over. There is no point in telling someone to just ignore it. Perhaps, instead of telling them to ignore it, try helping them think of something else if that’s really what you believe will work best. That way you’re distracting them from what they’re panicking over at the same time as helping them “ignore” what is going on.
Don’t touch me unless I ask you to.
This is a big one. Yes, people have good intentions when they go to rub someone’s back, take their hand, or hug them. It’s awesome that you want to show that person physical support. However, it could make matters much worse. Nobody wants to feel suffocated. And even if you believe a hug is what the person needs, make sure you ask them first. I know that when I’m having a panic attack, I absolutely do not want anyone in my personal space. Don’t get me wrong, I’m the type of person that loves hugs. But, when I feel terrified and like I’ve lost all control, someone touching me is the last thing that I want. Respect that. If someone is panicking and you want to hold them or touch them, simply just ask them first. It’s a yes or no question. Some feel like they need physical contact and others don’t. All you can do is be there for them if they need you to be.
Don’t tell me that everything is going to be okay.
A lot of people have a hard time understanding this one. When I’m in crisis, this is about the worst thing you can say to me. I don’t want to hear that everything will be okay, I want to be okay now. If there’s one thing I have in common with other people who suffer from depression it is that we have a hard time imagining the future. The future is terrifying and seems impossible to get to. I know for myself that what comes into my mind when someone tells me that “everything will be okay” is that how do you know? How do you know things will get better? Why have people been saying that to me for years and it hadn’t gotten better? You can’t predict the future. When? When, is the angry question that came into my mind too. I’ve been waiting way too long for “things to be okay”. How about instead of saying “everything will be okay” say something like “fight for something” or “you’re strong enough to survive this.” It gives tiny ounces of hope without predicting a better future. That’s really all we want. Hope and the courage to fight. “Courage is but a small caul you keep swallowing.” To the Bone (2017)
So, there you have it. Hopefully you’ll be able to make someone who’s in crisis feel better without making matters worse than they have to be. Remember, mental illness is very selfish, and we do believe that “it’s all about us”. It sucks, and we don’t want to think like that, but unfortunately it comes with it. Don’t make someone feel bad for being in pain.
Worth Living Ambassador & Official DJ SCratchley
Every once in awhile we need something to uplift our spirits and souls. This week I bring to you some of rock and rolls most uplifting songs. Enjoy – Scratchley Q
Worth Living Top 10 Countdown – Uplifting Rock
10. Good Riddence (Time Of Your Life) – Green Day
9. In The End – Linkin Park
8. Never Too Late – Three Days Grace
7. Won’t Back Down – Tom Petty
6. Dream On – Areosmith
5. Eye Of The Tiger – Survivor
4. Don’t Stop Believing – Journey
3. We’re Not Gonna Take It – Twisted Sister
2. That’s My Life – Bon Jovi
1. I Want It All – Queen
Worth Living Ambassador Michele King
Hi! My name is Michele and I am 28 years old. Living with both depression and anxiety, I want to be a positive force of change to help end the stigma associated with mental illness, with hopes that what I share will help at least one person who comes across it.
“Ugly” Feelings and How to Deal
Anger (noun): a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility.
For me, anger has always been the hardest emotion to acknowledge, deal with, or express. This could be because growing up, I didn’t often see it shown or when I did see people confronting their anger, it was not done so in a healthy way.
So how did I cope with anger? That’s easy… I didn’t. I always felt “bad” for being angry, like I wasn’t allowed to feel that way or that it was never okay for me to just be angry- like I “shouldn’t” feel that. Feeling angry = BAD.
So, I would stuff it down and then often become sick or lash out inappropriately because I didn’t have the slightest clue of what was going on inside of me—I just knew it was too much to handle.
I would love to tell you all that the Michele I am writing about here was little Michele, a tiny, little elementary schooler with a gap tooth, bangs and wavy hair but unfortunately it took me a little longer and a few more painful experiences to be able to appropriately address my anger.
To be fair, most of that time anger wasn’t the only feeling I would avoid. Nope, Michele Danielle did not discriminate when it came to feelings. I liked to ignore them all equally.
I often avoided sadness, disappointment, feeling tired (because, you know, I can just keep going, it’s fine), and happiness.
I was afraid to feel happy because well… what happens when the other shoe falls? I couldn’t possibly bear that disappointment. (Spoiler alert: I could. Over and over again, I could. We humans are pretty resilient)
This left me numb for a while. Contrary to what it sounds like, feeling numb actually had a feeling. When I was numb I was tired, not motivated, had a tight chest and my stomach felt like it was tied in a bunch of knots.
When you’re numb you aren’t enjoying things. You can put on a smile and pretend to be happy but deep down it still feels fake.
Because you are being fake, you aren’t dealing with the emotions that are longing to be let out into the open where they can be felt, heard, acknowledged, and lastly… loved.
One of the biggest things therapy has taught me is to face my feelings.
Anger as it turns out is one sly guy. He actually masks other feelings that can be even harder to admit to like sadness, hurt, or disappointment. So often we feel angry, but that anger serves to protect us from feeling and being more vulnerable. It can be easier to say “I’m angry” than it is to say “That hurt me.”
When we confront our feelings, even the “ugly” ones, we can begin to give them a voice, understand them, and let them go. #BYEFELICIA
Our feelings are there to tell us something and the longer we ignore what they have to say the more stress we put on ourselves physically and emotionally. We continue to lash out and cope in unhealthy ways to fill the void and ignore the pain.
So how do we start feeling our feelings? We face them and take away the power that we have been giving them by keeping them inside of us.
1. Be kind with yourself. Don’t expect to be a pro at this right away.
2. Breathe. Take some deep breaths and maybe even try to meditate or go for a walk/exercise before diving in to give yourself a clear mind.
3. Make sure you are doing this at a time you won’t be distracted.
4. Start by acknowledging what you are feeling in your body. This helps you trust yourself because you can’t lie to yourself about physical symptoms you’re having. (For example, my shoulders feel tight, my chest feels like there is an elephant sitting on it, and so forth) You might actually be surprised by this exercise because it allows you to feel lighter because you’re speaking your truth even if it is a simple one.
5. When you are feeling a strong emotion, (whichever one you have a hard time expressing—for me that’s anger) acknowledge it. Say to yourself “I feel ______” (angry) Sit with it and get to know it. ***This can be uncomfortable because we usually want to ignore this feeling and do something right away to not feel so crappy. But resist that urge, remember the feeling will lessen once it’s felt and it won’t feel so powerful forever.
6. Once you sit , start writing. Write down what you are feeling. Again, I start with physical symptoms then move along with emotional ones. (If you don’t like writing consider talking to someone you trust to listen and not judge you or try to change your feeling)
7. Get creative and have some fun with it. At one point I was getting bored with writing the same stuff down so I decided to write a poem about what that feeling felt like for me in the moment. *I realize not everyone likes writing or poetry, so paint, draw, exercise—find a healthy outlet that suits your needs.
8. Get HELP. If you feel like some feelings are too hard to even acknowledge or are too big for you to handle on your own reach out to someone you trust or a therapist. They will hopefully be able to help guide you through processing those difficult emotions in a safe place and healthy manner. They will also be able to help you confront others about your feelings.
The reality is that most of us were not taught how to manage or express our feelings, especially the more difficult ones. In fact, many of us were probably taught to ignore them and avoid confrontation. But it is never too late to try something new and become more self-aware.
Worth Living Ambassador Beth Allen
Beth Allen is a Mental Health Advocate, and an active video blogger who aims to be informative, fun and truthful whilst showing life with Mental Illness. Having suffered in silence for 10 years with GAD, Emetophobia, Anorexia and Depression, Beth is 100% committed to showing the world that it’s okay to not be okay.
She will be a Guest Speaker at the Worth Connecting Forum this Wednesday at 3 pm AST. You can join the Form on facebook live ( worthlivingKA ).
In this video, Beth celebrates achieving 200 subscribers to her youtube channel. She also extends gratitude to some of the people who follow her channel. Lots of hope in this video! Please subscribe to Beth’s Youtube channel. Proud to have her on the WL Team of Advocates!
200 Subscribers! We Are More Than A Label
Worth Living Ambassador & Official DJ Scratchley Q
This week let’s kick back and listen to something soothing. A groove that’s smooth, the perfect combination of jazz and hip hop. Enjoy! – Scratchley Q
Worth Living Top 10 Countdown – Jazzy Hip Hop
10. Apollo – The Cancel
9. Bluestep – Gramatik (Emiljo A.C Remix)
8. Liquid – Driver
7. Alien Days – D3tails
6. Time Out – Comodo
5. Cue 1 – Roman Kouder
4. Climbing – Tom Misch
3. Lost and Found – Pretty Lights
2. Inside My Love – Blankets (The Greek XVRV Remix)
1. Priorities – OHD
Worth Living Ambassador Khrystle Rea
Khrystle Rea is a certified health and fitness coach who helps women kick anxiety to the curb naturally. She has gone from being fearful to fearless and now she shows others how to do the same. Khrystle has been on a life-long journey learning how to heal her emotions and live a truly balanced life. Her goal is to help others, so their journeys are not as long or tedious as her’s has been.
Just Because He is My Dad Doesn’t Mean He Belongs in My Life
When your parents divorce when you are only one years old, it is easy to grow up feeling a bit confused.
At a young age you are unable to understand what is happening.
All you see are mommy and daddy fighting. All you feel is the animosity between them.
It is easy to think it is my fault.
My parents divorced when I was one years old and for a few years after I would still see my dad. When I was nine it all stopped. Something changed. He disappeared. He no longer saw me, called me, wished me a happy birthday, and I had no idea where he lived.
How could someone who was responsible for me being created all of a sudden abandon me?
At one point he cared. At one point I was his world. At one point he was able to actually show me his love for me.
I felt abandoned and boy did it light a fire in my gut.
When I hit middle school my anger was full blown. I felt unworthy and I looked for it outside of myself. I attracted the wrong kind of attention because all I wanted was a father figure.
My idea of a dad was someone who supported me, came to my sports games, listened to me, connected with me; he would be around and remember my birthday.
It is the birthday thing that hits the hardest. He created me and when he sent emancipation papers a few days after I graduated college he put the wrong year. Talk about a stinger – at that point all I could do was laugh and think ‘this bozo doesn’t even know what year he had me.
For years my dad proved to me that he could never be what I wanted.
It took me a long time to realize that and stop wanting him to be something different.
I had to learn to accept him for who he was. Even to this day I think of him as a sperm donor more than anything else.
He was absent.
He couldn’t tell you anything about me.
If we were to pass each other on the street right now he probably wouldn’t even recognize me.
So what do you do in a situation like this?
How do you move past it when you can’t even talk to the person you are in a conflict with?
And if you do have a chance to talk to them, they do not have the ability to have the conversation you are seeking.
You heal on your own.
For majority of my life, this has been the issue that has hurt me the most.
I have spent hours and hours in therapy and using alternative healing practices to heal.
The feeling of abandonment and not being wanted.
How could my own father not want me?
It stings, even today.
But I have learned how to rephrase it in my mind.
I see who he is and how he will never be what I wish he could be.
I accept him for who he is and I am grateful that he gave me life.
Everything he has done has allowed me to become who I am now.
And I know he loves me, but in his own kind of way.
The anger has been the most challenging to let go of.
What has worked best for me is writing my dad letters expressing all I need to say and ripping them up. This takes the thoughts out of my body. Ripping up the paper keeps me from going back and mulling over it all. Once it is written and ripped up, it is done. I stop thinking about it.
Underneath all the anger is a deep sadness. I am sad at the loss of the relationship.
I was once his everything and now I am his nothing.
To make it better, he is connected with my other two siblings who have a different mom than I do.
It is challenging to not take it personally and I always feel that there is something wrong with me.
I have learned though there is nothing wrong with me.
I didn’t do anything. It isn’t my fault.
He is human too and he is limited.
How I feel is all my perception.
I have accepted that we are not meant to have a relationship in this lifetime.
The last time we spoke was maybe in 2012 and that may only have been through text messages.
As I have learned to love myself, I now realize that in order to protect my emotional well- being I really can’t be connected to my father. The door is never shut, so I have no doubts I will talk/see him again in the future, but for now I am okay with how things are.
Just because he is my dad doesn’t mean he belongs in my life.
Fully accepting that was huge for me.