What’s up friends! I hope your weeks have been going well. It’s the last Tuesday of September, where in the world did this month go? My September’s been strange; first my state was on fire, which I mentioned in my Happy Talk with Dominique two weeks ago. Then I traveled in the middle of the month and experienced some serious jet lag. I’ve also been going through some crazy life changes, so things have been up and down. Life’s good overall though, and I’m excited for October to bring lots of wonderful experiences.
This week’s Happy Talk is with Rachel from Creativity and Positivity. She’s an Ireland-based university student who blogs about just about anything you can think of. Hope you all enjoy!
1) What has your mental health journey been like for you so far? You can tell us as much or as little as you like.
My mental health has always been up and down. It started when I was still very young, around 11 or so. I endured quite bad bullying in primary school, and continuing into high school until I was about 13/14. I also got into a lot of “relationships” with boys, and one in particular grew into something quite serious but toxic. My then-boyfriend was, to varying degrees, emotionally and mentally abusive, and that completely debilitated my self-esteem and led me to self-harm and suicidal impulses. My mother never really took my MH seriously and put it down to hormones, and it wasn’t until I was much older that I plucked up the courage to be open and honest about it.
To this day my MH still isn’t perfect. I have great days and awful days. But I’m very conscious of how privileged my environment is compared to others. I throw myself into academics and hobbies to forget about it. I have a wonderful boyfriend and supportive group of friends around me. I have a great job and I’m constantly surrounded by love, and reminders that I’m not going though it alone. Sometimes it’s not enough and sometimes it means everything to me. Right now my MH has been in a serious low, which is why I wanted to get involved with Happy Talks. We all need to be reminded of the positives in our lives even when the negative is getting all too much.
2) How do you keep yourself content day-to-day?
3) Looking back at times you’ve struggled, what would you tell your past self to help them out?
Don’t push people away and shut them out. Be honest and open about how you feel and you will truly feel so much better. Even now I’m still prone to retreating inside my shell, but then I remind myself of the good people in my life that are willing to help me. Building a support system of family and friends is the best thing you can do.
4) What are the things that make you happy, how do you pursue them, and what would you tell others who are trying to pursue what makes them happy?
5) How do you take care of yourself when you’re feeling down?
I can wallow for a good few days before I start taking care of myself properly, and that’s okay! I count every small victory as an achievement when I feel down, even if it’s something as basic as brushing my teeth or changing my clothes after slogging around in my PJs for four days straight.
6) How has blogging contributed to your happiness?
7) What inspires you, both for blogging and in your personal life?
This is going to sound really big-headed, but I try to inspire myself as much as possible. I like to look back on where I was six months ago, a year ago and beyond and I pinpoint what’s changed and how I’ve grown. It’s important to grow from your experiences and become your own role model, the only person who can make important changes in your life is yourself! But the blogosphere has contributed massively in helping to boost my self-worth and happiness over the last two months. There are so many inspired and talented writers out there that use their voices and platforms to uplift and inspire others. That’s what I would love to do one day.
8) How have your friends and family supported your mental health journey? What helped and what did not?
This is a tricky one, my family are supportive in their own weird ways. For my dad and I, it’s almost silent communication, we always joke that we’re in sync with each other. He knows when I’m feeling low and a bad mental health episode is coming on, and he’ll do his best to help ease the stress, be it through food and chocolate, to the odd hug (my dad has never been big on open communication, but I’ve never held it against him)! My mum is a different story. She’s a mental health nurse so she always thought she knew best when it came to how I was feeling, but it wasn’t until our family friend committed suicide that she started to take how I felt seriously. It’s sad that something so tragic brought us together, but now we communicate as we can when things are tough.
My brother is my best friend, so I tell him everything. From a young age, I was open with him because I never wanted him to feel as isolated as I did growing up. He knows he can tell me everything. As I’ve gotten older and my friendship circle has grown, I’ve found more support now than I had when I was younger. I know at first my friends didn’t know how to deal with my worst days and really terrifying episodes, I put them through a lot and took them for granted. But now we’re all as open as possible with each other. We’re growing up and we have to deal with these issues like adults and I appreciate that.
9) What are your goals for the future, both for yourself and your blog? How do you go about achieving those goals?
I want to graduate with the highest possible accolade at the end of next summer, so I’m putting all of my energy into studying. Above everything else, I just want to keep happy and continue to build on the person I am right now. Every day makes a difference. As for my blog, I want to keep creating content that makes me happy, I have a lot of ideas and right now I’m very pleased with the direction I’m going in!
10) What makes you feel most alive?
I highly recommend checking out Rachel’s social media if you want to see more from her! Here are her links: