Common houseplants on my wishlist. 🌿🌱⚘🌵

Since the weather has been so bad near me (including storm Dennis and Ciara) I have been getting frustrated because I haven’t been able to get into my garden as gardening is my therapy and helps me to relax and I love putting flowers out there to help the wildlife especially the pollinators.

I have been thinking about putting house plants in my bedroom for a while now, I have some spotted around the house that I have given my mum over the years however, due to the bad weather I decided to go for it make a decision I’m starting my collection.

I started with a peace lily because I had a peace lily in my old house and I love them very much.

Far left is peace lily.

I was given a beautiful cactus that flowers if I take care of it from my nana and the plant terranium from my brother for my birthday and the rest I’ve picked up cheaply from my local supermarket where my mum works.

My collection is coming along well.

My windowsill looks amazing but of course I want more!!

I have a house plant wishlist!

My bedroom goals are:

I think I definitely need to make more room though first! 😂😂🙈🙈

Another disappointing gynecology appointment: being recommended temporary menopause injections at aged 27- a life with Endometriosis.

This Monday I went to see the gynecologist again about my endometriosis.

I had an emergency appointment as I was given the contraceptive pill and told to take it for 3-months without a break then have a break and therefore a period, however during his 3 months I started bleeding and the bleeding has carried on for an entire month and the pain has been excruciating.

During this appointment I was hoping my options would be discussed with me however I felt very dismissed and I was recommended an option that was very overwhelming and stressful for me.

I have had heavy periods from a very young age so I have been prescribed a variety of different contraceptives which have never agreed with my body I have tried various contraceptive pills, the injection, the copper coil, basically everything bar injection you have in your upper arm that last for 3 years and the mirena coil.

Everytime I go to see the gynecologist I end up having a different one and it seems to me that they are not reading into my conditions fully and they are just reading from a list as what treatments to give me, I have never once been asked what I would like from the treatment or what I need help with. When I asked for help with the pain and disclosed that this was my main issue I felt undermined and I felt no empathy from them as they recommended for me to take over the counter paracetamol and ibuprofen which I thought was a joke as being 27 and having this condition for a long time they should know I’ve already tried this and it doesn’t work which is why I am on a high dose of Zapain and naproxen.

I am upset after Monday’s appointment because I was recommended a injection which will bring on an early menopause for up to 6 months and this will essentially stop the production of oestrogen in my body and stop my periods and help the endometrial tissue heal however, this can actually make my symptoms worse.

This option wasn’t fully explained to me and I had all of 2 minutes to read a leaflet and was forced to agree to take this option as they would give me any other option to try .

They did disclose however, that I may undergo menopausal symptoms and if this happens I may have to go through hormonal treatment which is common for women who undergo the menopause.

As you can imagine this was a lot to take in and I became very overwhelmed and upset. It is by no means an easy option to consider putting your body through an early menopause at 27 years old.

Upon coming home I was going to ask all the women on my endometriosis support groups on Facebook and other social media platforms that I have their opinion on this however, after speaking to one lovely lady on my Instagram and explaining the situation she recommended a viable option for me which I decided to take.

I have decided to refer myself to endometriosis specialist to discuss my options fully and to get the support and help that I need. I don’t care if I have to wait for it but I don’t want my options to be a last resort.

I want somebody to fully look at my medical records, look through my conditions and recommend an option that is best for me and not just an option that is on the NHS list of treatments.

I am now waiting for the referral to go through so fingers crossed it’s all happening relatively soon.

I will keep you updated I’ll check my Instagram for more information.

Until next time,

Much love,

Faye aka Endo warrior.

#endoadvocate

#Endometriosis

#endowarrior

Review on: The Cave.

I watched all of this film/documentary today and I can genuinely say I cried my eyes out, I was absolutely heart broken to see the amount of human suffering, cruelty and the dire consequences shown in this film but at the same time I was totally bedazzled and amazed at how brave, empowered and fearless the hospital staff and these ladies are helping to save thousands of lives in the most unimaginable circumstances.
It is upsetting but I would definitely recommend watching this!
I really wish the conflict would end in Syria! It breaks my heart to see so much human suffering!  #syria
#thecave
#film
#documentary
#shortfilm
#savinglives
#inspiring
#warandconflict
#conflict
#syriaconflict
#oscarnominee
#mustwatch
#heartbreaking

Depression on the bad days.

Sometimes you just don’t want to talk to everyone…. this is life with depression when you are suffering with a bad day.
You are so stuck inside your own head that you don’t want to talk to anybody about it because you don’t want to be a burden and also because you don’t know how to possibly explain how you are feeling.
#mentalhealthisimportant
#mentalhealthwarrior
#mentalhealthsupport
#mentalhealthawareness
#mentalhealthstory
#mentalhealthquotes
#mentalhealthquote
#mentalhealthreminder
#mentalhealthart
#mentalhealthadvocate
#depression
#depressionawareness
#depressionquote
#depressionsupport

Natural hedgerows.

Hedgelaying was once common in the british countryside, with hundreds of thousands of stock-proof boundaries to maintain but over the past century they have been replaced with fences, barbed wire and other man made materials.
However, a well-laid hedge creates a fantastic linear woodland for wildlife and can benefit farmers too. A mature hedge’s root system helps drain soil and offers livestock protection from the elements as well as other ecosystem benefits.
Read more about natural hedgerows using the following links: ➡️https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/habitats/farmland/hedgerow
➡️https://www.suffolkwildlifetrust.org/conservationadvice/woodlands-and-hedgerows/planting-hedgerow-wildlife
➡️http://publications.naturalengland.org.uk/file/4990678488580096
➡️https://www.gov.uk/guidance/countryside-hedgerows-regulation-and-management
➡️https://www.cpre.org.uk/discover/a-natural-history-of-hedgerows/
#naturalhedgerows
#hedgerows
#hedgerow
#countryside
#countrysidepractices
#wildlife
#farmers
#agriculture
#wildlifeconservation
#conservation
#birds
#insects
#supportlocalwildlife
#saveourecosystems

Wildlife successes of 2019!

With all the negative environmental news out there I think it is really important to share the positive environmental news and this also promotes the fantastic work that conservationists have done in 2019!

So here’s a few successes of 2019 to remember and to share with others.

Until next time,

Faye xx

Sea turtles: the sea turtles most at risk. 🐢🐢🌊🌊⚠️⚠️

After reading an interesting article in November’s National geographic (I think it was November’s issue) I decided to do a follow up by writing this post about sea turtles most at risk!

For more than 100 million years sea turtles have covered vast distances across the world’s oceans, filling a vital role in the balance of marine habitats.

Over the last 200 years, human activities have tipped the scales against the survival of these magnificent marine creatures. They have been slaughtered for their eggs, meat, skin, and shells, populations suffer from poaching and over-exploitation, they also face habitat destruction and most recently covered in the media; accidental capture—known as bycatch—in fishing gear.

Climate change also has an impact on turtles and their nesting sites. It alters sand temperatures, which then affects the sex of hatchlings. Nearly all species of sea turtle are now classified as endangered, with three of the seven existing species being critically endangered.

The World Conservation Union (IUCN) has identified five major hazards to sea turtles:

  •  Fisheries: Sea turtles virtually everywhere are affected by fisheries, especially longlines, gill nets, and trawls. The most severe of these impacts are death after entanglement, habitat destruction and food web changes.
    • Direct Take: Sea turtles and their eggs are killed by people throughout the world for food, and for products including oil, leather and shell.
    • Coastal Development: Sea turtle habitats are degraded and destroyed by coastal development. This includes both shoreline and seafloor alterations, such as nesting beach degradation, seafloor dredging, vessel traffic, construction, and alteration of vegetation.
    • Pollution: Plastics, discarded fishing gear, petroleum by-products, and other debris harm and kill sea turtles through ingestion and entanglement. Light pollution disrupts nesting behavior and causes hatchling death by leading them away from the sea. Chemical pollutants can weaken sea turtles’ immune systems, making them susceptible to disease.
    • Climate change: Climate change will increase the frequency of extreme weather events, result in loss of nesting beaches, and cause other alterations to critical sea turtle habitats and basic oceanographic processes. It may impact natural sex ratios of hatchlings and increase the likelihood of disease outbreaks for sea turtles.

Species at risk include:

○Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas).

Green turtles are the ones most frequently found in bycatch or are involved in accidents with vessels. The IUCN classifies this species as “endangered” and it is included in the Habitats Directive, CMS and the Barcelona Convention. However, its state of conservation shows no clear signs of recovery. Dumping into the Mediterranean affects this species directly, but also has an impact on its habitats, food supply and reproduction, and is considered another factor, apart from bycatch, that hinders the recovery of this and other turtle species in Europe.

○Loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta).

Loggerhead sea turtles are currently listed as being threatened with extinction under the Habitat Directive, Barcelona Convention and Convention of Migratory Species. Their numbers are rapidly declining. Loggerhead sea turtles, like other sea turtle species, face many natural and human-induced threats. Scientists have determined that the capture in fishing gear and the loss of nesting habitat are major causes of the loggerhead’s decline. Tens of thousands of loggerhead sea turtles are injured or killed annually in the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico by destructive fishing gear , including trawls, gillnets and longlines. Loggerheads are also captured and killed by commercial fisheries using vertical lines, seines, dredges and various types of pots and traps. The largest decline was experienced by the South Florida nesting population, which declined 40 percent in the past decade. It is long past time for the federal government to step up and take control of sea turtle takes (intentional or accidental human interactions), especially bycatch  (the unintentional capture of turtles by fishing gear) and deaths in commercial fisheries. Failure of the fishery managers to act will immeasurably increase the risk of extinction of one of the ocean’s most ancient species.

○Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys kempii).

Kemp’s ridleys nest more often than other species, every 1 to 3 years on average. Listed as Endangered (in danger of extinction within the foreseeable future) in 1970 under the U.S. Endangered Species Conservation Act, the predecessor to the U.S. Endangered Species Act, which was established in 1973. International – Listed as Critically Endangered (facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild in the immediate future) by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. The greatest threat to the Kemp’s ridley is from human use activities including collection of eggs and killing adults and juveniles for meat and other products. The significant decline in the number of Kemp’s ridley nests was a result of high levels of incidental take by shrimp trawlers.

○Olive Ridley Sea Turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea).

Olive ridley sea turtles, which are named for their olive-colored shell, are listed as threatened, with the exception of a single population that nests in Mexico, which is endangered. The decline of this species is primarily due to capture in commercial fisheries, loss of nesting habitat and continued killing of adults and poaching of eggs.

○Hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata).

Hawksbill sea turtles are in danger of extinction and are listed as endangered under the Habitat Directive and Barcelona Convention. Capturing and killing hawksbills for their valuable shell, which is used to make hairclips, combs, jewelry and decorative art , is a major threat to the recovery of the species. While the legal international trade of hawksbill shells ceased in 1994, Cuba has recently pushed to reopen the market.
The killing of hawksbills still occurs throughout the world for traditional, medicinal and subsistence level use. In the Pacific, intentional killing of sea turtles is a major issue in American Samoa, Guam, Palau, the Northern Mariana Islands, Micronesia and the Marshall Islands. And a number of American countries still allow the killing of hawksbills, including the British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Haiti and the Turks and Caicos Islands. Although the killing of hawksbills and the poaching of their eggs is illegal in the Dominican Republic and Jamaica, hawksbill products are still readily available for sale.

○Flatback sea turtle (Natator depressus).

This sea turtles range is very limited. It is found only in the waters around Australia and Papua New Guinea in the Pacific and they only nest 4 times per season. Lays an average of 50 eggs at time, but these are comparatively quite large. The eggs incubate for about 55 days. When the hatchlings emerge, they are larger than most species. In Australia it is listed as Vulnerable under the Australian Environment Protection & Biodiversity Conservation Act. Internationally it is Listed as Data Deficient by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. It was previously listed as vulnerable. Change in classification does not imply species recovery, it just indicates a lack of recent research into their abundance and distribution.

○Leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea).

Leatherbacks have delicate, scissor-like jaws. Their jaws would be damaged by anything other than a diet of soft-bodied animals, so they feed almost exclusively on jellyfish. Primarily found in the open ocean, as far north as Alaska and as far south as the southern tip of Africa, though recent satellite tracking research indicates that leatherbacks feed in areas just offshore. Known to be active in water below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, the only reptile known to remain active at such a low temperature. In the USA they are
Listed as Endangered (in danger of extinction within the foreseeable future) in 1970 under the U.S. Endangered Species Conservation Act, the predecessor to the U.S. Endangered Species Act, which was established in 1973. Internationally they are listed as Vulnerable in 2013 (facing a high risk of extinction in the wild in the immediate future) by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. Greatest threat to leatherback sea turtles is from incidental take in commercial fisheries and marine pollution (such as balloons and plastic bags floating in the water, which are mistaken for jellyfish).

Read more using the links below…. ⤵️⤵️⤵️⤵️⤵️⤵️⤵️⤵️

https://www.iucn.org/content/experts-identify-worlds-most-threatened-sea-turtle-populations

https://eu.oceana.org/en/species-risk-sea-turtles

https://ocean.si.edu/ocean-life/reptiles/meet-seven-sea-turtle-species

https://www.thoughtco.com/types-of-sea-turtles-2292019

Home

https://www.google.com/amp/s/api.nationalgeographic.com/distribution/public/amp/animals/reptiles/group/sea-turtles

What can we do to save the sea turtles?

🌊Become a conscious and responsible seafood consumer by asking where and how your seafood was caught. Choose seafood caught in ways that do not harm or kill turtles. Consult sustainable seafood information networks to learn about how and where your seafood is caught. Buy seafood that have been certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (check out the link below).

https://www.msc.org/what-you-can-do/eat-sustainable-seafood/fish-to-eat

You can read up about the role of the Marine Stewardship Council, sustainable fishing methods, sustainable seafood and where to buy it from and also recipes you can try too. 🐟🐟🐟🐟

🌊Volunteer at a local sea turtle rescue centre, contact your MP, donate to a sea turtle charity, petition for more sustainable fishing methods- let your voice be heard, try and make a difference when and where you can, no action too small is insignificant.

🌊Participate in coastal clean-ups and reduce plastic use to keep our beaches and ocean clean. Trash in the ocean can harm sea turtles and other creatures that live there.

🌊Carry reusable water bottles and shopping bags. Refrain from releasing balloons, they’ll likely end up in the ocean where sea turtles can mistake them for prey and consume them.

🌊Keep nesting beaches dark and safe for sea turtles. Turn off, shield, or redirect lights visible from the beach. Lights disorient hatchling sea turtles and discourage nesting females from coming onto the beach to lay their eggs.

🌊Do not disturb nesting turtles, nests, or hatchlings. Attend organized sea turtle watches that know how to safely observe nesting sea turtles.

🌊Remove recreational beach equipment like chairs, umbrellas, boats at night so sea turtles are not turned away.

🌊Fill in holes and knock down sandcastles before you leave the beach. They can become obstacles for nesting turtles or emerging hatchlings.

🌊Never abandon fishing gear. Hooks, lines, or nets left in the water can entangle and kill sea turtles.

🌊Recycle fishing line and discard your trash on shore in trash receptacles.

🌊Never feed or attempt to feed sea turtles—it is harmful and illegal!

🌊Boaters beware! Sea turtles are commonly found in oceans, bays, sounds, and near shore waters. Remember, turtles have to come up to the surface for air, and they can be difficult to see. Boat strikes are a serious threat to sea turtles, so slow down and steer around them.

Here are some charitable organisations who help sea turtles:

🐟MALDIVIAN SEA TURTLE CONSERVATION PROGRAMME (MSTCP).

🐟SRI LANKA – SEA TURTLE RESCUE AND REHABILITATION.

🐟COZUMEL MARINE TURTLE SALVATION PROGRAM.

🐟THE BARBADOS SEA TURTLE PROJECT.

🐟BORNEO MARINE AND SEA TURTLE CONSERVATION.

🐟SOUTH CAROLINA SEA TURTLE RESCUE PROGRAM.

🐟HAWAI’I WILDLIFE FUND.

🐟NINGALOO TURTLE PROGRAM, EXMOUTH AUSTRALIA.

🐟SEA TURTLE FOUNDATION, AUSTRALIA.

🐟CANADIAN SEA TURTLE NETWORK.

🐟GLOBAL SEA TURTLE CONSERVATION.

🐟WORLD WILDLIFE FUND.

🐟SEA TURTLE FOUNDATION.

🐟SEA TURTLE CONSERVANCY.

🐟TURTLE FOUNDATION.

🐟SEE TURTLES.

🐟TURTLE ISLAND RESTORATION NETWORK.

🐟NATIONAL MARINE FISHERIES.

🐟ARCHELEN THE SEA TURTLE PROJECT.

🐟LEATHERBACK TRUST.

🐟NATIONAL MARINE LIFE CENTRE.

These are just a few examples.

Until next time,

Faye xx

Self-harm and me. 🦸‍♀️🦸‍♀️

I am writing this blog post to collaborate with a fantastic account on instagram and to share my story which I hope will help raise awareness on this misunderstood issue.

What is self-harm?

Self-harm is when you hurt yourself as a way of dealing with very difficult feelings, painful memories or overwhelming situations and experiences.

Some people have described self-harm as a way to:

  • express something that is hard to put into words
  • turn invisible thoughts or feelings into something visible
  • change emotional pain into physical pain
  • reduce overwhelming emotional feelings or thoughts
  • have a sense of being in control
  • escape traumatic memories
  • have something in life that they can rely on
  • punish yourself for your feelings and experiences
  • stop feeling numb, disconnected or dissociated
  • create a reason to physically care for themselves
  • express suicidal feelings  and thoughts without taking their own life.

After self-harming you may feel a short-term sense of release, but the cause of your distress is unlikely to have gone away. Self-harm can also bring up very difficult emotions and could make you feel worse. It is only a form of short- term release and the consequences often overlooked.

Even though there are always reasons underneath someone hurting themselves, it is important to know that self-harm does carry risks. Once you have started to depend on self-harm, it can take a long time to stop, like many things you can rely on this method as a form of short- term release but it does not solve the underlying issue.

What forms of self- harm are there? How do people self- harm?

There are lots of different forms of self-harming. Some people use the same one all the time, other people hurt themselves in different ways at different times.

Ways of self-harming can include:

  • cutting yourself
  • poisoning yourself
  • over-eating or under-eating
  • biting yourself
  • picking or scratching at your skin
  • burning your skin
  • inserting objects into your body
  • hitting yourself or walls
  • overdosing
  • exercising excessively
  • pulling your hair
  • getting into fights where you know you will get hurt.

Information above is from Mind, the mental health charity.

So why is self-harm misunderstood?

We need to forget the stereotypes about self-harm so we can open up conversations about the real reasons behind it! We need to open up conversations about self-harm and not let myths and stereotypes shut down opportunities to help, prevent self-harm and raise awareness. 

The typical stereotype many people will think of when it comes to self-harm is of a teenage girl who has been cutting herself to try to get attention…this couldn’t be more wrong!

Self-harm can affect any gender, age or culture – and it’s far from straight-forward to understand.

All too often self-harm is dismissed as attention-seeking or as teenagers ‘acting out’ and is often seen more in girls than boys but this may be due to boys being less likely to come forward, in society boys are under immense pressure to be strong and deal with strong emotions on their own and not express their emotion, boys may feel there is added sense of stigma or be embarrassed about it.

Parents, loved ones and many people see self-harm as attention seeking- in a way it is but not in a traditional sense. Self-harm is often a way of coping with difficult feelings, it’s not an indication that the person wants to die, it is a sign that the person self-harming does need help and they may chose to talk to you about it and confide in you but most often it is hidden.

Self-harm is not attention-seeking, but it is a sign that someone is struggling immensely.

Whether we are counsellors, parents, teachers or friends, we have to open conversations up, not close them down because we’re swayed by stereotypes.

We need to understand each person’s individual situation and ask them questions.

Allowing them the opportunity to express themselves, to put words to their pain and tell their own individual true story is the way to make a difference.

We need to get the stereotype out of our heads that self-harming is only present in Emo teenagers and it’s purely done because it is fashionable and attention seeking- it is more of a problem than you think!

Self-harming statistics!

Self-harm has been apparent in the media for a considerable amount of time.

See examples below:

This is from a nursing news website and was published only on the 9th of January 2020!


Calls have been made for greater prevention measures for children and adolescents who self-harm as research finds they are significantly more likely to take their own lives.

The The observational study followed up on 9,173 people aged between 10 and 18 years old who presented in hospital for non-fatal self-harm. Of this cohort, 55 later died by suicide.

●Many young people who are suicidal or self-harming still find it hard to reach out for help until they hit crisis point.

This is evidence of what I mentioned earlier, more girls are being reported of self-harming which may be due to the fact that boys may be too embarrassed to come forward especially on an issue that is so stigmatised.

Survey of 19,000 14-year-olds found 15% intentionally hurt themselves last year.

Girls made up nearly three-quarters of all cases, while boys accounted for 27%.

Researchers say girls tend to internalise problems and often blame themselves.

The study found girls were far more more likely (79 per cent) to report a low sense of their own value, including poor self-image, compared to boys (21 per cent).

More than four in five (78 per cent) of them reported depressive symptoms compared to one in five boys (22 per cent).

The study also found teenagers from low-income families were significantly (48 per cent) more likely to report low life satisfaction than those from the wealthy homes.

This news story from the Independent was published on the same date above.

Children who are taken to A&E departments after self-harming need long-term support and follow-up by the NHS to reduce the chances of suicide, experts have said.

A 16-year study found the risk of suicide in the first year after presenting to A&E among children was 30 times higher than the expected rate of suicide for the general population of similar-age youngsters in England.

Patients discharged from A&E should be referred for follow-up support from local mental health teams but concerns have been raised about the capacity of existing services with many NHS trusts restricting referrals only to the most severe cases.

My experiences with self-harm.

A few close friends and family only know of my history with self-harm and I have only lately starting being open with it on my Instagram account as I want to help raise awareness on this taboo topic however, it is hard to talk about but here goes.

When I was 15-16 years old, due to childhood trauma I was diagnosed with-

○CPTSD (Complex Post-traumatic Stress Disorder).

○Generalised Anxiety Disorder.

○Major Depressive Disorder.

My doctor said due to both my age, undergoing puberty and how I was struggling in high school due to bullying, all these factors caused my mental health conditions to come to the surface and resulted in this diagnosis.

During this time I was really starting to struggle due to these three conditions conflicting with each other, the bullying and struggling to fit in and this is the time that the self-harm started.

Due to my childhood trauma and the bullying added on top my self-worth had really taken a battering.

I felt completely out of place, like I couldn’t relate or fully open up to anybody about my feelings, emotions, how I was struggling, and to be completely honest I was struggling with it myself.

I had no confidence, with my own biological father giving me verbal abuse from a very young age (etc) and making me feel completely worthless, to then go to high school and the bullying (especially from the girls) and not being able to fit in reaffirmed this belief.

I was struggling with so many intense emotions, emotions I didn’t know how to deal with. I felt immense pain, I felt like my whole brain was against me and I didn’t know how to cope.

At this moment in time I was also struggling with remembering my trauma, my thinking had changed. Since I was a child I looked at the abuse through the eyes of a child – as a victim, but as I hit 15-16 years old I started evaluating everything that happened and I started seeing it all as an adult and it made me so angry.

I was suffering from night terrors, flashbacks, and I felt like my head would not shut up. Whenever I was bullied my head, like with the verbal abuse from my father absorbed it like a sponge and there it remained and it got replayed over and over until no self-worth, confidence and positivity was left.

Self-harming for me wasn’t because I felt suicidal at the time it was a way of punishing myself. I was angry for letting everything happen, by self-harming I was taking out my frustration the only way I knew how- to take it out on myself but just in a physical form!

“It was a way to have control over my body because I couldn’t control anything else in my life.”

“I usually fely like I had a black hole in the pit of my stomach, at least if I feel pain it’s better than feeling nothing.”

I felt relieved and less anxious after I cut. The emotional pain slowly slips away into the physical pain.”

Afterwards it would make me feel calmer and this to me never made sense… why??

Luckily I still had contact with the doctor who diagnosed my mental health conditions as he was a mental health specialist. He was the first person I opened up to and it took many months for me to get to this point of opening up to someone- I wanted to understand why I was doing this. I needed answers.

What he explained to me was….

The self-harm cycle.

Self-harm usually starts as a way to relieve the build-up of pressure from distressing thoughts and feelings. This might give temporary relief from the emotional pain the person is feeling. It’s important to know that this relief is only temporary because the underlying reasons still remain. Soon after, feelings of guilt and shame might follow, which can continue the cycle.

The self-harm cycle

The same part of the brain that handles physical distress also deals with emotions.

When it comes to sensing physical and emotional pain, our brains use the same two areas: the anterior insula, a small patch of neural real estate that’s part of the cerebral cortex behind each ear, and the anterior cingulate cortex, a hook-shaped piece of brain tissue towards the front of the brain. These are the areas in the brain that process pain, regardless of whether we’ve felt the sting of rejection or the sting of a bee.

Pain relievers also act on these two areas, regardless of whether someone is experiencing emotional or physical pain. A 2010 study in Psychological Science revealed that the pain relievers such as Tylenol or paracetamol (acetaminophen) helped to relieve the distress associated with social rejection and also decreased activity in the anterior insula and the anterior cingulate cortex. This doesn’t mean that Tylenol is the next Prozac, but it does show just how intertwined emotional and physical pain are in the brain.

People who self-harm0 have “learned that, while the pain peaks with self-injury, it then comes down the other side. The physical pain lessens – as does the emotional pain.”

It’s often difficult for people who don’t self-harm to understand why anyone would. But knowing about this bit of neuroscience might help make self-harm a little less mysterious: whether it’s a good idea to exploit it, the connection—the physical wiring of the brain that ties emotions to physical sensation—is real.

The way my mind works, I am somewhat logical so the scientific explanation helped me so much to understand what was going on- it was only a tip of the iceberg as I had so much more to learn about my mental health, but it was a relief to know why I was doing this and to admit that I needed help!

So how did I turn it around/ stop my self-harming behaviour?

Well it wasn’t easy, it required a lot of hard work but I can sum it up for you.

Step 1) Open up to someone.

Open up to someone who you feel comfortable with, someone who won’t judge you, someone you can confide in and someone most importantly who will listen.

Give the person you confide in time to process this and communicate in whatever way you find easiest.

This by no means isn’t an easy task but the most important one!

You can open up to family, friends or even a doctor or local councillor or mental health specialist.

Opening up is the first stage to getting help and even though it is hard, it is also very empowering and human to admit that you need help.

I opened up to my doctor first as I felt this was easier than telling my family- I knew my family would act emotionally, especially if I could not explain first why I was doing it. Once I felt that I understood the issue I then felt comfortable to open up to my family. It was incredibly hard to get my family to understand but afterwards I felt a sense of relief, I no longer needed to hide that I was struggling.

Step 2) Understand your triggers, understand what is going on inside your head, try and figure out what got you to this point.

After opening up to someone you have a problem you have to identify what are your triggers!

◇What is causing you to feel like this?

◇What gets you to the point that you feel you want to cut/harm yourself?

This step is the one you definitely need help with and it takes some time. You need to reflect on what has been going on to make you feel like this and take into account everything you can. Talk to someone about it, write it down and once you have identified these triggers and what has been going on you can start to approach them.

If you’re having a hard time pinpointing the feelings that trigger your urge to cut/self harm, you may need to work on your emotional awareness.

Emotional awareness means knowing what you are feeling and why. It’s the ability to identify and express what you are feeling from moment to moment and to understand the connection between your feelings and your actions. Feelings are important pieces of information that our bodies give to us, but they do not have to result in actions like cutting or self-harming.

The idea of paying attention to your feelings-rather than numbing them or releasing them through self-harm-may sound frightening to you. You may be afraid that you’ll get overwhelmed or be stuck with the pain. But the truth is that emotions quickly come and go if you let them. If you don’t try to fight, judge, or beat yourself up over the feeling, you’ll find that it soon fades, replaced by another emotion. It’s only when you obsess over the feeling that it persists.

For me I’ve always found it easier to write my feeling rather than talk about them. I started journaling regularly to understand everything that had impacted me day by day and I also tracked my moods daily- doing both this helped to identify my triggers.

I did also learn about ‘Emotional Awareness’ because I wanted to understand how to control my emotions, how to control my reactions and how to stop my brain from taking control of me- I wanted to understand my brain more and work as a team.

Step 3) Find new coping techniques.

If you self-harm to express pain and intense emotions, you could:

  • Paint, draw, or scribble on a big piece of paper with red ink or paint
  • Start a journal in which to express your feelings
  • Compose a poem or song to say what you feel
  • Write down any negative feelings and then rip the paper up
  • Listen to music that expresses what you’re feeling

If you self-harm to calm and soothe yourself, you could:

  • Take a bath or hot shower
  • Pet or cuddle with a dog or cat
  • Wrap yourself in a warm blanket
  • Massage your neck, hands, and feet
  • Listen to calming music

If you self-harm because you feel disconnected or numb, you could:

  • Call a friend (you don’t have to talk about self-harm)
  • Take a cold shower
  • Hold an ice cube in the crook of your arm or leg
  • Chew something with a very strong taste, like chili peppers, peppermint, or a grapefruit peel
  • Go online to a self-help website, chat room, or message board

If you self-harm to release tension or vent anger, you could:

  • Exercise vigorously—run, dance, jump rope, or hit a punching bag
  • Punch a cushion or mattress or scream into your pillow
  • Squeeze a stress ball or squish Play-Doh or clay
  • Rip something up (sheets of paper, a magazine)
  • Make some noise (play an instrument, bang on pots and pans)

Substitutes for the cutting sensation

  • Use a red marker pen to draw on your skin where you might usually cut.
  • Rub ice cubes over your skin where you might usually cut.
  • Place rubber bands on your wrists, arms, or legs, and snap them instead of cutting.

When I felt the urge to cut/self-harm what I found helpful was cutting something else; putting a plastic band on my wrist and pulling it back and snapping it against my wrist (this hurt so much I would only do it once or maybe twice and it would distract me enough to stop).

I also found journaling, writing poetry, adult colouring, drawing, playing calming games, spending time in nature or with my pets and family helped. Keeping myself distracted helped but what helped more was having a result from it such as a picture. I am naturally creative so this came easy to me.

Step 4) See a therapist.

For me seeing a therapist was a great help as I had mental health conditions I needed to understand and deal with.

I have had various types of counciling but the most beneficial therapy for me was CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy).

CBT is used successfully as a treatment for many psychological problems, including OCD and other anxiety problems such as panic, post-traumatic stress disorder and social phobia.  It also figures in the treatment of eating disorders, addictions and psychosis.

CBT is a form of talking therapy, however unlike other talking therapies like counselling, it is much more structured and tailored around the individuals ‘here and now’ problems, and rarely focuses on the patient’s past. CBT is also meant to be a short term therapy lasting weeks and months rather than years.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy helps the person self-harming to explore and understand alternative ways of thinking and challenge their beliefs through behavioural exercises.

CBT makes use of two evidence-based behaviour techniques, Cognitive Therapy (C) that looks at how we think, and Behaviour Therapy (B) which looks at how this affects what we do.  In treatment we consider other ways of thinking (C), and how this would affect the way we behave (B).

It’s based on the concept that your thoughts, feelings and actions are interconnected, and that negative thoughts and feelings can trap you in a vicious cycle, as the image perfectly illustrates.

The principal aim of this therapeutic approach is to enable the person to become their own therapist and to provide them with the knowledge and tools to continue working towards coping with whatever they are struggling with.

I have been to CBT several times and I cannot put into words how useful this has been to me and still continues to be. I started by going to a CBT therapist and then carried it on by using workbooks, apps and techniques acquired online and through others who are in the same boat as me.

Step 5) Go to a support group.

For some this may not be an option but for me this step was completely invaluable.

When suffering with depression, CPTSD etc (as mentioned earlier) it is easy to feel alone and isolated in your suffering.

You feel like you are the only one in the entire world to be suffering like this which isn’t the case.

Going to a support group opened my eyes and stopped my cycle of suffering and self-pity.

For the first few months I didn’t reveal much about myself but by just being around other people who have mental health issues, who were struggling in a similar way to me, from all different backgrounds, ages and with histories of their own gave me a sense of comfort and much needed relief.

Once I felt comfortable i started opening up and I felt accepted and most importantly I wasn’t judged or portrayed in a negative light.

I was not approached with pity, caution or doubt but instead I felt acceptance, love and understanding. What I was struggling with felt normalised. After this I got a range of techniques given to me, I had people to open up to and I learn so much along the way.

The support group I went to was all women which helped immensely and was invaluable to me.

So that is my blog post about self-harming.

I will be posting this on my instagram with a short video: ecoqueenfaye_

If you have any feedback, questions or want to discuss anything with me please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Until next time,

Much love,

Faye xx

Feel free to share, the more we talk about mental health the more it becomes normalised. 💚💚💚💚

‘Cats the movie review’: my review of the movie and the backstory into the musical and concept of cats.🐱🐈🎼🎹🎵

As I shared on my Instagram (@ecoqueenfaye) I got to see ‘Cats‘ the movie. I so desperately wanted to see it and I’m so happy that I finally did.

Before I start with my review though I am going to explain the story behind the musical because it seems like there are many people who are going to see the movie/have seen the movie because of the intense media coverage on it, because of the sheer amount of famous actors and actresses it contains and because cats is a well known very successful musical and all this is convincing people to see it- which is good BUT I feel that people should know the story behind the musical first to make the film more enjoyable and more understandable (I’ll explain more into this later on).

What is the story behind ‘CATS’?

Original musical poster.

‘Cats’ the musical  composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber is based on the 1939 poetry collection Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot.

It tells the story of a tribe of cats called the Jellicles and the night they make the “Jellicle choice”, deciding which cat will ascend to the Heaviside Layer and come back to a new life. The musical includes the well-known song “Memory” as sung by Grizabella.

As of 2019, Cats remains the fourth-longest-running Broadway show and the sixth-longest-running West End show. 

Andrew Lloyd Webber began setting Eliot’s poems to music in 1977 and the compositions were first presented as a song cycle in 1980. Producer Cameron Mackintosh then recruited director Trevor Nunn and choreographer Gillian Lynne to turn the songs into a complete musical in 1980.

Despite its unusual premise that deterred investors initially, the musical turned out to be an unprecedented commercial success, with a worldwide gross of US $3.5 billion by 2012.

The London production ran for 21 years and 8,949 performances, while the Broadway production ran for 18 years and 7,485 performances, making Cats the longest-running musical in both theatre districts for a number of years. Cats has since been revived in the West End twice and on Broadway once.

More on Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot:

Most recent book cover as advertised on amazon.

The contents of Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, along with the names of the featured cats where appropriate, are:

“The Naming of Cats”
“The Old Gumbie Cat” (Jennyanydots)
“Growltiger’s Last Stand”
“The Rum Tum Tugger”
“The Song of the Jellicles”
“Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer”
“Old Deuteronomy”
“(Of) The Awefull Battle of the Pekes and the Pollicles (Together with Some Account of the Participation of the Pugs and the Poms and the Intervention of the Great Rumpus Cat)”
“Mr. Mistoffelees”
“Macavity: The Mystery Cat”
“Gus: The Theatre Cat”
“Bustopher Jones: The Cat about Town”
“Skimbleshanks: The Railway Cat”
“The Ad-dressing of Cats”
“Cat Morgan Introduces Himself” (added in the 1952 edition)

“Naming of cats”.
Check out this link to read the rest of the poems: https://gutenberg.ca/ebooks/eliotts-practicalcats/eliotts-practicalcats-01-h.html
You can also listen to the poems via this audiobook recorded in 1983 by Caedmon Records (https://youtu.be/sn4qX_JY0X8).

Eliot was a ‘cat man’. He owned many during his life and gave them such fondly ridiculous names as Jellylorum, Pettipaws, Wiscus, and George Pushdragon. No one would call the cat, as they do the dog, ‘man’s best friend’. Their relation to humans is always wary and frankly selfish. It is clear that Eliot, like Michel de Montaigne, was fascinated by the dignified remoteness of his feline companions. Was he playing with his cat, wondered Montaigne, or was his cat playing with him? 

Considered one of the twentieth century’s major poets, Eliot also attracted widespread attention for his poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” (1915), which was seen as a masterpiece of the Modernist movement. It was followed by some of the best-known poems in the English language, including The Waste Land (1922), “The Hollow Men” (1925), “Ash Wednesday” (1930), and Four Quartets (1943).

 He was also known for his seven plays, particularly Murder in the Cathedral (1935) and The Cocktail Party (1949). He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948, “for his outstanding, pioneer contribution to present-day poetry”.

T.S. Elliot.
You can read more into T.S Elliot’s life and his work on the Poetry Foundation website (https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/t-s-eliot).

My review of Cats the movie.

Personally I loved the movie, I’ve always loved poetry and I love how T.S. Elliot’s cat poems are so imaginative and whimsical. I love how the poems have been adapted into a musical and now represented in a film so many people have access to the story of the musical and can appreciate it.

During the film you can’t help but fall in love with the characters as you are introduced to, each and everyone. Although it took some getting used to, I thought it was good that the characters still looked somewhat human so you could tell what actor/actresses were playing them- although I do think they would have looked better with paws rather than hands.

I personally thought at the beginning some of the songs were too long winded and affected the story telling somewhat. When you start watching a film you want to be hooked in by the story, I was brought in by the first song and started to follow the story but I felt confused after 15-20 minutes where the story was and it deterred my attention. The songs were good but some could have been shortened. I thought the actress who played the main character (Francesca Hayward) was fantastic and also Jason Derulo and Jennifer Hudson were simply breath taking.

Taylor Swift’s song (which was made specifically for the film with Anthony Lloyd Webber) was a good edition to the movie and enjoyable but not as enjoyable as Jennifer Huddison or Jason Derulo. My favourite song is from the railway cat!

I loved that along with the whimsical side of the poems some comedy was brought in by Rebel Wilson and James Gordon. Both their characters were comical and enjoyable to watch and fitted in well with the storyline.

I loved the end where Judi Dench and the cast sung about being a cat. 🙂

Personally I think that cats was fantastic but perhaps it is getting bad reviews for two reasons:

1) The audience don’t understand the premises and storyline.

2) The audience are comparing it to the musical.

Anyway, that’s my review.

Until next time,

Faye xxxx