Friday, 29 August 2014

Understanding Depression (Q&A)

Depression is something I feel isn't talked about enough, and it should be because lack of it is leading to such ignorance in people when it comes to this illness.
First things first, depression isn't the same for everybody - it can be triggered by different things, it lasts different amounts of time, some cases will be worse than others and it will of course have different effects depending on the person who's suffering. Anything I write here is due to my own experiences, and stuff that I know, I'm not saying this applies to everyone.

Depression is a clinical illness. We all get days where we feel down, hopeless or just generally sad but depression is far from this. For one thing depression lasts longer than a day or two, it can last weeks, months or years but it doesn't have to be constant. Many people believe depression isn't a 'real health problem' but they're wrong, depression is a real illness with symptoms that effect your life badly. Depression isn't someone being weak, it isn't someone being oversensitive and it's most certainly not something that can be overcome just by 'pulling yourself together' or 'cheering up'. With treatment, support and determination depression can be overcome, but doing so means the sufferer has to really want to and has to make those steps themselves.

I asked for some questions on twitter and I'm going to answer them.

How does depression start?
Depression doesn't have one specific cause, and it will be different for everyone. For me personally it started because of bullying and a horrific time at school. It can be because of stresses in your life, bereavement, money worries, etc. The type of personality you have can also be a factor; if you're overly self-critical, have low self esteem or are sensitive you're more likely to suffer from depression. Also, if someone in your family has suffered with the illness you're more likely to as well.

How do you feel when you're depressed?
I go through stages, to start off with I feel very panicky, anxious and angry with the world. I cry a hell of a lot, I have panic attacks and I just want to scream from the pain. The mental pain and the feeling of being so lost, hopeless and like you want to fade away is excruciating. This feeling normally lasts a day, and then I go onto feeling numb, empty, unbearably lonely, like all the happiness and hope has been drained from me and I can't ever imagine feeling happy again. It's so difficult to explain and understand unless you've been through it yourself, but please remember it's nothing like just feeling sad or unhappy.

Why do some people who are depressed seem happy a lot of the time?
Depression often isn't constant, or it is and people hide it well. I always describe it like this; I call depression a little evil monster inside of me, it's always in there but sometimes my body is strong and able to fight the depression monster off, or sometimes the depression monster is tired so hides away for a while, but when my body has had enough of fighting or when the monster decides it wants to awaken the depression takes over again. Not everything is as it seems, everyone is fighting their own personal battles.

How do you know if you're depressed? 
A lot of people claim to be suffering with depression, when in reality they're not, they just feel a bit down. If you feel constantly hopeless, helpless, sad, tearful, guilty, anxious, have no motivation, have a change in weight, have thoughts of hurting yourself, your work at school/college/uni is getting worse, or you're irritable these are all signs of depression. If you think you do have depression it's important to talk to someone about it, whether that's a friend, a family member or a teacher, tell someone. Go to your GP and they can refer you to someone who can help you and start the process of helping you to live a depression free life, full of happiness, laughter, fulfilment and amazing achievements.

Why do some people with depression not get help?
There can be several reasons for this. Often it's because accepting you need help means accepting you have a problem, and accepting you have a problem is a huge and scary thing to do. Sometimes people think going to see a doctor is a sign of weakness, or they think they'll be judged (which you won't). Also, with me I thought that I couldn't be helped so there was no point. When you're depressed you have no motivation and you feel totally helpless. It's not about not wanting to feel happy, and saying to someone 'just go and get help' is absurd and not that simple. I also felt scared, I was worried that they wouldn't be able to help me, and in my mind that made total sense and it terrified me.

How can you help someone who's depressed?
Being friends with someone who suffers with depression or having someone in the family who does is a huge task (I know I must be pain and a half). Be patient with them, be understanding. Never assume they're just being grumpy, miserable, oversensitive or that they're putting it on. When I feel depressed I like to be on my own most of the time, but knowing that people care is something I always want as well. There's nothing worse than feeling that low, and knowing people know you're going through this and you get no messages of support or anyone asking if you're alright…it'll just make you feel incredibly lonely and like no-one cares that you're feeling so down…which I know they do, deep down, but at the time I just feel angry and hurt. Also, NEVER say to someone with depression "oh just cheer up".

What helps when you feel depressed?
I've found that exercise helps me. Not when I actually am going through a spell of depression because it's the last thing I want to do then, but I have noticed since I started exercising my depression comes on less often and my mood is generally more positive. I was told for years how exercise can help, but always ignored it/dismissed it, but if you're suffering from depression I urge you to give it a go.
Try yoga, it's calming but can also give you a real workout! Going for walks is something else I enjoy, being in the countryside with my two doggies is the best - and seeing them happy always puts a smile on my face. Try and focus on things you have to look forward to, sometimes this can be pointless (I know it is with me) because you feel so unmotivated and like you'll never be happy again, but it's always worth a go. Remember that the feeling of depression WILL pass, you won't always feel like this. And if you're feeling okay to talk to someone do it, and never be afraid of crying.

I really hope this helped some people understand the clinical illness depression more. I wish so much it was more openly talked about. There's so much education and chat about physical illnesses but not enough about mental illnesses, when they are just as life effecting and just as serious.

If you're suffering with depression, know someone who is, are worried you might be depressed or just want more information have a look at the links below.

Samaritans -
Mind -

Thursday, 14 August 2014

What I Ate Today #1

I love food, and I'm always interested what people eat during the day (I really love Instagram food pages), so I thought I'd start a new series on what I eat during the day. I'm obviously not going to do it every single day, but maybe once every couple of weeks. I've actually had a few requests for this as well, especially since I started being really healthy and have lost weight.
Hope you're all as nosey as me! So, this is everything I ate during the day…apart from a few nuts that I forget to include.

Most mornings I have the same. Bran Porridge Oats from Sainsburys made with Unsweetened Alpro Almond milk (much better for you AND so much nicer than cows milk or Soya), then I mixed in some flaxseed, and on top we've got strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and flaked almonds. For my drink I have a Pineapple & Grapefruit green tea by Twinings. So yummy, filling, good for you and full of nutrients.

I normally work out after breakfast, so for my lunch I like to have something full of protein to help my muscles and refuel my energy. Today was a 2 egg omelette. I cooked courgette, tomatoes, mushrooms, onion and Quorn wafer thin chicken slices in coconut oil and then added the eggs with some chilli flakes and mixed herbs. I added some rocket on the side too! For my drink I had water with a slice of lemon. 

Afternoon snack
When it gets to about 3pm-4pm I get peckish. So, I had a cup of plain green tea and one of these tasty Nakd bars. This one is Cocoa Mint, it's made with dates, cashews, raisins, cocoa and natural mint, and it's just cold pressed…nothing artificial, no added sugar and it's dairy, gluten and wheat free! So, it's not naughty but it feels like such a treat.

Sorry for the awful picture, this is why I like natural lighting. 
Dinner was delicious kedgeree made by my mum, with a poached egg on top and some rocket on the side. Yum yum! 

Third green tea of the day - this one was mango and lychee, and an Alpro Soya Cremoso mango yogurt.

What did you eat today?

I hope you like this new series!

Monday, 11 August 2014

Idolising Celebrities

Idolising celebrities. It's something many people do, and recently I've seen quite a few people have debates about whether it's right or not…mainly on YouTube (e.g. SprinkeOfGlitter), and I wanted to share my own view on the topic.

Pretty much every young person has a celebrity or public figure like a YouTuber or blogger they look up to, which is cool, that's fine, but I often think people take it too far and get swept up in the persona that person puts on in front of cameras, in interviews or just generally in public view. I think people forget these celebrities are actually real people, people with faults, insecurities and worries.
I see far too many young people, mainly girls, saying "ohh I wish I was *insert celebrity name here*" or "*so and so* is so perfect!" and it bugs me ever so much, for various reasons.

Whether you like it/believe it or not the person you see in front of cameras, whether it's an A list actress, a member of a band, a YouTuber or a blogger, is never going to be the full and true them 100%, you're never going to see every accept of their life, every emotion they feel and everything they go through. That person will naturally only want people seeing the best parts of themselves, and they'll always put across who they want people to see them as…i.e happy, funny or confident, when it could be very far from the truth. I know from experience that even I put on a persona to people I meet. I've been told numerous times that I come across as very calm and confident, when in reality I'm a very anxious and insecure person.
It's the same with how people look, an example of this is that YouTubers know when they're going to sit down and film so of course they'll put on nice clothes, do their hair all nicely, put some makeup on, make sure their lighting is good, etc, so the person you're seeing is the best version of themself. I'm sure they look very different at the end of the day when their makeup has worn off, they're sat on a sofa in pyjamas that maybe need a wash and their hair is pulled back in a messy bun (not that looks matter, but remember no-one looks glamorous 24/7).
Celebrities and public figures live in reality too. Fact. Every single person on this planet has things they wish they could change about their appearance or how they are, even people you may look at as being the perfect human being. I guarantee you if you were to wake up one morning in the body of the person you wish to be you would see it totally differently, because we all see ourselves in the most critical way. I think it's also important to remember that age plays a huge role here…young girls look up to people who are older than them, and with age comes the ability to not care so much what people think of you which results in more confidence and an aura that brings envy to teens who are still in that stage of life where they believe everyone is staring at them, and everyone cares about what hairstyle they have (which honestly, they don't…and if they do then so what? They're not worth your time).

Admiring a certain aspect of someone I can relate to a lot more, e.g. I admire Zoe (Zoella) for doing huge things when she suffers with anxiety, I admire Carrie Fletcher for always being true to herself and for being very honest in her videos, I admire actresses who went for their dreams and achieved so many things, recently I've had huge admiration for Tullulah Willis (Demi Moore and Bruce Willis's daughter) for speaking so openly about her struggles with body dysmorphia, and I admire anyone who stands up for important issues…but admiring those aspects doesn't mean I admire every single thing those people do, and it doesn't mean I think they're perfect or want to change who I am to be them.
I think in life it's a great thing to just be who you are, have your own morals, have your own style, have your own personality and don't try to conform to be somebody who you see as being better than yourself, because honestly they aren't and I'm sure they would happily tell you that.

So yes, we can learn from public figures, we can admire certain things they achieve and of course they can inspire us, but ultimately no-one is perfect and I bet you have things about yourself that others look at and think "damn, I wish I was like that".
I definitely need to take my own advice, because I still worry about what others think of me; I'm only human after all, but I have let go a bit and relaxed a lot more and honestly it's the best thing you can do.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Sheer Red For Summer

Revlon Lip Butters are on of my all time favourite lip products, and definitely my favourite for Summer time. They're moisturising, not heavy, have a good colour pay off and the range of shades is fantastic.
For my birthday, back in March, I got the shade Wild Watermelon, which I've wanted for such a long time.

Sheer swatch
Built up swatch

Wild Watermelon is going to be my must have lip product for Summer, it's a beautiful bright red with pink undertones, it can be sheered out or built up to look rather intense. I quite like wearing it sheered out slightly, just so it's not so full on for an everyday look. However, I am going on holiday to Menorca in just over 2 weeks (eeeeek, prepare for an envy filling blogpost when I get back) and I reckon this shade will look oh so beautiful with a tan, especially when it's built up to a gorgeously bold colour.

When the weather is hot I really don't like wearing 'proper' lipsticks, you know the heavy ones, that can be quite matte, or have a thick constancy. They feel too much like they're suffocating my lips and I always have the urge to get a tissue and get rid! I always opt for the sheerer or more creamy products. Revlon Lip Butters fit the bill perfectly!

Monday, 16 June 2014

Percy & Reed - Wonder Balm | REVIEW

Whenever I get free hair products with a magazine I have this pre-judgment that they're not going to be very good, I don't know why, but I do. So when I got the Percy & Reed Wonder Balm (£18) free with the April issue of ELLE I didn't think much of  it, and kind of forgot about it. However recently my hair has been feeling quite dry, and none of my products seem to be working as well as they used to, so I dug out the Wonder Balm and I really like it.

The 'Perfectly Perfecting Wonder Balm' is a leave in balm that you apply to damp hair, either on it's own or before your normal products to act as a primer. The balm claims to give you moisture, shine, smoothness, definition, softness, light hold, high humidity protection and manageability…that's a lot of things to promise! I personally like to apply a small amount before my TRESemme Oil Elixir (which is great if you have dry/frizzy hair), the balm doesn't have a particular scent but it's just quite fresh, it's a fairly runny consistency and it doesn't weigh my hair down at all.
I have noticed that it seems to make the oil elixir work better than it normally does - my hair seems to feel smoother, softer and stay that way for a longer time. I feel like it does prime my hair well, as the TRESemme product now doesn't feel so oily or weigh my hair down. It's no miracle product, but it has helped to tame my hair as it can go a little bit crazy.
I'm yet to try about the 'high humidity protection' promise, but I'm off to Menorca in just under 3 weeks, so I'll be popping the Wonder Balm in my suitcase to test it out, I'm hoping it works otherwise I will resemble Monica from Friends when they went to Barbados (not a good look).

All in all I would recommend this product if your hair is feeling a bit limp and lifeless, it will certainly give it a kickstart back to smooth, soft, manageable hair.