Sunday, 28 May 2017

Mental Health + Relationships - with Life Through TSG!



I have always believed that it is only in your worst moments that you find out other people's true personalities. It's only when you're at rock bottom that you can look around, see who is still by your side, and count them as a good person and a great friend. It was actually in this very situation that my friendship with Hayley, the blogger behind LifeThroughTSG really began. She reached out to me when I felt the worst I've felt about myself in years, and for that, I am unbelievably grateful. 

I'm so honoured to have this absolute babe of a human on my blog today. As you can already tell, Hayley has one of the kindest souls and biggest hearts of any person I've met - online or offline. She is truly a generous spirit, always there for anyone who needs her and is one of the most selfless and supportive people I know. Not only that, but she's talented too. Her blog is a captivating mix of chatty posts, in-depth heartfelt writing, and some of the prettiest photos around. Following her on Twitter is brilliant - she makes me laugh out loud and is the absolute realest on there. Oh and you definitely should be subscribed to her YouTube channel, and following her for her beautiful pics on Instagram. Got it? Good.
lifethroughtsg
lifethroughtsg


1. Introduce yourself! Tell us about your blog, tell us which post you're most proud of, and tell us about your mental health story!


Hello! I'm Hayley and I blog over at LifeThroughTSG. I don't have a niche as such, I sort of just blog about whatever I feel like chatting about, it's a little messy but that's me! The post I am most proud of is A Letter To My Bullies. I was diagnosed with anxiety at the age of 14 and have been dealing with it ever since.

2. Have you discussed your MH with your loved ones? If yes, how did you start that conversation, and if not, why not?


Yes, as I was so young when it began, I had to reach out to my parents for help. I didn't really choose to start the conversation, I had my first ever panic attack in front of them. Likewise, my boyfriend (now fiancé) was texting me at the time and, as I didn't know what was happening to me I told him as soon as it happened because I was scared.

3. How have those closest to you reacted? Any particularly positive or negative feedback?


My family are very supportive, mostly. But some of them found it particularly difficult to understand as they hadn't been there themselves. My fiancé reacted very positively at the time of diagnosis and was very supportive.

4. How has your mental health affected your relationships (whether with a partner, friends, family)?


My mental health mainly affects my relationships when it stops me going to places, or causes a scene whilst we are out at those places. Some of my friends actually didn't believe my diagnosis and said I was simply being 'dramatic' so I think it's fair to say that those friendships are definitely over!

5. In the reverse, how have your relationships affected your mental health?


I struggle to make new friends, but my pre-existing relationships before my diagnosis haven't affected my mental health too much. The break down in my friendships hurt me a lot and definitely let to what I like to call the 'dark period', but other than that they haven't had too much affect.

6. Is your mental health something you actively talk about with your loved ones, or do you prefer not to discuss it? Are there any pros or cons to your approach?


I don't discuss it unless it really is bothering me or getting bad. I have anxiety attacks way too often to tell someone every single time, and I am quite a private person anyway. In terms of pros and cons, the pros of my approach, I guess, are that when I choose to speak up my family and friends know it must really be affecting me. Cons are definitely that I often feel silly talking about the little things, but sometimes I need to get them off of my chest.

7. Is there anything you wish you could tell those closest to you or wish that they understood? What is stopping you from telling them?


I wish they understood the terror that I feel. They know that my anxiety attacks scare and worry me, but I don't think I could ever truly explain the true terror that the cramps, my main symptom, give me.

8. What advice would you give to people who want to tell their loved ones about their mental health?


Just speak up! Not everyone will understand or even want to understand, inevitably, but once you find someone who does and who's willing to talk it is honestly the most relieving feeling!

9. What advice would you give non-sufferers who want to support their loved one with their MH?


Just try and understand. I know it must be so hard when you've never experienced it, but the little things that you can easily do every day may be genuinely terrifying to others so they need your support. Please don't ever belittle or downplay their suffering. 

10. Are there any support systems (other than loved ones) you use that you'd recommend for those who may need them?


I wish I had some recommendations here, but I really don't as I haven't really gone any further than doctors and friends/family for support. But there are so many mental health bloggers in this community that I respect so much and are so supportive!

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Hayley is one of my favourite bloggers because she keeps it so real. I loved reading her answers to my questions because they were just so honest and straight to the point. I think it's so interesting how Hayley, like almost all of my interviewees, said that she doesn't like to discuss her mental health. I'm the same - I very rarely discuss how I'm feeling on a day-to-day basis, and have only recently felt able to even say I have mental health issues at all. But it's interesting that we are all also frustrated that people don't understand our illnesses.

Of course, it's pretty much impossible to fully comprehend anxiety unless you suffer from it - as Hayley points out, it's more than just feeling a bit nervous, it can be physically painful and highly debilitating. But we need to continue to speak out as much as we can, we need to be as honest as we can about what we go through so that those who want to help will gain a better understanding. I think it's incredibly difficult to do, but we are constantly silenced by the fear of how other people will react. In order to have other people even slightly understand how we feel, maybe we have to stop waiting for permission from other people before we talk about it?

If you can, be brave. Be honest. Be open. Tell someone exactly what you are feeling, right at that moment. If they aren't supportive, if they tell you to 'get over it', if they don't listen - they are the one with the problem, not you.

Massive thank you to Hayley for taking part in this little project, I really appreciate her taking the time and effort to be involved!

HAYLEY'S LINKS:
Blog
YouTube
Twitter
Instagram

To check out the other interviews in this collab series, click here!

If you'd like to be involved in this project, feel free to email me, chat to me on Twitter or leave a comment below.
 
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3 comments

  1. I've just stumbled across your blog and wanted to say how amazing it is! I love your mental health series of posts with guest bloggers and find it so refreshing that someone was willing to promote and talk about it - so many people bottle up their feelings so it was lovely to read your blog posts. Can't wait to see what you post next xxx

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    Replies
    1. This is so lovely to read, and really makes me feel so good about this project! Thank you so much Siobhan! x

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  2. I've just gone through this series of mental health + relationships posts and they're absolutely fab. It's so lovely to have a wee corner of the internet where people are talking openly, responsibly and optimistically about mental health. Also, your introductions for each guest are so lovely. They're all lucky to have you in their lives too. Thank you, Bethany!
    Lisa x | www.whatlisadidnext.com

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