Author: SeeTheUniverse_

University and Mental Health

University and Mental Health

University is a strange experience. It is both the best and the worst 3-5 years of your life.

Despite going through university saying phrases like ‘Ugh I hate this’, ‘Why did I even apply to uni?’, ‘Never going to pass this module…’, ‘I didn’t get a word of that!’ and many more, on a daily basis, when I look back at those three years, I can actually say that I did enjoy it! And yes, despite the stressful times, I would do it all again in a heartbeat.

University mental health has been a growing topic of conversation in the media over the last couple of years, and rightly so.
64% of the university population is made up of young adults between the ages of 16 and 24 (83% of undergraduates fall into this category). This just so happens to be the age group that is most affected by common mental disorders.

Starting university is a major life transition, especially for those who move away from home. On top of this, students today face a ‘unique’ set of concerns in comparison to students of the past. Some of these concerns include:

  • Financial burden – The high cost of tuition fees and having to pay back student loans.
  • Potential negative consequences of the increased use of social media.

In 2015/2016, 15,000 first-year students, when asked, reported that they have a mental health condition. In 2006 these figures were as 3,000. A huge difference in just 10 years, and it is believed that there are still many students who suffer in silence, therefore these figures may not be accurate. A greater concern is that student suicide has risen by 79% between the years 2007 and 2015.

As a result of mental health, the rates of student dropouts has also increased by a large amount (210% in five years). Does this mean that universities are failing their students? Is the NHS failing young adults? Or is stigma the main blame? – I would love to hear your thoughts about this, so please do not hesitate to leave a comment below or get in touch via social media. 

Most, if not all, universities have some form of mental health services available for their students, it is just a case of accessing such services that are known to be a problem. Due to lack of funds and resources, universities are unable to hire a large number of qualified mental health nurses or psychological counsellers, therefore there is only a handful of trained staff to go around thousands of students which is simply impossible without having large waiting lists.
I earlier mentioned the NHS and their part in this matter. Are they partly to blame for so many students relying on their university services for help? Due to the large waiting lists through the NHS for counselling and the fear of being put onto medication (for some individuals), students turn to their university for help.
On average, universities offer 5-6 weeks of counselling to each student who requests it. Once these 5-6 weeks are over, the student must re-apply before they can have any more sessions. This is so that all students have the opportunity to receive counselling; however many people believe that 5-6 sessions are not enough.

Molly shared her personal experience in regards to University Mental Health with me:

Molly said that her university has offered a lot of support for students in regards to mental health; ‘jumping through hoops’ to ensure that assignments and dissertation writing is the least stressful that it can be. Molly received two major extensions on one of her assignments as her university lecturer was aware of her personal situation. As well as her own lecturers being so supportive of her needs, lecturers who do not teach Molly personally, have also shown their support and understanding. Molly also wanted to state that this is the case for all students within her university, lecturers treat each and every one of them with the same level of respect and support.
Although support from staff is amazing, accessing other services can be difficult. In Molly’s personal experience, there was a 12-week waiting list, despite telling them about having suicidal thoughts. Once the 12 weeks had passed and the counselling session began, Molly said that she did find them helpful and that the Student Union are working hard to shorten the waiting times for students in regards to counselling and other resources.
In relation to assignments and gaining access to extensions, Molly said that obtaining a 10-day extension is pretty easy. However, there is an issue in regards to extenuating/mitigating circumstances. This goes for mental health and also for grievance. When a student needs to ask for extenuating circumstances due to the loss of a loved one; the university requires proof of that person’s death, in the form of the original death certificate (not a photocopy). This can causes added stress to the students and their family at an already stressful time, some students can’t bare asking their family for the death certificate of their loved one and therefore are forced to continue their studies and submit their papers on time; despite going through a tough time at home. This again can be particularly difficult for students who live far away from their family. Molly is hopeful that there will be a reform in regards to this policy in the near future. 

I can personally back-up this statement in regards to having to show proof of a death certificate when asking for extenuating circumstances. I go to a different university to Molly, therefore I am lead to believe this is the current policy across all universities in the UK?
I was in the run-up to the deadline for my dissertation when I lost a loved one suddenly. I fell a little bit behind in my work and went to speak to my mentor about extending the deadline by 5-7 days… I was told I would have to show them my loved one’s death certificate and without it, the only option I would have would be to submit my dissertation in the August instead of the April and as a result of this I would not graduate with my classmates in the summer and that I would have to wait and graduate in Winter… Which to me was not an option as my family were all aware of my graduation date and was looking forward to it and I was scared of letting people down. 

In an American college survey in 2015, the following mental health conditions were reported by students as having a negative effect on their studies:

  • Stress – 30% Students
  • Anxiety – 22% Students
  • Sleep Difficulties – 20% Students
  • Depression – 19% Students

It is so important that everyone, no matter their age, receives the help and support that they need when it comes to their mental health. Early intervention can make such a huge difference and having additional support in areas that can be stressful, such as in the workplace and in the university can also be very helpful.

It is great that universities have counselling services available for students… but is this enough?

Please feel free to leave comments below expressing your thoughts, opinions and expereinces. 

Sources:

Education Policy Institute

MentalHealth.org – The declining state of student mental health

The Guardian – NHS and Universities need to come together to boost student mental health

Suicide Prevention Resource Center- Consequences of student mental health conditions

Psychosis – Fact File

Psychosis – Fact File

There is a fair amount of stigma surrounding psychosis as there is a lot of misunderstanding about what it means to experience the condition. There are many negative connotations that have stemmed from the word ‘psychosis’, with a lot of people believing that individuals who experience psychotic episodes are dangerous to themselves and those around them. But this really is not the case.

Causes of Psychosis:

Psychosis can be a symptom of various mental health conditions. If you have more than one of these diagnoses, then you may be more at risk when it comes to experiencing psychosis and vice versa:

  • Severe depression
  • Schizophrenia / schizophreniform disorder
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Schizoaffective disorder
  • Paranoid personality disorder / Schizotypical personality disorder
  • Postpartum psychosis
  • Delusional or paranoid disorder
  •  Brief psychotic disorder – this may be the diagnosis given if your symptoms last less than one month, or if the doctor cannot diagnose any other disorder based on the symptoms that you possess.

You do not have to have one of the above conditions to experience psychosis, it is possible to experience it on its own.
Though there are some aspects that can increase the likelihood of psychosis occurring:

  • Having a physical illness or injury can in some cases, cause you to see or hear things that are not really there. This is particularly likely in the case of a high fever or head injury. It is also more common in those who have experienced lead or mercury poisoning or if they have Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s.
  • Drugs can also cause people to see or hear things that are not truly there. Street drugs such as LSD and cannabis are among the drugs that can have such effects. Some prescribed drugs can also cause hallucinatory side effects; as well as coming off of psychiatric drugs.
  • Severe lack of sleep.
  • Severe hunger, low blood sugar or not getting enough nutrients.
  • Bereavement. Sometimes people can hear or feel their lost loved ones around them after they have passed, though they cannot see them directly.
  • Abuse or trauma can also trigger hallucinations and delusions.
  • Spiritual experiences – Some people hear voices or have visions as part of spiritual experiences. This could be a negative experience or a positive one.
  • Family inheritance, meaning that you may be more at risk of experiencing psychosis if other members of your family have also experienced it.

Types of Psychosis:

There are three main types of psychosis, hallucinations, delusions and disorganised thinking and/or speech.

Hallucinations Include seeing things that other people do not see. This could be seeing faces, animals or religious figures. Hallucinations may also cause the individual to see objects in a distorted way, this could include seeing them move in a way that they usually wouldn’t. As well as seeing things that are not really there, the individual may also experience tastes, smells and sensations which do not have an apparent cause. Hearing voices is also common when hallucinating. The voices are not always negative, they can be positive and helpful too.

Delusions are false beliefs. We all have beliefs that other people do not share with us, however, a delusion is more than that. It is a false belief that no one else shares and the individual will still believe it despite there being an endless amount of evidence against it. Some delusions can be frightening, believing that someone is watching you, following you or trying to harm you in some way. These ideas are often referred to as ‘paranoid delusions’.

Disorganised thinking and speech can come as a result of hallucinations and delusions as they can leave the individuals thoughts and emotions feeling confused. Disorganised thinking can also be called ‘formal thought disorder’ and it can include symptoms such as racing thoughts. Thoughts that go through their head very fast and often come with a flight of ideas.
Flight of ideas is where thoughts move very quickly from one idea to another, making links that other people do not make.
The individual may speak very quickly and stutter over your words, making others find it difficult to understand them. They may also link words together due to the way that they sound rather than by their meaning. This can cause their speech to be jumbled up. It is also common for them to change the topic of conversation fairly quickly and they can find it difficult to concentrate on one thing for a long period of time.

Racing thoughts and flight ideas can also be a result of hypomania, if the individual only experiences these when they are in a depressive, manic or mixed episode then that may be diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

It is important to remember that psychosis can affect people in various different ways. They may experience it once or they could have short episodes throughout their life, or in worse cases, they could live with it through the majority of their life.

Treatment and Support:

There is no quick and simple treatment in regards to psychosis, however, with the correct treatment and support, it is possible for the individual to manage their symptoms and recover. This does not mean that all of the symptoms go away completely. However, it does mean that the individual may find various ways of coping with their symptoms if they were to continue.

There is a range of treatments available for psychosis. These include talking therapies such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and medications such as antipsychotics, antidepressants or mood stabilisers. It is possible that a doctor will use a combination of medication and therapies in order to ensure that the individual receives the best form of care for their condition. It is also common to be prescribed with other medications if antipsychotic drugs cause any side effects.

There are different forms of therapy which are likely to be discussed between the doctors and patient in order to find which is the most suitable for the individual. On top of one to one therapies, there are also family therapies available which not only help the individual but also help family and friends so that they are more aware of the condition that their loved one is experiencing, giving them the information that they need so that they are able to give help and support where necessary.

There are also group sessions available, such as art therapies, helping the individual to express themselves in various different ways.

Resources:

Mind Charity – Psychosis

NHS – Overview Of Psychosis

Rethink – What is Psychosis

HealthLine

Time To Change – Facts About Psychosis

YoungMinds

 

 

 

Narcissistic Mothers – By Janera

Narcissistic Mothers – By Janera

We always think of mother as someone who is loving, caring, and selfless. She is the person who we look to for comfort and support. She kisses our boo boo’s and is our biggest cheerleader. Unfortunately for Willow, her mother wasn’t any of those things. She spent a lot of years trying to figure out why. One day, she found an article online called: “Why Daughters of Unloving Mothers attract Narcissists.” There, she found her answer. Her mother is a narcissist. Willow started educating herself. She found an online support group and read the other members stories. She could relate to just about every one of them. Then, she went to YouTube and watched dozens of videos. All of a sudden, everything made sense. That moment was both emotional and eye-opening for her. Many women, like Willow, are coming to this same conclusion.

Narcissistic mothers are often seen as “mother of the year” to the outside world. Behind closed doors, she is the total opposite. She is “always right”, self-centred, and relentless. Every now and then you get “love” but that doesn’t last. Most children just do what they need to do to please mother so that they can avoid her wrath. Willow’s mother was very active in her church. Willow and her brother had to participate in just about every church activity. Willow also got good grades in school. Everyone would give her mother praise. Willow would try her best to continue to do good to please her mother. Whenever she would try to express any of her own thoughts, mother would devalue her and make her feel like she wasn’t good enough. Her mother’s favourite phrase was, “Honor thy mother.” She used that to keep Willow in line.

Growing up, Willow did not get the proper guidance she needed to go out into the adult world.

Because she didn’t get validation from her mother, she looked for it in other places. This led to a lot of relationships with men who didn’t appreciate her.

After many years of being used and emotionally abused, she finally found her voice. Willow met a wonderful man who loved her just for her. He didn’t see her as damaged. He saw her as beautiful. His family welcomed her with open arms. Willow has two beautiful daughters who she loves dearly. She is motivated to have the kind of relationship with her daughters that she didn’t have with her own mother. Willow also sees a therapist and that helps a lot. She learns the things that she has missed out on, with the help of her fiance and his family. They are a great support system. For once in her life, Willow doesn’t feel alone.

If you are a survivor of a narcissistic mother, remember that it wasn’t your fault.  Realizing that it wasn’t your fault is the hardest part of the healing process. Well, at least, for Willow. Find a support group and share your story. Once you get it out, it will be such a big relief. The best part is that you will be surrounded by people who will believe you. Educate yourself on narcissistic personality disorder. YouTube is a great resource. Read. The Journey by Meredith Miller really helped Willow in her healing journey.  Most importantly, don’t rush your healing journey.

 

Be Kind to yourself. You’re a survivor.

 

Response from SeeTheUniverse:
I would just like to take this moment to thank Janera for sharing this short, important piece with us. There are many people who have had experience with narcissistic parents, and this is a nice piece of writing explaining that things can get better, that talking about the past is okay, there are various different support systems out there, you are never alone. Everyone’s healing journey is bound to be different, so do not compare your healing to others.

You can check out Janera’s newly launched blog here!

Paradise Island Mini Golf – A Review

Paradise Island Mini Golf – A Review

Last minute plans are often where some of the best memories are made!

A few of us went out for late birthday drinks last night (Saturday 16th March) and woke up this morning/afternoon with a desperate need for hangover food. So, me and Jacob took Anthony and Bella to Dinky Dory’s where we had some lunch and some delicious milkshakes!

Then we decided that we didn’t really want to go home afterwards, so we googled some activity ideas that would not require a whole lot of energy and came across Paradise Island Mini Golf, located in Manchester Trafford Centre and decided to take a trip there for the evening.

When we arrived, Anthony kindly paid for the four of us to enjoy two rounds of golf as the venue had two separate 18-hole courses to enjoy.

For one course the price per person was £8.50 or for £12.75 you could enjoy both courses! It was quite an enjoyable evening with lots of laughs to be had. Each of the holes was put together in a fun and quirky manner, with great attention to detail on the decor surrounding them. There was a theme running throughout the courses, with tropical island creatures and sounds all around us. There were not too many people there with it being a Sunday evening, so there was no waiting around between each hole. We were each given our own golf club and were able to choose our own coloured golf ball, making it easier to remember which ball was whose. We were also supplied with a scorecard and pencil for each game that we played.

At the end of each course, each player was given the opportunity to win a free game, by taking part in a 19th hole. In order to win you had to get your ball into the middle hole, if you miss, then your ball goes into the gutter and is returned to the front desk.

At the end of our first game, Jacob managed to win a free token on the 19th hole! But we were slightly disappointed to find that it was only free for the winning person and not the group. However, the token does not expire, so we are able to keep it until another time.

We were able to go for a coffee in between the two games, providing we kept our scorecard and receipt we would be able to come back in later in the evening to take part in our second game. So we took half an hour out to have a Costa before returning.

The winner of both games was Anthony! I came last in the first game but came second in our last game (with only 2 points between me and the winner!)

We all enjoyed our time here, the staff were friendly, the atmosphere was relaxed and fun, and overall, it was not that expensive per person either! We will definitely be returning in the future. Though we might try to get more of us so we can take advantage of the amazing package deal that they have to offer.

This deal costs £19.95 per person and it includes the following:

  • 1 round of 18-hole golf.
  • 2 games of bowling.
  • Token for the dodgem cars.
  • A winners trophy.
  • A losers booby prize.
  • Certificate for the winners and the losers on each bowling lane.
  • A meal from their ‘Basket Menu’

This is a very good price for all of the above. Although there is a minimum group size of 10 people in order to use this offer.

If you would like to take a look at Paradise Island and the various offers that they are currently promoting, you can check out their website here! 
There are various locations for Paradise Island too! So do make sure to check them out as there may be one a little bit closer to home for you.

 

Breakout Liverpool – A Review

Breakout Liverpool – A Review

So, today me, Jake, Anthony and Bella took part in the escape rooms known as BreakOut in Liverpool! There are 12 different themed rooms to choose from, each with various difficulty levels. Each room comes with a background story to make the game a little bit more exciting! We selected the ‘Shipwrecked’ room, which was given 3 out of 5 stars in regards to difficulty. The story behind this room was that the four of us were adventurous individuals exploring an island when we came across an old shipwreck belonging to the famous Captain Shivers. Once we entered the shipwreck, we discovered it was cursed and the only way that we could escape was by finding Captain Shivers most prized possession… a set of white pearls. We had one hour to solve a series of puzzles and find the missing pearls or we would be doomed to a watery grave for the rest of eternity!

Now… if you have come here for answers on how to escape the above room; you will be disappointed as I have no intentions on spoiling the fun for anyone!

 

As we entered the room, we instantly spread out and began to search for hidden clues. There were a number of wooden chests with a variety of different padlocks sealing them shut. There was also a problem to solve, which we could only do once all of the chests had been opened. In the back corner of the room, there was a dark jail cell, again this was sealed with a padlock! We were able to find some numbers hidden around the room and other clues to help us unlock the padlocks and allowing us to search the jail cell for further clues. We were provided with flashlights and pen and paper to help us along our way. After unlocking all of the chests and solving various puzzles, we discovered a secret room behind a bookcase. Inside this room, we were faced with more padlocks and strange clues increasing in difficulty as we became closer to breaking out.

There is a TV screen within each room which displays a countdown clock so that you are aware of how long you have left to escape. If you become very stuck, you may receive clues and hints via the TV screen.

We were given one clue throughout the game, which in the end made us laugh as the answer was staring us in the face the entire time. This was for the very last combination to open a small chest, which encased the last key for the hidden pearls!

We managed to escape the room with 6 minutes to spare! We had so much fun playing the escape room and we would definitely consider going back in the future. I may suggest to my family that we go and do one together, as it would be a very entertaining and interesting family day out.

For the four of us to play the escape room it cost £60, which worked out at £15 each! Not bad for an hour of fun and games. The price of the game changes depending on the day and time that you choose to attend. If there were 5 of us taking part in this particular game it would have cost £70, therefore, costing £14 per person.

You can check out BreakOut Liverpool here! They also have other locations with different rooms and themes, so do make sure to check for your nearest venue.

Double Date! – Bowling and Cinema

Double Date! – Bowling and Cinema


After having a lovely meal at Frankie and Benny’s with Jacob, the two of us went bowling with our friends Anthony and Bella.

We paid around £18 between us, for one hour of bowling. During that hour we just about managed to squeeze in two games!

The first game was a draw between me and Bella, whilst the second game was a draw between Anthony and Jacob! Therefore meaning we were all winners. And although we were all fairly competitive, we had a lot of fun.

Me and Bella decided to take full advantage of the bar, and ordered two bottles of Rekorderlig cider, mine was passionfruit flavoured and Bella’s was strawberry and lime. They were both very refreshing! I will definitely be drinking that again in the future.

When both of our games had finished, we all jumped into the photo booth to capture the memory. Mainly so I could have some pictures for my scrapbook, to add to my birthday pages. I absolutely love the pictures of me and Bella! And the group pictures just make me laugh every time I look at them. Memories to last a lifetime.

Once we had our pictures, we decided to go to the cinema to watch Escape Room, as we spotted a sign saying that all movies, every day, cost just £4.99! This was a 10:30 pm screening and I absolutely love late night cinema dates.
The movie was pretty good, though the ending could have been a little bit better than what it was. It had the same sort of vibe as the Saw movies (which I am a huge fan of!) It also strangely made us want to book an escape room together… you would think it would put you off of them for life!

After the movie, we started to head home. Though we spotted some strange, bright pink smoke in the sky and decided to take a detour to see what it was. When we got closer, we discovered that it was coming from greenhouses! Some kind of strange technique to grow flowers and plants without the need for soil. We had never seen anything like it! Safe to say we are all easily amused.

After enjoying our strange little detour, we got back in the car and headed for home once more. As we approached Edge Hill University, we asked Bella if she would like a tour of the grounds as she will hopefully be a student there this coming September. We parked up the car near the front entrance and began on our way. It was 1 in the morning at this point! But we gave a pretty good tour despite the majority of the buildings being closed for the night. We also met Campus Cat, who followed us around for the majority of our time there! He is super cute and tends to follow various students around in the hope of being let indoors for warmth, food and cuddles.

It was 2:30 in the morning by the time we got home and despite being in work the next day, I was happy, as I had a really great night with amazing people.

I can’t wait to make more memories with these people and for Bella to move to the UK full time! I can see us being best friends… and I am totally okay with that!

Frankie and Benny’s: A Review!

Frankie and Benny’s: A Review!

So, my original birthday plans fell to pieces and we ended up going to Frankie and Benny’s for a meal instead of our original choice ‘The Old Post Office’.

When we arrived we were greeted by a very friendly member of staff, who then served us throughout our time there. He guided us to a lovely little table for two and left us to have a look at the menu. After some careful consideration, I decided to have the Spaghetti Bolognese and a Chocolate Milkshake. Jacob picked Frankie and Benny’s ‘special ‘meatballs and they looked delicious!

The meals did not take long to arrive at the table and we were definitely not disappointed with our choices. They were presented beautifully and they tasted just as good as they looked! The waiter brought over some parmesan cheese for our meals… we wish we could have had all of it, but we did say ‘stop’ eventually!

Whilst we were enjoying our meal, we could not help but notice the music playing in the restaurant. It was fairly loud, but not too much and the songs were a great choice too (in my opinion). The atmosphere was very relaxing and I felt very comfortable there.

 

The chocolate milkshake was simple, yet to die for! It was one of the nicest milkshakes I have tasted in a long time. And the bolognese was really filling, I could not finish all of it on my own.

We were offered a dessert menu after our meal, but we simply would not have been able to manage another course. I will make a note to starve myself prior to our next visit so I can have a full 3-course meal there.

The overall price of the meals was not bad at all, it worked out at less than £15 each for a drink and a main meal! Though I escaped the bill this time with it being my birthday treat.

I will definitely visit Frankie and Benny’s again in the future. The service was great, the food was delicious and the atmosphere was lovely.

I would give our visit 4 out of 5 stars. Which I am sure would definitely have been 5 stars if we had eaten dessert and indulged in cocktails!

*We visited the Southport restaurant: You can check out their menu here!

My 23rd Birthday

My 23rd Birthday

The night before my birthday my mum and dad let me have my present from them! It was a new phone! Finally, a good, working phone with a decent camera! Those of you who know me will know that I dropped my other phone down the toilet on Christmas Eve, so I had been using an old one which worked, but it was very slow and could not do much, other than call and text.  I was so happy to finally have a new phone, I don’t think I put it down for the rest of the evening.

Sadly I was at work until 8 pm on my birthday, so I was not expecting to have a very good day. However, not long after starting my shift one of my colleagues handed me a gift bag full of lovely presents! I really was not expecting to receive anything from work so it was a very nice surprise. The gift bag had lots of my favourite bath/shower products inside along with a lovely bar of chocolate and a voucher to spend in Boots.

Whilst I was on my break in work, I received a text from my mum, asking me what I had ordered from Amazon. I was a bit confused as I do not tend to order from Amazon (other than for my kindle), so I replied saying I had not bought anything and that she could open it to see what it was. A couple of minutes later I received a picture. The suspicious parcel was a birthday present from my soul sister Rachel (AKA BurtsBowl). It was an essential oil diffuser; something me and Rach had spoken about a long time ago! It slowly releases gentle fragrances throughout the day, you can buy different oils to use and they each ‘do’ different things; from calming the mind and helping you sleep, to making you feel more energised and motivated. I cannot wait to try it out.

My shift went by fairly quickly and before I knew it Jacob was picking me up. We stopped off at my house on the way to his so that I could pick up my present from my little brother and collect my bags to take to Jakes with me.
My brother got me a beautiful pinafore dress and a Jack Wills tote bag with a notebook, pen, lip balm and body spray inside!  I can’t wait to wear my dress for my birthday date night with Jake on Saturday.

When we got to Jakes house, his mum had made my favourite tea (sausage, cheesy mash and beans!) and she passed me a birthday card which had £30 Boots vouchers inside! I am going to buy myself some Missguided perfume and some make-up products when I next visit the store. Jake then came downstairs with a gift bag overflowing with presents! I opened it up to find a gorgeous baby pink handbag and matching purse inside, with Cherry Blossom Yankee candles, an adorable sleep mask and some Cadburys cookies! I couldn’t wait to use my new bag and purse.

Jake had also bought me a day ticket for Leeds Festival! We will be going to the Sunday line-up featuring Post Malone and Twenty One Pilots. There are a few other people coming with us and I cannot wait to be there. Such a shame we have to wait until the end of August, but hopefully, the weather will be much warmer than it is at the moment.

 

On top of these beautiful presents, Jacob also surprised me with a cute birthday cake too! I was not expecting a cake, so this was really lovely. And it was delicious too! I also received a bottle of Absolute Vodka from Jacobs brother Ollie and his girlfriend Beth, a bottle of champagne with cocktail truffles and sausage dog hand warmers from Jacobs Nan, Carol and some money inside cards from various family members.

Beth also made some adorable homemade cupcakes, with pink frosting and edible daisy’s on top for decoration. They looked absolutely incredible and they tasted just as good. There was plenty to go around, but it is safe to say they did not last very long!

After tea, me and Jake went upstairs to watch a movie (Wreak It Ralph Break The Internet). It was a great film and we both really enjoyed it. To be honest it was much better than what I expected it to be and I am hoping they bring out a third movie in the future.

 

The day after was Quiz Night! There was 8 of us this week as Anthony’s girlfriend Bella was there to join us! We did not win the quiz, although Bella won the line and the full house on the Music Bingo, so we all received £10 each which was good! Although Anthony was not impressed as he has never won the bingo and Bella won on Monday night and Thursday night 😂

After the quiz, Me, Jake, Dale, Meg, Emma and Wesley went to Bolton Cinema to watch the midnight release of Captain Marvel. Wesley paid for my ticket as a birthday treat which was lovely! The movie was amazing, we all really enjoyed it and it definitely got us all excited to watch Infinity War: End Game later this year. 

The film was jam-packed with action as well as having comical bits in there too and the storyline was brilliant. I would definitely give this movie 4* out of 5. I may even watch it again before watching End Game. And Bolton cinema is incredibly comfy, with reclining leather chairs and your own little tables for your snacks! You could not ask for better comfort.

Overall, I had a really nice day for my birthday and I am so grateful to all of my friends and family for the lovely gifts, cards and messages! I can’t wait for my meal with Jake on Saturday (there will be a review!) and for next weekend when we hit the town with friends for endless amounts of alcohol and dancing to celebrate

 

 

 

Phrases That Can Have A Negative Impact

Phrases That Can Have A Negative Impact

There are many negative phrases that can have a large impact on an individual’s mental health and wellbeing. A lot of these phrases are directed at children, which can be damaging to their future. We are all guilty of using some of these phrases, maybe we have used them as a one-off in a moment of anger, maybe we use them on a daily basis, whatever the circumstances may be, these phrases need to be stopped.

One of the worst things that parents say to their children is ‘shut up’, ‘be quiet I am trying to watch TV’, ‘go away I am busy’. All of these things make the child feel as though they are not important enough to be listened to. Especially when they are told to be quiet so that you can watch TV or because you are ‘busy’… too busy to listen to your child? If they are excited to tell you something, you should listen to them, even if what they are saying seems silly to you. If they are upset and the matter seems small to you, it could be a big deal to them and the fact that they want to speak to you about it means that it must be important to them and they want you to listen and support them.

If children are always told to be quiet when they want to tell their parents something, they will eventually stop telling their parents anything, no matter how big or small the matter is. Leaving parents questioning themselves as to why their child keeps everything from them, or never spends time with them.

If children are stopped from talking and expressing themselves it can lead to mental health concerns in the future. They can become isolated and keeping everything to themselves is not good for their mental wellbeing. Parents are supposed to be there to support their children no matter what. They should be the child’s go-to person when they have a problem, but if they are always told to be quiet or go away, they start to feel as though they are not wanted, or that their problems are a burden on their parents.

Not allowing your children to express how they feel can be extremely damaging. For example, using phrases such as ‘don’t be such a baby’, ‘don’t be such a girl’, ‘big boys/girls don’t cry’, ‘stop crying or I will give you something to cry for!’ and so on and so forth, are all damaging phrases that can impact negatively on a child’s life.

Shaming boys for crying is much more common than shaming girls. The phrase ‘don’t be such a girl’ is used very often, by parents, friends and even teachers. For starters, this insinuates that being a girl makes you weak, like being a girl is a bad thing. Then the phrase also hints that only girls show their emotions. Why? Why is there still such a stigma around boys/men showing how they feel? So many people use this phrase with their young children. I have seen parents say this to their child when they start to cry after falling over or bumping into something, saying ‘you’re fine! Don’t be such a girl’. This embeds in the child’s memory, the more the child hears this phrase (or similar phrases), the more they believe that they are not allowed to express how they feel, only girls can do that…

Children are vulnerable, they need comfort and support. Yes they may cry when they fall over, despite them being physically fine, the fall may have scared them, maybe they were pushed over and they are upset at that, let them cry, comfort them, ask them if they are okay! Do not just send them on their way, tell them to brush it off and man-up, this may stop them from crying… but it also causes them to bottle up their feelings and that is never okay.

Comparing them to their other siblings or their friends is also very negative. Making them feel as though they are your least favourite, that you do not like them for who they are, trying to change their personality, their intelligence and so on. It can cause them to have very little self-esteem and self-confidence. Self-confidence is one of the key personality traits that people look for when hiring people for jobs.

As you can see, these are just some examples of how what we say can affect children. Some argue that it is not what you say it is how you say it… but I personally do not think that is true. Maybe for some phrases, but certainly not for others.

I would love to know your thoughts on this, so please leave comments below! Let me know some other phrases that you believe are damaging to children’s development, wellbeing and mental health.

Where to Buy March’s Book!

Where to Buy March’s Book!

This month we are reading All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven!
This book was published in 2015, it is young adult fiction focusing on impact mental health has on the lives of two teenagers. ‘A girl who learns to live, from a boy who wants to die’
The book touches on serious mental health-related issues, as well as romance, adventure and curiosity. It is one of my favourite books and I am looking forward to re-reading it with you lovely lot!
*Some people may find parts of this book triggering*

You can purchase your copy for £5.75 by clicking on the picture below!

Or you purchase the book for your Kindle for £4.99 by clicking on the following link: