Category Archives: Mental Illness Information

The addiction of self harm

Photo by Sydney Sims on Unsplash

**The following post discusses self harm. Please ensure you are in a safe space mentally before continuing. If you or someone you know is struggling with self harm, please seek medical advice**

Recently I was talking to a friend about self harm and the drive behind the compulsion. Most of us wouldn’t think that turning to something destructive would be helpful. Yet even harmful behaviours provided relief at one point, or our brain wouldn’t continue to seek this behaviours as comfort. read more

How to create a Ta-Da Journal

Bullet Journals seem to be all the rage at the moment. Or at least in my news feed.  I looked into them because I am a lover of lists.  Plus any excuse to buy a new notebook is good in my opinion.  However Bullet Journals didn’t seem to be my style.  One of the things that I have learned over the last few years is that recovery is about creating and filling a toolbox.  There isn’t just one way to get well.  Sometimes it is about taking bits and pieces from different therapies to fill your toolbox.  Sometimes it is about creating your own techniques that work with your life.  That is where Ta-Da Journalling comes in!

We’re all familiar with the traditional to-do list, well this one is a little different.  Instead of writing all of the things that I plan to do in a day (which when you are in a depressive slump feels a mile long) I sit down at the end of the day and write the things that I have already achieved.

I realised that when I was feeling down or anxious that my first response was to lament about all of the things that I was failing at.  I was quick to point out the things that I hadn’t achieved, while forgetting about the things that I had actually gotten done that day.

The best part about a Ta-Da Journal?  Everything you do in a day is an achievement.  Got out of bed this morning? Write it down.  Showered for the first time in 3 days? Write it down.  It doesn’t matter how small you think the achievement is.  Write it down.

There’s no special way to create a Ta-Da Journal.  All you need is an empty notebook and a writing utensil.  You can make it as plain or colourful as your heart desires.  I have written an index at the start of my journal with the page numbers for each month.

On days that I feel like I haven’t achieved a single thing, it’s helpful to be reminded that I have achieved so much more.  It’s also helpful to read back through the entries and see the progress of my achievements.  Plus, like I said, I love lists!

So if you are feeling like everything is getting on top of you and nothing is getting done, I really recommend a Ta-Da Journal.  Our brains are pretty good at lying to us when we have a mental illness, so facing it head on (pardon the pun!) with cold hard facts is often the best way forward.

Have you tried Bullet Journalling?

Do you add things you’ve already done to your to-do list?


Emotional intelligence and social media


I’ve been using Facebook for around 9 years.  Before that I sporadically used a myriad of social media channels throughout my teen years.  Unlike Facebook though, most of those channels are now gone and I’m not faced with cringe worthy reminders of the things I wrote when my emotional intelligence wasn’t at the level it is now.  Thank you Facebook memories!Emotional intelligence doesn’t have anything to do with a person’s IQ or the grades they got in school.  A person can be a rocket scientist and still have zero emotional intelligence.  Emotional intelligence refers to someone’s ability to evaluate, express, identify and control their emotions.

This type of intelligence helps us to navigate interpersonal relationships effectively.  Someone with a low emotional intelligence often lacks the insight into their emotions and how the expression of those emotions impacts on those around them.  People who have been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), like myself, are often diagnosed because their emotional responses are out of sync with what is happening around them.

When I was quite unwell, it showed in my online activity.  Even now, when I am having a bad day, it shows.  When I was unwell, before I started therapy, I didn’t think about the consequences of the things I posted on my social media.  I didn’t worry about the fact that not everything I shared was mine to share.  I lacked insight into my actions and the emotions ruled.

Over the last couple of years the online space has changed dramatically.  Facebook and micro blogging reigns supreme and there’s been a huge push back against curated social media.  Raw and honest has become what the masses are screaming for but I worry about how that translates to real time posting and the people who get caught in the crossfire.

I think that having a high level of emotional intelligence is extremely important when it comes to being a public figure on social media.  Having the ability to assess risk, communicate effectively and still have your thoughts heard is valuable in the fast paced environment of social media.  A strong emotional intelligence doesn’t mean that you don’t share raw and honest, but it does mean that you have a greater insight into the wider impact of your actions.

Social media is an absolute minefield of opinions, not all of them are going to gel with yours and hell some of them might even be about you.  It’s easy to go with our emotional response, instead of our wise mind when something we disagree with happens.  It’s easy to lash out at the people who have upset us.

Emotional intelligence is what steps in when that response pushes to the forefront of our minds.  It’s what stops us from posting about our dickhead bosses.  The post might be true, the person might have wronged you, but have you really thought about the consequences?  I know I didn’t when I was unwell.

  Do you think it’s important to have a high level of emotional intelligence to be an online identity?



Anxiety and worry are not the same

anxiety is not worry

It has come to my attention that some people seem to think that the words worry and anxiety can be interchangeable.  Nope.  They aren’t the same at all.  One is a fleeting thought, while the other is a debilitating mental illness.

Yesterday, I read this post which told the story of one woman’s experience with untreated post natal anxiety.  Eva has also shared her story here on my blog.  The post also went on to discuss the impact that a Facebook post could have had on an anxious new mum.

I haven’t seen the post in question myself, but the excerpts I read were quite alarming.  The post made the declaration that all mothers felt anxious.  It then went on to say that this anxiety was proof that you understood the worth of your baby.

It’s possible that this post came from a place of support, that the author wanted to offer a place of solidarity.  However I worry that these words, and the assurance that anxiety is something everyone feels, will prevent some new mothers from seeking help.  I am concerned that someone who is dealing with the irrational thoughts that anxiety brings, will see those words and feel like they don’t need help after all.

It appears that with the rise in awareness around depression and anxiety, people have now begun using these words flippantly.  Sadness is not the same as depression and worry is not the same as anxiety.  However these words still seem to be interchanged frequently.

Worry is a natural response to something that makes you fearful, a new experience or something stressful.  It is often a fleeting feeling, like butterflies in your stomach before you start a new job.  Worry is not a prolonged feeling, and doesn’t impact on your ability to live your life.  

Anxiety on the other hand is a prolonged state of stress.  Anxiety is a set of irrational beliefs about yourself and the world around you.  It is not like having butterflies in your stomach, it is like having a punch to the stomach.  Anxiety becomes a problem when it impacts your ability to live your life and interact with those around you.

When Mr 6 was a newborn I didn’t struggle with anxiety.  I struggled with depression, despair and a complete lack of confidence in my ability as a loving mother.  I often thought that I wasn’t the right mother for my son, and that he would be better off without me.  If I had read that post in those early days it would have been another failing with which I could beat myself with.

I didn’t feel anxious about my son.  Therefor my irrationally negative mind would have told me that I failed to see his worth.  It would be one more example of how I was failing him as a mother.  I would not have felt supported by that post, I would have felt ostracized.  I wonder how many other women read that post and felt the same way?

Staying mentally well, especially when the hormones of being a new mother are in play, is so important.  Telling women that every single mother experiences anxiety, when the word you are looking for is worry, could lead to some women not seeking help when they so desperately need it.

It’s important to talk about our experiences as new mothers, but it’s also important to be aware of the impact those words can have.  Be mindful that when you are trying to create an inclusive space, that you aren’t draping a blanket over very real issues.

Worrying that the jumpsuit you dressed your baby in isn’t warm enough is normal.  Being too scared to leave the house in case your baby is killed, is not.  One of those scenarios is worry, the other is an irrational thought created by anxiety.

It does awareness a disservice when the names of serious mental illnesses are used for regular human emotion ranges.  It is already so hard to get society to take mental illness seriously, please don’t further discredit people’s experiences by telling them that everyone feels depressed and has anxiety.

Did you suffer with anxiety when your baby was born?

Do you think that an increase in awareness has created a flippancy around mental health terms?

Hospital Psychiatric Treatment and Health Insurance


*The following post is bought to you by Health Insurance Comparison.  No money was exchanged*

While many people are successfully treated by their GP or a psychologist for mental health conditions, it may sometimes be necessary to receive psychiatric treatment in a hospital or stand alone unit setting.  If this is the case for you, you may worry about how the costs will be met and whether health insurance cover can help you out with this.

Who Is Likely to Have Psychiatric Hospital Treatment?

The aim will usually be to treat you outside of hospital. This means that in-hospital treatment for a mental health condition is usually only discussed if you need in-depth treatment and support for your recovery. Most people recover a lot better with community support so the focus is on helping you to go back to this once you are out of hospital.

Will Health Insurance Help With the Costs?

Psychiatric treatment in a public hospital is not often readily accessible.  A lack of funding means that these hospital units are often full, with large waiting lists. Private psychiatric hospital treatment can be expensive  Fortunately, private Hospital cover can reduce the financial burden. Having Hospital cover that includes Psychiatric benefits can go a long way towards reducing or avoiding the potential for out-of-pocket costs though .

A Hospital policy with Psychiatric benefits may cover some or all of the costs for hospital accommodation and doctors/specialists fees in a psychiatric hospital or unit. You’ll probably be treated by a range of health professionals during your stay, all of whom will have their own fees to be factored in. Your policy may also dictate how long you can stay in hospital for without incurring out of pocket expenses that aren’t included in your cover.

Making Sure That You Are Covered

Psychiatric services are not available on all levels of Hospital cover, and a lot of basic and mid level policies restrict them or completely exclude them. This either means that you won’t be fully covered or that you won’t be covered at all and will need to pay out of your own pocket. read more