How To Use Rest Breaks Effectively

Students with both mental and physical disabilities or illnesses are allowed extra time in exams for rest breaks, while many employers will give their staff rest breaks too. Some people without disabilities or illnesses are even given rest breaks. But how do you use these breaks wisely to make yourself more productive? This article will explain exactly that, including prior planning and on-the-stop decisions.

Exams incoming, are you prepared?

Exams incoming, are you prepared?

To Do, Before
You should know whether you are going to have a rest break during your exam or work day, so make sure you are prepared for it. These breaks should help you relax so that your mind is fresh to continue with your work. Are you going to get up and move around (which might not be allowed in some exams)? Are you going to get a drink or something to eat? Are you going to close your eyes and take a short nap? You should know what you are going to do so that you don’t worry about it, as worrying will cut into your precious time! Note how much time you have for your rest breaks too, as that will make it easier to know what you will do during the break or whether to split it into two smaller rest breaks instead of one.

Get Up, Get Active
But don’t run a marathon, which is impossible if you have a 5 minute break into your exam. I doubt you will do that in your coffee break either. One of my summer exams is a 2 hour computing test where you sit at the computer (I believe I get an extra 30 minutes as well), which is probably going to kill you if you are sitting down the whole time. Getting up and walking for a few minutes will get you away from the working environment and allow your brain to gather thoughts. Although this will be allowed in a majority of workplaces, you should check before an exam whether this is allowed.

Know someone who has panic attacks over exams? Click here to find out how to help.

Have A Mint, Or Some Water
The greatest piece of advice I ever heard about exams is to take a mint in with you and suck on it. Okay, so maybe revising was the best tip I ever heard but this one is still great. Although I can’t find the study I believe sucking a mint increases brain function. Take my word for it, it can’t do any harm. Similarly, you need to stay hydrated on those long days in the office so make sure you have a bottle of water with you at all times. A dehydrated brain will work slower.

Think positively... and quietly.

Think positively… and quietly.

Think Positive
And while you are thinking positive, do not think about your work or your exam. When you are stressed the body will release adrenaline causing you to not think clearly. Thinking of something positive will reverse this effect and allow you to continue with your work normally. Your thought could be something you will do later (like celebrate passing your exam) or it could be a good memory.

Think positive? Click here for my anti-depression mystic flowing through the air.

So there you have it. Now you should be prepared for those summer exams, providing you revise, or better equipped for those rest breaks at work. Just make sure the breaks are allowed by your supervisor or exam organiser. I guess I’ll be off to think positive now… or have a mint. Do you have rest breaks? What do you usually do during them?

How Hip Hop Helps Beat Depression

Beating depression with hip hop? Surely this cannot be possible, we can cure this strange illness with a couple beats and rhymes? According to research from the Cambridge University (it’s my dream to go there) positive visual imagery and rags-to-riches stories told in hip hop and rap can create a better mental state. I’ll be honest and say just the catchy beats can sometimes make me feel better, but recently I have been listening to some more meaningful hip hop songs and they have made me feel better. Some of the songs I link below have got me through tough times, and I hope they do the same for you.

Vinnie Paz – Is Happiness Just A Word?
According to my sources, this song is about Vinnie Paz’s struggles with Depersonalisation Disorder(DPD). While I can’t confirm this, I know that many people suffering from depression will be able to connect with this song and understand they are not the only one suffering with these problems. This song could easily be about many different mental illnesses. Overall, I just really love this song from a rapper that most people have not heard of.
VinniePazYoutube1

Nas – If I Ruled The World (Imagine That)
I like Nas, and he is considered one of the greatest rapper to have walked on the face of the Earth. This is the positive visual imagery I was talking about, where Nas imagines a better life for all of the people in the world with him in charge. If I could choose one rapper to be in charge of the world, I’m sure Nas would come to mind (because I don’t think he would kill everyone).
NasYoutube1

Army of the Pharaohs – Suicide Girl
The last rap verse of this song hit me hard. This song might trigger you so don’t listen to it if you are easily triggered, as there is a lot of talk about self-harm and suicide. But that last verse… oh man, give it a listen. If I could sum up my depression in a verse, it would be that last one. I am seriously thinking about playing that verse to everyone I know. Yeah… I’m probably hyping it up a little too much…
ArmyOfThePharaohsYoutube1

Kendrick Lamar – i
I smile when I look at Kendrick Lamar in this video, this is the happiest song on my list. It is very up-beat as Kendrick talks about loving himself, and the message from this song should be that you should love yourself too! It’s been nominated for a Grammy too, so it’s a recognised hit if you want to stay “down with the kids”.
KendrickLamarYoutube1

Tupac – Thugz Mansion
There are two versions to this song, the acoustic version featuring Nas, and the remix version featuring Anthony Hamilton. The acoustic version has got me through I got of tough times, I remember once walking out of my house thinking whether or not to commit suicide (I wasn’t actually going to do it) and I had this song on repeat for two hours. I now know all the words! The remix with Anthony Hamilton has a couple lines which make me go crazy whenever I hear it, “I once contemplated suicide, and woulda tried, but when I held that nine, all I could see was my momma’s eyes”. Note that both were released after Tupac’s death.
TupacYoutube1

Eminem – Lose Yourself
In this day and age you are not allowed to compile a “great rap” list without Eminem on it. I could choose from so many songs, Beautiful, Rock Bottom, but in the end I chose Lose Yourself. Why? It’s a song about being an underdog and getting out into greatest. I don’t know why your depressed, but thinking you could be in a better place will make you feel better…
EminemYoutube1

How To Tell Someone You Are Suicidal

So how do you tell someone you are suicidal? Who do you tell? Oh no, you can’t choose them… Or you can’t tell them that… This post should answer some of your questions about telling someone about your suicidal thoughts, or intent to commit suicide, based on my own experiences and the experiences of other that I have heard about.

Firstly, should I tell someone?
The short answer is yes. All health professionals would agree that sharing your feelings and thoughts will help you. When you get your feelings out it will be easier to receive help but it will also feel less of a burden. When I first told my friend I did not get the reaction I was expecting, but it still made me feel better and realise suicide is not my only option.

Who should I talk to?
The important thing is that you feel comfortable to explain as much as you need. The person you tell should be someone you trust, someone who you know will do what you tell them to (such as not tell anyone). If you tell someone in your close friendship or work group it has the possibility of making things uncomfortable. I chose someone who I don’t see everyday (we do text often though) as I didn’t want to be around them all the time, if I miss them for a day I don’t want them worried. On the other hand, if you tell someone you are close to they will be there for you more often, meaning they can help more. If you are at school and tell a teacher or adult, they will have to get other people involved.

What or how much should I tell them?
As much as you are comfortable with saying. The truth is the best. If you have a plan and need help, make sure you tell them. You are unlikely to get help if you do not ask for it. They may ask how they can help, and if you don’t know then say that. Tell them that them listening is help. Don’t be afraid to say you don’t know certain things such as why you feel the way you do.

What will they ask me
This depends on the person, they may not ask some of the things I list below but they may ask some of them.
– Why do you feel like this?
– How can I help?
– Have you attempted anything before?
– Do you have any plans?
– Who else knows about your thoughts?

How will they react?
That depends on who you tell. Firstly know that telling a non-professional means you are unlikely to get the response you expect, although it will still help. Imagine if your friend told you that they were thinking of suicide. Imagine how you would react. Whoever you tell will be shocked, they wont know what to say. There will probably be long moments of silence, but that is because they will have to process what you are saying, it is not easy finding out that someone you love wants to kill themselves. Don’t expect tears (people don’t cry when I tell them, strange?) but don’t be surprised if they come. If you tell them that you have a plan (or they are worried) they will possibly tell someone else such as a friend or professional, but if this happens do not worry as you may need the help. Only say as much as you want to.

Can I talk to a helpline instead?
Yes, of course! I talked to a helpline before I talked to my friend, and many people will talk to helplines without talking to someone they know. Helplines can be a great way to relieve any worries without dealing with as much emotion as telling someone you love. Personally, I recommend you do choose to talk to someone you know at some point as helplines as useful but cannot provide the emotional support of someone you know (I suffer from depression, and I find emotional support is very important for me). You can find some helplines for your country by clicking here.

I’ve told them, now what?
Give them some time to think it over. You will know that having suicidal thoughts is hard to deal with, but knowing someone else has suicidal thoughts is also hard. If they do not approach you for the rest of the day, that is fine. Talk to them the next day and ask if they have any questions for you, and assure them that you are alright. I can’t give great advice on this as every situation will be unique. But well done for telling someone!

“Suicidal, What To Do” and “Mental Illness And Me Project”

My site now includes the “Suicide, What To Do” and “Mental Illness And Me Project” pages. Yes, I want my readers to take part in a project! And yes, I have set up a page to help myself and others when the suicidal thoughts come because you can do with all the help you can get.

Mental Illness And Me Project
What is it? Well, many of my readers like writing, and writing is a great way to show the truth. I thought to myself, why don’t I create a hub of stories to do with mental illnesses and how they affect people involved. I want people (anyone) to write a story about their mental illness, and I will create a long list of these stories so that if someone wants to find out about these mental illnesses they can. Looking at a list of symptoms is good, but symptoms are just symptoms. They don’t show how it can affect your life in the way stories can. I don’t know how good this project will be, but if lots of people get involved it should be good. If you want more info or want to get involved, check out the Mental Illness And Me Project page or send me a message through my contact page. More info is coming!

Suicidal, What To Do
I wrote this mainly for myself so I can remember what to do when I’m suicidal instead of going out to the park with my rope. Anyone can look at it though (there isn’t really anything personal, I am going to write a personal to keep with me). There are some suicide helpline links for the countries where most of my readers come from (UK, Ireland, USA, Canada, Australia) as well as a short information/story thing to read that will hopefully convince you to not commit suicide. If anyone thinks anything should be changed please let me know, suicide is a complicated subject but it is something we need to talk about, and we must respect everyone’s decision. Click to view the page.

More Coming Soon…
I want to write more helpful posts. I have touched on panic attacks and self-harm in the past which were both popular posts, and I want to write more. If anyone wants a specific subject let me know (I write these types of posts for my readers) and I’ll write what I know, and possibly do some research. I can also ask my counsellor or GP as I see both of them next week, although I can’t ask them about menstrual cycles for obvious reasons! The sidebar will also get an update so that it includes more helpful information. That’s all for today, goodbye!

Delusional: Beating My “Self-Harm Record”

This delusion started around 9pm on New Years Eve, I had a strange idea that I had to beat my “self-harm record”. By this I mean I had to cut myself (until I bleed) more than I had on any other day. This was a delusion, I don’t actually keep a record, so I had no idea what my “record” was. Although I am learning to control my self-harm urges I have had days where I just lost it and decided to cut. During this delusion I predicted that I my current record was around 8. Again, I can’t say if this is true because I don’t keep a record. My delusion had decided I would cut myself 10 times so that I could set a new record.

Earlier in the day I had cut myself once. Why? Me and my family were going for a New Years Eve meal. My family set off my urges. Whenever we are all together there are no normal conversations, we always argue about pointless things. They all believe there is this ranking table in the family and the more you disprove another person the more points you get. Honestly, I cannot cope with my family which is why I never talk to them. Anyway, my delusion recognised I had already done one cut today which meant 9 more cuts to go.

Well at least it's not another one of these bug delusions...

Well at least it’s not another one of these bug delusions…

When the delusion started at 9pm I did 2 cuts in the first 10 minutes. I decided to take a break and went to get a drink. Well, all this cutting would be thirsty work, I’m not going to be able to do 10 cuts without a drink! When I got back to my room with my drink I started to fight against my delusion. I knew it was a delusion so I tried to distract myself while I repeated “it is not true”. I spent about 30 minutes listening to music. For those interested, the song I remember was I Can by Nas.

It was getting close to 10pm and I still needed 7 more cuts. I actually needed to stop myself doing 7 more cuts but my delusion was taking over again. It was a slow process. First I stopped distracting myself with music, I just sat on my bed. About 5 minutes later I picked up my knife. Another 5 minutes later I rolled back my sleeves. And then… cut. After that, another cut. I had reached 5 cuts, which meant only 5 more cuts to go. There were 90 minutes until midnight. In my mind I was doing calculations, working out the “minutes per cut” rate.

Click here to read my first delusional post, where I cut a “bug” out of my hand.

I began to distract myself with music again. While I listened to the music I knew I would need another distraction. I thought about my regular distractions. I couldn’t make a lot of noise, I was at home and my family would shout at me. I could not talk to my friend who was on holiday over the Christmas period. I thought about writing something random, but my delusion was still fighting against me and it told me not to. Tears were rolling down my face, I was silently screaming in my head.

This time listening to music did not last long. At 11:10pm I had reached 9 cuts. My delusion was not satisfied, it was already making plans to reach 15 cuts in the last hour. I knew this was impossible, but I love challenges and my delusion knew this. “You can do it” and “Only 6 cuts to go” were going through my mind. Could I really do it?

Click here for distractions on how to stop cutting, they often work for me when I’m not delusional.

I’ll tell you now, my 10th cut came at around 11:30pm. I would never be able to manage another 5 cuts in the last 30 minutes… or would I? Well, I was fighting off my delusion again and managed to keep it away until midnight. I remember looking at my phone every minute just to see the time change, and know I wont reach 15 cuts with so little time left. Midnight came! My delusion had won by me reaching 10 cuts, but I had a little victory by not reaching the second goal of 15 cuts. I welcomed 2015 with my cut and bleeding arms!

New Years Comic 1

This was a horrible delusion. It was on and off for 3 hours, longer than my regular 10 minute delusions. I will hope that this delusion does not come back, I would rather cut myself once to remove a bug than cut myself 10 times to break an imaginary record (well it will have to be more than 10 times now).

Whether it is a positive or not, I am a little happy that my bug delusion has gone. How did I get rid of it? I’m not exactly sure, however last time I had the delusion I was able to control myself better and recognise I do not need to cut myself open to remove my imaginary demons. Okay, so that’s probably not why that delusion left, I have a feeling it will come back. But that delusion is more controllable now, as long as I keep reminding myself that insects do not appear under skin randomly (if they can, someone show me some evidence because I will need to get it checked out).

Click here to read about the return of my bug delusion, where I try cut an imaginary bug out of my skin.

I will keep trying to fight my delusions. It is working with varied success, but I guess as long as my depression is with me my delusions will try to fight me. I can try my best, I cannot try better than that. My delusions remind me I am only human, it reminds me that life can get better. When I have those 30 minutes in between cutting I know I have succeeded in fighting my delusion, and I still have hope. It may be the worst place to find hope, but I would rather have hope than be back where I was a couple of weeks ago, on the verge of ending it. The book of 2014 closes, you will find it in the adventure section, and I have begun to write my book of 2015. I am the writer, I choose what happens in my book, and you choose what happens in yours.

Seven Self-Harm Myths, Busted!

The UK has one of the highest rates of self-harm in Europe, but many people still do not know these simple facts about self-harm. The stigma created by many of the myths in this post stop many people seeking help about their self-harm problems. Attention seekers? Suicidal? Dangerous? There are loads of myths that can be broken down by simply analysing the statement or doing simple research. These myths have all been proven wrong but not enough people know that, so I have given seven common myths and the truth (and lies) behind them.

“People who self-harm are attention seeking”
Sadly, a majority of people who self-harm do it secretly, it is possible you know someone who self-harms. Self-harm is a common way of coping with problems, it may give a person feelings when they are numb or physical pain to get rid of the emotional pain. There will be a few people who self-harm for attention, but they are likely to only harm once or twice, if they continue to do it over a long period of time they may have other issues in their life. This myth often stops people coming forward and seeking help.

DontDoItBlade

“Self-harm means cutting”
Cutting is one form of self-harm, but there are several others. Excessively scratching your skin, burning yourself, pricking yourself with needles, overdosing, these are all other methods of self-harm. It should now seem obvious that anything you do to intentionally harm yourself could be considered self-harm.

“If someone self-harms they are dangerous”
This is a complicated one, it does make sense but not how many people think. If someone self-harms they could be dangerous to themselves. A majority of methods of self-harm could easily go wrong, for example someone may cut their wrist too deep or hold their hand in a flame for too long. Someone who self-harms is dangerous so you should try to help and educate them to make sure they do not do something they will regret in the future. On the other hand, you are unlikely to be in danger by hanging around with someone who self-harms. They will only harm themselves. When self-harm turns to suicidal thoughts, you should be more concerned for both their and your safety, but remember that the person who self-harms is in far more danger than you.

Want ideas to combat your self-harm cravings? Click here.

“People who self-harm can stop when they want”
You would probably not say this about a drug addict, or an alcoholic. Self-harm can become an addiction, self-harm has been shown to release chemicals that boost the mood. When someone has problems in their life, these chemicals may be their only way of coping so they become addicted. I am addicted to self-harm, and I am trying to stop with the help of my friend and professionals. If someone is addicted to self-harm, they will not be able to stop on their own. Would you expect a drug addict to just give up?

I wanted happy pictures, so I brought my smiley face back. Smile!

I wanted happy pictures, so I brought my smiley face back. Smile!

“If someone self-harms they are suicidal”
Self-harm is a way of living, not dying. As mentioned before, someone who self-harms is using it to cope with the problems in their life. Self-harm can be linked to suicide and can lead to accidental death but a majority of people self-harm to cope.

“If the wound isn’t bad we don’t need to worry”
Just because blood is not pouring out, or the cut is so deep you can see muscles and tendons, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t worry. Personally, when I am suffering the most emotionally I will do lots of smaller cuts. This does not apply to everyone, but you cannot judge emotions based on one wound. Always take self-harm seriously.

“They must have a serious mental illness if they self-harm”
It is understandable where this myth can come from, why would your average person hurt themselves? Self-harm should be used as an indication that there are problems in a persons life, but those problems may not necessarily be a serious mental illness. This does not rule out an illness, but talking to the person will probably give you a better understanding of why they self-harm.

A poem about the feelings of depression, and the battle faced by those who suffer from it.

There we have it, seven myths busted! Or re-busted… or explained again so that people can learn… Anyway, for people to feel comfortable with their self-harming they must know that will not be judged, they must know that those they talk to know the truth about self-harm. Are there any more myths you believe people should know are not true? Or do you want to discuss one of the myths above? Share in the comments below, and remember, if you self-harm you are not alone.

New Year Blogging Resolutions For 2015

The new year is approaching, and it is time for everyone to make their new year’s resolutions. I have made some personal one’s but there is so much I want to do on my blog for next year that I have decided to share them with you. I may have mentioned one or two in a previous post but here I shall go through each one and explain them. Thank you readers for a great year (well I started in December, so thanks for a great December), and I hope you stick around for 2015!

100Follows

Reach 10000 Views
I mentioned this in one of my earlier blog posts. If people are viewing my blog then it must be good, right? If I aimed for 1000 views a month it would not be too hard to achieve, and 1000 views does not seem like a lot. Okay, so I got around 850 views this month however this is my first month blogging so I’m sure it will improve. If you want to help out, check out some of my past posts from this month.

10 Guest Posters On My Blog, And I Do 10 Guest Posts
So I haven’t done a guest post yet, I don’t exactly understand how they work yet either but it sounds interesting. Spread my amazing writing to other blogs, while all of my readers get the perspective of another writer. Sounds cool. I do have a contact page if anyone is interested in me guest posting on their blog, or if you want to post on my blog (if my cat could write a better post than you I will probably say no, so I’ll check out your blog if you contact me).

Publish A Book Of Poems Or Short Stories
Well, I have written several poems for my blog and you may have read them. As the year goes on my poetry writing skills will get even better and hopefully some will be good enough to publish. Either that or I will write some short stories and publish them (I have so many ideas, it is whether I can turn them into quality writing). Who knows what will happen, maybe I will try both.

Click here for my most viewed poem, “Soldier Soldier Fighting Your Battle”

Succeed With My Planned Petition
So I have mentioned this before without telling you what the petition will be about… and I did say you will have to wait until 2015 to find out what the petition is about. It is related to mental health as well as suicide. That is all I will tell you for now, you will just have to wait. I won’t just do one post and forget about my petition, I will keep pushing until I succeed or until everyone convinces me it is a bad idea. Note: It is not a bad idea.

Give Help To Everyone Who Needs It
I know how hard depression can be. I haven’t experienced other mental illnesses but I am sure they are just as bad (some are probably worse). Anyone who asks for help through the contact page or by commenting on a post will get help from me. That is my promise to all of my readers, I am here for you. I will also be doing more helpful posts (like these – and more) because I know there are people reading them and receiving help from them.

Click here for my help article on methods to combat self-harming.

What else? I want to start earning money from blogging (first to help with publishing my book, then to support me at university). I want to make sure I release regular posts, 3 a week I hope. I want a lot, this post could be 10000 words long if I wrote about everything I wanted for my blog. What about your blogging resolutions, have you made any? Here’s to 2015, I wish it to be successful.

2015Comic

P.S. I have a crazy idea about doing a whole post in Spanish, not sure if I’m loco for trying though.