Youth Central Ireland

Youth Central Ireland is a group of young students who are dedicated to raising awareness of youth mental health. I was introduced to this group at the beginning of my exams so I didn't really have time to write about them in the beginning but I made a promise to highlight their work on my blog and they really do deserve some recognition.

So as part of their work to raise awareness of youth mental health they held a Duck-a-thon. From the pictures on the website it looks like a great day was had by all and a lot of work had been put into the planning of the event. The idea of a duck-a-thon may seem like a simple idea but this simple idea had the ability to create smiles all round.





The event helped to raise some much needed awareness for youth mental health but it also did more, it brought the community together in the process. Not only that but they raised money which all went to Headstrong as part of o2's Think Big programme something myself and my friends have had the privilege of working on as well.


Why not check out their website here and also keep an eye out for videos like theses






The people who are behind this amazing work say:


"We at Duck-a-Thon feel that being able to help people of our own age who might be going through difficulties is a great personal achievement and in our own personal development and we encourage anyone who thinks they can help to contact us."


You can contact them in the following ways:

Facebook
Twitter
Email them @  youthcentralire@gmail.com




Photo of the day. :)

Somebody was waiting for a belly rub!

Shine on blogger award


Today I got mentioned in a tweet by Ciara who writes the blog, such a silly sausage . I was told that I had been nominated for the shine on blog award. This is basically where bloggers nominate other bloggers for this award in order to recognise other blogs by passing on the award. This is the first time I have ever heard of this but it was nice to see that someone reads my blog and actually likes my blog and thought enough of me to nominate me for this Shine on blogger award. So thanks you Ciara for this lovely gesture, it really does mean a lot to me!
I learned that there is actually rules for this award which I thought was strange but after reading what the rules were I thought it was actually a really good and interesting idea. So the rules are:
  1. Display the award logo on your blog
  2. Link the award back to the person who nominated by thanking them
  3. State 7 things about yourself
  4. Nominate 15 other bloggers for this award, and let them know they have been nominated

So the award logo is below :)
shine-on

I have mentioned Ciara's blog and linked to her blog, such a silly sausage above and then again just there  :)


State seven things about myself..... well here goes.....
  • I am absolute terrified of those living statues that you would see on Grafton Street and sometimes when you are on holidays. I wont walk near them and will make sure I am as far away from them as possible. They give me shivers down my spine!
  • I was at an athletics competition once in Tullamore and when I was warming up for the shot putt I walked across a manhole and fell down it. Yes I know my family have not let me forget that it is almost impossible to fall down a covered manhole but there you go it is clearly not impossible.
  • The first time I went to Florida on a family holiday I was around 5 or six and on the plane I got locked in the toilet. I was scared and now I hate going to the toilet on the plane in case I get locked in. Not only that but when we arrived at the house we were staying in i ran straight into a glass door and spent twenty minutes sitting on the kitchen counter with my mam trying to get my nose to stop bleeding.
  • When I was told in transition year that I would have to write a blog about the things we were doing during the year I was convinced that I was going to hate it and never blog after I finished transition year.... Boy was I wrong!!
  • I never really did understand why in secondary school from first to third year almost every girls in the year would cake themselves in fake tan the days before the GAA disco. I mean you were going to be in a hall which would be pretty dark and nobody would even see your tan. I don't know how they put up with the smell either!! I just don't understand fake tan and make-up..... it just confuses me!
  • When I went to Florida in 2006 my now sister-in-law told me that the alligators, the really little ones are known to come up the toilet. I tried to avoid using the toilets when we landed because I was terrified that an alligator would come up and bite me. After drinking a number of bottles of bottles of waters I had to face my fear and go to the toilet! I had never been so scared in my life!!
  • When I was little I wanted to be a chef. I wanted to be a chef so bad I had drawn pictures of what all my different restaurants would look like and then I would write up all my menus. Needless to say that didn't last because I soon found out I was not able to cook anything other than chicken!

Finally nominate 15 blogs which i enjoy reading and would like you guys to learn about.....

Now as far as letting everybody know I'm kind of hoping they might find out for themselves as I don't connect with all of these people and right now Im half asleep and in need of my bed!

Photo of the day. :)

These socks always cheer me up!

The down days.

We all have those days when we are feeling down in the dumps, fed up, tired and just plain exhausted with life. Well as I person who is living with depression I have experienced many of these days. At times these days lasted for weeks and weeks until I finally reached out for help and began to gain control over my depression. While I spent many months getting treatment to overcome my depression and while I still am engaging in treatment for my depression I still have down days. Although I have down days like everybody else I don't feel that my depression is always the cause, sometimes life just throws me a down day. While this post is aimed at the down days life throws at you every once in a while I want to stress that if you feel like you are suffering from depression it is important to go and seek help and it is so important to seek help before it (meaning the depression) has the chance to consume your life and take away the pleasure you experience in the things that you love most!

Yesterday I experienced a down day because my life felt like it was my turn to feel low and while yesterday I wallowed in self-pity and felt sorry for myself when I got up this morning feeling the same way as yesterday I decided I was going to be proactive and do something about how I was feeling.

So I started my day with a nice warm showing and you will be surprised what a shower can do for you. After my shower I felt awake and energised and ready to face the day. I was more optimistic about the day ahead despite still feeling low in myself. With my new found energy after my shower I decided that I would go and do a bit of shopping and then make something nice and healthy to eat. Well when I got home I realised I wasn't all that hungry which wasn't a bad thing since I had bought some nice fresh strawberries and bananas to make a lovely smoothie.


I know this is something people always say that fresh fruit and vegetables can help improve your mood, and like you I never believed it but today I found that it did actually help me. Just making the smoothie helped me to forget about having a bad day and the bright colours helped me to see something good in today.

I know this sounds a bit cheesy but it actually did help and at the end of making a smoothie I got to enjoy this


And I got the recipe from this book




After filling up on some fruit and forgetting about having a down day I went on to watch one of my favourite movies......



I only did three things today that were all simple and easy which helped to improve my mood. It was that simple, as much as I didn't want to do anything once I did something I was much better! It can be hard to find it you to get up and do something when you feel low or are having a bad day but it is so important to try hard and do something to change your mood. I know it is not simple to force yourself to get up and do something when you are feeling low, tired, fed up and exhausted with life but it is that little spark of strength which will make all the difference in improving your mood!

So the next time you are feeling down just remember you don't have to go out a climb a mountain to be happy (unless you want to of course) it is the small things that can make all the difference and make you feel good! Don't let one bad day ruin your week, don't isolate yourself, don't hide away from the world, get out, do something and show people that you are human. Show them that despite feeling low and having a bad day you know it is important to be yourself, to get up and do something and not hide away. 

We are all human and therefore it is possible that we will all have bad days in life. If there has been anything I have learned from having depression it is that, no matter how bad things seem they will get better, maybe not right away but they will. There is no point in having pity for yourself, thats not going to change your mood, it is up to you and only you to change how you are feeling. The support from family and friends is a bonus but in the end you are the only person who can change how you feel, so don't wait for someone else to do it, get up, find a glimpse of strength and change your mood for yourself!



Schools out for summer

School may be out for summer but for me school is out forever!





Anyway yesterday I finally finished the leaving cert and for me this was a pretty big deal. Last year I wasn't sure if I was going to sit my leaving cert with my peers, I contemplated redoing fifth year after missing so much time. At one stage I was so stressed I considered dropping out of school altogether. Having finished the leaving cert and graduated from Wolstans I am on top of the moon. I never thought this would actually happen. There was a time where all I could think about was my next "fix" in terms of self harm and then there were other times where all I could think about was how I was going to end my life. So to say I survived secondary school for me is a pretty huge achievement as since I was in third year I was self-harming and contemplating suicide. So yesterday may have brought mixed emotions about me leaving school forever I am glad to say that I was ready to say goodbye to Wolstans.

Yesterday brought   to a close something which I will miss, my time at St.Wolstans. I have spent the past six years there, met some amazing people and developed relationships that will never end. As I put my uniform on for the last time, I must say that I think I will miss wearing it. So I would like to thank all the staff who put up with me but who also helped and supported me through the toughest part of my life to date. I would like to say a huge thank you to everybody who made my time there a truly unforgettable experience.

Now there is only ten days left until my big family adventure!! I am growing more and more excited with each day!! I have got my books for reading on the plane also!!


And I am half way though this book, which I am in love with! I will write a review when Im finished! 


Photo of the day. :)

Looking well Kellie and Róisín :)

A family adventure :)

At the end of this month, exactly 14 days from now myself and my family will be going on an adventure to Florida. This year there is nine of us going, myself, Paul, Shane, Dad, Amy, Tom, Bernadette, Adam and Mark. I have been looking forward to this holiday ever since we booked it and as it gets closer and closer I grow more excited everyday. With only 14 days to go I have so much to get ready between cleaning the house, packing and of course making sure Lilo settles in with the family of friends she will be staying with but I also have to manage to finish my leaving cert!! Only one exam left to go now and to be honest I'm tired of waiting for it to come, I just want to get Spanish over and done with. As soon as I step on my plane to Florida everything to do with exams, points, grades, the leaving cert, result, viewing of scripts, college courses, books and study will all be forgotten about for sure!!

I may be looking forward to this holiday and with a plan like this there is no doubt why I would be looking forward to it!

29th Arrive and throw someone (Paul) into the pool.
30th Lets get off to a magical start with Magic Kingdom.
1st Lets get some thrills in Bush Gardens.
2nd Time for some swimming and a bit of Lego at Lego Land.
3rd Lets get cool sitting in the Splash zone in Sea-world.
4th A morning of shopping followed by an evening by the pool.
5th Road-trip to NASA (I think)
6th A bit more Disney with a day of movies and fun in MGM.
7th Some more adventure and thrills in universal and islands of adventure.
8th A day in the water with the dolphins in discovery cove.
9th Another day with the animals in animal kingdom and Downtown Disney
10th Some shopping along international drive and a spot of mini golf
11th Revisit our favourite unless I forgot any!
12th Some last minute shopping in the Florida Mall + spring clean the house 
13th We bid farewell but we will remember all the amazing memories

There is one thing though that is putting me down about this holiday and that is my scars. Yes I know I can cover them with long sleeves(which I plan on doing) and I can wear make-up and everything but why should I have to? I am not ashamed of my scars and I have nothing to hide, if people see them, they see them. My family have no problem with my scars and neither do I(I wish I didn't have them but I can't change my past) I would willing step outside of my house in just a t-shirt if I didn't have to deal with people staring at my arms and judging me. There are people who look and give you a some what sympathetic look and a look of understanding and then there are those who look at you, judge you, make comments and stare. It is the people who stare, make comments and judge that I have an issue with. 

Each one of us has something that makes us who we are and I would like to think that my personality is what makes me who I am, not my scars. I don't let my scars define me but I feel that to prevent being judged I must hide them. This should not be the case though. People are not aware as to how I got my scars(with a bit of thinking though it can be figured out) yet they insist on staring at them and judging me. When I see a little child coming in my direction and my sleeves are rolled up I pull them down, not because I fear being judged by children but because they are too young to understand and I feel that they are too young to be exposed to something such as self-harm. I know when I am around Adam and Mark my two younger step-brothers, I try to not let them see my scars because they do not need to be exposed to self-harm at their young age and if a child did see my arms and stared I would be ok with that because they do not know any better, but adults and adolescents do!

I will cover my arms in Florida which I have said I will do above but I am not going to cover them because people judge me when they see them but I am going to cover them when I want to. If I want to walk outside in just a t-shirt then I will. I am not going to let what people think of me ruin my holiday and if people don't like seeing my scars well they don't have to look at them do they? I don't want to have to be confined to long selves because people may have issues with my scars, I may not like my scars and I wish i didn't have them (I am currently using creams and gels to reduce their appearance) but I do and at the moment I do have them and as long as my family accept me for who I am, scars or no scars that is all that really matters at the end of the day.

I recently read a blog post written about this very topic called No more hiding, in this post I felt like someone understood what I was going through and at the end of the post I thought to myself, if she can walk outside and let people see her arms then so can I.  I have these scars as a result of pain I have experienced in my life and as a result of not knowing how to cope, but now I do and I no longer self-harm. So when I am in Florida and when I feel like wearing a t-shirt I am going to do just that! I am not going to let other people stop me from wearing what I want to wear, being who I want to be and doing what I want to do.

So if you have scars, don't fret, be yourself and if you are comfortable not hiding then don't! Other people can judge you but at the end of the day you know who you really are so what does it really matter what people think about you!

Photo of the day. :)

Got this in 2006 in Florida, Coming back to florida this year!!
(if I can find it)

New blog on the block :)


I was introduced to this blog a few weeks back and to say I have been amazed is an understatement!! This girl has shown strength and courage through her posts. I respect and admire her bravery in sharing her story. If only more people could be like Georgina Cantwell there would be no mental health stigma and people would get the help they so desperately need. So guys do me a favour and take five minutes to give her blog a look, I can assure you that you will not be disappointed.

After reading her blog, take a few minutes and ask yourself this question:
How can I help reduce mental health stigma?

http://georgie9413.wordpress.com/my-posts/

Look good, feel good


Often when we are feeling low and have no motivation to do anything it can be hard to do simple everyday tasks. It can be hard to get up in the morning, get dressed, make dinner or even stay awake. Looks aren’t everything but sometimes making yourself look nice or putting on a bit of make-up can make you feel better. Yeah it may take some effort in getting up and putting on one of your favourite outfits or doing your hair in a way you like it most but it is believed that if you are happy with how you look on the outside you will feel better on the inside. I know myself that sometimes just wearing my favourite hoodie helps me when I’m low, not because I like it but because of how it makes me feel and how I feel about the way I look when I wear it.

My sister-in-law Amy has been with me every step of the way through my depression. One of the things that I admire most about her is how no matter how she is feeling she always puts effort into how she looks and well I have often noticed that when she is looking good she always has a spring in her step. I guess she in many ways has thought me the importance of looking after yourself and how it can help you remain positive and help improve your mental health. I guess what I am getting at here is that looks aren’t everything but sometimes doing something nice for yourself can go a long way to improving your mental health. Something simple like getting your nails done with the girls or going to get your make up done for free in town can help you when you are low.

Amy is passionate about make-up and has set up her own make up Facebook page and YouTube channel and I guess that is why I decided to write this post. I kind of connected the two together. Looking good can help you feel good and there is nothing wrong with taking some time out during the day to make yourself look good. After all the most important person to make happy is yourself.

When I asked Amy what she thought the connection between looking good and mental health was this is what she said:
“It's not "looking" good that matters to me - its feeling good- and putting in a daily effort to look good can have positive benefits on a person’s mental Health - it gets them to take time to themselves daily an discover what they feel are their best features. Enhancing them with something as simple as makeup gives many a new leases of confidence in themselves. That’s what my channel is about”

Photo of the day. :)

Looking good girls :)

Happy Birthday Mam :)

Today I celebrate my mam's birthday despite the fact she is not here with me today. This year I decided to show people how much she means to me I would post a little poem on my blog. Happy birthday mam, this is for you!
                                                           




                                                           My mother, my friend so dear

A loving smile to guide my way

The sunshine to light my day
Without you, my life would be filled with darkness
You may not be here
But I always know you're in my heart 
Showing me the way
To happiness and peace
I lost a mother with a heart of gold
But you're spirt still lives on
Bringing a smile to the faces of those who love you so dear









Photo of the day. :)

Oh Ashling :)

What to do after school?



As I am half way through my leaving cert (Thank God) I am preparing for the next step in my life- college! I can consider myself as lucky at this point as I have already been offered a place in NUI Maynooth for their youth and community youth work course. I still need to get certain grades in my leaving cert to completely secure my place on the course but this course is something that I feel passionate about. I, in many ways have my future path secure (almost) but there are others that are not in the same position as I am in. 

Many people may be unsure as to what they would like to do when they finish school, some may have time to plan while others may be frantically rushing to decide what to do after school. Here are a few ideas of things you might like to do after school and especially after the dreaded leaving cert.

  • There is always the obvious which is going to college. You could go to college in Ireland or abroad and the possibilities of what you could study are endless. There is everything from medicine to journalism you name it I'm sure you would be able to find a course which suits you. For more info on different colleges visit- qualifax.ie and careersportal.ie And just remember that if you do not get into college through the CAO there is always other ways to get into a course you like!
  • An apprenticeship. For people who learn better while working or for those who would like to do something different this may be the thing for you. This may also be the thing for you if you wish to work in professions such as mechanics. These have since become very hard to come across as a result of the current recession but there is still a number of apprenticeship around.
  • If possible find a job. Spend some time working and saving up some money. You may be able to find a job which you like and start at the bottom and work your way up to the top.
  • Travel- take some time out and go to all of the places you have ever wanted to go to!

So if you don't know what to do when you leave school don't fret there are so many options! And the leaving cert points don't matter that much, there are so many other ways into college. So if you are confused about what to do after school just relax, take some deep breaths and just think about it, the worlds your oyster! 

Photo of the day. :)

Pac-man and ghost started a conversation, did you?

A reason to live.

This day three years ago saw my first ever suicide attempt. Each year I dread this day and especially this year. This day three years ago I was preparing to sit my junior cert and yet again I am preparing to sit state exams.

Sitting alone in my bedroom I had just finished writing my note, what I hoped to be my final note. I wrote it a thousand times to make it perfect I couldn't give my family anything less than perfect. I placed it under my pillow; I knew they would look under my pillow eventually. I grabbed a towel from the hot press and went back into my room. Shutting the door slowly trying not to make any noise. I didn't want anything to ruin my plan, I couldn't let anybody come into my room, I had put too much planning into this for something to go wrong, it all had to be perfect.


I sat on my bed, my legs crossed and glancing out the window I took a deep breath, I was ready. After spending the day with my brother and dad I was ready, I was ready to take my own life. I took the piece of glass I had been saving for some time, hidden in my room in the remaining part of the jar. I slowly but carefully ran to glass over my arm.  a feeling of relief came over me; it was like I was able to breath. This wasn't what I wanted though, I wanted to die.  I felt alive, I was trying to commit suicide and yet I felt alive, I hadn't felt that alive in weeks.


Six cuts down my arm I freaked out. It was like I suddenly became aware of what I was doing. Did I really want to die? What had I just done? I was bleeding and I couldn't get it to stop. I panicked, suddenly I didn't want to die anymore, I called down to my dad. He came up the stars slowly but surely to find me frantically pacing on the landing, the only words I could manage "I'm sorry, I'm sorry I did something stupid I'm sorry"


It was like I had suddenly woken up and everything was a dram, that's how it felt but it was all a very true reality. Within in seconds my dad had me sitting down and he was applying pressure to my cuts. Paul was racing up the stairs with the first aid kit all while I was crying and constantly saying sorry. I wasn't really aware what was going on around me after that. With a bit of persuasion I was taken to the hospital, I refused to go in the beginning but in reality I had no choice, I was going to the hospital willing or forcibly.


After arriving at the hospital things happened very fast. There was no waiting around to be seen, I was brought to a room so me and my dad could have some time together in private. That’s just what I needed, to be left in a room on my own with a man who was worried and angry. What was I meant to say to him, I couldn’t explain what I had done the reality of it was that I didn’t know why I wanted to die. I just couldn’t cope anymore and unless you haven’t been in that situation before you don’t understand. I didn’t want to die I just wanted a way out. I didn’t know what else to do and there was no chance that my dad would have understood that. It was agreed that I would be admitted to the hospital so that the next day I could see my psychologist and a psychiatrist. They also wanted to make sure that I was safe but to be honest in my mind I had a million other plans of things that I could do to hurt myself. I had so many ideas and I had planned to carry them out, I didn’t realise though that the doctors and nurses were not going to leave me on my own. 


I was brought to the ward and shown my room. Once settled into my bed my dad left, needless to say we weren’t really on talking terms. I was tired and I was annoyed, my plan hadn’t worked. To make things even worse as well I was being watched. There was a nurse sitting by my bed and she was not going to be going away any time soon.This all happened only a few days before the junior cert. I didn’t realise though that I would be starting me junior cert in the hospital. With a nurse with me 24/7 I couldn’t do anything.  


I only began my exams in hospital I did English, Irish, maths and geography in the hospital and then I was finally discharged. To be honest it wasn’t that bad doing exams in the hospital. Once my exams started though I began to improve, I wasn’t feeling as down in myself as I was before so I slowly began to improve and the doctors began to notice. I was finally discharged four days after trying to commit suicide and I was in a much better place. I wasn’t “fixed” as some people would say but I was on my way to recovery (or so we thought)


When my junior cert finished I was glad to say the least and I was happy to be able to relax without the stress. At this point I thought I was over the thoughts of suicide, I thought that I would never attempt it again and I thought that self-harm would never be an issue, I was wrong though, very wrong. 


This firs suicide attempt may not have been my only suicide attempt but that was because I was in a dark place. I didn't talk to my family or my friends and I thought I didn't want help but in fact I did. There is always a reason to live no matter what you might think- I am happy that I am alive and I am happy that I can share my story in the hopes that somebody will read this and realise that there is always a reason to live. Things such as the love an animal has for you, your family, your friends, sports, things you love to do, everything that makes you who you are is your reason to live. At the time I felt there was no way out but I was wrong, there is always a way out.  You may feel that there is no help around or that nobody cares about you but that is not true, there is help and people do care about you. There is always a reason to live and don't ever forget that!


Finally in the words of young Donal Walsh-  "Suicide is a permanent solution to your temporary pain" 


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