Body Image (Repost)

We are all different and we all have different backgrounds, cultures, religions and like having a different culture or religion we all have different body shapes and sizes. During your teenage years and in fact into your adult years many woman and men begin to focus on how they look and begin to get obsessed at times with how they look worrying whether or not they fit into the stereotypes created by society. Body image and mental health are two things which are linked and often if your not doing well physically you may be suffering mentally and if your not doing well mentally you may be suffering physically so it is important to take time to ensure that you are happy with your self physically to ensure positive mental health.

At different stages in our life our body image may change, at times when we are happy and content with life we may have a positive and healthy body image whereas during times when we are not so happy and content with life we may have a negative and unhealthy body image, while this may occur for some people it is important to remember that everybody is different and it is diversity which makes the world.

When thinking about your body image I believe it is important to focus on the fact that if you are healthy then you don’t have much to worry about, after all they do say your health is your wealth. Its important not to focus too much in a negative way the things that make you different, so what if your tall, or fat or short or thin as long as you are healthy and comfortable in your own skin that is all that matters.

Here is a video my sister-in-law made about her recent weight gain and how she is dealing with it to ensure she remains positive.



Haters gonna hate!

It's not easy writing a blog and it certainly is not easy writing a blog about your mental health issues, exposing yourself for the world to see, leaving yourself open for ridicule, criticism and general negative comments. I struggle at times writing my blog, I struggle to bite the bullet and post some of the more sensitive posts I write, and I struggle to sit down, to concentrate and to put myself out there and open for people to abuse me but somewhere deep inside I put all that to the back of my mind and I go for it, I feel the fear and do it anyway. You might be thinking if I know I am going to be subjecting myself to abuse why do I continue to do it? Well I write because I love it and I put my ramblings online for the world to see for one reason and one reason only, to ensure people become aware that it is ok to feel shit, it is ok to suffer from mental health issue, that it is ok to ask for help and most importantly that no matter how bad things get there is always light at the end of the tunnel.

I've got some pretty hurtful things said to me over the four years of writing my blog, things that nobody should ever have to read or hear, things that knock you down and make it hard for you to get back up again, but I've done just that, I've got back up and I have continued to write and write about the things I feel passionate about. The best thing about blogger is that you can moderate your comments, you can choose which comments others can read, for me its kind of like letting me choose which comments I let get to me, which comments I let break me down and which comments I let make me stronger and more committed to writing about the things I am passionate about. It is sometimes the most hurtful comments, which allow me to go deep inside myself and write about the hardest times in my life, the hatred fuels me at times. 

But then at times some comments really go beyond belief and you wondering what is going on in a persons mind when they tell you to take your own life and some go even further and tell you how they wish you would do it! Its these comments that hurt, it’s the comments so full of rage and hatred that took time and effort to think of, its these comments that know you down and hold you down for a few days that take their toll. I know some of the people who leave those comments on my blog are reading this post and I’m sure many of them are getting some kind of satisfaction knowing that they know me down and sometimes they prevent me from getting back up in a hurry but to be honest sometimes it takes getting knocked down and not being able to get up for you to realize you need to look after yourself, sometimes it takes getting a know to take time for yourself, focus on the positives in your life and get back up stronger than ever before. I know there are many people who are going to keep sending me hurtful comments, day after day and I’m just going to do what I do every day, I’m just going to click the delete button because while there are comments that truly do get me down they make way for reflection and allow me to build myself back up better and stronger than before and for every one person who sends a hurtful comment there is another person sending a positive comment and better yet there is a person asking for help, realizing its ok not to be ok and ensuring they do not fall into some of the dark cycles I myself have fallen into.

So when I expose myself to hatred, when I put my personal life out there for the world to see I do it not only because I am passionate about writing but I do it because I know that sharing my story can help one person build up the courage to ask for help and if one person asks for help and support through a tough time then I know it will have all been worth it!


College time

College, a big scary intimidating, confusing yet fun and exciting place. This time last year I was preparing to go into first year in NUI Maynnoth ( I think it might be called Maynooth University now) and I was terrified. I was scared, I had no idea what to expect but I was excited, looking forward to beginning a new chapter in my life. When I woke up for my first day of college I was terrified, where was I to go? Who was going to show me around the college? What would I do if I got lost? What if I signed up or registered for the wrong course? I had a million different questions going through my mind as I am sure many of you who are going into first year have but the best bit of advice I can give you is to sleep!! Nope I'm not going to say relax, I'm noting go tell you to take deep breaths, I'm going to tell you to have a good night sleep before your first day of orientation because you will need your energy!! You will be pointed this way and that way, you will be bombarded with information, greeted by so many different people giving you so many different talks by the college president, the college counsellors, doctors etc etc and by the end of the day you will want your bed!! 

The first week of college is pretty hectic, you have so much going on for you. You will be given a tour of the college but by the time you get back to your starting point you will have forgotten when most of the significant areas in the college are! You will be meeting new people, trying to figure out who you might like to develop a friendship with, you will be given so much advice you won't know what to d with it all. You will be told about all these amazing events happening dying the nights and let me tell you there will be plenty of alcohol consumption, I know, I watched as people consumed more alcohol that I ever though was possible. You will be given your timetable, trying to figure out how you will get from here to there and home for lunch and back in time or what you are going to do for the 2-3 hour breaks you have between lectures. You will be going home confused and exhausted but trust me as soon as your lecture begin you get into the swing of things and if you happen to be doing Community and Youth Work in NUI Maynooth you will be learning lots of new games, finding out rings about yourself you never knew before and you will be pushed out of your comfort zone in a positive way.

Don't worry about paying you're fees, don't panic about hearing about your grant, don't freak out about trying to get books, notebook just relax. When you walk into college on the first day you are all as nervous as each other, you are all as concerned about getting your grant as each other and what I didn't realise was that the college goes to great lengths to ensure you understand everything that needs to happen, how to ensure things are done correctly so just relax. 

I'm not really sure to be honest where this post is going because somewhere along the way I managed to confuse myself.... Sorry if you are as confused as me!! If your staring college this September, don't freak out, relax, take your time and enjoy it as much as possible. The most important thing to know is it's ok to ask for help!


What a vote means to me (Repost)

I recently found out that one of my blog posts has been nominated into the category for the best blog post in the Blog Awards Ireland this year. This is a huge honour especially because the post which has been nominated is one which focuses on self-harm and the devastating effects it can have on a persons life, have a read of it here. In order to get your blog post into the top ten for the final you must secure the most votes you can possibly secure. I'm currently at 160 votes as a a result of bombarding people on social media sites to vote for me but its not that I just want to get into the final, its much more than that for me, its much more important that just a few clicks here and there, it is this post which has the power to create a better understand of self-harm, encourage theses who engage in self-harm to speak out and it also focuses on a topic which is still very much a taboo in Irish society. Getting people to vote for my blog allows them to read the post, encouraging them to share the post and most importantly it provides people with an opportunity to being conversations about mental health!

So what does a vote mean to me?

A vote means more people are becoming aware of my blog. This in itself is a huge thing as my blog has many post about mental health giving people an insight in the life of a young person struggling with mental health issues. This is important because it allows people to gain a greater insight into the world of mental health issues, it encourages people to begin to talk about mental health challenging the stigma in today's society and it shows people that mental health issues can happen to anyone, anywhere and at any time!

A vote means that more and more people get an insight into the effects of self-harm allowing both the self-harmer and those around them to become more comfortable in many ways with the issue so that they can work together in addressing the self-harm and then begin to challenge the self-harm on a collective levee because after all self-harm is something which is extremely hard to beat on your own and with this post creating awareness about the issue more people can come together to beat self-harm.

A vote means that something which I wish I had when I was struggling is available for those who are currently struggling. I can't describe how important a vote is to me because the post which has been nominated is one of my better pots in terms of how it is written but it is also a post which took a lot of time and planning and was extremely hard for me to write. That post and the response to it is why I continue to write about mental health, it is why I am still self-harm free and it is why I have a more positive outlook on life. Blogging is more than just writing words down on a page for me, it is an outlet, a way of expression and it is what helped me get through the darkest day.

So if you want to give me your vote this week I am more than grateful and you can vote by simply following the below ling and selecting the blog which you would like to vote for.



Bonding time with my wacky teeth!

Last month I had one of my regular routine appointments with my orthodontist, these appointments have become something, which I no longer fear yet become anxious about. I don't like going to the dentist nor do I like the different tools etc. which they have and I do have certain anxieties regarding any dental treatment as a result of a previous incident so while I was anxious about my last dental appointment I was somewhat more anxious then usual about this one. This appointment was due to be a positive appointment, get a brace put back on, my elastic changed, new wires put in and to be told I am ready to meet with the surgeon to plan my jaw operation but as you might have guessed things didn't go according to plan.

I arrived at the dentist with my dad and this time I was excited because I was almost certain I was ready for surgery, my wounds from my wisdom teeth removal had healed, the gap between my bottom and top jaw had increased as planned and my teeth are looking pretty good! I was excited about this appointment and feeling pretty positive and these feelings of positivity and excitement lasted until I sat in the dentist chair, a chair which despite sitting in many times before have never got used to, it was at this moment when I put on the sunglasses, rested my head back, the chair was put into a laying position and I opened my mouth that due to the length of time the dentist spent looking and measuring something wasn't quiet right. Now threes nothing wrong but from her reaction I could tell she was going to be sending me home upset and fighting back tears. She told me I wasn't ready for surgery, that she couldn't put on the brace I need, that I'm not ready for my final wire change and that I have at least another two appointments before I would be ready to meet with the man who will change my life forever. With a gap struggling to close and impressions waiting to be done and not to mention the nice long list of names ahead of mine for surgery my hopes of having my jaw fixed before January came crashing down.

Disappointment is one way to describe it; this is now the second time I have been told my operation is not going to happen for some time. At the beginning of the year I was delighted to hear it would be happening sometime during the summer months, perfect I thought until I was told otherwise, that wasn't too much of a blow to be honest because I was told it would happen before the end of the year, so I sucked it up, put on a smile and said great. This time I haven't been told when it might happen, not even a rough guess, nothing. So I left the hospital that day crying, upset and angry. I was told around the age of 11 that I would need to get surgery to fix my jaw but nothing could be done until I had stopped growing, I've been waiting for this operation since I was 11 years of age, I'm almost 20 years old and I still don't know when it is going to happen. 

People say to me "you're fine the way you are, you don't need surgery" they say "its not the end of the world" or "get over it, you've waited this long another while won't make a difference" but they don't understand and how can they if they have never gone through this before. I've done my research, I'm ready for this operation, I know what’s involved, I can even point out where the metal plates will be going, I'm prepared mentally and almost physically, I'm ready to get it over and done with but what’s more is that I am ready to embark on a journey that will change my life. I can see some of you looking at the screen now saying "get over yourself Siobhán its not like an operation on your jaw is going to change your life" but it is, it really and truly is. While you may not believe it the thing is this operation has the power to work wonders in more ways that you can imagine, improve my eating, how I look, my speech, put an end to the headaches and jaw pain and most importantly it will finally help me to build my confidence, not worry about getting in a photo or what people might think. To explain how this operation is going to benefit me I need a blog post in itself so for the time being I’m going to leave it there, do a bit of research, find out the ways in which an under bite can affect a person physically and mentally and what this operation means to a person who has suffered from a under bite for most of their life, if not all of their life!!


My one good adult

Your one good adult, the one person who you truly trust, who you truly feel comfortable talking to and the one person who you know will not judge you and do whatever possible to help and support you.  In transition year I found my one good adult, I found the person who I could trust and I found the person who  knew would support me through my darkest days. In transition year I found Mrs L, my transition year co-ordination,  a woman who could bring a smile to anybodies face, who made herself available to have chats about everything and anything and someone who I told about my self-harm. Mrs L treated me with respect, she guided me, supported me and helped me to get professional help. Despite not taking her advice at times she stuck by me, helped keep me on the right track and was there with me every step of the way even during the summer holidays!!  

I never expected Mrs L to be the person I opened up to but she was. Her friendly smile, her fun loving nature, her calm presence (by calm I mean not angry) her supportive nature and overall her positive outlook on life allowed me to open up and confide in her. I began to trust her and when I was in fifth year, contemplating suicide she stood by every step of the way, she supported me, pointed me in the right direction and ensured I was safe. She made sure I knew someone cared, she made sure that I knew people were thinking about me and most importantly she made sure that I knew she was there and she wasn’t going anywhere. She has never let me down and I don’t think she ever will.

Not only has Mrs L been a great source of support but she has also made me realise life is worth living, she has helped me to become aware of all the positives in the world and she has also helped me find a way of coping in a positive way, Mrs L introduced me to blogging, something which has helped me more than any therapist, any behaviour program and any groups. 

Both Mrs L and I have left St. Wolstants CS but we are still in touch and to be honest I would be lost without her. Yeah she knows how to drive me insane, she knows exactly how to wind me up and what buttons to push but I wouldn't have it any other way. One of the best things which has happened to me in my life was developing a relationship with Mrs L because she has been one of most significant people though out my recovery which is still counting. Without a doubt it is this woman who contributed to me still being alive today. So Mrs L because I'm hope you're reading this, Thank You from the bottom of my heart because without you I wouldn't be here today and if it wasn't for your positive outlook on life I, myself would not have developed a positive outlook on life.


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