Diagnosing yourself with OCD needs to stop!

Disclaimer: Some of the details I mention in this blog post maybe triggering or distressing to some readers. If you are sensitive to descriptions of violence please be mindful of that if you decide to carry on reading. 

 


 

The charity MIND describes Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) as an anxiety disorder with two main parts: obsessions and compulsions.

  • Obsessions are unwelcome thoughts, images, urges, worries or doubts that repeatedly appear in your mind. They can make you feel very anxious (although some people describe it as ‘mental discomfort’ rather than anxiety). 
  • Compulsions are repetitive activities that you do to reduce the anxiety caused by the obsession. It could be something like repeatedly checking a door is locked, repeating a specific phrase in your head or checking how your body feels.

The latest DSM – 5 ‘The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Edition 5‘ (The book psychiatrists abide by when diagnosing patients) removed OCD from under the umbrella term Anxiety and gave it it’s own division because many ailments branch out from OCD including Trichotillomania (hair pulling); Skin Picking; Hypochondria; Body Dysmorphia and many more.

Some argue that eating disorders are a form of OCD. While others maintain that even though eating disorders may share common symptoms with OCD it should be classified as a separate illness. In my opinion, I’d say there is a definite overlap between eating disorders and OCD — especially OCD’s sister illness Body Dysmorphia.

RANT ALERT.

Over the years I feel the media — with it’s uniformed opinions of what OCD actually is — has made it ‘fashionable’ or ‘trendy’ to be diagnosed with this condition. Which in turn minimalizes the severity of what it means to suffer from OCD. We are living in an age where the internet has a massive influence on society’s perceptions and ideologies. With that in mind the media should be a bit more responsible about the information it distributes– but then again this is the media we’re talking about — anything for sensationalist story right?

The internet seems to be inundated with pseudo psychology; self diagnosis and Dr Google. People recognise certain symptoms and diagnose themselves with all sorts of severe illnesses including OCD.

Though, in all fairness, the media/internet has also done quite a lot to challenge the stigma surrounding mental health and providing education to help people understand how the brain can suffer from problems just like any other organ in the body. Nowadays, it is far less taboo to speak about mental health struggles and what help you may need. There are also some great campaigners out there fighting for mental illness to be taken seriously. So times are changing which is wonderful as it mean we are moving out of the ‘just snap of it’ era and being a bit more compassionate to our fellow human beings. 

On the topic of stigma I can’t tell you the amount of time I’ve overheard conversations where people proclaim to be ‘so OCD’ and then describe symptoms that are more fitting to someone who is a ‘neat freak’ or just particular about things.

Granted tidiness and order can be a symptom of  OCD but I would say it’s the severity of the thoughts and behaviour that defines it as an illness. The impact it has on your day to day life; some people are unable to leave the house because the illness is so debilitating.

Here is a breakdown of the differences:

Particular person: Feels a strong need to have her/his room in a regimented order and feels relief once they have organised the objects in a particular way. They can then carry on with their day. 

OCD sufferer: A excruciating need for control. If an object is out of place the person feels extreme anxiety to the point the fight or flight adrenaline is activated. They fear something really dreadful may happen to someone they care about if this extreme order is not preserved. If they do not follow these rules perfectly their own mind attacks them and bullies them until they follow orders.

 

DXGg4xEWsAkwnEx.jpg.pagespeed.ce.DeJJJtyZ-w
Source: www.themighty.com

 

This is also true of celebrity OCD. To be able to function or maintain a ‘normal’ job whilst your brain is constantly bombarding you with life and death intrusive thoughts or doubts about every aspect of your life takes tremendous strength. So I struggle to understand how people are able to become hugely success whilst suffering from OCD (?) This does not come from a place of judgement but rather curiosity. They’re either extremely functional OCD sufferers or their OCD has somehow helped them achieve their goals (?) It’s a really awful thing when your mind feels like your worst enemy; I know MIND describes obsessions as ‘mental discomfort’ … but I’d describe them as absolute agony!

I mentioned before that OCD is now seen as a ‘fashionable’ or a ‘trendy’ illness to have which I think is beyond insulting to anyone who suffers from this disorder. It’s even gone one step further with companies using the OCD acronym to try and be cute in their marketing campaigns. There is a particular cosmetic company that really raises my hackles. And that company is Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics.

I find it grossly insensitive to use a mental illness to sell your makeup line?! Would it ever be ok to launch a product range called Bipolar makeup or Schizophrenia cosmetics!? I think not! But apparently it’s absolutely fine to do this with OCD?!

RANT OVER.

 

20190228_171732
Source: Insatgram @ocdrecovery

 

 

I have recently started work with Robert Bray (above). His insight into the disease surpasses any ‘OCD professional’ I’ve worked with in the past. I think unless you’ve been through it you can’t really understand it — like most things I guess. Even the sufferers of OCD can’t understand how such irrational thoughts can cause such extreme anxiety over something that others may consider unimportant. 

I remember a friend of mine — who shall remain unnamed for obvious reasons — and no it’s not me — had an intense fear of raisins. I had no idea how intense this phobia was until I put one on her chair in Design Technology class as a joke. As soon as she saw it she was unable to go near the chair and went into a trauma reaction. Yes, I felt guilty about it afterwards. The way she processed the idea of a raisin and what she associated it with caused her great distress. I guess you can develop an obsession or phobia about anything (?)

American Psychiatrist Jeffrey M Schwartz M.D refers to OCD as ‘Brain Lock’ and even used this for the title of his book. He compares OCD to one of those old gramophones that you play vinyl’s on. Once in a while the pin that gets stuck and you would hear that same section of the song play over and over again. Schwartz says this is what happens in the brain with OCD; the brain locks and plays that obsession or fear over and over again each time getting worse until the sufferer is petrified. The fear becomes disproportionate to the object or situation. I would this is the same way a phobia works — but don’t take my word for it I’m not an expert in that field, it’s just a theory.

 

 

It is quite common for OCD sufferers to have ‘whack a mole’ obsessions and compulsions. I’ve known people who start off with Harm OCD (a fear they would attack someone or might have killed someone) morph itself into Religious OCD (continuous intrusive ‘blasphemous’ thoughts about your faith and that you are evil), for example. One of the most painful aspects of OCD is you know what you are thinking and doing is irrational; but you can’t stop no matter how much you try — OCD has a gun to your head. And every time you give in to its ridiculous demands for a tiny bit of relief it gets stronger.

 

xScreen-Shot-2018-03-08-at-9.54.10-AM.png.pagespeed.ic.9Sl8vTS4kS
Source: www.themighty.com

 

OCD has full disclosure to your worst fears. For example, it is common for a new Mother to suffer with OCD. Their baby is the most precious thing in the world to them, which OCD knows. Therefore it will bombard the Mother with horrific intrusive thoughts of hurting the new baby. Because it’s the Mother’s worst fear she assumes just having these thoughts means shes a terrible person and a danger to her child. But thats not the case at all, it’s because she care so much about her baby and would never hurt it she has these obsessions (if that make sense?). OCD will always latch onto your worst fear to taunt you with. A person with OCD who is caring and likes people will fear they are a murderer because they really don’t want to hurt people and are disturbed by intrusive thoughts that one day they might kill someone. Most ACTUAL murderers will enjoy thoughts about hurting people and actually kill somebody without guilt… I hope the difference makes sense?

I would really recommend ‘Mad Girl’ by Bryony Gordon. It’s a really insightful journey of Bryony’s struggles with OCD. And one of the main fears she had as an OCD sufferer and new Mother was abusing her daughter. The book is really interesting and provides an honest and inspirational insight into the life of an OCD sufferer.

 

 

Whilst I’m on the subject another book I would recommend is ‘Pure’ by Rose Cartwright. I’m so pleased people have the bravery to reveal this illness because it’s been suffered in silence by so many people for such a long time. The fear is friends/family/therapists wont understand and will think they are dangerous or bad people. I had the same OCD theme as Rose and I can honestly say it was horrenduous. I was first diagnosed at 17 years old and I remember I was absolutely terrified to tell the doctors what was going on inside my mind incase I was locked away either in prison or a mental institute. Now I understand my faulty thoughts are considered relatively ‘normal’ within the OCD community. I’ve managed to avoid ‘exposure therapy’ for as long as I could, but I still suffer, so I know it’s the only way to truly get back in control of my mind and the best treatment for OCD.

 

 

You may have seen television programmes where people who suffer from contamination OCD are encouraged to touch toilets or ‘dirty’ things so they feel the maximum anxiety they can possibly feel (this is exposure therapy). The point of this is not for a sadistic thrill but to desensitise the patient to the thing they fear the most in order to loosen the grip OCD has on their life. It’s impossible for people to feel maximum anxiety all the time so eventually the fear plateau’s and their thoughts are brought back to reality.

Contamination OCD is one of the most recognised and publicised themes; but there are so many more versions of OCD that are yet to be recognised. Such as Trans OCD (a fear that you are in fact a transsexual); Relationship OCD (a fear that your partner is cheating on you no matter how committed or in love they are with you. Or a fear you may not ‘really’ be in love with your partner). OCD can merge itself with reality (or things other people worry about) and make you constantly over analyse and doubt to the point where you cannot decipher the line between rational and irrational beliefs. In France OCD is known as the Doubting Disease because you are constantly looking for reassurance which relieves you for about 5 minutes before another doubt triggers you. That’s why, for example, someone with Relationship OCD may ask their partner 100 times a day if they love them and no matter how many times they say ‘yes’ the illness will always distort the truth in order to steal you away from reality and keep you mentally imprisoned. 

I once saw this really interesting Netflix documentary when I was in Los Angeles a few years ago; I believe it was called Obsessed but I’m not sure as annoyingly I’ve yet to find this documentary while I’ve been back in the UK.

It follows people who suffer with lesser known forms of OCD. Two of the patient cases really stayed with me. One of the women was told that her Father had been involved in a car crash so she immediately rushed to his aid. Unfortunately her Father passed away due to his injuries. She took home his bloodied shirt (I guess as some sort of memento?) and every night when her children would go to bed she would wear this shirt and obsessively try and figure out how this car accident occurred. Or another case where a woman had constant intrusive thoughts of animals in pain. When she was a child her abusive Father beat her dog in front of her causing significant emotional distress. She was hounded by intrusive images of hurt animals and found the thoughts intolerable (which most people would; but like I said it’s the emotional intensity and consistency of the thoughts that classifies it as an illness). Part of her exposure therapy was to carry around a picture of an abused dog which she had to keep looking at during the day. A lot of people with OCD use avoidance as a coping mechanism to stress but this also just makes it worse because it then the brain thinks ‘Jeez this thing really is dangerous!’. She was also taken to kennels where the dogs where going to be euthanised which was disturbing to see as a) I love animals and b) seeing someone in that much pain is upsetting. You may think this is re-traumatising the person; but unfortunately (I say unfortunately because this form of recovery is extremely painful and I’m sure most people wish there was another way) it seems to be the most effective way to treat OCD. I guess it has a ‘face your fears’ element to it — you take away OCD’s power over you. 

Having this illness can make you feel very alone as no one seems to understand what you’re talking about and even you don’t understand. To some extent OCD does not respond well to logic; just like you could tell a person suffering with anorexia that they are not fat a million times a day and they would not believe you despite the fact they are desperately under weight. As humans we seem to go with what feels real rather than what we know to be real.

I hope you enjoyed reading my post about OCD. And if you feel you may be suffering from OCD please do see your doctor. Mental health issues are now much more accepted and understood than they used to be. You are not alone; most OCD sufferer’s feel people won’t understand because their thought’s are different or worse than anyone else’s but rest assure many people suffer with these thoughts no matter how ‘bad’ or ‘strange’ they are.

Make sure you find a therapy that works for you; the main one is ‘Exposure Therapy’ a form of ‘Cognitive Behavioural Therapy’. In my experience psychotherapy has little affect on OCD; it normally makes you try and figure out where it came from and can make it worse; and to be honest even if you do know it doesn’t really take away the irrational thinking and strong reaction.

The Maudsley Centre for Anxiety Disorders and Trauma is one of the main treatment centre for treating chronic OCD which I would recommend.

There is also:

https://ocdaction.org.uk/

https://www.ocduk.org/

https://bddfoundation.org/

https://www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk/

I would also really suggest following Robert Bray ‘OCD Recovery’ I find his quotes and therapy incredibly helpful and in a short time I’ve already improved so much. 

Be brave OCD will try to convince you you’re the worse person alive or that people won’t understand … they will; don’t believe it’s lies.

Warmest Regards

 

 

Why I gave up modelling 📸

Firstly I’d like to apologise about not posting in two weeks I’ve just started Uni and have found the workload a bit of a shock to the system but I’m finally getting there.

I’ve procrastinated about writing it but I feel like I should because I learnt so much from the experiences being a model gave me.

Sometimes I still look at my friends Instagram photos and reminisce with rose tinted glasses about the glamorous lifestyle that modelling offered. But in reality, this is not an accurate representation.

It’s good for me to get my thoughts down as I feel its a good way to process and finally say goodbye to an industry I had such a love / hate relationship with.

Hope you enjoy!

 


 

 

pexels-photo-134469

 

I remember the night I decided I wanted to become a model. I would like to say I got this epiphany whilst flicking through the pages of Vogue looking at *insert 90’s supermodel’s name here* and thinking ‘I want to be her’. But the idea came after yet another blazing argument with my then boyfriend telling me that I didn’t even come close to the over made up models that cat walked down the ramp for this urban rap battle event. He wanted to be a rap star you see.

It was the insidious pang of a hurt ego that spurned me on to take my first steps into modelling. The irony will become apparent later.

Like a lot of girls I started by getting ripped off by some photography scam paying a good few hundred pounds (out of my student loan) for a ‘professional’ makeup artist and photographer. I hated how they did my makeup, my hair and even what they had me wear. But I guess there was a part of me that loved the attention and the fact I was going to ‘show’ my boyfriend I was better than what he said I was.

After the shoot, I was given a list of model agencies to approach. I was relentlessly rejected by pretty much all of them albeit a few who told me if I lost weight I would be in with a chance. I feel sorry for my younger self as I had no idea what I was doing and was terribly insecure; in hindsight it was like watching a lamb being sent to the slaughter.

Thankfully I continued to study and finish my degree. It’s when I finished and no longer had a routine to keep me balanced the trouble began. Obviously, I wasn’t going to go straight into full time modelling so I needed a job that also offered flexibility. Get ready for years of standing in heels and spraying perfume for hours on end.

At this time my self esteem was starting to deteriorate. I dyed my hair black and started putting on weight from comfort eating. I was also dealing with very difficult family issues and a horrible relationship so all in all this it was a very dark period in my life.

 

1931430_156201331340_3202278_n

 

In a way the fantasy of a glamorous lifestyle kept me going all of life’s turmoil. All I wanted was that one photo on a cover of a magazine for my, now ex, to see and that’s it I could quit. I was shooting for amateur photographers and was grateful for the £50 I’d get for hours of work. I thank God I never got hurt or did anything I was THAT uncomfortable with. Mostly it was a case of sacrificing my time for promised exposure that never really came to anything. I found this extremely frustrating but I thought this is how it was.

I was still trying to join a modelling agency so despite everything that was going on my ambition was never fully squelched. I would like to add that this was the time social media was also really taking off so that helped me to network.

I had a few hopeful meetings with some smaller agencies. My portfolio was a complete mess. I had no idea about marketing myself and even less of an idea about fashion. I thought agencies would see through all this if they believed in you, but now I know you have to have the perfect portfolio to approach agencies with in the first place, it’s your CV. This seems obvious now, but it wasn’t back then, I’d been given so much wrong advice by so many different people.

My weight was ALWAYS an issue, no matter what size I was.

It was another day at work spraying perfume when I overheard one of the girls talking about slimming pills. This intrigued me, as I couldn’t lose weight on my own so maybe this was the answer?

The girl (who shall remain nameless) told me where I can get these slimming pills and I managed to get my hands on a batch. They really shouldn’t have given them to me, but in the long run, they might have been helpful because they gave me the energy I needed to kickstart my life.

So now I know these pills were actually a low form of speed. Which is why I had more energy and less appetite. I lost weight quickly, worked on my tan and turned my jet black hair to honey blonde.

My ex-hated my new look and told me I looked anorexic. He was probably right, but I didn’t care for his opinion anymore. I had many more people telling me I looked great, even though deep down I still didn’t feel great about myself.

 

28418_417206321340_7820140_n

 

I got some new photos …. again. I remember someone saying to me ‘when is this mysterious portfolio ever going to be finished?’ Never, is the answer to that. There was always something ‘wrong’ with it. I even started paying for more professional photographs but then by then, I was starting to put on weight. I’d get the odd few awesome shots, but it was really hit and miss. I really didn’t have the confidence to really be ‘seen’, I desperately wanted to which is why I wanted to have a career in front of the camera, but as soon as I got there I felt like I was cringing deep inside.

I only really felt excited by it when I was getting ready and being pampered. This was tainted with a niggling worry I was too overweight or looked ugly in the pictures. I remember when a shoot was cancelled because I didn’t fit the clothes properly. I know its obviously important the model fits the clothes but I remember I was 18 y/o and mortified!

So with my photos, I managed to get into a few smaller agencies. This didn’t fill me with confidence as in my head if I wasn’t at the top it wasn’t worth doing. Completely the wrong way of looking at it but isn’t hindsight a wonderful thing?

My new body was hard to maintain; the clinic wouldn’t give me anymore skimming pills. So I had to do it on my own. It was mid Summer and really hot but I was always really cold with numb fingers. But I was getting more and more compliments about the weight I’d lost so it was easy to become addicted. The doctor told me I was under weight for my height but the modelling agencies told me I still had to get down to a 25 inch waist. I was 5 ft 9 with a 26 in waist. My hips couldn’t slim anymore because all that was left was bone.

 

thumbnail_20181016_151037[1]

 

It was a really shallow, fake life I was living. I couldn’t be anymore further away from my authentic self. I started going to London’s most exclusive clubs with model friends whilst trying to make a living and going to what felt like an endless amount of castings only to be selected for a handful of jobs.

Something must have worked because all of a sudden people were taking notice. I was accepted into a decent model agency I’d been pursing for ages (in fact they’d previously turned me down three times).

 

 

It felt great because being signed was the equivalent of feeling validated as a ‘professional model’ and I wasn’t doing it all on my own. The quality of my photographs got better and I finally felt like things were taking off. I had a good few model friends I liked and would go out with. But the majority of people I’d hang out with I didn’t really know … I called them the ‘night people’. The type who would party with celebrities but had no real career of their own. It was weird seeing pictures of yourself in campaigns randomly around town. It was a weird contrast of excitement and feeling quite empty.

 

 

People would refer to me as a model and I felt myself cringe as I didn’t identify as one. This all started as a way to get back at an ex boyfriend and to prove something to people, but this new career choice was taking over.

My brain went to mush as I wasn’t really using it anymore. No matter how ‘pretty’ I felt at a casting or a shoot it wouldn’t be too long before I would compare myself to another model who I deemed ‘better than me’. I would scrutinise my photographs within an inch of their life, and was helped by others in the industry to rip myself apart.

I’d see other models getting who I thought were quite average looking getting the jobs I wanted and started to become bitter and resentful. The irony here was that I was already sabotaging my work but at the same time getting angry at others for what I considered ‘stealing’ jobs off me.

 

 

My self esteem was constantly in flux, people flattering me whilst others ignored me. Having my body measured in front of a room full of people I also found really embarrassing, especially if I’d put on weight.

Saying this I was enjoying the perks of the lifestyle, I didn’t have to ‘work’ that hard to make nice money. I’d get treated really well on (most) shoots, food was paid for, hotels were paid for, travel was paid for. I was being looked after at the same time.

 

10177456_10152417817836341_142815278931639200_n

 

I had attention from celebrities and was invited to exclusive places. Shot with renowned photographers and was really starting to make my ‘dreams’ a reality.  My old friends and people I went to school with (and my ex) took notice, finally I was showing them … wasn’t I?

I didn’t feel like I connected with the majority of the other models, and the guys I was seeing made me feel like a Barbie doll. I felt like they didn’t see me as a real person.

I started to binge eat to fill that emptiness… the agencies were quick to notice. I no longer had the energy to attend meat market castings, I got dropped by a few agencies, I just didn’t have the energy to keep up. The more I was guilt tripped about not losing weight the more I’d binge eat and skip castings, being labelled as unprofessional as one of two clients ‘really’ wanted to see me. So it was text book self sabotage.

Looking back I really wish I’d given up the profession a long time ago. One friend who I really respect is Charli Howard. We’d often have a moan about the industry, which confused me as I though Charli was one of the beautiful girls I’d ever seen, so how was she struggling? She took the control back and when she was dumped by her agency she decided to model on her own terms and be an ambassador for female body confidence.

A lesson I’ve learnt in life is if you are going to do something, make sure it’s something you want to give your all to. And make sure your doing it for yourself not to prove something to other people.

Looking back I definitely got into modelling for the wrong reasons, when you’re young it’s easy to get swept up in the glamour and promises. Now I’m a lot more curvier and happier. I’m studying a Masters in Psychology and enjoying my writing. I still love doing makeup and taking photos but it’s more for fun then as a job.

I’ve given up the nights in Mahiki for city breaks around Europe which makes me genuinely happy. If the party lifestyle makes you happy I’d say 100% go for it . I know a lot of models who love doing what they do and are able to give it their all. But it wasn’t for me. And I’ve now realised it doesn’t make me any less than, or ugly or not good enough. At least I gave it a go, and at times I would have liked to have wanted it more to see where it could have gone. I’m happy that when I’m 80 y/o I can show my Grandchildren what their Nan used to do for work.

For now, I’m much more interested in getting to know the real me, and what she wants out of life.

 
thumbnail_20181015140004607[1].jpg

 

Hope you enjoyed this post! If you would like to see more post’s like this I will be posting ever Thursday. Don’t forget to subscribe to get the latest news and blog posts.

 

Warmest Regards

 

Why don’t you like me? 👍

Ever since I’ve involved myself in the world of social media again, I’ve become entangled in the validation game again.

I am at the beginning stages of creating a business and as an enthusiastic newbie, I already understand the power social media platforms can have for attracting new clients.

However, one of the main reasons I don’t model/act anymore is because I was never comfortable selling myself as a product. Shyness always got in the way.

But now I am involving myself in causes and interests I really believe in, and it’s not about me which makes it much easier.

But sometimes it stings when you’re really passionate about something and it feels like the world wide web isn’t so interested. Can we blame it on the Algorithm or do people just not care?

 


 

hand

 

I’ve never been too enthusiastic or strategic with social media. I lose interest in it quite quickly and revert back to putting pictures up of cute animals and psychology quotes. But I know there are a lot of people who are able to gain a mass following from selfies (and belfies) alone. What used to be ‘too much’ is now celebrated.

I guess sex sells.

I wonder if I use the right marketing strategies I can accumulate a mass following of people who listen to what I say? Should I put more selfies up to get more likes? Why do others get more likes than I do? Do I need followers to gain success or success to gain followers? Why aren’t I enough? Why is it only small businesses and random weirdo’s who follow me?

STOP!!!

This must stop. ‘Black Mirror’ was right we are becoming nothing more than rating addicts. I don’t want to be defined by my ‘followers’ or ‘likes’. It’s not too dissimilar from school but instead of competing to be popular with your peers, you’re competing with what seems like the world.

 

sky-earth-galaxy-universe

 

What I personally find difficult is keeping a balance between using social media as a platform for my work and not letting it eat up at my sense esteem. I had a break from social media for 6 months and I noticed some massive changes in my outlook which you can read about here. Since I’ve been back ‘online’ the compulsive checking and the mini ‘highs’ I get from the ‘likes’ has started to creep back in.

Intellectually, almost everyone knows that inner peace and happiness does not come from the external (and if it does it’s short-lived). But that doesn’t stop us trying to crack the system. Social Media is the EPITOME of external validation, so why do we keep falling for it? ‘Herd Mentality’ perhaps? Or maybe ‘this time it will be different’?

 

giphy

 


 

I think in this day and age it is really important to differentiate between ‘yourself’ from your online presence. It’s an avatar, no one is who they say they are online and it’s important to remember that. The online comparison is, even more, deceiving these days because people proclaim this online presence is how they are in everyday life, taking selfies at their local restaurant or jumping into a bed of flowers. It’s b*llshit.

Someone with 500,000 followers may be wondering why someone who is similar to them has 1,000,000 followers, you never ‘win’ in this game.

There are a number of reasons someone else could have a bigger following. They could have had a following from back in the days of ‘Myspace’ for example. They could be using social media a lot more than you. They could be hanging around with people who have a large following. They could have been on the scene a lot longer than you, there could be a thousand reasons. If you really want to go down that route Kim Kardashian has twice as many followers as Rihanna. And is she more beautiful or talented than RiRi?

 

images

 

Likes have no reflection on who you are as a person, your self-worth, your intelligence, your looks, your brilliance. We are living in a society that has glorified what ‘likes’ and ‘followings’ mean. Let’s not forget most of the things are liking are edited to magazine perfection. No longer are we comparing ourselves to glossy perfect women on a magazine cover. We are now comparing ourselves to an idealised version of what other people want to be… and we’re falling for it hook line and sinker from a place of indisputable insecurity.

I don’t even put up random photos of myself like I used to, people seem to prefer filters rather than pictures that show the truth. After taking what seems like a million shots I scroll through the photos to decipher which one is at least useable. My gallery using consists of photographs ranging from that classic rabbit caught in the headlight to the double chin of when you turn on your camera on and didn’t expect it to be on selfie mode.

 


 

I think there’s a misconception that its impossible to be successful unless you have masses of attention from the general public. I’m divided on this as on one hand I think the web is very powerful and a great leverage for your business to be ‘seen’. And on the other hand, I think if you have a passion for something you will give it your all and the following will naturally come to you. But then having said that I know many people who are invested in an excellent project can’t get it off the ground as their marketing skills suck.

So I personally think it’s a case of splitting the difference. Working on what you’re passionate about whilst at the same time engaging an audience you know your business deserves. And giving yourself the opportunity to meet people who have the power to help you take your ideas to the next level.

The most important thing is not to let the ‘likes’ affect your motivation or self-esteem. I know it’s difficult when it feels like the world is so obsessed. But even if you haven’t got a big following you can still live your dream and be successful; social media is not the gatekeepers of deciding who gets to live out their dream job and who doesn’t. Yes, it can help if you know how to use it safely.

 

‘If you can meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two imposters just the same’.

– Rudyard Kipling

 


 

I don’t suggest you go live on a desert island and be satisfied with only self-love and coconuts to keep you going.  We are social creatures and need people. One of the reasons we feel such shame when we are humiliated or ostracised is because it’s our old brain (instincts) fearing we will not survive without a ‘pack’ or a community. Check out this interesting article ‘Why people need people: The myth of solitude’ here. So maybe the ‘likes’ and validation we get from social media triggers something in us that’s akin to survival. To be ‘liked’ is to stay alive?

I’ve always thought of myself as a typical introvert, craving my own space and needing time away from people to refill my energy levels. Looking back I still need this, but the times I thought I was ok being on my own I was actually lonely and would have benefitted from being around people I cared about. Though I couldn’t understand this at the time because I was so cut off from my feelings and my needs.

Stop getting validation from a computer, you are much more than that. Obviously, it’s nice when someone pays you a compliment or likes your photo. But if you rely on this it’s not too dissimilar to a drug addict needing their next fix when the high wears off. Its addictive, short-lived and not real. Step away from the computer and engross yourself with people who love and support you, even if at first it feels like withdrawal.

The strongest thing you can do is go against the crowd. Pull yourself out of the fiery competition. Gently be ok with who you are. Know that you will get to where you want to be. All that energy you give out to others, invest in yourself. Most people go with the crowd and what’s ‘in’ at that moment. Don’t be a passing phase. Make a difference in the world. Because at the end of everything, you really only have yourself to answer to.

 

Warmest Regards

 

Bullying…Why don’t people stop? 😡

 

Today I will be exploring one of the more darker and sinister sides of human behaviour.

Ever since we formed civilisations and communities; bullying has existed.

If bullying is relentless and consistent it acts as a brainwashing technique and after a while, the person on the receiving end believe this behaviour toward them is justified. This gives the bully more control and the power to enforce intimidation and abuse, which crumbles the person’s sense of self-worth.

Bullies will also employ other people to antagonise the person, to strengthen their ‘power’ and to convince the person they deserve this nasty treatment.

We will be exploring why people bully? What behaviours can be classified as bullying? And what we can do to put an end to this horrific behaviour?

 


 

In recent years we have identified the different forms of bullying. It was once thought that bullying remained in the playground and consisted of stealing lunch money and name calling. But we’ve now realised that adults can be broken down and bullied in many of the same ways.

Bullying can occur pretty much wherever there is human interaction such as work, relationships, friendships and even by strangers. The reason I say strangers is because in this new age of social media there has been a new level of malice called ‘Cyber Bullying’.

People in the public eye seem to be one of the main targets of cyberbullying. It’s easier than ever to have direct contact with high profile people minus the Managers and PR people that normally protect them. This leaves the person exposed to the wrath of the general public.  It’s a snowball effect. It often starts with one person sending a critical or even downright evil message to the person in question and then another person sees this and gets involved and then another and another. This is called the ‘Pack Mentality’ or ‘Herd Mentality’. Some people base their opinions and actions on what other people think and do. The targeted person tries to defend themselves but the overwhelming pack mentality can be relentless and bombard the person until breaking point. It’s one thing taking on one person but taking on a group can be almost impossible.

Bullies will often recruit others to do their dirty work. They don’t always reveal themselves as a bolshy, nasty people surrounded by a posse. Sometimes they can come in the form of your best friend or even your partner.

 

divorce-separation-marriage-breakup-split-39483

 

This type of Bullying goes unnoticed for long periods of time as it relies on subtlety. The person on the receiving end of the abuse no longer trusts their own instincts, their self- esteem crumbles and they become a shell of the person they used to be.

That friend who always serves you a barbed wire compliment or the boyfriend who isolates you from your friends or criticises what clothes you wear are all bullies. It’s hard to spot because it doesn’t come in the stereotypical ‘form’ of what we imagine bullying to look like. We all know the classic ‘Frenemy’! Bullies often have a preoccupation with you, watching your every move, it’s weird.

 


 

My experience of Bullying:

I have experienced bullying in many different forms. It started not long after I lost my Mum, in middle school instigated by someone I used to be best friends with. The girls who did it were blonde, confident and nasty (well to me anyway). I was geeky and unsure of myself and obviously, my demeanour encouraged them to mock me, put me down and generally all round feel bad about myself. I was also probably quite damaged from the recent bereavement and I guess they picked up on that. I would stick up for myself, but again when you’re taking on a gaggle of girls it’s difficult not to start believing them.

My next encounter was in High School. Again I was that lanky, awkward girl who had braces, dyed black hair and to be honest was not the most popular person in the world. This time the bullies were male… no matter what I did or said it was ‘wrong’ or ‘stupid’. They often found it funny when I got angry or upset, one time I remember one of them stuffing leaves down my top which really hurt. It makes me sad to think about what I went through at that age as I felt people were telling me there was something wrong with me from all angles.

I went to South Africa to see family one Christmas and when I came back I was tanned, blonde and had a new attitude. The bullying stopped, but only for a short time. It was a superficial way to make the mocking stop.

When I moved to London at 16 years old; the years of being told I was crap burned inside me and ignited my ambition or ‘need’ to show people I wasn’t what they said I was. Through work, I gained success and admiration. Finally, I’d shown them that I wasn’t this geeky awkward girl, but inside that still how I felt about myself.

Even though people from my past seemed to back off and have even graciously even gone as far as to throw me a few compliments here and there, the scars were still there. I seemed to attract the same types of personalities but with different faces, which often happens when you’re subconscious is running the show. I’ve realised I encourage processing trauma and tackling the critical voice but actually, I’ve neglected the other side healing which is building confidence and discovering goals and qualities about the self we like.

Bullies are not happy people. When people envision insecurity people often think of a person hunched over, unable to look at anyone in the eye. When in fact insecurity can present itself as grandiosity, narcissism, control and bullying. Think about it why do you feel the need to antagonise someone who has done nothing to you? Why do you care? If the only way to feel good about yourself is to victimise other people than you have a problem. I’d compare it to a poisonous codependence.

I saw this case recently where a young girl encouraged her suicidal boyfriend to kill himself, not suggested it, but actually BULLIED him to do it. You can watch the story here. She tried to blame it on her mental illnesses and change of medication but luckily the Judge saw through her Bullsh*t and sentenced her. It really annoys me when people blame mental illness on their evil actions. They have nothing to do with each other! It just breeds stigma and contempt from people who don’t have a strong understanding of mental health.

 

pexels-photo

 

When we were kids our self-esteem and sense of self-worth is determined by the relationship we have with our parents. When puberty starts the validation seeking switches from parents to peers. It’s paramount we ‘fit in’, and be accepted by other children. We crave independence from our parents and start to form a personal identity that’s not reliant on Mum and Dad. So anything that makes us ‘different’ is a source of shame for the child because it means they are not ‘like everyone else’. For me, it was mainly because I was awkward, tall and had a funny sounding surname. I hated these things about myself and even developed a bit of a hunch to stop attention being brought to my height.

Now I love being tall, its one of best physical features. I love my awkwardness I think it makes creative and think outside the box. And my surname… well I half South African and proud. Go to South Africa and my surname is like ‘Smith’ over there.

During our teens, it’s all about the opposite sex. We care about being attractive and being desired and it really stays that way throughout adulthood. You could say some even look for validation from their children later on down the line. But in general, that’s the natural order of things.

 


 

Main Forms of Bullying:

Violent:

Physical forms of abuse include hitting, scratching, spitting and can even sexual dominance or abuse. This can be seen in school children wearing extra layers to hide the evidence of their attack. Or wives who claim the bruise on their eye was caused by ‘walking into the door’. It can also be used when describing the destruction of one’s property. Ie) Destroying items that the bully know means a lot to the victim.

Social:

This is when the bully will use other people to help them make the person’s life a misery. It includes spreading gossip or rumours; otherwise known as character annihilation, encouraging others to socially exclude them, mimicking or playing nasty jokes, sniggering behind someone’s back when you know it will upset them and so on. Through doing this the Bully can hide behind other people, thus not having to take ‘full responsibility’  and the face the consequences when discovered. It also makes the victim feel that it’s not just one person that has such disdain towards them, its everyone.

Verbal:

This is an attack of words which can cut really deep. It chips away at the person self-esteem and worth. The person becomes vulnerable and makes it easier for the malicious words to penetrate. Typical verbal abuse consists of shouting, patronising, insulting, name-calling, abusive remarks about someone’s gender, race, sexual preference etc… making someone the butt of the jokes, humiliation, the list goes on. The old ‘sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me’ is an old-fashioned saying, but it holds very little water because words can sometimes be mentally more damaging than physical abuse, especially over long periods of time.

Cyber:

This is a relatively new one. And has reared its ugly head with the rise of social media; ‘trolling’ has become a millennial epidemic. This is a real nasty one as again it relies on the pack mentality. It’s often said that if people were on their own they wouldn’t behave like that, but when they are in a group something happens. The group can attack not only the victim but other people involved in the person’s life like friends/family. The bombardment of internet messages can overwhelm the victim and has even been reported to cause the person to self-harm or even worse take their own life.  The internet is so vast that any wrong or malicious information can be escalated by vindictive people who don’t even know you, making it their life mission to spread as much hate as possible. This can also take the form of ‘Revenge Porn’, a scorned ex-lover putting a video of you in your most intimate moments for the world to see… creeps, family and friends…anyone. Its purpose is to cause maximum humiliation; thank God at least that’s now illegal.

 


 

Why do people Bully: 

I try to be diplomatic when it comes to explaining the reasons behind peoples atrocious behaviour as I believe we are not born ‘bad’. There are normally reasons why people behave the way they do. But when it comes to bullies, I find it challenging.

When it comes to children, I understand they don’t know how to express themselves properly. They may be bullied at home by siblings or adult family members and the only way they know how to deal with this is to make others feel bad about themselves. I understand this, it doesn’t make it right though. I would encourage the school to get involved with not just the victim but the bully as well. I suggest their circumstance ie) home life and mental health are analysed and be sent to see a counsellor.

Or if they are relatively ‘fine’, I’d say we need stricter punishment so the Bully does not carry on acting out into adulthood. Protection of the victim needs to be made an absolute priority as well as the after-effects of the abuse, this goes for adults at work as well.

Adult bullies, however, I have no sympathy for. To continuously hurt someone who is innocent (and I use this word because no one ‘deserves’ abuse) is bordering on Sociopathic. Maybe insecurity is driving it, but it’s what you allow your behaviour to be that really determines who you are as a person. Bullying can be a sign of jealousy, the victim has something the bully wants. In their twisted minds, they think if they pull that person down it will give them power, control and self-esteem. This may work for a short time but as we know it’s impossible to get validation from the external it will always be conditional. After a while, they may even get a kick out of doing it, to me, this is sadistic.

Having said this bullying also exists in the animal world. Obviously, animals aren’t doing it to be a dick. Although I’m sure there are animals out there who can be ‘so and so’s’ but I’m pro-animal so they can’t really do any wrong in my eyes. Any bullying behaviour would come from a place of survival as against nastiness. For example, the Omega Wolf is the lowest ranking member of the pack. The animal may not possess the right qualities to lead the pack and this will be a threat to the pack as a whole, so the Alpha Wolf dominates.

This is not to say the person being bullied is weak, but they may be smaller in stature or in some way vulnerable. Your vulnerability can be your biggest strength, it’s people’s ignorance that they think they can dominate you because you are shy or sensitive is a true sign of the bullies weakness. You are strong you just don’t realise it yet. The amount of bullies who have tried to suck up to me on Social Media since we left school is quite pathetic really. Shows a real defect of character.

 

download

 


 

What are the signs of bullying?

From what I’ve experienced and researched there are certain signs. They may be subtle or obvious. I’ve experienced bullying even in acting/writing courses that were meant to be fun!  Great time that was!

  • If you dread going somewhere because certain people will be there. That’s normally a red flag that bullying is occurring.
  • It seems to be you vs the rest of the group and you feel singled out. You may feel like you’ve done nothing to encourage this treatment.
  • Everything you do is ‘wrong’. Things you say/do. They may question why you did this or that a certain way making you doubt yourself constantly.
  • You may hear rumours about yourself. Or some people could be really nice to you and then get involved in the ‘pack mentality’ against you. It’s often people who are malleable who tend to be easily swayed. They are incapable of having their own opinion.
  • Someone who criticises you constantly. And then often tells you you’re being paranoid. This is what’s known as ‘Reactive Abuse’. People taunt you or bully you to get a reaction out of you then label you as aggressive or crazy or whatever when in fact you were just reacting to their abuse or defending yourself.
  • Your instincts are usually spot on. If someone makes you uncomfortable you don’t have to put up with it just to keep the peace.
  • Mocking … again this goes with the last comment if you feel it’s done in a malicious way you are well within your right to call this behaviour out. They may tell you to not be so sensitive but this is also a manipulation tactic in order to make you doubt what you know is wrong.
  • When having a disagreement with someone, they use aggressive body language or start trying to dominate you. If someone tries to ‘intellectually dominate’ you watch out for this as it’s a form of bullying.
  • If someone who is nice to everyone else but pretends you’re not there then this again is bullying albeit a subtle form. They may exclude you from events that everyone else is going to. Or give you the short straw ie) knowingly overwhelming you with paperwork, and then criticising you for not being able to keep up.
  • Laughing can be used as a way to humiliate. So if you feel someone is laughing at you and not with you this is normally a red flag.
  • Nitpicking, again this goes with trying to make you feel like ‘everything you do is wrong’.

 

pexels-photo-568027.jpg

 


 

Fighting Back: 

I don’t suggest fighting fire with fire, try water. I’ve acted aggressively towards the perpetrator in the past and it’s only escalated things. You can fight back from a place of strength and genuine power. You may want to ‘show them’ you are more than what they say. But this will all come in good time, trust me from experience.

Here are some tips:

  • Bullies are looking for a reaction. Don’t let them have one. Show their opinion of you is worthless. I know it’s hard, and even if you want to burst out crying right there and then (which you can do when you’re on your own) be strong and know you are taking away the bullies power.
  • Tell someone! Tell a person who has your best interests at heart. Sometimes in the workplace, it can be difficult as the bully may be your Boss! There is always someone more senior to tell. If the person is reprimanded then they will normally blame you. Know this is only because they are scared of the consequences in store from them, which they absolutely deserve. Even if you are worried people will think you’re exaggerating, just know bullying is bullying and you don’t have to put up with behaviour on any level.
  • Keep evidence. Start building a case against the bully. When you do tell someone they will be able to take stronger action if they have your evidence to back up the story.
  • Start building up a support group. I don’t mean a posse, because you’ll find some people don’t want to get ‘involved’. But a support system of friends who can help you and support you day to day whilst this is going on.
  • Do your best to realise that this has nothing to do with you. It’s them who have something wrong with them. Not you!

 


 

I hope you enjoyed reading this post. Bullying is thankfully now being taken more seriously than it was in the past. It’s important we recognise the detrimental effect this kind of abuse can have on people whether they are a child or an adult.

People are speaking up on a massive international platform and this behaviour is no longer being tolerated. I think sometimes victims of bullying don’t realise the severity of their situation. They think they deserve this treatment or it may be in some way their fault. This is why we need to vocalise the signs and symptoms so people can recognise those insidious traits in the perpetrator, and take action to get out!

 

Capture.PNG

 

If you want to read more posts like this don’t forget to subscribe to my blog. I’ll be writing a new post every Friday.

 

Warmest Regards

 

 

What I learnt from my 6 month Social Media detox 📱

It was difficult!

At times I literally felt myself in withdrawal.

I made a list to remove unhelpful things from my life.

It looked a little something like this:

  • Alcohol.
  • Meat (Ethical reasons).
  • Toxic People
  • Social Media
  • Jobs that I no longer enjoyed

etc…

Social Media was actually one of the worst. A clear sign I had an addiction. And I’d consider myself a moderate user!


Like most Millennials; Social Media has infiltrated my life. Admittedly I’m more of a Social Media Voyeur than a Poster… but I do go through phases where my virtual friends are probably bombarded with my posts. Sorry!

I’ve even tried removing myself from the online forums but constantly felt like I was missing out on everything. There seems to be an unwritten rule that you are some how ‘outside’ if you don’t use Social Media. Even work expects you to be virtually ‘present’.

During my detox I witnessed the corruption of Facebook, and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Law take effect. This makes me feel so much safer because it gives everyone the right to ‘disappear’.

pexels-photo-267350


Negative Aspects of Banning Social Media:

  • Constantly feeling like you’re missing out on something.
  • Losing work… especially if you’re Freelance.
  • Losing ‘Virtual Friends / Followers’.
  • Missing out on events.
  • People getting irritated because they think you’re ignoring them.
  • Unable to share news on a large scale.
  • Not being able to keep up with recent news about what people are up to.
  • Having access to larger amount of people to talk to.
  • Reconnecting with people from the past.
  • Not being able to Virtually Network.

Positive Aspects of Banning Social Media:

  • Having ‘A LOT’ more free time.
  • Feeling like you don’t have to compete or compare with others.
  • Feeling more present in my own life.
  • Building stronger connections with my true friends.
  • Concentration improved.
  • Being more satisfied with my own life.
  • Getting more things done.
  • Actually physically meeting people instead of hiding behind a Virtual Avatar.
  • Less lonely.
  • More peaceful.

As you can see Social Media obviously has it’s good points. Especially for work. I don’t think it’s detrimental to your business not to have Social Media but it does have it’s advantages. On the contrary having to find work the old fashioned way has helped me build more authentic contacts as I find on Social Media you can convince people you’re whoever you want to be; which means more Bullsh*ters.

One thing I also realised was that a lot of people who were on the verge of ‘stardom’ disappeared. As soon as I logged out I didn’t really see them anywhere, it was all online. This is not a dig as I know there’s lot’s of famous Vloggers whose main platform is Social Media. It was just an observation.


I still want to create a business and work in a Freelance capacity just in a different area.

How do I do this without conforming to the addiction?

Boundaries.

Looking at the list Pro and Against Social Media I can see it’s healthier to be offline. I still want that level of satisfaction and gratitude for my life without falling into that all too tempting spiral of Compare and Despair.

A few years ago I decided not to stalk ex’s as it just ended up annoying me, and you can’t really see what’s real as like everyone they put up their ‘best life’. Though annoyingly this doesn’t stop them contacting me out the blue! I really don’t like it! I don’t like how Social Media provides a way for them to see what I’m up to. I’ve done the whole ‘blocking’ them on every app, but they still find a way to contact me online. It creeps me out to be honest. Should have put that on the list!

Sorry went on a bit of a rant. Back to more important issues … Boundaries!

So as I mentioned I do think it’s useful to have Social Media in you’re life especially if you’re a Freelancer.

But let’s not forget there’s darker side of the internet.

It’s believed 87 million were affected by the Facebook Scandal. Information about users was purposely divulged without the users consent.

It’s also been suspected that Social Media hacks the microphone in your mobile to listen into your private conversations in order to pick up on keywords. The theory is they do this so they can target you with suspiciously specific advertisements. Not sure if this is true or not.

But check this out.

And what’s scarier is that if you have open privacy or accept requests from people you don’t really know then it could be someone more dangerous than a stupid ex watching you.

I know a lot of my friends post proud pictures and video’s of their children running around having fun just being a kid; sometimes in their bikini or PJ’s. And it’s great they want to share these cherished moments with friends and family. But be aware you are putting these pictures on the internet. ANYONE can get hold of these pictures even if you are being cautious.

Million’s of video’s are shared each day containing abuse of a person who is underaged. And that’s only one’s that we know of, which actually sends chills down my spine.

Blake Lively is an Ambassador for Child Rescue Coalition and this is what she had to say.

DISCLAIMER: Please note some of the issues she talks about are disturbing.

I’m not pointing this out to upset anyone. I just want children and parents to be safe. That’s what I’d want for my child, and any parent I know would want the same.

Here’s my tips on using Social Media safely and constructively:

Safe:

  • Instead of putting pictures online. Maybe create a WhatsApp group with Friends and Family where a large group of people can see pictures of you child. This is what a friend of mine does.
  • But if you do want to upload make sure you know everyone on your Network. I’d say something like Facebook is easier to use as with Instagram/ Twitter anyone can follow you. Unless you have a locked account.
  • Make your account private.
  • Steer clear of uploading pictures of your children in bikini’s or anything like that. There are predators out there and they are very smart and will be drawn to pictures like this. Unfortunately this is the world we live in.
  • Be careful of checking in. This could encourage stalking or for people to know you’re not at your home to protect it.
  • Personal details… emails, phone numbers…. credit card details! Keep it to yourself.
  • If your child has their own account. Be aware of who their talking to. Predators often disguise themselves as the same age as your child. And what’s scary is that predators can also be young. So it’s difficult to distinguish.
  • They can also coerce your child … making the child besotted with them. So be aware for any behavioural changes in your child when they use Social Media.
  • Check on the types of photo’s they are posting. It may seem innocent to them but maybe catnip to a predator.
  • If you’re dating online. Make sure you properly research the person, ask around if you have mutual friends. Let a friend know where you will be if you meet up with this online person. Because most of the time they are a complete stranger.

Again I’m not just trying to be dark. I genuinely think Social Media can be fun, but let’s not be naïve.

Constructive:

  • It’s easy to scroll and scroll and then realise 4 hours have gone by. If you are going to scroll one tip that helped me was to set a timer. Therefore you can moderate the time you’re on it without wasting too much time.
  • Write a list of what you need to do online and do it. It’s the prerogative of Social Media to distract you. You’re about to do something then something else pops up with pretty pictures then you’ve fallen down the rabbit hole of online timewasting.
  • Research people who could help your business, write down their name/details then log off. See is you can email them directly or If you have to message them online do it then log off. Don’t sit there and wait for a reply, it’s too temping to scroll.
  • With Facebook there’s a separate app ‘Messenger’ which you can use to just talk to people without physically going onto Facebook. There’s nothing more depressing then going online and seeing you have a tonne of notifications only to realise it’s all irrelevant.
  • Post what you need to and log off. Don’t wait for a comment or keep checking. This creates ‘Validation Seeking’ which is harmful to your self esteem.
  • With my Blog I’ve found a way to connect my posts to my Social Media. So it means I don’t have to physically go on each site and post. The blog posts it on all these platforms for me, so it prevents me from going online and checking. Obviously it’s nice to see comments but no comment has been that miraculous it’s worth losing my inner peace for. The checking is a compulsion that must be controlled; otherwise it controls you.
  • If you really can’t control your need for Social Media. I would suggest a cold turkey ban. I know it feels like you’ve gone to live on Mars but I promise you, you’re rarely missing much.
  • Get a friend to post for you. Therefore you can’t indulge.
  • Have a purpose. Write down all the things in your life that are suffering because of your online addiction. Maybe there’s a book you can’t seem to finish. Or an unfinished project etc…
  • Delete Apps and always be logged out. This will make it more difficult to just log in as you have to go through the hassle of going to the website, typing in your password etc…

So my post went a slightly different direction from what I expected it to. But nevertheless I felt it was an important message to convey.

I would recommend anyone who is worried about an addiction to Social Media to give yourself a limited break. Make sure you have a set date when you can go back on … trust me it will make the withdrawal easier. Let people who you want to keep in contact with know what you are doing, or you could even announce it in your status. Depending how you feel.

I would really recommend it. After the initial shock I felt so much happier and felt I could easily never log in again. It was interesting as soon as I started flirting with the idea of being virtually present that obsessive, compulsive side started wanting more and more. So this is why I’ve had to have strict boundaries to ensure I stay present in my actual life instead of my virtual one. And share my life with people who I want in my life instead of a load of strangers.

Hope you enjoyed my post. If you would like to read more articles like this please make sure you subscribe to my blog to read my latest posts.

Stay safe!

Warmest Regards

Part 1: I want to lose weight but I don’t like exercise and love food too much #Help !! 🍦🍔🍟

This has been a lifelong dilemma.

And to be honest I think it has been for most women.

So what do we do if we haven’t got a naturally super fast metabolism? Apart from cry….

 

giphy

The problem:

I used to work at a Gym. And what I saw was a lot of clients regularly attending the gym with militant discipline; even spending a small fortune on trainer’s with minimal results.

Why?

I think one of the main reasons was black and white thinking. They separated their life from exercise. I’ve been guilty of this in the past; not believing in the power of small changes. They take the lift, think they can be slack with food because they work so hard in the gym 3 x times a week. Unfortunately it doesn’t;t really work like that.

For me, I can’t think of anything worse than being constantly active. I’m already running around like a headless chicken with stress draining every bit of energy I have.

What used to annoy me was some Personal Trainers lack of ability to consider peoples lifestyles. They had a ‘if you really want it attitude that was more judgemental than helpful. I’d like to see exercise as much as they do with a demanding full time job in another field and even children!
Lifestyle:

You think the way I run around I’d be skinny as anything but I’m not. In fact I’m the biggest I’ve ever been (Size 12 pushing size 14). I’ve always had child bearing hips which the modelling industry hated, but unfortunately I can’t slim down bone.

I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with food and my body. I’m not good to my body, I’ll be the first one to admit it, then I criticise it for not being how I want it.

I’ve denied myself food in the past. Especially as a kid, I was referred to as lanky. But then I moved in with my Dad who was a big foodie and I could eat anything I want and all hell broke loose. I went from the strict upbringing from my Grandparents to the chaotic lifestyle I lived with my Dad. Funny enough this is the relationship I have with food… all or nothing.

I don’t really think London is healthy. I live off sandwiches and sushi and find I’m hungry again in an hour. There is a theory that a lot of fast food chains are in cahoots with diet/slimming companies as keeping us in the gaining weight/loosing weight cycle makes serious bucks!!

The constant buzz means stress levels are constantly high, and stress burns energy so we need more food to just keep going. Stress also releases cortisol which makes it almost impossible to shift that tire around your mid section.

Watching Netflix until silly o’clock in the morning disrupts sleep, spiking cortisol contributing to the Michelin Man look.

Coffee spikes your insulin resulting in a hunger crash. Your body is constantly running on empty so it’s trying to hold anything it can to keep you going.

And you wonder why you’re not losing weight?

You go hours without food, then stuff it in like it’s the last supper. And then that creates a habit for binge eating as you probably don’t know what feeling full really feels like (and no I’m not referring to feeling like your about to combust, I’m talking about feeling like you’ve had sufficient).
Methods I’ve tried:

I’ve tried pretty much everything!

Consistency is my issue.

I’ve spent many years in the gym realising I don’t actually like this. I like the feeling after and feeling motivated but it’s quick and easy to go back to old habits. Actually yes, it’s part discipline and part not having a purpose. I would rather read or write then put myself through pain. And what’s the point I’m not training to be an athlete nor am I about to be on the front cover of Vogue… so what’s the point in putting myself through this torture?
Slimming Pills:

Yes. I got super slim off them, I was also early twenties and didn’t know they were basically speed! My hair fell out, I kept getting bites that were quick to get infected. I was cold not matter how hot it was and I was constantly in a fowl mood (the model agencies loved it!)

As soon as I stopped my course, the hunger came back with vengeance! I abused McDonalds and just could not get enough. My body literally took over my will. It was then I realised it was all good and well losing the weight, but not I realised I had to keep it off!

untitled.png

 

That pose! Eek! 😣

Trying to keep up an unrealistic lifestyle:

I was surrounded by Personal Trainers and Models all giving me extreme weight loss advice. I began a cycle of rebelling and bingeing, then punishing myself at the gym. Only now do I realise I had/have bulimic tendencies. I wasn’t throwing up so I didn’t see it like that. The more I was ordered to loose weight from agencies the more I got scared and ate more. I should have realised then my heart wasn’t really in it.

I normalised these extreme lifestyles and berated myself if I couldn’t keep up. May I add a lot of these people (not all) had some kind of ‘help’ in the form of slimming pills, detox teas, fat burners or in some extreme cases steroids.

This lifestyle was not for me. I might have been a lot slimmer but I was miserable.

Quick Fixes:

Ok so no pills.

But I can drink warm water, cayenne pepper, maple syrup and lemon instead of food right?

Wrong. You’re supposed to do this for a few weeks, I got to two days. It was awful! And at the end just lost water instead of fat, and was more hungry than I’ve ever been so started eating twice as much as before.

I hear baby food works?

Tried it. Apart from it being gross, it has no nutritional value. I’ve recently learnt if you don’t give your body what it wants it keeps sending the hunger pangs until you do. That’s why even though you feel full after a whole day of carbs your appetite will increase because A) You’re eating more to compensate and more eating will lead to eating more and B) Your not helping your body so it starts nagging. If you want your body to help you, you have to help it.

A few of my friends have tried detox teas and pills that make you drain out the fat when you go to the loo (eww). I was always too scared and yes they had some public accidents… so I really REALLY don’t recommend this!

Psychology books:

I liked this as it got to the root cause of my erratic eating patterns. I also think there’s an underlining belief women shouldn’t have a healthy appetite. I know there’s a lot of men who like but I’ve had experiences where some men have made comments, that I think were used to shame me.

‘Mind your fingers’

‘You’re not still hungry are you?’

‘Gosh you like you’re food don’t you’

‘Are you really getting more food’

‘You don’t have discipline’

‘That’s a lot of food you have on your plate’

I will eat however I bloody well like, and it’s not for you to make comments!

One of the books suggested really listening to your body to see when it’s full and to stop there even if you haven’t finished your food. I HATE seeing food to go to waste! As a kid I didn’t care, I left what I didn’t want…wish I could do that now. Think that comes from too many years of being guilt tripped about all the starving children there are in the world. That’s quite a lot to put on a child. I wish I could go back to my natural hunger thermostat.

pexels-photo-139681.jpg

The Solution:

I’ve come to realise it’s not all my fault. I’m not giving myself a get out of jail free card I admit my motivation and discipline could be worked on. Lets concentrate on what we can do.

Over the next year I will be experimenting from a more self compassionate approach and see how this works. This isn’t to say I’m going to be over lenient with myself I will still have boundaries (with myself), I’ve tried being hard on myself and all it does is demotivate me and makes me reach for the chips!

Sleep:

I’m going to start with the basics. I haven’t got a work routine at the moment so I have to make one for myself. I need to get to know myself properly and what works for me, and what changes I need to make. For example, I only watch what I eat when I’m exercising otherwise what’s the point (needs changing).

Sleep is so important. We can survive days/weeks without food, but sleep more than two night and we start going mad. Even that’s a stretch!

Exercise increases our energy levels. But the first hurdle into exercising when your already burn out is exhausting and I think tough on the body. So how do we get new energy to exercise? More sleep.

I’m guilty of this electronics keeping me awake, my stupid phone beeping to tell me I’ve got a new junk email or what the weather is going to be tomorrow. Turn it all off. I know it’s boring and tempting to what more episode, (I’m not denying that you need some winding down time after work or school).

Make sure you got to bed at a certain time each night. This takes practise, even if your are going to bed most nights on time, that is good enough. I understand this is especially difficult with kids.

I’ve come to realise anything you put before your mental and physical health you ultimately lose. For example, putting work before your health can make you sick. You get sick you cannot work.

If your anything like me, my mind is constantly racing and my body is constantly exhausted relying on caffeine to get me through the next hour. This is not uncommon for Londoners.

pexels-photo-914910

 

So this will be my first step is to sort out my sleep.

Tools:

I’m not a big fan of cooking, but I’m easily infuriated by the food prices in London. How is a Sandwich close to £5. It’s ridiculous!

List:

  • Grill Pan …. I bought this as you can through on some salmon or meat with some vegetables. It’s quick and easy especially if you want a nutritious healthy meal that’s quick!
  • Frylight ….This is 1 kcal per spray. I love Olive Oil and it’s somewhat healthy for you, but just in the beginning it’s best to start with something lighter.
  • Tupperware….You’re going to need a lot of these. I suggest 1 set of different sizes, and a few set’s of the same size. Preferably one’s you can carry around with you.
  • Trainers … I used to run a lot and ended up getting Shin Splints if you want to know what they are click here. It’s really painful and are normally caused by ill fitting or old trainers. I recently started getting pain at the side of my legs and when I went to buy some new trainers in ‘Lilywhites’ they had a device where you stepped onto it and it told you where you put the most pressure on your feet and presented me with the perfect trainer to solve the problem. My foot arch is really high so I over compensate by putting all the weight on the outside of the foot causing a ripping pain on the outside of the leg.

That’s about it really.

Next step is to find out what you enjoy. This will give you a taste for exercise in an enjoyable way. The subconscious is programmed to want more of things so as soon as you get those endorphins going the brain will want more. And you start seeing results, the brain will want more.

I like walking so I’m going to try and incorporate that more. I also use a website called ‘Borrow my doggy’ where you can borrow an owners dog in your area to take out for a while. I fell in loves with Alaska, she’s a 3 year old Siberian Husky !

thumbnail_20180507_171940[1].jpg

 

I check my phone after and I’ve normally done about 20,000 and not even noticed!

I’ve always wanted to try dance, so I’m going to give that a go. Also if you like running maybe you could do it with a friend. Or even swimming? Anything to get you interested again.

If you suffer with depression I know exercise is the equivalent to an anti-depressant but depression itself is starting to be recognised as a physical illness. It drains your body of energy and makes you feel like your being dragged down constantly.

Don’t feel bad if you can only do a small amount, this isn’t suggested because your not capable. It’s suggested because like anyone with a chronic illness it’s a sometimes a little bit more difficult, and it’s not fair as your not always starting at the same place in the race as everyone else. Trust me I should know.

Sometimes I see if anyone’s around to go for a walk with. Or I walk and treat myself at the end with a coffee. Because even though it seems like a small step, the way your body is, it would probably equal to someone who isn’t suffering with depression going on a 30 minute run! There’s actually I great app I sometimes use that builds up your fitness over time. You actually start with mainly walking! It’s called ‘Running for weight loss’ and because it’s interval training it builds up your fitness gradually, which is actually the key for consistency.

Being Realistic:

I’m never going to have the body of Pussy Cat Doll because I don’t have a Nutritionist, Personal Trainer on hand as well as probably doing 10 hours of dancing a day. I’m always going to be curvy and have soft parts. There’s a saying that goes …. ‘I wish I could be fat like I was at 25’. This is so true! I’ve always seen myself as over weight even when I was actually clinically underweight. And this is because you really can’t have an objective view of yourself as you see your body in your minds eye.

For example, if I always see myself as over weight, my brain will think that’s my natural state. So it will self sabotage to ensure that internal image is matched with reality. That’s why it’s really important to recognise and celebrate your progress. Taking photo’s helps.

Just a note: Don’t be too discouraged by the first picture that comes out. Remember weight in transient. Granted we all have different genes, lifestyles, metabolisms etc… but things like appetite, health and weight are adaptable. Weight should have no attachment to your sense of self… easy to say I know. But it shouldn’t. Also remember not all of this is your fault there are many factors that contribute to your weight stress and life events, bad quality food that’s too easily available, marketing ploys to play on your hunger, energy levels, criticism from the external etc….

Also if you look at any ‘diet’ it comes down to the same.

Healthy Eating + Exercise = Weight Loss.

I will obviously document my progress through out with photographs and evidence. I’m going to give myself a year because I think that’s how long it takes to make something a lifestyle choice. Some people may do it in a shorter time, and after a month it does become a habit but a real consistent lifestyle, for me, take around a year.

This blog also gives me a purpose to keep motivated. As I know how horrible it is to hate your body and feel trapped in this cycle of always being starving followed by guilt and shame. Something’s got to give!

I hope you can take away some tips and motivation from my posts.

Here we go!

pexels-photo-214574

Warmest Regards

20180704_001558.jpg