Monday, 20 March 2017

Emotionally Abusive Relationships

This is not the easiest topic to write about. Firstly because it's quite a personal and emotional topic for me and secondly I'm cautious about generalising the issue.

If it's not obvious from the title of this post the issue I'm writing about is emotional abuse. When I write emotional abuse I mean as the form of an emotionally abusive relationship and not the emotional abuse of a child. So here is the trigger warning. If details of emotional abuse are triggering for you then it's best to stop reading now.

Lastly, before I finally start the actual blog post I just want to state that I'm writing based on my own experiences I write on behalf of myself and my experience of emotional abuse and not other people's.

Emotional Abuse I feel isn't talked about enough or taken seriously enough. I didn't know nearly enough about the emotional abuse until I went searching for it. I really wish I had known the signs earlier, it would have saved me from lots of bad experiences.

I was in an emotionally abusive relationship for seven months. I'm thankful it wasn't that long, but it was definitely long enough to change me as a person.

It was my first proper relationship. I was ecstatic when we became partners. I was on top of the world. We had been friends beforehand and this had felt like the right step for both of us.

The first month our "honeymoon period" was great. Then slowly things started to change.

We never kissed or went further than holding hands and cuddling throughout our entire relationship. 

We were both shy people and it felt natural to go slow, but after a while, it started to feel like it was the right time. However, my partner didn't agree. I would NEVER pressure someone to do something they didn't want to do. That isn't the problem. If they weren't comfortable to kiss then I would never pressure the and that would have been fine. 

The problem was in the fact although they wouldn't kiss me they would talk and brag about previous partners and strangers they had made out with. This made my already low self-esteem feel even lower. It made me think I wasn't good enough for them or even anyone. There must be something wrong with me if even my partner doesn't want to kiss me.

My self-esteem, while I'm the relationship, reached my lowest it's ever been. Not only did they never kiss me, but they would talk openly about all these hot girls they liked. They liked the badass, smoked, got drunk a lot, confident women. I was the opposite of this. I felt bad for not being able to conform or be like who they fancied. They would talk about these women in front of our friends leaving me feeling embarrassed as it was obvious to everyone I wasn't like the people they talked about.

The problem with the low self-esteem is that even though I wasn't feeling too happy with the relationship I stayed in it because it made me feel like no one else would want me and I was lucky to have my partner want to date me.

The controlling aspect came next in the relationship. They would get easily possessive and jealous of anyone I hung out with. They would make me feel guilty if I hung out with my friends without them. It got to the point where they started to guilt me anytime I hung out with my best friend. 

Near the end of the relationship I left for university and it turned into a long distance relationship. In a way, it was both a blessing and a curse. They texted and messages me constantly. If I didn't reply instantly or quickly after they would guilt me and say things like "you're obviously too busy for me and don't want to talk to me" when in reality I was in a university seminar so couldn't reply. It became so conditioned into me that I would feel bad anytime I didn't see a message sent from them and reply in the first five minutes.

Throughout the entirety of our relationship, they played the victim card. We both suffered from mental health illnesses, but it was always focused on theirs. I would spend hours talking to them, making them feel better, giving them advice. I spent most of our relationship acting as a personal counsellor. I helped because I loved them and I wanted them to be happy, but it started to cost my own happiness.

I would push aside my own mental health illnesses and problems to jump to their aid, but the more they realised this the more they used this to their advantage. They were sad every day and used this as an excuse. 

My own mental health suffered so much throughout this. Not only was I dealing with so much of my own personal problems I was dealing with theirs too. Whenever I tried to talk to them about my problems they would turn it around to relate to themselves and the next thing I knew I was comforting then. I relapsed so many times during that relationship. I'm not proud of it and I wish I hadn't let the relationship ship affect me that way, but in the moment it felt like I was drowning and I couldn't cope. The relationship that used to bring me happiness turned toxic and dragged me down, it made me feel worse.

I tried to break off the relationship several times. It didn't work. They would guilt me, say they would change, say that it would get better, all couples go through a tough patch. I would take them back because even throughout all this I loved them and I wanted to believe them. I later began to realise that it wasn't a "rough patch" like they said, but just a general toxic and rough relationship as a whole. Finally with the support of my family, friends and my counsellor I got the strength to end it all.

It was hard and emotional. I did love them and it broke my heart. For the first few weeks after the breakup, I felt guilty. I felt bad for them. So many times I nearly decided to dive back in because I hated hurting them, but I managed to struggle through.

It's been over a year now since the relationship ended and it most parts I'm happier, it was definitely the right choice to end it, in fact, I wish I had done it sooner. Because although I'm no longer in the relationship I'm still affected by it to this day.

My self-consciousness is still so low. I don't think I can get into a serious relationship for a long time now. I don't think I can take the fall and I don't think I could let myself believe that there is anyone really interested in me. I believe everything is my fault, and my mental health has never really recovered well since.

This relationship conditioned me so much that even now a year on as I write this I worry whether I have the right to write it? Was I really emotional abused? Maybe it was my fault? Maybe I deserved it all?
But I have forced myself to in hopes that it may help even one person.

Don't let anyone EVER drag you down. Don't let anyone manipulate you. If you are not happy in a relationship don't stay caged in. You have the right to leave. You have the right to be happy. You have the right to talk to who you want. You have the right to have independence. You have the right to be yourself. Don't ever let anyone tell you otherwise.

Friday, 16 September 2016

Sexuality, Labels and Self-Acceptance

I've been "out" to my close friends and some of my family from roughly the age of 13/14 when I was outed at school (that is a story for another time). I was never the most open person about my sexuality to anyone else, partially because of my anxiety over what other people's reactions would be and partially because of the fact that I generally didn't feel the need to be. However, recently I've started to reevaluate my sexuality, how I use labels and everything that comes with not being straight and it made me think how writing about my experiences and thoughts could educate/help maybe even one person.

When I came out to people in the past I generally just said I was Bisexual which isn't entirely true. I am romantically attracted to both genders, but I am only sexually attracted to a person I have a deep emotional bond with already. In label terms, this makes me a biromantic and demisexual.
Now written down this is easy to explain, but in person, this can take a while to explain to people as there are normally questions asked and a lot of judgement. This is the reason why I normally just used to identify myself as being Bisexual as it was easier for me and other people. Although there were always and still are all the annoying misjudgements, questions and biphobic remarks to get through.

One of these questions I was always asked is something that I've actually been thinking about more and more recently. "Which gender do you prefer?" Now when I first had the lightbulb go off in my head that maybe I wasn't just attracted romantically to the opposite gender I would have said I definitely felt more attraction for men than women. However, 5 years later I realised now that I am definitely more attracted to women. This was the moment that I had the epiphany that my sexuality is incredibly fluid and I don't want to have to fit it in a box anymore.

When I was younger and first realising my sexuality labels were my best friend, being able to have a word for what I was feeling/who I was made me feel less alone and more confident in myself. It gave me a sense of self and allowed me to express myself to others easier. Now I have grown up and become more confident in myself, I care less about what people think of me and care more about not restricting a part of myself. I no longer feel that I have to explain myself to people or label myself, I am who I am and I am attracted to who I want to be. My sexuality is fluid and I'm not going to try and force it into a box/label. I understand for some people they like to label themselves and that is great I used to be the same and as long as they're happy and comfortable in themselves that's the most important thing.

My hope In writing this Is that people will realise sexuality/labels and all that comes with it is an incredibly personal and special thing, No two people are the same in their attractions and their feelings. No one can tell you what to call yourself/who to be attracted to, Its down to you. If you identify with a sexuality differently to how someone else does then who cares as long as it makes you happy, and if you don't identify strongly with a sexuality either then it's fine don't worry. You be you and don't change for anyone. As long as you're comfortable and happy in yourself then that's all that matters.

Monday, 25 April 2016

Changes, Chances and Goals

Recently I've realised that changes can be wonderful things and are something to look forward to. Before this past year, I would have said that I liked the continuity of everything in my life staying the same. The sense of normality and structure made my life feel safe and manageable. However, in the last year, my life has undergone so many changes. I started University (in London none the less) and moved away from my tight family community, I entered my first serious relationship and also had my first break-up. These changes although not all good have shaped who I am and I've grown as a person because of them. They have helped me learn who I really am and who I really want to be.

This realisation made me realise that living the same structured life without taking chances made me unhappy. Yes maybe the normality brought me structure and I felt content, but I was never truly happy in myself. I was too scared to try new things and do what I really wanted to do because it was different to my normal. I was the person holding myself back from what I wanted to do and who I wanted to be.

With this thought in mind in I started down the road of being more open minded, trying new things, really pushing for my goals and I feel a lot happy for it. Not all of the changes have  worked out, but at least I can say I tried and every time I feel let down or like I'm not achieving as well as I wanted to I compare my situation to where I was last year.

I'm now an independent student living in London, recently turned vegetarian, gym-membership holder and am doing challenges/fundraisers for charity and this is only the start. I have so many more goals to achieve, chances to take and changes to make and I can't wait to see where the next year takes me.

So if you are reading this and have things you want to do, but never had the guts to or want to change things in your life and are to scared to, just do it, strive for them. What is the worst that could happen? And i promise you that in a years time you will look back at the changes you made and chances you took and will be grateful that you did it!

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Book Recommendations

Books are one of the most important things in my life. Reading is a big passion of mine, nothing beats losing yourself in a whirlwind ride of a new story. Recently I've picked up and read several books that have really grabbed me and have left me speechless and in awe long after i finished the last page. In this blog post I'm going to talk about a few of my favourites and hopefully inspire more people to pick up these wonderful books.

Everyday - David Levithan

The idea for this book and it's plot is amazing and definitely intrigued me. It focuses around the character 'A' whom doesn't have a physical form. Everyday the consciousness of A wakes up in a new body of someone who is the same age. For that day A takes over their body and tries to live that day as normally as the person would. However, that all changes when A takes over the body of Rhiannon's boyfriend and falls in love with her. 

This idea allows the author to write about and explore so many different types of people and their environments. From; drug abusers, high school jocks, a sufferer of depression and people with physical disabilities. A may only stay in their bodies for a day, but this book shows how much can affect and change a person in so little time.

The beauty of this book is the open mindedness of the main character A whom you would class as gender fluid and pan sexual. This character is beautifully written and as a reader it's definitely one you can't help but fall in love with.

The Art Of Being Normal - Lisa Williamson

This is the debut novel by author Lisa Williamson and she has definitely started with a bang. This book is one of the only books I've read that is not only focused around transgender characters, but actually represents them well. I loved the fact that the author didn't gloss over the treatment of transgender people in public, but instead brought to light the unjust treatments that can occur as well as the beauty of acceptance.

I loved the alternating chapters between the two main characters as it lets you connect with each character and their individual story as well as slowly creating a friendship and connection between each of them.The characters in this book are so lovable as they deal with everyday teenage problems as well as trying to figure out and accept who they're in life.

This book takes you on a journey of self acceptance and shows you that being "normal" isn't important compared to being and loving yourself.

I have already recommended and lent two of my friend's this book and they both enjoyed it as much as i did. Which proves how much of an amazing book it is as one of my friend's doesn't generally enjoy reading. So like i told them you really need to read this book. It's a beautiful read and the author deserves a lot of recognition for this amazing piece of work.

More Than This - Patrick Ness

Patrick Ness is definitely my favourite author so there was no way that this book wasn't going to be on this list.

I'm going to put this out there straight away;This is my new favourite stand alone book.

This story follows Seth a teenager who drowns and ultimately should be dead. However he wakes up in his old childhood city (England) across the waters from where he died and he is totally alone, It follows him and his thought process of trying to figure out where he is and the fact that there may be more to his life and life in general than he previously thought.

The book is split in to four parts and each one ups the pace of the book and the story. I could not put this book down as it had my mind racing with so many questions and a wanting to known more. 

The characters in this book are so beautifully written and their life stories and struggles make the characters feel so real. Seth is a really relatable character as many of the questions he tries to find answers to are things most teenagers would be questioning; the main one being is there more to life.

I'm not going to write anymore about this book as I'm going to take a leaf out of John Green's book and tell you to "Just Read It". Experience the twists and turns of this book for yourself. I guarantee you wont be able to put it down.

So these are three books i recommend everyone to read they are all very different, but all incredible books and i know everyone will enjoy them as much as i did.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

My Top 5 Films Of 2014

Last year was definitely an amazing year for film and before 2014 is in our distant memory i want to countdown my top 5 films released during the year.

5) The Maze Runner was the film adaption of the best selling first book in The Maze Runner series. I've already done a review of this film before (read about it here) so i shall keep this one quite short. The main reason why this film made my list is the visuals. The maze and the grievers were produced so real and life like it really made the movie a masterpiece to watch. The casting was also a huge success for the film and it definitely managed to boost the hype of the movie having young actors such as Dylan O'Brien, Thomas Brodie-Sangster and Will Poulter and not forgetting the leading lady of Kaya Scodelario. There were quite a lot of changes to the book which could be seen as a negative, but overall Wes Ball whose first directing job was on this film did a great job!

4) The Imitation Game is the film based on Alan Turing's life. It especially focuses on his time working to solve the enigma code at Bletchley Park. The film was beautiful and incredibly emotional. The casting was brilliant and Benedict Cumberbatch played Alan Turing with so much powerful emotion and heart. He really took on the character and portrayed him with high standards. This film gave us an insight in to the world of Alan Turing. It portrays him with all of his flaws and struggles and in a way this makes the character even more likable. What the film may have lacked in factual substance it definitely made up in Character.

3) The Hobbit: The Battle Of Five Armies is the final film set in middle earth and is the concluding chapter of Bilbo Baggins' adventure in The Hobbit. This is a film that definitely lives up to it's name with a big percentage of this film being a action packed battle. In my opinion The Hobbit chapter sadly did not live up to the standard's of The Lord Of The Rings, but this film was definitely the best and closest to living up to the original series. In my opinion this film managed to create a good mixture of action, emotion and humour. However it could have been deemed a little slow at some points.Richard Armitage deserves a big credit for this film as he portrayed the internal struggle of Thorin superbly.
Overall this film was a good end to The Hobbit Chapter and did a good job of wrapping the plot up and paving way for the plot of The Lord Of The Rings.

2) How To Train Your Dragon 2 comes second on my list. It's the second in the trilogy in the computer animated story of Hiccup, his dragon Toothless and his friend's. This film is a family film that can reach people of all ages. This is mainly because of the loveable and relatable characters created. No matter what age you are you cant help, but love Hiccup and Toothless. This film was a very big shock to me as although it was a family film it made me (a teenager) cry in the cinema. The emotional storyline about family and loss just made this film even more loveable and taught the audience all a lesson.

1) We have finally reached my top film released lat year. Guardians Of The Galaxy. With the movie world being taken over by superheros left right and center Guardians Of The Galaxy brought something fresh: Humour. Although all Marvel films have been known to contain bit's of humour none of them focused on it as much as this film. Even during the dramatic near death experiences this film couldn't help, but make you laugh. The soundtrack of this film was also another reason that this film was so successful and has made it to the top of my list. The soundtrack was absolutely perfect and whether you knew the songs before the film or not, one thing was for sure you would be humming along to them once you left.
The characters in this film were amazing and Chris Pratt really played an outstanding and breakout role as Starlord this movie. Zoe Saldana once again playing a badass female. Bradley Cooper voicing the loveable and hilarious Rocket Raccoon, Dave Bautista slowly making us become more understanding and loving of Drax. And finally Vin Diesel bringing so many different emotions to just one line and providing probably the most loved character of 2014: Groot. It's fair to say that this film was amazing and i can't wait for the sequel.

So there we have it they are my top 5 films of 2014. Let me know if you agree/disagree and which films you would pick. My next post will be a continuation of this and will let you know which films i'm most looking forward to next year. So watch out for that!

Monday, 24 November 2014

10 Things To Do When You're Feeling Low

Everyone has low periods in their life. Some people can deal with them better than others. I myself know how it feels to be low and not being able to get yourself back up or to distract yourself from your emotions. So this is why I wrote this blog post. Below are 10 of the best things that helped me get through low periods. I hope these can help other people too.
  1. I know everyone always says it, but talking to someone can really help you. Finding the right person to talk to could be hard, but once you have and you have opened up to them it can take a big weight off your shoulders and you could also get another perspective on your situation which can really help sometimes.
  2. Listen to Music. Listening to Music actually releases the hormone Dopamine which is nicknamed the "feel good" hormone. So therefore Music literally makes you feel good emotionally. So whenever you feel down plug in your headphones or blast your music out loud and forget about everything else, but the music.
  3. Writing. I find that writing all your feelings down is an incredibly good way to help yourself when you feel low. It is especially good if you feel like you can't let your feelings out via step 1. It is a way of letting all your emotions out without the fear of being judged. I particularly suggest this amazing website: on here you can type all your thoughts out and no one can read them, but you. When you press enter to 'send' your thoughts they simply float away off the page and it gives a great sense of relief. I really suggest people try it. If you prefer to hand write your feelings down they ripping the paper up or setting it on fire (as long as it is done safely) also gives a great sense of relief when you see them slowly disappear.
  4. Channeling your anger. Anger is often one of the key emotions when someone is feeling down and sometimes people can channel that anger in the wrong way. Taking up a sport or physical hobby is a great way to have fun as well as channeling your anger and excess energy in to. Even if it is just throwing a ball around outside it does help!
  5. Read a book. There is no better way to escape from life for a bit than to pick up a book and jump into a fictional one. Reading is a great distraction for short periods however if you have depression or feel suicidal make sure to not just use distraction methods because they're only temporary methods.
  6. Walking. Sometimes a quiet walk somewhere with a nice view can help you clear your head and relax. It doesn't have to be for long even just a 5 minute walk to get outside can help you feel more refreshed.
  7. If you have any pets or animals in your family then sometimes playing or cuddling with them can really make you feel happy and loved
  8. Socialise. I know sometimes when you feel down the last thing you want to do is to socialise, but just meeting up with your close friend(s) and doing something you all enjoy can really take your mind of things.
  9. Watch something funny. This is one of my favourite things to do when im feeling down. Loading up youtube and watching all the weird, wonderful and funny videos on that site because there really are a lot that can make you laugh your head off.
  10. My last tip is to treat yourself. If you're feeling low don't be harsh on yourself because it can make you feel worse instead treat yourself. Whether it's the new film thats just come out on dvd, a new item of clothing or something as simple as your favourite food. You deserve it.
So these were my top 10 tips of things to do when you're feeling low. I hope they help as much as they have helped me. If you have your own methods then feel free to comment what they're! Finally, always remember that their is light at the end of the tunnel. No matter how bad everything may seem it will get better and i am saying this from experience. 

Friday, 14 November 2014

The Unseen Side Of Social Media

With children generally starting to join and have an active presence on social networking sites from the age of 8, there is no doubt that social media has a major impact on young people's lives. There are obviously good impacts such as: meeting new friends and gaining confidence and a sense of place. However, there are also many negative impacts on young people and these are what i shall now explore.

Recently MPs have released a report saying that the increase of mental health illnesses in young people are connected with the internet and social media. They say that mental health illnesses in young people such as depression, eating disorders, anxiety etc. are related to the amount of cyber bullying that goes on in social media.


Cyber bullying is a major problem with 43% of young people saying that they have been bullied online and 53% of young people having admitted that they themselves had said something hurtful online. The report by MPs is sadly true with proof that cyberbullying victims are 2 to 9 times more likely to commit suicide. 

The sad truth about cyberbullying is you probably know someone who is a victim of cyberbullying but is too scared to tell anyone. This is even more true for parent's with only 1 in 6 knowing that their children are being bullied online. This is because it's easy for the bully and the victim to hide the evidence of the bullying because it's online. Many of the victims of cyber bullying hide the bullying from people out of embarrassment and fear. This means the victim goes through this serious bullying without support and help and like DR. Sarah Wollaston chairman of commons health has said they can "never get away from it". Young people live on social networking sites. They use it everywhere they go so people being cyberbullied are always followed by their bullies compared to being physical bullied where once they are home they're safe. The constant harassment and bullying nonstop and not being able to talk to anyone is  therefore why many young victims of cyberbullying end up developing mental health illnesses such as depression and anxiety. In severe cases. this can lead to self-harm and even suicide.

I myself was a victim of cyberbullying by my peers in secondary school. I dealt with it in silence through the majority of my last year because I was too scared and embarrassed to speak up like many other victims are. Looking back on my own experience I wish I had been brave enough to speak to someone about the situation so it could have been stopped. However, I didn't and this is the same for many victims so how can we help stop cyber bullying? If the victims are often too scared to talk about it then it's the job of the rest of us to keep an eye out on social networking sites for any signs of bullying. If we see any cases of cyberbullying instead of being bystanders we must do something about it whether it's confronting the bullying, supporting the victim or most importantly telling someone else. If you just watch the bullying going on and don't do anything then you're as bad as the bully. You could stop the victim developing mental health illnesses and help them have a happier and safer time online. So make sure to stand up to cyberbullying!

Cyberbullying, however, one of then main problems of social media for young people isn't the only one. Young people's mental health can be affected by low self-esteem which can come from seeing celebrities and models online who have the "perfect" appearance and body image.

Photoshop is being used more and more on models and celebrities in order to get them to the "perfection" standard. Young people often look up to these people and therefore compare themselves to them. This is an awful thing to do because even the celebrities themselves don't look like what they do in magazines. They are edited to the highest impossible standard. So young people believing that they must look like this is tragic, As no natural person could look that "flawless". The image of your body is beautiful and the imperfections that you may not like actually make you unique and beautifully different from everyone else, Naturally no two people look the same (besides twins) and this is beautiful so why is our culture in media now trying to tell us we all must look the same eg. unnaturally clear skinned, stick thin for women and bulky and muscular for men? 

Young people generally have low self-esteem anyway because they're going through puberty and everything is changing so to have their idols looking "flawless" and so unobtainable it makes their self-esteem lower and can lead to mental health illnesses such as depression and eating disorders.

Whenever you compare yourself to a cover model remember that even the person on the cover didn't look like they do before the photoshop team and makeup artists started on them. Also remember that everyone is unique and unique is beautiful so never change your appearance to fit in because you're beautiful as you're.

Model before and after photoshop

Another main problem with Social Media is peer pressure when it comes to taking sexual pictures. More and more often on social media children are being pressured to have their photo taken doing sexual acts which are then shared around. This has happened to children as young as 11 years old. Social Media isn't a safe way to share private photos as the person receiving it then has the option to share it to any social networking site or person they want. This can leave the young person embarrassed and scared. This can cross over into cyber bullying. Social Networking sites are slowly trying to prevent this from happening with Snapchat just recently updating their app so it lets the users know if a person has saved their picture. This is a good step forward because it means the user will instantly know the other user has a copy and can take immediate action before they can share it around.

The final problem with social media is it gives people a platform to share their opinions on groups of people such as certain religions, races, heterosexual or homosexuals etc. Although in the past 10 years the world has started to become slowly more accepting of diversity there are still people stuck in their ways who disagree with anything different. And social networking sites sadly give these the platform to state their opinion. People feel more confident on social networking sites because no one can hurt them because they're behind a screen. So therefore although some people wouldn't share their opinions against diversity in public because of their fear of the reaction they will share it over social networking sites because they have more confidence as no one can touch them. Thankfully the positive comments about diversity on social networking sites heavily out way the negative comments it can still be quite upsetting for people from that group to see negative comments.

I can definitely say that social media has taken over young people's lives. So much so that i think you can say that it is addictive for young people. I think most people if asked would struggle to give up social media even for a day. It's a force of habit for most people and generally it can have a positive impact, but just make sure when living your life online that you're careful and stay safe!