Cycle against suicide 2014- week 2

Well I got off to a bit of a bumpy start this week. My cycle on Sunday came to an end very fast due to feeling unwell as a result of eating a banana only five minutes before getting on my bike, needless to say it didn't go to well for me. After my bumpy start I took monday off because I was not well at all as a result of my poor effort on sunday and the stupid banana incident, one which I will not be repeating in future!!

After my not so good start to the week I got back on my bike on Tuesday. I decided to wait until later in the day to go for a cycle for two reasons, One- there were less cars on the road and Im not used to cycling on the road that much so it makes me feel more comfortable and two- I don't have to get up early in the mornings meaning I can finish the rest of my summer with  mornings spent in bed. When I start college I will continue to cycle at night but for the simple reason that it may be the only time I will have to go for a cycle.

My Tuesday and Wednesday cycles were hard work. Im still cycling the 6km in and around 25 minutes and I'm hoping to get that down to about fifteen minutes and then increase the distance. As for my Thursday cycle it was a more relaxed cycle. I had a couple of things to do so I cycled to Lána's house that morning followed by a trip to the other end of Celbridge to go to Ashling's house and then finally back to the centre of Celbridge for a much needed nap!!

Friday was pretty relaxed, well I was sick :( so I wasn't able to go for a cycle. I am glad to say that I got better through the day with the help of my trusted friend mr 7-Up. I think I'm going to change the route I take for next week so that way I can see what I am like cycling on different surfaces. I might even increase the distance and see how I get on with that, who knows what I might decide to do.

Next weeks cycle schedule will be different in terms of what days I cycle on and the times. Im hoping to cycle Sunday and Monday night and Tuesday morning but as debs is on Tuesday this might not happen and there will be no cycling on Wednesday for obvious reasons ;) Thursday and Friday will be night/evening cycles and Saturday will be a rest day as I will be heading into Dublin for another day of Think Big Training as just the other day I got news that Label Jars Not People were approved for Think Bigger meaning another few months of funding, support, advice and guidance but more about that in another post :)

I do have to say I am proud of myself as I am still cycling. Usually when I decided to do something I never actually do it if it involves moving! This is different though and even through it has only been two weeks I am so happy i have lasted this long, I know I didn't think I would and a few other people didn't think I would either! Its slow progress but its still progress and whats more is that I actually have more energy than I did before I began cycling and my head seems a lot clearer and free from racing thoughts and obsessions so not only is it helping my physical health (apart from my banana incident) but I am delighted to say it is helping my mental health too :)

Photo of the day. :)

Today marks three years without my knight in shining armour. Here are some photos of the man who made my life worth living. I miss you gaga and I always will. I can't write a post today because I cannot but words on what I am feeling.

Cycle against suicide 2014- Week 1

After four days of cycling 6km in half an hour (pretty good for me) it was time for a three day break in order to allow my legs to gain some strength to continue with the preparations for 2014's Cycle against suicide. Earlier on in the week with some encouragement with from a friend I decided that I was going to take part in the 2014 cycle against suicide around Ireland, yeah thats right, me the one who will complain when I have to walk down the stairs has decided to commit to taking part in the 1400km cycle around Ireland over two weeks.

This is going to be a big challenge for me, not only cycling but getting my fitness up to the correct standard and also working on getting my nutrition right in order to be able to complete my 2014 goal. I have decided to begin my cycling now in August in order to allow myself the time I need to get up to where I need to be in order to be able to complete this cycle in one piece!! I must be abel to cycle 20km per hour, I have a long way to go but I will get there. This is something which I am not going to give up on.

I took three days off after four days of cycling this week as I was exhausted and my legs were almost falling off me they were so tired but I got back on the bike today. I didn't last very long today though but that was due to the fact I ate a banana five minutes before I decided to go for a cycle and as I began to feel sick, on the verge of vomiting and very lightheaded I figured it would be better to turn around and call it a night. I tried though, and I learned a lesson about when it comes to eating and cycling. So when I get back on the bike tomorrow I am hoping that it will go better and Im sure it will because I am going to eat at least an hour before I head out of my bike.

So I have decided to keep a log here on my blog every week about how I am getting on with my preparations. This week I am tired, kind of sore especially my butt but I am not going to give up. I have invested in a helmet and a high vis jacket for this so there is no going back now ;) There has been no falls this week which means I am making good progress :)

I'm a bit late on my logs but I am hoping to write them on Saturdays :)

Mental Health budget.

In the past the government have made many promises to people and have not followed through with their promises, one such promise is the promise of funds being given to the mental health sector in order to improve mental health services and increase staff numbers to allow a better service being provided to the nation regarding mental health.

The mental health reform have lunched an eight week pre-budget campaign calling on the government to "Do what works for mental health" by investing in measures that are known to be both effective and cost-effective for improving peoples mental health.

This year the Irish mental health reform have decided to do something in order to try and make a difference to the outcome of the October budget, this is something which I highly agree. Mental health reform are asking the government to do what works for mental health. They are asking the government to provide a range of multidisciplinary staff offering a choice of treatment options, providing easy access to mental health support from a persons GP, access to talking therapies and helping people with mental health difficulties to get into and maintain employment and secure accommodation. In order to urge the government to do this mental health reform has began a petition in order to urge the government to invest 35 euro million into Ireland's mental health services to help improve everybody's mental health.

I have signed the petition in order to encourage the government to do something to improve peoples mental health. Being a person who has dealt with mental health issues I feel very strongly about this and I believe that if enough people sign this petition we as a nation may in fact be able to influence the governments actions in this years budget and help improve peoples mental health.

Sign the petition here

Photo of the day. :)

My best friends from Florida :)

Results day

Last Wednesday was the day thousands of leaving cert students all over the country were anxiously waiting for, last Wednesday the leaving cert results were released. I like many others had a very sleepless night and was up at the crack of dawn pacing my bedroom floor waiting, wishing time would hurry so I could go to the school to collect my results.

I arrived at my school at 9.15 eager for the doors to open so I could go and get my results. I had an agonising 45 minutes wait until the school was to open at 10.00. So while my dad contemplated buying a new car I sat considering what I would do if I didn't get the grades I needed for my course. Slowly more an more people began to arrive and it was time to bite the bullet and go and get that brown envelope. 

I got my envelope, went outside the school and it wasn't long before I was marching back into the school annoyed and frustrated with the result I had go from LCVP only to find out that nobody in our school had been awarded a distinction nevertheless I was still annoyed and slightly upset. That was however the only subject which I was upset with other than that I was pretty happy, I got the grades I needed so come tomorrow I hope to be accepting my course in NUI maynooth for a level 8 honours degree in youth and community work. 

While I was happy on Wednesday my emotions were very much kept hidden as there were many people who unlike me where not happy with their results, they were disappointed and despite all their hard work they did not get the points that they needed. And while I sat consoling a close friend it dawned on me that the points race which is causing stress on young people may in fact be placing a number on them, they are not a number and they are worth so much more than what grades are on that piece of paper. While a certain amount of points may allow you to gain access to the college course you want those points are not going to allow you to reach your dream, because despite getting the course you need with those points there is always other ways to get what you want. If something is your dream then never give up on that dream, look for other options because there is always other endless possibilities.

So if Wednesday didn't go the way you had planned, don't fret because there is always other ways of reaching our dream.

Photo of the day. :)


It was an addiction

When people hear the word addiction they think of drugs, alcohol, gambling or even tobacco but never do they think of self harm as being an addiction.

I used to be a self-harmer thankfully I have control over it at the moment but during my stint in hospital I was told that self harm was my addiction. I had a hard time believing this but after a while I began to accept it. I thought about it realistically, during this point in my life self harm was everything to me, I couldn't function without it in my life similar to the way a person is dependant on drugs when they have a drug addiction. It was hard to for me to get used to the idea of my self harm being considered an addiction, what once began as a way of letting out the pain was now being classed as an addiction. I didn't want to believe it but after a while I realised it was true. My self harm was my way of coping, it was may way of looking for help and after time it had developed into an addiction. I couldn't get enough of my self harm. I would self harm when I was annoyed, angry, sad, in need of help and eventually I would self harm because I felt that I needed to, I felt that the only way to be happy was if I self harmed and I felt that self harm would give me the strength that I needed to get through the day which was facing me, taunting me and challenging me.

I guess I gave up my addiction as it was by going old turkey. I was admitted into hospital because I had lost control over my self harm, I was no longer in control and no matter how hard I tried it always won and if I had kept going the way I was going I would not be here today. I got off to a great start, I thought I didn't need self harm but after a day of not having it I soon realised I was wrong. While in hospital I was desperate to self harm but I didn't know how, I had nothing and even if I did I wouldn't get away with it (believe me I was always caught out when I tried something in there). For the first four to five days in hospital I chose not to eat and not to drink because that was the only way I was able to self harm, I needed something and food was the only thing I still had control over in the hospital so I took advantage of it. I needed to self harm and I would find a way to get it. It wasn't long though before a nurse sat me down and had a shocking but true chat with me about not eating and what it would do to me and it was this nurse that also told me that my self harm had become and addiction. While I began to eat after that chat it wasn't the end of my longing for self harm and it certainly wasn't the end of my self harm.

I was trapped, locked in my mind with no hope of escape but at the time I didn't need an escape because my self harm was making me feel good, granted the good feeling wouldn't last more than half an hour after each time I self harmed but never the less it helped me to feel good and that is what I needed. I was always thinking about my next "fix" as you might put it, I wouldn't go anywhere without having something that I knew could give me that relief, that rush and most importantly that way out of my thoughts and feelings. My self harm numbed the pain I was feeling, I became distant from my emotions and that is what I wanted, I wanted to feel numb because I wasn't able to face up to what I was feeling, to what was going on in my head and I would do anything to avoid it. My self harm often provided me with a rush and made me feel alive yet all the while I was dead inside, it was conflicting and confusing as if being a teenager wasn't hard enough!!

I got through it though, I got over the worst of my self harm. It was no walk in the park believe me and  being in hospital didn't stop me from self-harming, it made it a hell of a lot harder but it didn't stop me! While there were time I self harmed while in hospital they were just slip ups, I was giving into the thoughts which had control of my mind. While at times I thought it was no use being in hospital because when I was  home for a weekend I would relapse and self harm it kept me safe for 90% of the time, which is the only reason I am here today because despite my best efforts to engage in self harm I was kept safe and I was given the help, the support and the treatment I needed to help me overcome my addiction and to help me finally take control after years  of my self harm controlling me.

I still struggle today and I still have times where I want to self harm and I do have times when I am so low I give in to the urges but now I have the control and I am stronger than self harm. I have slip ups every now and again which means I self harm but thats all it is a slip up, a bump in the road, a mistake, nothing more. I have learned how to manage my self harm, how to prevent it from becoming an addiction again and whats more I have learned to cope without it and not depend on it.

I made it through my self harm and there is no reason why you wouldn't either. Its not just a phase like some people may describe it, its a way of coping, a way of looking for help and it can sometimes become and addiction like it did for me, don't let it get that far. Use the voice you have trying to fight its way out of you and ask for help, don't be afraid, there is help out there and things do get better. So let your voice out and let your voice be heard, ask for help and you will get it, and you will take back control over your self harm and you will come out to be the stronger of the two in the end.

There's always light at the end of the tunnel and from my experience of feeling hopeless countless of times there is always hope and things do always get better. There is nothing more powerful than your voice so let it out and ask for the help because you are better and stronger than self harm.

Photo of the day. :)

Ashling wasn't too happy with her birthday surprise in Poland

It was like I was entering into my own personal black hole

Surrounded by darkness and falling, falling fast. I was lost and didn't know where to turn, everywhere I looked I could see nothing but darkness. I was entering into my own personal black hole something which I now know was my depression. I was trapped and I couldn't see a way out, there was nothing but darkness. I was trapped inside my mind and there was no way out.  You feel alone and trapped with no hope of escape but that is just the depression, there are many people around you supporting you, rooting for you and showing you that things can get better and things do get better.

It is hard to describe depression but that statement above written by myself is a pretty good picture of what depression feels like from my own personal experience anyway. People sometimes say that depression is not an illness and that it is all made up...... it is these people who I can not stand, who I believe are the main contributors to the mental health stigma which is present in todays society. Depression is in fact an illness regardless of what people think. It may not be an illness which is obvious to a by stander and it may not be a physical illness but it is a mental illness which deserves the same respect as that of a physical illness.

I have suffered from depression for 5 years and I still do. There is no quick fix and there is not cure, it is a battle which I may have to face for the rest of my life. There is medication but medication alone does not fix the depression it simply helps as does talking and engaging in other positive treatment methods. The thing with depression is that it is unpredictable at times, sometimes you never know when you are going to have a down day while other times you may be able to feel it creeping up on you over a few days.

I feel like I have been through the worst of my depression and in many ways I am hoping and longing to not have to go back to where I was almost two years ago. While my experience with depression has been hard, scary and physically crippling at times it has thought me many things and it has made me the person I am today. If it wasn't for my depression I would not have set up Label Jars Not People and I would not be dedicated to promoting positive mental health and reducing mental health stigma. My depression has led me to want to ensure that others do not suffer in silence the way I did as a result of the stigma of mental health and mental illness.

I was trapped in my own personal black hole and while I cant prevent people suffering from depression, I hope I can help to prevent people from suffering in silence.

Will you help?
Will you accept that mental illness is the same as every other illness?

Photo of the day. :)

Best Friends :)

Label Jars Not People 2013/2014 launch

Today the group all headed out to Dún Laoghaire for a photo shoot to launch the second year of Label Jars Not People. We were delighted that Norah Casey,noted publishing entrepreneur and broadcaster, joined us and was more than happy to support our project as she too does work to promote positive mental health with Walk in My shoes. It was an enjoyable day and a great way to get our new year off to a start. We would like to thank Ms Casey for joining us and supporting our project.

Check out some of the photos below, we struggled a bit when we ere told to have serious faces but we managed somewhat :)

Photo of the day. :)

Not sure which person is my brother........


"Hope is the state which promotes the belief in good outcomes related to events and circumstances in one's life."


Four letters make up such a small word with a huge meaning, a word which can mean something different fro each person and a word which can mean the difference between life and death at times. While I was in hospital hope meant that I could get better and get through the tough time I was experiencing and while I am not better and still suffer from depression and self-harm thoughts I did get through that tough time in my life and I believe that if I did not have hope I would have never made it through that time. The times where I sat completing taking my own life it was having hope that things could improve that stopped me. The times I didn't have hope were the times I went through with suicide attempts.

Now at the present moment, which is the moment I always try to live in, hope means that I can continue to fight my depression, keep the upper hand and not let it beat me down like it did once before. Without hope I don't know where I would be today, I probably wouldn't be writing this blog for a start and God only knows if I would even be alive if I didn't have hope. Hope is what gets me out of the bed in the mornings, it is what gets me to leave the house when Im having a bad day and most importantly hope is what allows me to live each day as it comes while taking everything life has to throw at me.

For people who do not believe in hope I have one thing which I believe may challenge there thoughts regarding hope.Hope is a positive thing which often allows people to fight against the crap which life throws at you. Hope allows people to fight, it provides strength and without hope often people have nothing. When you're not having a good day you hope it gets better, you may think you do not believe in hope but the mind works in mysterious ways and if you think about it enough you will find that you believe in hope.

"Hope" is a thing with feathers.

"Hope" is the thing with feathers—

That perches in the soul—
And sings the tune without the words—
And never stops—at all—

And sweetest—in the Gale—is heard—
And sore must be the storm—
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm—

I've heard it in the chillest land—
And on the strangest Sea—
Yet, never, in Extremity,
It asked a crumb—of Me. 

Emily Dickinson

Photo of the day. :)

Notice the scared look on my face!!!!! 

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