Mental Health & It’s Double Standards Rant

What is mental health? – Mental health refers to our cognitive, behavioural, and emotional well being. It’s about how we think, feel and behave.

Mental health is frequently seen as something an individual can control and if you can’t, you are simply labelled crazy. In this article, I will tell of personal experiences I’ve seen or been through and describe the never-ending double standards behind them.

Believe it or not, mental health disorders are a problem that affects millions of people every single day. Even though this is a given fact still so many people dismiss how problematic it is. The seriousness surrounding mental health is always a questionable topic for me, as I believe sometimes many people are more concerned about the positiveness that comes with promoting it instead of the trauma it creates.

Oh, trust me there’s no problem in advocating for mental health at all but, all I say is practice what you preach. Promoting mental health is one thing but, making sure you don’t turn a blind eye to one of your close family members or friends is another.

In this generation, many young people have been introduced to social media as young as 10. It’s funny because at the tender age of 11-12 social media wasn’t a “thing”. Yeah, I mean we had Facebook if you want to count that. Nevertheless, we weren’t hooked to our phones like robots. I was more interested in snakes and ladders on my small Nokia phone. However, in today’s world, I feel like I’ve seen the good and bad side to social media and I’m sure we all have.

Take Instagram Influencers or celebrities as an example. What are they actually influencing? I just see many of them promoting products that can add to young women’s mental health. I’ve seen many promote flat tummy tea and in the same breath, they’ll still preach about mental health. Even though they are adding to it. Take a moment and think, a tea that gives you a flat tummy? Total nonsense, right? But so many young girls will look at that and believe it. They’ll purchase the product which is probably costing them more than required and use it to see that it doesn’t give you a flat tummy at all.

I use this as an example because as a young girl, you are still growing, still experiencing and getting to know you and your body. Influencers that willingly take on a product to promote just for the sake of money is the disgusting result of young girls having body image issues, and sadly may be the end result in them having mental health disorders.


Have you ever felt so down that you decided to turn to a friend? Or even a family member?

A while ago I specifically remember having to explain my sudden disappearance to a guy I was speaking to. I simply said “I have been going through a lot” and I was. As many of you might not know, I do have times of deep sadness that I can’t get out of as quickly as I wish. This means I may go M.I.A for a while without giving people the “notice” they want. Yes, maybe I should have told him, right? However, in response quoted he said “Are u gonna fix up and start communicating or not”

At this point, it was like a bulb went off in my head. This has happened to me countless times where I’ve expressed my feels to someone and they think it’s a “communication issue”. I said to myself repeatedly “this is why people can’t express how they are feeling” it’s taken as a pinch of salt. People that don’t suffer from mental health or people that just don’t understand it, can’t seem to see the deeper issue.

At this moment, forget it was me he was talking to. Say it was one of his close friends and they said the exact same thing I said. The response may be different or might not be and that’s what bothers me. As a human being, you shouldn’t feel you have to pick and choose who is in need of comfort. Granted I may be nothing to you but what does that matter when I bleed the same way you bleed and I get the same emotions you do.

It is important for young people and older to be educated on mental health. In the long run, I hope they will teach them through schooling and onwards. Speaking about two very different topics has helped me release some of my frustrations when it comes to mental health. Having a better understanding of mental health will help you, help other people in times of need and I hope you can find the help you need to, through talking about your problems to someone you can rely and count on.

If you are reading this article and ever need someone to talk to don’t hesitate to message me.

Always remember your mental health is never overlooked. Well around here it isn’t, PERIODTT.

Links:

Mental Health Hotlines

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Kelly Brook Voices for More Body Diversity on Love Island 2019

I repeat we need more body diversity! Do you hear me Love Island?!

Who made the rule of having the perfect body anyways?!

Love Island has come under fire since 2018 for having a severe lack of body diversity on their show. It becomes a bigger problem as the supporting ad’s promoting the show on breaks are filled with a false and fake ideology of beauty. It insinuates the use of cosmetic surgery and weight loss advice. This kind of deliverance could be exploiting young women and men’s insecurities. People on social media directly voiced their opinions and I mean can you blame them? I would too!

One person said “do the casting directors for love island realise that showing some people with slightly smaller six packs than the others doesn’t count as body diversity”

Tweet by @elliciaroxanne

This was followed by an array of mixed opinions from other Twitter users and tabloids. But let’s be honest I speak for all of us when I say we need more body diversity representation. Am I right or Am I right?!

Nevertheless, people are still hopeful for Love Island 2019 with one saying “I hope @LoveIsland this year, has more diversity, more body shapes, different ethnicities and different ages.”

Tweet by @amina_jatta

This shows that many Love Island viewers acknowledge more than body diversity missing on the show. It’s a deeper issue that if not resolved can spark a lot of mental health problems from all backgrounds that don’t feel represented on a show. So, we will keep our fingers crossed down the line as I’m so tired of seeing the same old six pack and what people consider the “perfect body”. Can I get an Amen?!

It comes most recently that Kelly Brook a proud advocate for the talk around body diversity came to the forefront exclaiming her eagerness to see extra styles and sizes on the coming series.

Kelly Brook leaving Global Studios in London

Kelly speaking to the Metro said this That would be really good actually, I’d love to see different styles and sizes on Love Island”

She went on to say “I know they’ve gone for this stunning, idyllic very best of what younger individuals ought to appear like. I feel there are many stunning individuals in all styles and sizes so it would be nice for them to possibly have some different body shapes on there for positive.”

“I used to watch Blind Date with Cilla Black and some of the most entertaining characters were the crazier looking ones. You can have different kind of people, it’s leisure!”

I for one stand behind Sister Kelly (wow James Charles moment) in saying it would be refreshing to see a new line of body shapes and ethnicities. I mean what’s the harm in doing so?

However just two days ago, the new Love Island 2019 cast was revealed and as predicted by viewers there seemed to be no change.

Despite that, word on the street is they will be bringing in a new contestant somewhere during the series that is plus size. So let’s keep our hopes up as we will have to see if producers have been listening to what the audience wants or not at all.

Come on Love Island let’s turn this show around and have the ability to uplift young people!

Last note but very important note: I would be your front line cheerleader for this! Just saying…

For Homeless Women Periods Are Overlooked

Since 2015 many women have brought up the ongoing case regarding homeless women living on the streets without available access to sanitary products. Women have showcased this by writing blogs and actively getting out there to support this problem. Since then Campaigns like The Homeless Period and Period Poverty and other major organisations have been taking a full charge in making changes to the system by offering free access to sanitary products. They’ve even gone as far as contacting the Government and Parliament to make these changes in many homeless shelters as such things like condoms are accessible throughout the UK.

Even though these changes are taking place, still many women living on the street don’t know about this as the information hasn’t been passed on accordingly. If all of us this International Women’s Day was to bring awareness to this cause by sharing the information around it would make our voices heard.

Periods have always been a part of human nature. However, so many people in this society still avoid awkwardness when having to talk about them. When you decided to bring up a discussion surrounding periods and the ordeals us women all go through the response is normally “You’re PMSing, get over it”. This mostly comes from males which is understandable, as it’s very hard to imagine five hundred horses trampling on your belly at once. That sounded like an exaggeration, right? Well, trust me that’s exactly what it feels like.

No woman looks forward to their period. It can start unexpectedly, and you can find yourself scrambling through your bag hoping to find one tampon or pad so that you wouldn’t have to deal with the humiliation of having to ask someone. But for a woman living on the street, you don’t have the choice to ask or to think “I’ll get one on my break”. Women on the street don’t physically have the money to afford sanitary products, meaning they have gone to great lengths to create ones with toilet roll, socks, newspaper, you name it. This doesn’t just cause discomfort but can lead to infection and serious health problems.

Sanitary products have always been classified as a “luxury” product and are taxed at 5%, but how could it be considered luxury when it’s part of a monthly blood flowing cycle that we have no control over? Even working-class people that get daily income have trouble purchasing sanitary products because of the huge expense. So how can you expect someone living on the street to be able to obtain something so scarce? Most people have opted for free sanitary products as schoolgirls are even being charged within school premises for £80p a pad. This degrades the seriousness surrounding the menstrual cycle as a whole.

Women that live on the street have trouble finding shelter and food, so it’s very unlikely that they will be able to afford sanitary towels and tampons. There are many homeless shelters that now supply sanitary products but because of the circumstance’s women get too embarrassed to ask, especially if the member of staff working behind the desk is male. We still need to focus on the atmosphere surrounding this intimate product as we are bringing in vulnerable women.

There is no doubt that through the years there have been huge amounts of improvement when tackling something so stigmatised by society. However, it’s clear that this is still an ongoing issue. One in ten rough sleepers are women and some are hidden so there’s no telling how many there actually are.

Women that live on the street are at more risk of being verbally and physically attacked, needless to say, women having to worry about sanitary products should be the last resort. Period products aren’t a luxury, they’re a necessity and should be available no matter where you are or where you come from. Menstruators and Non-Menstruators can make a difference by empowering young women all around the world. Period.

The Significance of The Sophie Lancaster Case.

Sophie Lancaster was murdered 11th August 2017 by a number of teenage boys while walking through Stubbylee Park in Lancashire. This resulted in Sophie going into a coma which was sustained from severe head injuries. At the time Sophie was with her boyfriend Robert Maltby who was also attacked however he survived but sadly because Sophie’s injuries were so severe, she died thirteen days later.

It was revealed later on that the couple was subjected to this attack because of their Gothic subculture and how they expressed themselves within the fashion scene.

The news of this attack caused a huge media storm and was discussed continuously until this day. This case bought to light the acts of discrimination and hate crimes especially with it being such a taboo back in 2007.


Sophie & her boyfriend Robert Maltby.

“I’m sorry for being me”

When I was in school it was hard for me to fit in and as much as I tried I couldn’t. I wanted acceptance and didn’t understand why I wasn’t getting it. That was until I heard about the Sophie Lancaster case for the first time. I have known about this case for a long time and every time I see or hear about it all the emotions come back to me. It hits me hard because Sophie Lancaster is not just a name to me, her name speaks volumes.

Till this day many people still find it hard to be themselves especially because of the extensive use of social media and the hateful things people say. There’s such a fixated way to look which in result causes pressure on young people to be something they aren’t. This can take a toll on the most vulnerable resulting in several people every year taking their lives as young as 10.

Sophie was my savoir. I say this because even though I never knew her, her bravery shown through every picture she smiled in, every time she walked through that door and got verbally abused, she still held her head high.

I heard the little voice in my head say..“I want to be like her”

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Getting to know the case more I got to know her more. When reading about the attack alone they first started assaulting her boyfriend Robert Maltby and to protect him Sophie was shielding him from the beating which then resulted in her getting severely beaten.


Sophie after the attack. Pictured in her hospital bed.

I wanted to show this picture because till this day I still can’t believe the hatred people have in their hearts to do such a thing. She is unrecognisable to the previous smiling photos. Bruised, swollen with tubes in her mouth and nose. This was an unprovoked attack that never should have happened.

What’s most heartbreaking is the undying love she had for her boyfriend till the very end. She could have backed away, she could have made the decision to save herself but she didn’t because it was never an option to leave someone she loved behind. Whereas the attackers made a decision with the intention to cause pain and hurt, knowing the consequences and having the choice to stop.

This shows us the importance of this case.

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In this society today, we now have more access to social media, as it’s been pushed to the forefront for young people. Many young people that are mostly on their phones nowadays haven’t been taught about individuality and having your own uniqueness which can cause a divide when coming across someone who is different.

Since the start of 2018, I can already say the names of people that have taken their life because of the hate and judgement they have received with being online. The work that The Sophie Lancaster Foundation is doing is most significant now than any other. Sylvia Lancaster (Sophie’s Mum) does talks around schools and youth groups focusing on the importance of respecting others from different subcultures and understanding it within the community. The legacy that is being built for Sophie will forever be cherished by the people who are seen as different and resonate with everyone to hopefully change the lives of many.

“Never say sorry for being you”


Sylvia Lancaster revisiting Sophie’s old school to launch new novel “Hate”.

Links:

The Sophie Lancaster website

Murdered for Being Different documentary

S.O.P.H.I.E. on Twitter

S.O.P.H.I.E. on Facebook

Just One Dance? He Said.

By no means did this poem have any certain direction when being written. So I ask for you to have your own interpretation of it. Let it be your own judgement by the way it makes you feel , mentally and physically. Thank you.

Just one dance? he said.

I glow happily at a stag dance

I must strengthen my body to dance with all

Unfortunately, I mean all my prayers to the fellows and girls who can’t dance, that they learn some place besides a crowded ballroom floor

A dancing one, please!

Begin all with purpose, press back my shoulders and hold up my head

If you get stuck, don’t think you have to go on dancing, know when to stop

To refuse to dance you must love what is noble

On the blind date I must bite my food slowly and tidy my mind whilst I breathe through my nose

If he is intoxicated or unbearable, never shout like a demon or act like a bear

I must lay and not fidget when going to bed

I want to be happy

I indefinitely scrub all I know I had with him on the night before.

I Am Not Bouji – I Just Have Anxiety

What does the term bouji mean? A female that is high class and has a snobbish mannerism. 

Interpretation? 

“She doesn’t speak to anyone, she thinks she’s better than everybody else.” – Funny, right?

This is my anxiety. There are many branches of anxiety I deal with on a day to day basis but nothing beats my social anxiety. People assume because you don’t speak to anyone you’re probably bouji? A loner, quiet or anti-social. In all reality I’m none of those things. I am friendly, open minded, welcoming and kindhearted. I know myself so well that I have to prove I’m all these things to other people. I ask myself, why? Even without speaking I’m getting judged. 

Imagine being scared to talk to people just to say a small “hello”, my heart starts beating rapidly and my mind is answering my questions for me without even opening my mouth. Before I know it the person that was talking to me disappears. 

Watching people around me talking about their mutual friends and having laughs here and there actually make me feel uncomfortable like, why can’t I have that? I have so much I want to get off my chest but yet I can’t seem to. Something is pulling me back and sometimes I don’t want to even blame it on my anxiety. I just want to say “That’s my character” but I know it’s not. 

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What is my motivation? – Being the best person, I can be, anxiety or not I’m still going to strive. 

I accept my anxiety. I accept all those lonely days. I accept my social anxiety. I accept my awkwardness. But you know what I accept the most? The good things about having anxiety. 

The earphones that swallow me with music to keep me distracted from what’s around me. The little snacks I nibble on to draw attention to something other than myself. The long/short walks I have just to pass by time. The emotional moments that teach me more about myself. 

The trips to the bathroom to calm myself down and to say “Don’t worry” is the most powerful thing about having anxiety, for better or for worse my anxiety is a love and a curse. 

I love and I hate it but every day it’s a huge challenge and every day I feel stronger. 

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I guess what I’m trying to summarise here is: ​

  • Trust what you know. Even if you do the same things you do every day, it’s taking that step. I know that step can feel like you’re getting thrown into a huge hole but trust and believe it’s not only you suffering. 
  • Everyone suffers from anxiety once in their life, just some suffer from it more but no matter the degree everyone should be able to receive that comfort. ​
  • And a note to myself – No, I am not bouji. I am just comfortable within my anxiety.

Who is Angela Davis & Dorothy Dandridge ?

“I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept…” – Angela Y. Davis. When people think about role models I never hear anyone say, Angela Davis. It is almost like her voice is always something whispered or blown into the wind. I did not find out about Angela through any of my family members it was through my own research and interest that I came across her.

My teacher asked “Who in this class knows Rosa parks?” several people out of 20 students put their hand up then she proceeded to another question “Who knows Angela Davis?” I kid you not 5 students including me put their hand up. Maybe I was surprised more than others because this woman was us once upon a time. Angela was a normal teen who grew up with experiences such as discrimination that developed her into who she is today. Those experiences enabled her to indicate a problem that was excessively happening from when she was a child to an adult.

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As the New Year rolls in (2018), young girls especially still have their role models being social media based. When you think about it realistically Angela, who was born in 1944 had no social source to feed her views other than her voice. Her voice created such change that in this generation women, in general, get to have that voice. What I like most about Angela is that she has no filter, not in the sense that she’s vulgar with her words or disrespectful, but instead when she speaks about certain unspoken topics she overcomes you with her realness.

As people say there are consequences to everything, however, I can guarantee you Angela never even knew where the word consequence fitted when it came to her speeches. In this generation, I wish there were more women like Angela that young girls could look up to. It feels like this generation is based off physical appearance and who has the highest ranking when in actual fact we all have our beliefs and truths that we should share with the world instead of putting our voices to waste.

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In coordination with Angela Davis, I found out about Dorothy Dandridge. Dorothy was born before Angela but had quite the same similarities as her. Some people would say Angela was way more successful as she made multiple changes as for Dorothy most people only know her for being the first black women nominated for an Academy award and not winning. However, Dorothy made multiple changes that people wouldn’t know about unless they really looked in depth of her career. I believe life isn’t about always winning and making that change to society, it’s about being that winner within yourself without having to receive a trophy or award to prove that change.

I watched the Dorothy Dandridge film starring Halle Berry multiple times and I love the way she was portrayed. Dorothy was showcased being a strong black woman trying to break out into the entertainment industry has to deal with all sorts of prejudice and discrimination. I could happily say that she is my hero, she knew what she wanted and she didn’t care about if she didn’t fit the criteria she would keep trying until she would get that yes. If I could describe her I would say that Dorothy was very confident, she knew her looks were unmissable but that didn’t stop her from getting the most undesirable parts that other people would skip over.

Dorothy has influenced me to fight for what I love and what I believe in. I may not get the results I hope for but it will always make a difference no matter how small that difference is. In conclusion, Dorothy was someone that always fought her way to the top, I just wished she would have received the same recognition as other entertainers at that but sadly the colour of her skin stunted the growth of her career and fame.