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Mental Health & Oversharing Online




a completely unrelated photo that I took of my little sister a couple weeks ago on a walk (kinda just wanted to add a photo in lol)

The way mental health is portrayed in the mainstream media is something that is very controversial, and something I have a very split opinion over.

Netflix's drama 13 Reasons Why seemed to be where it all started. But recently, Netflix has released another drama named "To The Bone". We'll touch base on this one first.

To The Bone (you can read a synopsis here) first appears to highlight the struggles of those who suffer with eating disorders in a harrowingly realistic way - but on further viewing, it actually does no such thing. It's alarmingly triggering and portrays eating disorders, especially anorexia, in a hugely cliche and crude way - the close ups of bruises on Ellen's back from too many sit ups, the chewing food and spitting it out again, the shot of her naked in the foetal position at the end. It is horribly shallow, and doesn't actually offer any insights into why she suffers in the first place. Even though I've never had any real issues surrounding food, I can imagine that it would be frankly insulting to those who have had real struggles and problems with eating disorders.

13 Reasons Why is slightly different and I think opinion is much more split over it. I have a friend who I asked about it and these were her words:

"To me 13RW was perfect because it was so real. And they did it well, they had trigger warnings, they had help sites. The thing is, you can't stop what people see. It wasn't for sufferers, the guy wrote the book because he wanted to understand what led his niece to attempt suicide. Personally I like it because I think people that don't suffer need to see it without being filtered. I think it's got to be done but for people that don't suffer. And those that do, need the right support. There are people that feel less alone because of it, or people that understand what might have led people they know to take their own lives."

It's a very interesting point about these things being for the people who don't suffer, and also a very interesting point about not being able to control what people see online anyway, as there are much more disturbing (if that's the right word) things out there on the internet that could damage people way more. It's also an extremely subjective thing, you can never predict how people are going to react to things like this so it can be extremely difficult to cater for everyone's needs. On the flipside however, another friend aired these thoughts on it:

"I took a step back when I realised how destructive [Thirteen Reasons Why] was. There are barely any trigger warnings, which for a show about mental health is truly shocking. Also, it portrays what a depressed person acts like in totally the wrong way. It portrays suicide less as a desperate last resort as it is for so many and more as an act of revenge. This worries me because not only many impressionable young teenagers see this as normal and also make them think about taking their own lives as revenge, but also invalidates true suicidal feelings. The show portrays Hannah as an attention seeker which is something that sufferers of mental health issues have been battling with for years. I think media representation of these issues has so far to go, but these experimental stages have the potential to be very damaging to vulnerable people watching, and that's what worries me."

There are some really interesting points raised here as well, and I agree with the way it portrays suicide in an incredibly unhealthy way. The glamorisation and romanticisation of depression and suicide far outweighs the positivity that the show brings in raising awareness. However, something I've learned about the mentally ill "community" (again, if that's the right word) from being part of it online, is that we are never happy. Don't get me wrong, it's not a criticism, rather an observation. If there's a show about mental health then yeah, they're raising awareness but they're doing it wrong. But this is the issue. Netflix have got it so so wrong this time. No, we aren't happy because it's damaging and invalidating and presents suicide as totally opposite to what it is. The idea of the tapes guilt trips the people who listen to them into feeling maybe as, or more desperate than Hannah did. It portrays her suicide as something quite selfish, which isn't something I would ever want to say, but it does.

But going back to the whole "we are never happy thing". The question is, when do we draw a line between raising awareness and oversharing? It's a topic that Dodie and Hazel Hayes recently talked about and it really got me thinking and tied into this whole post idea. Because when do we stop talking about the tough stuff? When does the tough stuff get too much and starts hindering rather than helping? I myself don't share that much anymore. I used to - some OG readers may remember that I used to talk a lot about my own issues with my mental health and the problems I faced, and to some extent I still do, but I realised that it wasn't helping me. It's easy to just type something out when you feel at the lowest of the low, but I never stopped to think about how it may make other people feel or how it makes me look to other people. As someone who is very easily triggered, I didn't watch Thirteen Reasons Why for a long time (only just beginning while writing this post), because I knew that it may prompt me to share more than I should do, and, as I'm now recovering pretty well, was terrified that it would send me back into that destructive frame of mind again. I still probably share too much but I try to do it around people I know well rather than online, for anyone to read or watch, as I know how it's made me feel in the past when other people have done it. Plus, it's problematic for me. It makes me wallow in it, I got stuck in the mindset that I had to talk about it because it makes me unique, it'll make people want to read my blog, and I can't even begin to explain how unhealthy that is.

But I feel like I'm digressing. Back to the original topic - the question I have is this: will we ever know where that line is? Will we ever know when to stop talking about it? Are these actually conclusive issues that we can ever answer definitively? The way I see it is that there are two sides to sharing experiences both on blogs and in mainstream media such as Netflix. There's the side that the sufferers see - the damaging effects of romanticisation of their mental illnesses, the digressing back into their lowest points and the feeling that you can't get away from it. And there's the side that the non-sufferers see - the real, nitty gritty, graphic details of what it's like for us, and perhaps a greater understanding? But how do we decide which is more important? How do we decide when to stop sharing? How on earth can we begin to decide if it's more important to shield recovering people away from these things and just not talk about it so it doesn't trigger anyone, or if it's more important to raise awareness of the reality of mental illnesses? It's something I can't begin to place value on really. I think we're stuck between a rock and a hard place because neither option is ideal.

I'd love to hear any other thoughts on this because it's a very important topic and something we've got to talk about more. What do you think we should share and what do you think we should keep quiet? Where do you think we should draw that line between raising awareness and oversharing and how fine do you think that line is?

Also, just wanted to direct you to this blog post written by my friend Holly. She writes about accurate representation of eating disorders, talking about To The Bone and Feed and offers a different perspective to me, and like I said to her, her post is written with such depth and clarity so I'd really recommend having a read!

Emilia xx

Life In July & August Goals





Hello frens!!

So I feel like there is an elephant on the web (lol) that I haven't addressed yet and that's my new blog layout. I went through the posts I did since I redid it and it turns out no, I never did!! So there we go - I have a new blog design!! Used my favourite new colour peach and got some nice new menu headers and social media icons and a nice new thingy at the top, very nice indeed. I love it. So that's that elephant. Let's move onto July.

If I'm honest, July has been mad but I don't know when I'm next going to get a quiet month! This month I had a whole list of events going on, a lovely Vamps concert with my close friend Jamima, Year 13 Leaver's Ball, 18th birthday party, actual 18th birthday, my best friend's 18th birthday and party, another best friend's 18th birthday, playing in my last ever concert at the music centre I've been at for seven years...

Put all of that together with working 4 days a week for 7 or 8 hours and just general filming and writing and editing and getting involved in all sorts of projects and so on, I feel like I just haven't had a chance to relax to myself for a day!

I also made the big decision to bring forward my uni entry to this year instead of 2018, which is mainly because I feel like I'm going to be so bored in my tiny village for a whole year, kind of just want to get out and move into a city and go elsewhere you know?? Like I said, it's a huge decision and it took us a few weeks to reach it but I'm so so excited to go, hopefully I'll get the grades I need!

I also started working out properly in July, doing a bit of strength and cardio every day, after realising that actually, I need to do something! So far it's going so well, I haven't joined a gym because I'm going to uni in a bit so will probably join one up in Manchester instead so at the moment I'm squatting and lunging and sitting up and using one of my sister's handheld resistance bands and it's working well, especially for a beginner. Not quite at fitness YouTuber level yet but maybe in the future I'll get there 😂

So far my August goals are looking a little like this...

Results

Passing my A Levels and getting into the uni of my choice would be nice. That's pretty much all I have to say on the subject. Results day (17th August) is looming and all I'm trying to do is forget about it and not stress myself out over it!

YouTube & Blogging

YouTube is going pretty well! We're going away for a bit at the end of August so my goals are to get a few more videos filmed to schedule through our holiday so I'm all set for when I get back. I'm on 166 subscribers now so growth is going okay, if anyone fancies giving me a bit of extra support it would be lovely ♥. My blog is something else I need to get on top of - I've put both YouTube and blogging on my habit tracker so I'm trying to do something related to each every day, whether that be editing or taking pictures or making a thumbnail or brainstorming more ideas - at least I'm contributing to it.

Health

Obviously the working out will continue through August, and I'm also aiming to eat a bit more but also a bit more healthily, I eat terribly! However, I don't want to start obsessively counting macros and calories because I feel like my headspace will get a bit confused if I start getting obsessed over my food. I like the idea of intuitive eating that Grace Fit UK does (she's like my holy grail, her insta workouts are inSANE), as in eating when your body tells you to and eating what your body tells you to. Seems like a good way of eating enough but not too much but also healthily enough. I also need to start drinking more water and taking vitamin and iron supplements more because err...my deficiencies are starting to get annoying. That's what happens when you don't eat fruit for eighteen years and probably won't for the rest of your life.

Read more

As in, classics. I feel like starting an English degree and not having read things like Moby Dick and Dickens and Tess of the D'Urbevilles...is not going to help me. 


Basically guys, I'm just going to try my best to get my shit together during August. A nice long trip away at the end should make it all easier!!

Hopefully you all enjoyed this post, let me know what your August goals are like in the comments!

Emilia xx









18 Things In 18 Years




In case you didn't realise, I turned eighteen a week or so ago!! Yep, the big one-eight. I'm an adult. I can buy alcohol. I can do all the things I've been illegally doing...but legally!! Also, I drink wine now. Get me.

Anyway, in order to celebrate (??) 18 years of life, I compiled a list of things I've learned! While I'm not exactly a wise old owl, I feel like I've picked up a few bits of wisdom from my time on planet Earth, so here goes...


1. As Ben Howard says - "keep your head up, keep your heart strong and keep your mind set in your ways". Be unashamedly yourself, all of the time, and people just have to deal with it if they don't like that.

2. You aren't alone. However alone you may feel, I promise you you're not. Mental illnesses house millions of people and not one of them want to be there.

3. Surround yourself with positivity. Get rid of all the toxic and negative people in your life because they aren't going to help you grow. They're just going to hold you back.

4. Never let your mental illness define you.

5. Don't waste time on people who don't care about you the same way you care about them.

6. You're only going to achieve your dreams if you work hard - things don't just happen.

7. But at the same time, remember to give your body and mind rest. Don't burn yourself out.

8. Don't feel guilty about having time to yourself and away from other people.

9. Your school years may not the best years of your life. The best years might still be to come.

10. You look fine without makeup on.

11. Don't feel selfish if you do things for yourself. Stop putting other people's happiness ahead of your own. You deserve to be happy too.

12. Stop giving second chances to people who have done nothing to deserve them.

13. You're going to get your heart broken, but it's okay if it takes you a long time to fix it. It's also okay if you never do.

14. Take photographs of everything. You'll regret it in ten years if you don't. 

15. When RuPaul says "if you can't love yourself, how the hell are you gonna love anyone else" he's right. Live for yourself and learn to be happy on your own. 

16. Always know where you stand romantically with people. Life is too short to get emotionally invested with someone who doesn't want the same as yo.

17. Taking as many selfies as possible every time you feel cute is absolutely fine. 



18. Take everything in your stride. Say yes to every opportunity and always live your life the way you want to. Don't let anyone else tell you any different.


Emilia xx


Forward Helix Piercing | Process, Pain and Aftercare


Hey everyone! This is just a quick little post describing my forward helix piercing process! I was going to do this as a YouTube video but it didn't quite fit into my schedule but if you do still want to see that then let me know, or I might work it into a morning/night routine if you want to see exactly how I care for it and so on.

So this is what it looks like...


Background

So I thought I'd add this as a little section just to tell you about my other piercings and how I came to the decision to get my forward helix etcetera etcetera. So I got my first lobe piercings when I was 14, paid for by my parents for my 14th birthday. They were a lil gross because my ears kind of reacted to them, plus I underestimated just how much you need to clean them, so they only properly healed about two and a half years after I got them done, and they're now absolutely fine and I can wear any earrings I like in them. They were pierced with a gun (which, FYI, is a-OK for lobe piercings - I'll explain more in a bit) and the pain on a scale from 1-10 was maybe about a 4.

I got my second lobe piercings with my best friend Rach when I was 16, so about a year and a few months ago. OG readers may remember my post about it! These again haven't fully healed yet, even though I was very religious with cleaning them, but because I have really small ears, she had to pierce through a thin bit of cartilage too, which is why they're taking a little longer to heal than normal. I can change the earrings in them but they have to be stainless steel or sterling silver, or some other hypoallergenic metal that won't irritate them. I tend to stick with these titanium ones that my firsts got pierced with. These I paid for myself, it was £20 for the both of them, and they were done with a needle at a place in town, where I also got my forward helix. It sounds quite expensive but you do get two titanium earrings and amazing service in there. Again, the pain was about a 4, maybe closer to a 5/6 because of the cartilage she had to go through.

So now let's move on to the forward helix piercing...

Process

For people not familiar with the anatomy of the ear, the forward helix is the front bit of cartilage (or where I've got the earring stuck through in the picture).




Cartilage is the basically tough, flexible tissue that runs round the external part of the ear and connects it to either side of your head (I can't think of a better way of describing it!!). Because cartilage is quite firm, it hurts a lot more. Also because of this, you absolutely MUST get it pierced with a needle if you're going to get it done. In other words, go to a proper piercing shop, not a jewellers where they'll just do it over the counter. It'll cost more, but be so much better in the long term. Here's why. (If you're squeamish, skip this bit!)

The needle cartilage is pierced with is actually not solid - it's a very thin, hollow tube that is the same width as the barbell they push through the hole. Because of this, when they push it through the cartilage, a tiny cylinder of your cartilage is actually removed from your ear when they do this, to make room for the earring to go in and not interfere. You see, because there's a section of cartilage being removed, it can't try and grow back, if that makes sense? Obviously this is a pretty painful process, but if you get it done with a gun it's worse, becuause the gun basically just forces the earrign through the skin and doesn't actually make room for the piercing, just pushes it all to the sides, which can cause your cartilage to shatter, which means all sorts of issues in the long run.

In summary, while you might not like the idea of getting a section of your cartilage removed with a needle, in the long run it's healthier and a lot better for you and your ear.

So in all, my forward helix piercing cost £25, and I got it done just over four months ago! The pain was quite high, about a 6 on the scale, and since it's been behaving pretty well, it's not bled or anything except from right after I got it, and while it gets crusty and icky, that's all part of the healing process.

Aftercare

Aftercare for forward helix piercings is much the same as lobes, but it just takes longer and it also might be a little more painful. A lot of piercing places will tell you different things to use to clean them, but I've found for my seconds and forward helix just using a basic saline solution worked better than using spirit solution like I was told to for my firsts. So here's how to clean it:

- Saline solution is really easy to make, it's just quarter teaspoon of salt dissolved in sterile water (you sterilise water by boiling it)

- Make sure the salt is 100% rock salt. Some salts have chemicals and preservatives in that aren't going to help the healing process

-  Remember: your piercing is an open wound with exposed cartilage. This means taking care of it like you would any other wound.

- Clean it every morning and every evening. I was told to do it for ten weeks but do it for however long your piercer tells you.

- It won't heal fully in this time. Cartilage piercings take anywhere between six months and a year to get to 100% health. The ten weeks is just a guide, and after this you can start changing the earring etc.

- Soak a cotton wool ball in the saline and hold it over the piercing for 5-10 minutes

- Getting into the inner rim of the ear can be hard so go in with a cotton bud too and just give it a thorough clean right inside.

- Try not to put too much pressure on it, knock it or fiddle with it too much.

- Wash your hands before cleaning it, because your hands collect all sorts of bacteria that won't help the healing process either.

- If you have any concerns about unusual swelling, redness, excessive bleeding or anything out of the ordinary, go back to the piercing shop and ask for advice.


Things to think about before getting another piercing!

I thought I'd add this section in just because no one told me some of these things when I got mine and I wish I'd known some of these or thought about them first! 

- Are you going to be doing anything that could damage it soon after? For example, we went skiing about four weeks after I had mine done - piercings do not like being squashed under a helmet! Also think about nights out too.

- Are you getting a haircut anytime soon after? You'll probably have to tell your hairdresser because if they knock it unexpectedly that could disturb it.

- Think about which side you sleep on! My sister told me about this before I got it and to be honest I didn't think about this so it's pretty important!

- If you're planning on getting your conch done, I'd think about the size of your ear and how headphones are going to fit in there. Also, think about the size when it comes to lobe piercings and daith piercings too!


I think that's all I have to say on the subject, if you have any more questions on piercings I'll try my hardest to answer them! I'm obviously not a piercings expert but hopefully I can help even a little bit!!

Emilia xx





The End Of Another Era



You might remember that about two years ago I wrote a blog post called The End Of An Era, which I wrote at the end of Year 11 and after I'd done my GCSEs. Well lads, the time has come to do it again , as I've now finished Year 13, which means I'm simply just done with education, which is an extremely weird thing. You can read my post exam thoughts here if you're interested!

Anyway, the end of Year 13 obviously brings the Leaver's Ball, or prom as it's more commonly called, and I thought I'd write a lil post just talking about the night and so on. I was only at my last school for two years, but at the end of the day it's still pretty heartbreaking to be leaving behind some of the closest friends I've ever made. It's also pretty gutting that I never managed to have a conversation with approximately 75% of my year too though...

Anyway jokes aside, onto the more trivial things...


So my dress was from JS Boutique, I actually bought it ages and ages ago for a different black-tie 18th which I ended up wearing something much less formal to, but I kept this for prom so I didn't have to bother with searching for one. I did find a different dress, a coord set from Boohoo which I was going to wear but decided not to because body issues ygm. Thought I'd go for something a little more comfortable for me and within my comfort zone!




Thought I'd chuck in a few lovely photos of my lovely lovely friends because they are the BEST ever.




I did my hair and makeup myself, my hair I literally chucked into a messy bun and put lots of product in my hair to stop it frizzing and that was basically it. My makeup took a lil longer but I loved how it turned out! I went with a pinky/brown smoky half cut crease with some champagne glitter because honestly, if you can't cover your eyes in glitter for prom when can you?! I'll put makeup details over on my makeup Instagram soon, and I'll try and film a makeup tutorial on this look soon because I loved it so much.

At the end of the day, prom was a fun night with a lotta laughs even though me and my mate Jensen were the only ones who couldn't go out afterwards since we're not 18, so we went back to mine afterwards with plans to watch High School Musical but we were both exhausted so decided not to in the end and just went to sleep. Wouldn't have been able to hack the sesh even if I'd been able to *cry laugh emoji over and over*. Two of my close friends Joel and Abbie won Prom King and Queen as well which was absolutely perfect as they are both such wonderful people.

The worst part of prom was the fact I had to get up and go to a five hour shift at work (yes ya gal got a job in a lil eco farm cafe near where I live) the next day - on my feet, all day, my still aching feet from wearing a pair of stupidly high heels all night.

Fab night with fab people and here's to a fab summer.

Emilia xxx