Happy Talks

Happy Talks #17: A Cup Of Wonderland

It’s the first week of December!  I’m so excited about it.  This marks the beginning of the end of my favorite part of the year; there’s something so joyful about the last three months.  January-March tends to be my least favorite part, so I’m going to savor these days while they’re still here and prepare to make the first three months of 2018 as great as I can knowing that I normally don’t enjoy them.

On to this week’s Happy Talk!  Today I’m talkin’ with Hannah from A Cup of Wonderland.  Her blog is mainly about books, but it’s also sprinkled with a little bit of everything from personal experiences, media, books and more.  She has such a powerful mental health journey and I respect her so much for it.  Let’s see what she has to say…

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.

I think the only way I can describe my mental health is that it certainly been a journey with many ups and downs to it, but at the moment it’s kinda good.  I’m lucky ’cause I have a huge support network.

When I was around 12/13 I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression, by the time I was 14/15 I’d already attempted suicide twice.  Once I finished senior year it had been commented on by doctors that I may have OCD as well. I’m 19 now though and I survived.  I’m still trying to survive; earlier in the year I had a complete mental breakdown and to be honest I think it was kind of a good thing. It made me really confront my mental health in a way that I hadn’t been able to before at all and it helped steady me in a way.

Now, I’m good; my parents are hugely supportive, my university provides excellent support and all my friends have been really understanding. I used to feel ashamed by my mental health and I kept quiet about a lot, but recently I’ve come to the conclusion I don’t have to be and being open about it actually helps a huge deal.

2) How do you keep yourself content day-to-day?

I tend to keep myself content by mixing things up each and every day but trying to maintain some consistency. I just started back at my university so I travel a lot, so I make sure that there’s a little bit of time for me to breathe and listen to a podcast or two and just relax. I like to keep on top of things but also like to do stuff that I enjoy.  I think I’ve kinda been able to manage that and maintain a balance.  I mainly binge watch a lot of series on Netflix and write, which keeps me content and steady.

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3) Looking back at times you’ve struggled, what would you tell your past self to help them out?

Talk, just talk to someone because if you don’t you’ll drive yourself mad. Talk to mum or granddad or Jen or Becca, just for god’s sake talk to someone.  When everything starts getting bad again and when those thoughts start appearing again, don’t be scared that they’ll think you’re a loon ’cause they love you. You have nothing to be ashamed of at all.

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?

I like to think I am a positive person when I’m good, though when I’m feeling bad not so much. So really what makes me happy is my family, my dogs especially, and just being able to switch off, recharge and binge-watch one of my favourite TV shows just to bring me up.

I think for anyone who is trying to pursue what makes them happy all I can really say is just do it and don’t think. Just do what you can and know that whatever works for you is good.

5) How do you take care of yourself when you’re feeling down?

When I’m down, I’m really down. Sometimes just being alone and being able to listen to something, watch some TV (in case you haven’t guessed, TV helps me a lot) or read that generally helps, escaping my own mind for a little while tends to help. It’s a good thing; and making copious amounts of cups of tea, lots of tea.

6) How has blogging contributed to your happiness?

After my breakdown that’s when I decided to open my blog.  I wasn’t happy with my Youtube channel anymore and hadn’t been for a long time so it was a huge boost. I remember before my mental health went bad I used to love writing and blogging on my MSN blog but hadn’t done it in years.

Blogging has kept me going and allowed me to express myself so much when I’ve felt that in life I haven’t been able to.  It’s also allowed me to sort of continue on from what my Youtube was all about and continue talking about my love of books.

7) What inspires you, both for blogging and in your personal life?

Everything and anything really, from my friends and family to a podcast or someone else’s blog or perhaps a book, a tv show, or just seeing something in the street.

8) How have your friends and family supported your mental health journey?  What helped and what did not?

When I was officially diagnosed my mum especially was really supportive as were my friends.  They helped me work through what I was thinking and feeling. Over time my dad has also come around and is one of the most supportive guys I know, even if he still points out it’s all in my head. Still, he helps.

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They all let me have a place where I can speak aloud everything I’m feeling without judgement and let me do what’s right for me even if they don’t entirely agree with it. My parents have supported me so much and have allowed me to have a safe and secure place where it’s okay that I’m not entirely okay, and there is no pressure for me to be okay.

9) What are your goals for the future, both for yourself and your blog?  How do you go about achieving those goals?

I’m currently studying for a bachelor’s degree in english literature and one of my goals is to achieve a 2:1 in that degree.  I think that as long as I work hard, meet tutors and proofread then I will be able to achieve goals and not get stressed.

Hopefully for my blog I would love to reach 100 follows as a short term goal and work on a big blog tour with a publisher as a long term goal? For through really I just want to continue being passionate about my studies and my blog and keep honest and true to me.

10) What makes you feel most alive?

Being with my friends and having an adventure. Whether it’s going somewhere new for lunch or going to see a new film or driving aimlessly around the countryside, when I’m doing something and having fun that’s what makes me feel most alive.

Thanks so much for talking with me, Hannah!  If you want to see more from her, check out her social media:

Blog: A Cup Of Wonderland
Twitter: @CupOfWonderland
Instagram: @A_Cup_Of_Wonderland

‘Till next time,
Shannon

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