Friday, 24 April 2015

Depression Awareness Week

Oh here we go again, always talking about mental health on here, aren't I? Well, the thing is - that's not going to stop anytime soon. It's a huge part of my life - a huge part of my life that still comes with a gigantic stigma, and it's one of the things that I wish this tiny little blog could have even the smallest impact on. Katy talked about the ridiculous things that people say when you have depression over on her blog earlier this week, and I can relate. For an illness that affects more of my friends than I care to think about - the fact is, too many people still think of depression as "just being a bit sad".

Giant Lotso Bear

My depression is an aching sadness, it is also me writing this from my bed when me and Katy should have been out shopping - but instead she's had to lie for hours rubbing my back as I can't get rid of the cycle in my head that tells me I'm ugly/useless/bad girlfriend/burden/nobody likes me. It is a sadness and it's also me being too scared to sleep for nights on end, because people might need me or bad things might happen or I'm sick of nightmares. Depression is sadness, and it's also my inability to get out of bed in the morning because my body feels too heavy, or it taking twenty minutes to brush my teeth, or not washing my hair for days on end because I only do it if I'm going somewhere people will actually see me, or me cringing when it's sunny because that means I'll probably have to leave the house. Depression is sadness and it's also an inability to live a life that is fair, and happy, and well deserved.

Depression is like everybody else around you running a marathon,  only somebody put lead in your shoes and nobody can work out why you tire quicker, struggle more, can't face running any longer. It is an illness, not an inconvenience - it takes over lives and, no matter what we call the deaths that occur as a result, people die from it. We need to talk about it more, during this week and in all the weeks that come afterwards - it is an illness in the same way that an infection is; it doesn't go away overnight, and treatment may take a long time and have unforeseen complications.

Depression is not something that I asked for, it's not cute or quirky - it's horrible. It's feeling like I don't know how I'm going to get through hour to hour, never mind day to day or beyond. Depression is not just a huge part of my life, it's overshadowed the life that I had before - and I won't sit down and stop talking about it because it makes other people uncomfortable; that's the reason I'm going to keep talking until I'm blue in the face.

You can see more about depression and Depression Awareness Week here.

Sammy xo.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

My Pinterest Bedroom (Sort Of)

Some of you may know (in fact, if you don't know, you clearly don't follow me on Twitter) that I have, and I roped the beautiful Katy in for every single step of the way, been decorating my room. My room before was pure white, but with every colour under the sun jammed in - circa old school Art Attack studios - this time I figured I spend at least 67% of my time in bed, and so I might as well make it amazing - cue Pinterest ideas boards, and the new room was born.

Ikea Bed

I don't recall a giant Lotso bear being involved in any Pinterest boards, admittedly, but you can't win them all. A lot of you seemed to like my Carnival Light when I posted a picture so I thought I'd share the coolest little bits of my room with you.

Nail Varnish Collection

I'm big into photos, so the more that I can cram in, the better - and of course it would all be mismatched and uneven because that's me by my very nature. Probably out of all of the things in my room, I absolutely love the prints done by Matt Sharman the most - you can go and talk to him over on his site to see what else he can do, but they also sell his prints in Quillam Brother's in Newcastle city centre, if you're ever around there. Of course it goes without saying that no blogger room would be complete without two entire nail varnish shelves (me, obsessed? Never.)

Copper Rose Gold Accessories

My desk is always a bit of a mess I'm afraid, but this is one of my favourite parts of the whole new room. It means that I finally have somewhere to sit and draw, plus when it's tidy it really does look cool. Most of the stuff came from our local wholesaler, too, so it worked out pretty cheap. All the rose gold. Note the terrarium, the first thing that me and Katy ever argued about - it was a tense afternoon.

Hand Drawn Picture

A special mention goes to this lovely drawing of me, Summer and Lauren - done by the lovely Lauren herself. Pride of place on my wall, thanks, doll!

In true Pinterest fashion, I've made sure to hide all the junk so you think it's immaculate! Let me know what you think, I'm intrigued!

Sammy xo.

Monday, 6 April 2015

Witch Overnight Clearing Serum

When everything was arriving for #NWbloggersmeetup this was the one thing I wanted to rip open and try right when it arrived (I didn't, of course) but then I actually forgot about it, mainly because I was too busy eating all the food that came in the same gift bag. Witch kindly send us one full sized product of their Overnight Clearing Serum for each blogger attending, and I'd seen the bloggers writing some good things about them even before I had a chance to try mine out.

Witch Overnight Clearing Serum

This is basically an overnight moisturiser, or that's how I've been using it - in place of my Body Shop Drops Of Youth Bouncy Sleeping Mask as my skin is quite bad at the minute. You literally clean your face and then shove on a fine layer and go to sleep. First things first, this thing smells really nice - it does have that undertone that you expect from Witch, a little medicinal but not at all in a bad way, but this is so clean smelling (Seriously, Katy made a point of sniffing my face to tell me how nice it was). It throws me a little bit that this is called a serum, it's really a lot more like a moisturiser, quite thin and white - other serums I use tend to be transparent and almost sticky, but that's just me being picky.

The pump is a really good addition to this, although be careful as you need very little and it's quite a large pump so it does dispense a fair amount at a time. This is oil free and suitable for sensitive skin and I really do like that this doesn't have the horrendous burning feeling of other spot treatments I've tried, but it does seem to do what it says on the tin (bottle?). Although this doesn't entirely clear up spots on me, it does seem to work to make them at least more coverable, and it does reduce the redness to at least a degree. I have combination skin with an oily t-zone, but it's good to see that this doesn't dry out the rest of my skin, although I would recommend using a different serum and a moisturiser in the morning, just to keep everything in balance.

Witch Clearing Serum Cream

Does it do what it says? Yes, to a degree. Don't expect miracles if your skin is awful, but this does work for me at least to going some way to allowing me to cover the worst bits up. I would imagine I'll only really be using this for when my skin is really bad, although it does seem to help stop future break outs so it's an invaluable tool, but for £5.99 I'll be replacing this one when it's gone, and I say lather the stuff on.

What products do you use when your skin is bad?

Sammy xo.

NB: Although these came in the #NWbloggersmeetup gift bag - I am under no obligation to post about the product, and all views are completely my own.

Sunday, 5 April 2015

TW: Self Harm

Just a quick trigger warning for self harm

I wanted to post this back when I posted my depression post - that's when I originally wrote the first draft of this, in a fit of tears after receiving so many replies, comments, tweets and emails about my bravery and honesty. It has been humbling, inspiring, it has made me sad but overall - I feel like a fraud. I haven't been honest, I have barely scraped the top of what's going on in my life. I don't know if I'll ever post this, I don't know if there will come a time when I'm brave enough to put this out into the world, I don't know if I'll ever get over the way it makes me feel the few times I've had to admit it to partners who've questioned me, I don't know how long this post will lie dormant in my drafts, I don't know if it will ever make it out - but writing heals, and I could do with healing, right now.

Self Injury Flow Chart

For the past ten years, on and off, I have self harmed. Looking back, that fills me with such sadness I doubt I could accurately write it down - from the age of eleven I hated myself enough that cutting myself became an all too regular habit and, at the time of writing, I am 21 and still struggling with it; that is nearly half of my life. When I told my doctor this, she seemed shocked that so few people knew about this, especially the people that lived with me - I'm willing to tell my story the best I can.

When I was eleven I started harming myself - I needed a way to cope with things that felt out of my control. When I was twelve my parents found out - when they discovered it was happening they were appalled to find thirteen cuts down my forearm, wrist to elbow. There was shouting, rowing, a room search and a speech off my mum that still makes me cry to think about it now - "We brought you up protecting you so that nobody would hurt you, only to find you've been hurting yourself." The next year was a blur of long sleeves, my parents finding new cuts on me, and me promising to stop. It was ugly, there was a lot of crying, I feel awful for what my parents went through that year - I feel awful that there might well be a time that we have to go through this all over again, my parents don't deserve that. I lost my best friend to a heart problem that year and the idea that I wasn't invincible struck me harder than I ever could have imagined - for a while, I stopped.

My teenage years I remember it happening sporadically, I went a few weeks without hurting myself then I started again. Then, when I hit twenty, I fell into a spiral. There were months I wasn't eating more than 500 calories a day, I was barely sleeping, my hips and feet were covered in cuts and scars. I was awful to be around, I pushed everyone away including my girlfriend of the time who gave me a plea that spookily echoed my mum's - "I would try to protect you from most things, but I can't protect you from yourself." This continued until I was ready to ask for help, and that brings us pretty much to me writing this. 

My self harm is the one part of my mental illness that I'm ashamed of. It makes me sick to my stomach some days, looking at myself is overwhelming, I spend hours planning the tattoos that will eventually cover up the worst blocks of scars. I might not be able to say that this is a habit I've completely kicked just yet, but I hope that I'm making steps towards getting there - it's something we need more awareness of, more help with. I doubted posting this for fear that it would come across as attention seeking; but the fact is, those are exactly the type of stigmas that I'm trying to break by writing this - self harm is serious, it's anything but attention seeking, and it's something more people struggle with than you might ever realise, it's time that we started to allow ourselves more knowledge around the subject.

Sammy xo.

If you're struggling with self harm, please know you can find help through Young Minds

p.s sorry I've been away for so long, and sorry to come back on such a serious post - but stick with me here, guys.