Monday, 26 June 2017

Mental Health + Relationships - with Abbie Huggan!


In this day and age, in our world full of bloggers who have very carefully curated themes, some of my favourite blogs to read are those who completely buck that trend and talk about anything and everything. I love getting to know a blogger through their posts, seeing their true personalities and finding out what makes them tick. Abbie Huggan, and her blog Over Peach Chic, is a great example of this. Abbie writes about such a wide variety of topics - from university to Disney, to favourites, and chatty posts about her life - there's something for everyone. Abbie is also an absolute sweetheart, so I was really pleased when she agreed to take part in this!

Alongside blogging, busy little bee Abbie has recently completed her degree in Psychology (a fellow Psych student, yay!) She hasn't had the easiest time while studying for her degree, which makes her hard work and dedication all the more admirable. One thing I love about Abbie's blog is her blogging goals posts, like this one for June! It's really interesting to see what targets she's set for herself, and see how enthusiastic she is about reaching them - she's certainly a determined lady! Abbie is also active on Twitter, where she makes time for everyone. She's so kind, friendly and welcoming, so definitely pop on over and say hi. You can also follow her on Instagram, where you can keep up with what she's up to!


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!


Hi, I'm Abbie, I am a 20-year-old soon-to-be psychology graduate and blogger. My blog is Over Peach Chic, I describe my blog as mainly a lifestyle blog but I write about a little bit of everything from general chit chat to Disney and everything in between. I'm not sure what post I'm the most proud of but I think my favourite one was Why I Am Scared of Doing YouTube Videos as I just like to be open about what I want to do and maybe why I struggle to do it. I suffer from general anxiety which I've struggled with for several years, although I've never had a 'formal' diagnosis.

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


I've never particularly had a conversation with people about my mental health, they've always kind of just known. I wouldn't really know how to start a conversation about it in honesty and the fact that they've always kind of known about my anxiety means I've never really had to have that kind of conversation with them. 

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


Things were hard with my mum at times because she didn't really understand why I was the way I was about situations that caused my anxiety. My boyfriend was amazing about it because he was actually a big part in helping me get through it.

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


I wouldn't say they have affected any relationships massively because even though my mum could be hard on me about it at times, she'd still acknowledge that it is hard for me and that she was only doing it to help me.

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


I've had really negative friendships in the past that have really made me anxious about going to school/university especially if I have had been in a confrontational situation with them, which has been the case with a former friend from university.

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 feel like I make a conscious choice about whether I talk about it or not. If there was a time I felt I needed to talk about it or it came up in conversation then I would talk about it but I don't feel the need to if it doesn't. I think the pros and cons depend on what it is that is going on, for instance, anxiety has always been quite an obvious thing for my family so they've always known but if you have depression then your family may not know and you may want to tell them which may have pros and cons on its own.

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?


Not particularly, I feel like I'm in a better place with my anxiety these days so there isn't really anything I would want to tell them about it. If I had one with for the past I would say I wish my mum could have understood more and not been so hard on me about it.

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


Just take it at your own pace and try to explain it to them if they don't seem to understand. Also be patient with them because they aren't living your life so may not understand why you are suffering with a mental health problem.

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


Be understanding and listen to them. Try to put yourself in the other person's shoes and don't take their life at face value because you never know what's going on.

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


Honestly, I've never used any outside services so I can't necessarily recommend any from personal experience.

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There's a lot of things Abbie's said in this little interview that I can really relate to - particularly her comment about negative friendships really affecting her mental health. I have definitely felt the same way - I particularly hated high school and a lot of that was down to toxic friends. I also had a really unpleasant experience with a best friend at uni, so I know how Abbie feels when she says it made her anxious to attend. The interesting thing is, both Abbie and I probably knew these people weren't good for us before it ever got to a confrontational stage. Sometimes you encounter people who set your teeth on edge and make you feel bad about yourself. Don't ever feel guilty for putting yourself first, and removing yourself from their sphere of negativity. You deserve to be around people who make you feel like the best version of you - real friends will always support and encourage you, not add to your stress.

Another point Abbie made that I thought was really relevant right now was her advice to non-sufferers to not take people's lives at face value. Recently Prince Harry has opened up about his mental health struggles, and Ant McPartlin has been admitted to rehab. These are men with extremely privileged lives (one's a bloody prince!) - essentially the last people you'd think of to be suffering. But mental illness doesn't discriminate. Hopefully, people will learn a lot from their openness and will stop stereotyping mental illness. Being told you have "nothing to be unhappy about" is so far from helpful!

Massive thank you to Abbie for taking part in this series, it was so lovely to get to know her a little better, and I also loved having someone who feels like they are in a good place involved as it gives me a bit of hope, haha!

ABBIE'S LINKS:
Blog
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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