Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Mental Health + Relationships - with the Lilac Linnet!


I love a beauty blog or a fashion post as much as the next guy (I'm very envious of their skills with a camera particularly) but the blogs that really get me excited are the ones that I feel like I learn from. I get great joy from being able to click someone's link and be made to think, to find out what is important to other people and to read all about the things they love. That is why I kind of squealed a bit when my friend Abbey introduced me to Llinos and her blog The Lilac Linnet.


The Lilac Linnet is everything I want in a blog. It has cosy posts about what Llinos has been reading or watching, it has funny chatty posts where she talks about what's on her mind, and - my favourite - it has posts about historical places and figures!!! I'm a massive history geek and I find myself constantly baffling the people around me by rambling on about the Tudors. Finding a blog that proudly shares this love of history has been so refreshing, although it has meant I am now desperate to get myself to Wales to see some of these beautiful castles for myself! The Lilac Linnet has something for everyone - if you're not a geek like me, you're bound to love Llinos' posts on her creative endeavours or find yourself sympathising with some of her pet peeves. Llinos is also just the loveliest person on Twitter, where alongside being bloomin' wonderful and chatting to everyone, she also runs a Twitter chat (Wednesdays, 9pm). You should also check out her Instagram, where she shares pics of her latest creations, and her guinea pig Maggie somewhat steals the show...!


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 everyone, I'm Llinos, which is a Welsh name. I blog at The Lilac Linnet all about books, creativity, and whatever pops into my mind! I'm 30 years old and I live in Cardiff with my boyfriend, Oliver, and our guinea pig, Maggie. I was diagnosed with depression in 2012 and more recently I have been coping with anxiety.

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 had to sit anyone down and say 'I have mental health problems' because it has been clear to loved ones from my behaviour. When you stay in bed, shake with anxiety, or are low in mood, others will notice and think something's up. I have a close-knit circle of my parents and my boyfriend. My main support is Oliver as we live together and he sees me on a daily basis, and helps me to manage my symptoms. My parents are always on the end of the phone as they live on the other side of Wales.

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


Oliver has always been amazing and completely dedicated to doing whatever it takes to make me feel better. Sometimes I feel as though others might forget about my symptoms because I seem okay in person. However, other than that I haven't received any negative comments from friends and family.

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


When I've told friends about my mental health, I feel that it makes us closer because I'm sharing something quite personal with them. It does, however, affect my ability to socialise and that brings its own issues. I may need to cancel at short notice, for example. Also when I'm with them, I may look fine but they don't realise I'll be going to bed when I get home. When it comes to me and Oliver, I feel we have weathered many storms due to my illness which has made us stronger.

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


In the past, I've definitely had relationships which have negatively impacted my mental health. Today, I feel that they're much more healthy.

7. 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?


Talking about my mental health and problems in general is something I've struggled with for years. I've been more used to putting on a brave face than expressing myself, which is an approach that hasn't helped my mental health. I prefer not to discuss it but sometimes needs must.

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 stop myself from saying some things because I don't want to upset my loved ones. Some thoughts I have are kept to myself.

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


I would be honest and say, it's not easy. I would advise doing it quite casually; don't sit your family down and say you need to talk to them. Instead, just tell them you've been having some thoughts recently, or feeling stressed, and think you need to see a GP. Ask if they'll come along to the appointment, or have they had similar feelings.

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


The best thing is to be approachable and open. Let them know you're there for a chat anytime because that can be the most valuable thing to someone with mental illness. It's so easy to feel locked away in your head, so knowing there's someone there to reach out to is so important. If they become withdrawn, don't give up on them, as that's a part of the illness. Put a note through the door, keep inviting them for coffee, buy their fave chocolate bar... They will appreciate it. 

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


Definitely. Personally, I have found counselling to be the most beneficial form of treatment. It's difficult for me to open up to those close to me, so being able to speak to a professional has been very worthwhile. Also, doing what you love and enjoying small things is important. Take time to enjoy that cuppa. If you love reading, find an hour to spend with a book. Distraction techniques and simply savouring life can get so easily lost during a busy day, but our mental health will thank us if we make the time.

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I really love Llinos' answers to these questions as they suggest that despite everything she has had to deal with and go through, overall the support she has received from others has been a positive thing. I know that I personally spent so much time worrying that telling people about my mental health issues would drive them away; if I could've seen someone suggest that it actually made their relationships stronger and made their bond closer it would've been a huge relief for me. It's so easy to assume the worst but knowing that there are people like Oliver who are willing to help make things easier is so important. I am really glad Llinos has such wonderful people around her!

Of course, it's not all sunshine and roses. I definitely can relate to the feeling that people have forgotten your symptoms because you haven't made them explicit. This is something I actually want to write a full post about so thank you Llinos for the inspiration! It's really hard to go through as you don't want to constantly 'burden' people by reminding them of your limits, but on the other hand, you do want and need them to be taken seriously.

I really liked the idea of asking someone close to you to come to a doctors appointment with you. It can be easier to fully express how you're feeling if you're not directly speaking to a loved one, but instead directing your speech towards a medical professional. If you allow them to sit in and listen, there's the possibility that your loved one will learn a tremendous amount about what you're actually going through. Obviously, if you're not comfortable with that then there's no pressure, but I know that I feel more comfortable opening up to strangers than relatives, and this could be a way to let them in.

Massive thank you to Llinos for taking part in this interview and sharing her views with me, I absolutely loved getting her input!

LLINOS' LINKS:
Blog
Twitter
Instagram
Pinterest

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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2 comments

  1. Beth, this was a fantastic post as always! This entire series has been incredibly insightful so you deserve a big pat on the back! I am so pleased that I was able to introduce you to Llinos - her historically themed content is among the best out there, as you know anything to do with the Tudors is a winner in my book! It sounds like Llinos has a great support in Oliver, he seems like a wonderful man! I relate to a lot of what Llinos says about putting a brave face on often but I also agree that opening up and sharing can be a great thing for bringing you closer to people! I think you should definitely write a post on what you mention in the paragraph about people forgetting your symptoms, I'd love to read it!

    Abbey 🍂 http://www.abbeylouisarose.co.uk

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  2. As we make the biggest mistake of our lives and relegate our humor nature and fun to recreational activities (if we experience fun at all), we doom ourselves to all the symptoms of the corresponding seriousness that fills the void - declining health, rising stress, increased pain, lessened energy, impaired creativity, and more.guarantor

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