Empty, lost, confused, broken

Yesterday I found myself missing my mam which is not surprising as not a day goes by that I don't think about my mam or miss my mam but yesterday was different. Every year there are two days which I dread and would do anything to avoid and yesterday was one of those days. Yesterday marked 8 years without my mam.

The 30th of July is marked in my house with a trip to my mams grave with some nice flowers to show our love and how much we miss her. Yesterday was different though, yesterday I wasn't able to sad or annoyed at the loss of my mam, yesterday I felt numb and empty, I didn't know what to feel. As usual my dad, brother and I went to my mams grave but this year was different for me, I couldn't get out of the car, I couldn't stand at her grave, I couldn't talk to her, I couldn't cry for her all I could do was sit in the car and wait for my brother and my dad.

Thinking today about what I was going to write here on my blog I decided to share my confusion about how I acted yesterday in relation to my mothers death. I couldn't feel anything, I wasn't happy, sad, annoyed, angry or even love I was simply lost, distant from all my emotions. I didn't rethink the events which led up to my mams death, I didn't think about her funeral or all the times I sat and cried over her death or the times I spent without her due to her cancer. Does this mean I have accepted her death and have sub-consously chosen to only remember the good times I had with my mam? Does it mean I haven't accepted her death and that I am trying to avoid the fact that she has been dead for 8 years now?Does it mean I have no heart and simply was to concerned about myself to think about my mother? Or does it mean that no matter what she is always with me and I don't need to stand by her grave to know that?

I dont know what happened yesterday, I don't know why I didn't feel anything towards my mam or anything yesterday. I didn't go out with friends, I didn't train when I went to athletics and I didn't even talk about my mam, so why has this year been so different from all the others? You may be reading this and not knowing the answers to my questions but nobody will know the answers to my questions only I will, it will just take some time to find the answers somewhere deep inside me.

People always say that you should never take your parents for granted and that you will miss them when they are gone and as true as that statement is it isn't until you loose a parent you realise how much you need them and how much they do for you. It's not the obvious things that you will miss, you wont miss that your clothes are not washed, ironed and put away for you and its not that the house is always clean, it is the small everyday things you will miss. It's the hugs, the smiles, the kisses, the phone calls, their voice and the simple conversations which may only consist of asking how your day was. If there is something that I wish I could get from my mam right now it's a hug, a long, warm, loving hug. So while it is important never to take your parents for granted nothing is more important than loving them and making every moment special, every moment one you will remember and make the little things last like the hugs.

I can't say I took my mam for granted but I can't say that I didn't. When she died I noticed all the work she did in our house and everything she did for me but when I was told she was terminal and going to die I made sure everything we did together would be something that I would remember and make my mam happy.  When it comes down to it, it's the little things that are important, each night leaving the hospice I gave her a kiss because I never knew when would be my last chance and I made sure each kiss and each time I said I love you were special and that I would remember it forever. To this day one of the most important memories I have with my mam is the kiss on her left cheek, and my whisper in her left ear saying "I love you" the day before she died.

Take time to say "I love you" to the people you love because you never know if you will get another chance. I know my mam died knowing I love her because I made sure to never leave the hospice without saying it so always make sure your parents know how much you love them. I only had ten years with my mam, but they were the best ten years of my life.

Treasure the time you have with your parents because some day you will be wishing they were sitting right next to you long after they have passed.

Photo of the day.:)

You will never find a more dedicated Disney fan than Amy!!

Photo of the day. :)

I actually love these to guys.... Im lucky to have them in my life and would be lost without them.

Label Jars Not People

We are back and bigger and better this year. Last year we were a small team of five people but this year we are a team of eleven people. With a team of five people we worked hard and as a team and as a result we raised a total of 1000 euro for the national charity Aware. If five people can raise 1000 euro by selling t-shirts and holding a cake sale we are feeling optimistic about this year selling t-shirts and holding events in order to promote positive mental health and raise much needed fund for this years charity, Console.

This year we are selling t-shirts with positive sayings and designs in order to promote positive mental health and all profits will be going to Console. Not only that but we will also have more designs than last year designed by our very own Ashling Nesbitt, keep an eye out for the pictures :) In addition to selling our t-shirts we hope to hold events in our local community and in areas such as Dublin. This events will include everything from Family Fun days to Fashion shows with all money being raised going to console.

If you would like to show your support please follow us on twitter- @labelsareforjar and find us on Facebook here.

Photo of the day. :)

Smile :)


I recently finished  three and a half years of psychotherapy in CAMHS- child and adolescent mental health services. As I turned 18 during my final year in school and was struggling with the stress and pressure that the leaving cert brought with it, an agreement was made between my psychologist and my dad that I would remain in the child services even after my 18th birthday until I finished my leaving cert in order to prevent any further stress being put on me which may have contributed to a downfall leading to further self-harm. I wasn't going to complain about this decision as it was in my best interest to continue my psychotherapy in child services as it would mean less stress for myself as changing services and getting to know new psychologists is very stressful and in the past has proved problematic for myself.

While this arrangement was for my best interest I am currently feeling a bit lost. When I finished in CAMHS I was told that I would be transferred to adult services and would be introduced to new doctors etc after the leaving cert. The aim of adult services for myself would be to monitor my medication and hopefully in the future begin to titrate off my medication. It was discussed between myself and my psychologist that I may not need further psychotherapy as I have gained control over my thoughts, feelings, self-harm, anxiety and depression. I agreed with this at the time but now I feel a bit lost, I feel that I have lost something which I needed most, I have lost my support which I so much depended on. I am aware of all the people out there who can support me and I do turn to my family and friends when I need to talk and when I am struggling with urges I do not hesitate to go to my family and friends in order to prevent a downward spiral.

While finishing with CAMHS was a relief and a huge step for me it was a big adjustment in my life, not having a professional to turn to for the support which at one point in my life needed in order to survive ( I thought anyway) I am proud that I have made it as far as I have and I am delighted that I got through my psychotherapy and made such great progress. One thing however which I am not happy with in regards to finishing with child services is that I am still on medication. I wanted to begin to reduce my medication a number of times while in child services but due to my leaving cert it was not recommended as with the stress I was experiencing reducing my medication would mean that I could have a negative change and begin to have a downward spiral leading me back to depending on my self-harm to get through each day.

Currently I am feeling lost, I feel lost because I don't know where I am going to go in terms of psychological help. I am in the middle of my transition between child services and adult services and right now I feel lost, lost because I am currently stuck taking medication without talking which I was told would be necessary in order for my medication to work. It is right now that I feel I have been let down by the HSE. While I am not blaming the child services because they kept me in the service for my best interest and I am not blaming adult service because they must look after a large number of people in my catchment area, the people who I am blaming are the government because due to the cuts which are constantly being made to mental health services it is no wonder why I feel lost because I am currently stuck on medication without any psychologist or psychiatrist to monitor my mood and my medication which is important for a person who has an ongoing mental health issue/illness.

Photo of the day. :)

Some of my good friends helping me to promote positive mental health and Green Ribbon month last May.

A healthy mind

It is not very often that you hear people talking about a health mind. I have often heard people talking about the importance of having a healthy heart and a healthy body but what about a healthy mind? Do we not feel it is important to have a healthy mind? Is our emotional well-being and mental health not as important as our physical health? Our society has created a stigma attached to mental health and well that certainly needs to be changed because the fact of the matter is that mental health is just as important as our physical health. Often when people think about mental health they think about it as something negative but the reality of it is that mental health is not a negative thing. Mental illness may be considered a negative thing but not mental health, mental health is something we all have. "Mental health is not just the absence of a mental illness. It is defined as a state of well-being in whig every individual realises his or her own potential, can sole with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community." (WHO, 2007)

There are many differences between mental health and physical health. While there are many differences which allow us to distinguish between mental health and physical health it does not mean that one is more important than the other. People are very educated on physical health in many areas of the world and people are well educated about physical health in Ireland due to ad campaigns, television shows, education in schools and through books and other media forms such as social media. People in Ireland are well educated on physical health as it is not a taboo subject like mental health. Part of the purpose of my blog is to educate people about mental health in the hopes that i can help reduce the sigma of mental health and make it less of a taboo subject.

Mental health is all about the way we feel about ourselves, the way we feel about others and how we are able to met the demands of life. Often people get confused between mental illness and mental ill health. I was surprised to find that there is a difference as when I was diagnosed with depression I wasn't aware of mental ill health and mental illness.

Mental ill health is concerned with the general mental health problems we can all experience in certain circumstances. A common example which many people may be able to relate to is the pressures which may arise from your work. These pressures can lead people to experience poor concentration, mood swings and problems with our sleeping patterns. These problems are often only temporary, for example you may begin to have mood swings when you are stressed at work due to an important up and coming work pitch but then the pitch has been delivered, stress ma be relieved and your mood swings may disappear as a result of less stress. These problems are relative to the demands of specific situation and will often resolve and respond with support and reassurance.

"Mental illness can be defined as experiencing severe and distressing psychological symptoms to the extent that normal functioning is seriously impaired." (Mental Health Ireland) 
With a mental illness some form of professional help is needed in order to help in beginning the recovery process or helping with fining ways to manage the specific mental illness. This professional help may include counselling or psychotherapy, drug treatment and or lifestyle changes. Some mental illnesses which are known more than others include anxiety, depression, OCD, and PTSD while other mental illnesses include Bi-polar disorder, schizophrenia, and many more. Check out shineonline.ie

"All of us suffer from mental health problems at times, and such temporary problems do not necessarily lead to mental illness. However, being mentally unhealthy limits our potential as human beings and may lead to more serious problems." (Mental Health Ireland)

Mental illness does not discriminate so please help spread the word of mental health to help promote positive mental health and reduce stigma.

Photo of the day. :)

The lego in my hand is the reason for my lack of posts and social life at the moment!!

What has athletics done for me?

Ever since I was young athletics has always had a huge part to play in my life and more importantly Celbridge athletic club has been a huge part of my life. I have been a member of Celbridge athletic club for the past 11/12 years. I was always up at the track training once I was old enough to join the club and despite being too young to compete in competitions I was always brought along to the competitions. During my childhood while things were a bit rocky and often uncertain athletics was the thing which I could always count on. Our trips to competitions during the weekends would be our family time, my two brothers, my mam and dad and me. Once I was old enough to compete in all the competitions I was at every competition be it track and field or cross country I was there. If I was a sub on a relay team I was there if it was raining I was there, If I was sick I was there.

It took me a while to find the event for me and so for many many years of athletics I went to competitions and lost, rarely placing and winning medals and often coming last in all my races and events but despite that I was accepted, wanted, cared about and loved by many of the people in Celbridge athletic club. I considered them family and I still do. I am proud to say that Celbridge athletic club are like a second family to me.No matter where my life takes me in the future I will never forget the love, the friendships and the fun that came out of being a member of Celbridge athletic club.

While I was very sick and in hospital athletics was one of the main things that kept me going. I was able to hold onto the knowledge that I would be able to go training again and forget everything else that was going on. I was often allowed leave on the weekends and when I could I would go to athletics. The doctors in the hospital knew how important athletics was for me and even allowed me leave during the week once or twice so I could go to training.

Athletics gives me a break from the stresses and strains of life. It has had a such a huge impact on me that athletics was once a coping method and a distraction method for me while I was self-harming. If it wasn't for athletics there would be a very high chance that I could still be self-harming. So if you are in a situation like I was and engaging in self-harm maybe take a look at some of the hobbies you are doing and see how they can help you overcome your self-harm.

I never though athletics would help me to reduce my self-harm but once it was pointed out to me that it might I found that it really did. When I went into hospital I was in a dark place and was willing to try anything to overcome my self-harm and I was surprised to find that the things I love most in life and enjoy could have been the very things that helped me overcome self-harm. Don't wait to try new things for overcoming your self-harm, I waited and ended up in hospital. Doing the things you love to do when you get urges to self-harm helped me to overcome my cutting and there is no reason why it wont work for you.

If you are self-harming just remember that there is support out there. If you need support check out my need help page to see of the support services that you can avail of. There is nothing to be ashamed of if you are self-harming, there is help out there, things do get better and there is always light at the end of the tunnel.

Photo of the day. :)

Yesterday myself Shane,  Amy, Paul and Tom all got to be dolphin trainers for the day! It was the most amazing day of my life. We got to spend time with all kinds of animals, go snorkelling, pet some sharks, have two separate swims with some amazing and famous dolphins and we also got the chance to go behind the scenes to see how their food is prepared and all the amazing things which are in place in order to care for these dolphins and other animals. Thank you so much Jess our trainer and our three dolphins which we spent the day with.

My Florida adventure!!

On Sunday the Brady's Florida adventure officially began :)

So on Monday myself and my family made our way bright and early I might add to Walt Disney world. Despite the rain and the thunder and the lighting we had an amazing day!! We arrived around 10am and we did not leave the park until around 11pm needless to say the next day we were all exhausted but still ready for more Disney with a half day spent in Disney's Hollywood studios. We laughed and we cried, well Shane and Amy cried and I screamed on the roller coasters.... Crying at one stage and screaming before we even got on the rock n roller coaster in Hollywood studios but I loved every minute of it.

The weather had been good I guess. Not a lot if sun but it is warm very warm. Yesterday was been the best day so far (we even got burnt!) .... Nice bright, sunny and warm. I am a lover of warm weather but due to my scars I struggle with wearing t-shirts. Yesterday for the first day on this holiday I left the house and did not wear a jumper or any form of long sleeves. This was a huge step for me and I am proud that I did it. I faced people staring at me, people giving me dirty looks and people quietly judging me. I have done this before in Ireland but from my experience of America during this visit and in my past visits unlike Ireland mental health is not talked about here.

While yesterday was the first day that I have left the house in only a Tshirt the days before I have wore long sleeve tops although they have not covered my arms completely. I have been given looks all throughout the holiday when people have seen my arms but today was different. Yesterday my scars were obviously and yesterday my arms were on show.

I have learned to block most of this out. It upsets me to see people looking at me and staring at my arms but part of me knows that they don't know my story so they have no right to judge me and that helps me most of the time. Yesterday something happened which helped me more than anybody can imagine. While I was waking to go on a ride in the line a girl approached me and this girl made a comment that gave me support, a confidence boost and most of all made me feel like I wasn't being judged. This young girl said to me, "I think you are really strong and beautiful" and she then gave me a hug.

I have these scars as a result of a time in my life where I did not know how to cope, when I did not know how to tell people how I was feeling and a time where I was in a dark place. Now I have these scars which are scars, not cuts but scars. They wee once cuts but now they are scars, scars which to me symbolise the pain I went through but also the strength I have had during those dark days. Cutting wasn't a strong thing to do but getting through the rough time and having these scars to remind me that I have made it trough the bad patch in my life is strength to me.

Each day when I choose not to wear a jumper or long sleeves I see people looking at my arms and I see the look of disgust on their faces but then I think to myself, if my family accept me then that's all that matters and they do. 

In the words of my brother Paul "if you cover
 your arms because people are looking then they win" I am not about to let them win, if I want to wear a t-shirt I will. There will be no more hiding thanks to the support of my family and friends!

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