It has been a busy few weeks, as you have seen by some of my posts on my Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages I have been writing lots of little quotes and phrases. I have been enjoying doing these, sharing the little phrases that have been helping me through the difficult days, or even the good days when I think its just all too good to be true! (we all get moments like that right?)
I have started to have some virtual conversations with some amazing people who are running pages over on Instagram, these people are posting positivity quotes, promoting healthy self-care tips, and wanting to share their own experiences of managing their own wellbeing during difficult times. Many of these pages are run by individuals, and I couldn’t help but wonder what their story behind their page is? So, I asked, like I do. Sometimes. Actually, to be fair it took a lot to send those first few messages, but I did, and I am so glad I did.
When I get an idea, I think things over, and I keep thinking until I convince myself it isn’t going to work. Some of the brilliant people I have been talking to over the last year have been helping me to have the confidence to follow my dreams, and to aim for my best hopes. So that’s what I did. (I need to write about their impact on the path my life has taken, and how much it has changed. See another idea!!!!!) As a result of this I have spoken to some of the kindest people, who like me, want to share kindness, empower others to have hope, and encourage people to never give up.
My hope is to be able to create a safe place online, using Butterflies with Rainbows to accumulate these interviews so that everyone can see these accounts, why they were created without having to go trawling through the internet. To boost mood, self-confidence, encouraging people to be proud of themselves, and their achievements.
Now there are hundreds of people sharing their experiences out there and I am only one person, so this will grow over time, but it will be fun to watch it grow, and exciting to carry on meeting (virtually of course) all the new people from all over the world.
Other news – I think there will be a small number of items available soon from the Butterflies with Rainbows store. I think I am going to be using Etsy for the time being anyway, if anyone has any suggestions PLEASE contact me. These will include postcards (using the quotes which have been written by ME), letters of hope, plus more. Over time content will increase, but it’s still early days.
Finally – One of my other Rainbows came home, That’s 3 of them home. One more to go! I can’t tell you how good this is. There will be more on this VERY SOON!!!!!!
So, as we creep up to Butterflies with Rainbows being live for 2 months, I can honestly say it has been an amazing whirlwind, and so exciting. To read the messages from people, they are truly touching, and I love every single one. I am excited for what the future holds and look forward to sharing the journey with everyone.
Black holes are scary. They are a phenomenon. Like many things that scare us, they are something that we don’t really know much about.
What is it though about them that makes them so scary? Is it the thought of them? Is it the image of them? Or is it simply the fact they are not something that we can physically see on a daily basis?
A black hole! Let’s break it down. A dark space, this can be anything. A physical space, a mental space, an image, something metaphorical. It doesn’t really matter, because to you it is real. Black, why does this make it so much scarier? Black is darkness, no light at all. Leaves us blinded, with no guidance, it’s an empty space.
So, this black hole that we are so afraid of, this mass of space, with no lights, no sense of direction, constantly leaving us feeling lost and empty. Regardless of the direction we turn, or face every view and perspective is the same. Or is it?
The thing with looking at a black hole, is this. The one time we all decide to realise how frightened we are of them is the one time we are staring at them straight in the eye. When we are glaring straight into the middle of it. Now if we were to look into the middle of a hole and turn ourselves around it is going to look huge. The edges are going to seem so far away, much further than we can ever dream of reaching. The distance regardless of the direction we look never appears any better, or closer. Just seems to get further and further away. It is overwhelming, and naturally when it feels like the walls are closing in on us, we go into protective mode. For some people this can mean making ourselves smaller, curling up, protecting our minds physically with our arms and hands, protecting our hearts by folding our legs up to our chests. Does this help with the size of that black hole? Does it make it seem any smaller? Does it make it feel like its even bigger? Darker and even deeper than ever?
The phrase ‘black hole’ insinuates that to have gotten into it we have to have fallen. Or travelled through something to end up where we are at the present moment. What do you think about this? This is a tricky one isn’t it? What if it wasn’t a hole? What if this was in actual fact just a black spot, or a black circle? Something that we happened to stroll across one day, no falling involved, no impressive spinning or tumbling like we would have imagined from watching all those sci-fi movies. It is just there, a black circle on the floor, in the air above us, on the wall infront of us blocking our view. Would we be less scared of it?
If there is no falling involved, and we are still on your feet, this black ‘spot’ as we will call it, is actually flat. How different does it look? A flat shape; standing in the middle of it is only scary if we are looking down. Looking down we can’t see a way out, as with a deep hole, we can turn many times, every direction will always look the same.
Here is the fun bit; if we lift our head up, what can be seen? We may still be in the middle of this darkness, this loneliness and isolation, but the edges can be seen. The light is there, the hope for movement, and the motivation to find a path out of the darkness can be seen. Even if it is out of reach, it can be seen in the distance. The distance may be far away, but it is there. That is the advantage of darkness, even a glimmer of light can be seen. A small little flicker, shining in the distance, will catch our eye, that little glimmer of light is called hope. It is what will keep us going.
Regardless of the size of this black ‘space’ (I am banning the word hole) we have found a way into, there is always a way out. Like anything if there is a way in there is always a way out. We don’t just appear in places by magic, regardless of how amazing that would be (and I would love to quote my favourite film here but then people would realise how geeky I really am), we don’t always have a map, and (unfortunately) we cannot always rely on our phones for directions. We have the most amazing sense of direction built into our bodies, into our brains and our guts. Our eyes naturally notice glimmers of light, our guts will automatically tell us if somethings not right. We have to learn to trust ourselves. To use our eyes to look in every direction among the darkness, when the view is one direction is pure darkness, don’t give up. Remembering we have other places to look, look up, look forward, look back at how far we have come.
Look for that glimmer of light, that sparkle in the distance, remember that dark ‘space’ is only as deep as you allow it, looking at it from a different perspective won’t make it go away, but may mean you see that path of breadcrumbs to guide you out. Look for that path, trust yourself and your instincts. Hold onto that glimmer of hope and watch it grow, see it develop, and light up that damn darkness.
On the 18th February I had the pleasure of chatting with Khadijah. She keeps her Instagram page @journalwithkhadijah up to date with some great content. Promoting positive mental health, general wellbeing, and there are even some delicious recipes on there.
I invited Khadijah to have a conversation with me because of the broadness of information she shares. To begin to learn and listen to others who are promoting for positive mental health and positive wellbeing.
Here is how the conversation went, it was an amazing chat, and I loved (virtually) meeting her.
Thank you for agreeing to do this. I am very excited to write about other people who are spreading a positive word.
It’s such a great idea and lovely way to spread a positive message.
I kind of want you to let me know more about you, and your page. Starting with, what inspired you to start your page?
Well, I’ve always been really passionate about mental health especially because a lot of people close to me have struggled with issues of their own. I feel like I started to get good at understanding mental health issues and the importance of bringing awareness to it- obviously, I still have so much to learn!! But I created the account as a way of advocating for general wellness and keeping me accountable for taking care of myself.
Usually, I post what I feel like I need to hear in the moment. And I feel like this account just helps me stay on track of taking care of myself.
I love that, keeping you accountable for taking care of yourself.
That is so important.
So, with the experiences you have with those that have been close to you, has it changed your perceptions, and your views on how mental health is perceived on social media platforms?
Yes, for sure- it has made me so much more understanding and compassionate with these kinds of issues and I feel like social media & the constant conversation around mental health has helped me understand how to help my loved ones.
I hear you on that one.
Yeah, for sure! Social media is such a powerful tool for this.
So, with your page at the moment, and what you are currently doing with it, what are your best hopes for the future, with mental health perceptions and social media
Well, I hope to inspire my audience to be able to be comfortable discussing mental health/depression/anxiety. I really want to normalize things like “having a bad mental health day” for example…
The need to normalise a bad mental health day would be amazing wouldn’t it?
Also, in my country there are not a lot of resources for mental health to help people who are struggling. I really want to help out with that in some sort of way- even if it’s just using my little corner of the internet.
What are resources like there?
Here there are lots of helplines, but they are no good because it’s not trained professionals on the phone. Also access to therapy can be kind of expensive, especially for students who can’t afford it. Overall mental health resources lack a lot of funding and attention from the government/society. But it is slowly getting better as the awareness & movement increases.
So online is easy access.
In the past I’ve called helplines for my friends & they don’t really provide any advice for people who are struggling. Rather, it’s there for people in extreme crisis but there is nothing to stop people from reaching this crisis, If that makes sense.
That makes so much sense. It is similar here. A crisis line will tell you unless you are going to do some serious damage then they can’t help you. It is a shame, because the help and intervention needs to be earlier.
Yes, exactly which is so frustrating.
So, can I ask, what keeps you motivated? what keeps you positing content, and not giving up?
Honestly, there are some days where I feel down and I might be having a bad mental health day so that’s when I create my content because I always post the things I need to hear in that moment.
Also I don’t really create my content for followers or attentions, I create it for the small amount of people that do need it and need a little boost throughout the day and that’s the thought that keeps me going with this
Posting what you need to hear.
Yeah, exactly and I think that’s what Keeps my content authentic.
It is authentic, that’s what I love about it.
Aww thank you so much 🙂
I think if it is true from the heart, it speaks volumes.
Some of the most powerful things that I have taken from this conversation that I feel are such valuable lessons to learn and share with others are “Keeping me accountable for taking care of myself” This is such a key message, to be able to recognise what will be helpful, beneficial to others but also keeping yourself grounded and in check as well.
On speaking with Khadijah, it is clear that it doesn’t take someone with heaps of qualifications in mental health, or self-care to be able to spread the message of hope. To share some kindness and show compassion to those around you at difficult times. As Khadijah explained in Canada the helplines are useful for those in extreme crisis, but what about those who aren’t there. By doing her little bit to provide encouraging words, tips and tricks that she finds helpful and useful to her followers’ people are able to develop the tools they already have, to try and manage, and hopefully prevent that crisis escalating.
Having the hope to normalise a bad mental health day, is something that resonates a lot with me. There remains a lot of stigma related to mental health, and needing to take a day to slow down, rest, recharge yourself. Despite it being recognised that at times it is just needed, yet it still seems to a grey area in many places.
If you want to go along to check out @journalwithKhadijah on Instagram just click on the link. I am sure she would love to see you over there.
This has been lovely, Come back soon to see who I am speaking to next!
So this is a bit controversial but do you think we need to be less harsh on ourselves? I mean in all senses! Physically, mentally, emotionally, literally!
There is a saying that we are our own worst critics. How true do you think this is? What are your own expectations of yourself compared to the expectations you have of other people around you? Do you have higher standards for yourself? Have you ever wondered why? To this day I have never asked why I set myself such high standards, until recently that is. Now I question myself why we are all so much harder on ourselves on numerous occasions.
I can only personally vouch for females (because hey, that’s me) but I am pretty sure I speak for everyone, including men, teens, young adults, basically everyone! DO WE NEED TO BE SO HARSH ON OURSELVES?
I sit sometimes and wonder if my son or daughter, or a friend came up to me and repeated some of the things I tell myself I’d be horrified. I’d be defending them, telling them they are overthinking things, and that they are perfect just the way they are. So why is it so hard to believe it of ourselves. What would you do if it were one of your friends or family members coming to you saying the things that you tell yourself in the mirror? What response would you give to them?
Now I am going to pick on the girls a bit here (sorry about that) but we put ourselves through a lot. Literally! To be fair some of it is quite disgusting too. If we stop for a moment and think about it, we have to deal with the upheaval of our emotions on a monthly basis (if we are lucky to get that long) with our periods and let’s not even start with the level of anxiety around that dreaded letter landing through your door for that ever anticipate (whispering) smear! So why the heck do we then beat ourselves up for spending an extra 10 minutes in the bath, or eating that extra scoop of ice cream? (cookie dough, vanilla, or strawberry cheesecake – the votes are open)
We push ourselves to be the best we can be all the time. Yet when we feel like we fall short of that mark we think it over and ask ourselves why didn’t we do better? We look at all the things we didn’t finish, or we had to leave for another day. Instead of looking at all the things we achieved, and feeling proud, telling ourselves that we actually achieved a lot today we choose to focus on the negatives. Yet automatically we encourage those around us to stay positive.
How often have we individually sat and mulled over a piece of work because its just not good enough, a blog post because it isn’t reading quite right (me! me! me!), sat down in the evening looking at the pile of ironing that needs to be done but just don’t have the motivation to do it.
Yet what did you do instead? That one piece of work may not have been completed, but the other three or four pieces were completed, or the research and the planning for it were done in preparation. That blog post isn’t reading right, but the ideas are there, and it has a really good basis laid down. The ironing might not be done, but for the first time the laundry basket is empty, and you are actually sitting down with a drink that you desperately deserve. These are all amazing achievements.
It isn’t just us girls that do this, everyone does this at some point. What would the benefits be if we all ended the day thinking about what we have done well, looking at the things we have completed in the day, rather than the things we didn’t finish. What differences do you think that would make? With trying to change a mindset it can change your perspective. There are many advantages to this. If you are able to find positivity and hope within yourself, and find focus on your own achievements, then it’ll be possible to encourage those around you to do the same. You will be pleasantly surprised at the impact you can have on those around you by taken a small step on your own journey.
A change in perspective on anything can give you a different view, a bigger view, and something that looks much brighter, positive, and more hopeful. So, if at the end of today you were to sit and ask yourselves, “what have I done today that I am proud of” how many things could you think of? If you can only think of one small thing, that’s amazing, keep asking it every day, and you will find something daily, eventually it will get easier. Then see if you notice how those conversations in the mirror change. Will you continue to be so harsh on yourself?
Every day is a new day, a day to start with a fresh pair of eyes. Ican’t even imagine how many people just rolled their eyes and thought ‘easier said than done’. It is easy to say, but let’s think about it for a while. If you started each day with the worries from yesterday who is it going to benefit? How will it help you? Most of all what will you achieve? Let’s look at life like it’s a giant jigsaw puzzle. Each hurdle, obstacle, bump in the road (come on we know I like that phrase) is a different piece of the puzzle. How we approach this puzzle, and how we tackle finding where each piece fits can show us how the days are going. One step at a time.
It is a new day, time to get working hard again and put the puzzle pieces in place one by one.
Remember if it doesn’t fit one way, turn it round till it fits. It’s the only way. Keep going, one piece at a time. Some days you may only find one piece will get put in place, other days more. Then there are days like today.
A day like today when you wake thinking ‘I’ve got this’ but then your stomach starts churning, so you sit, and breathe. In and out, in and out. At least that bit is still working. Now to check for the legs. Stand up, and the room spins, so is that the legs or the head not working? Stay sitting down and try again in five minutes. After several failed attempts you manage to crawl into another room and just lay there on the floor, breathing in an out, reminding yourself not to stop. Worried that if you don’t remind yourself to breathe you won’t do it. After what feels like an eternity of attempts to sit up and realising the room is no longer spinning you give yourself a little cheer as you begin to successfully get on with the day.
When faced with a large task there are a few important things to remember. In order to complete a puzzle you must remember to eat, only then the stomach churns more, wondering what will be safe? Bread, that should be ok surely. Let’s stick with bread. As the stomach churns more you realise over the next half an hour that bread was not a safe option.
Still turning this puzzle piece round in the grip on your fingers trying to make it fit, beginning to confirm your thoughts that this is definitely going to be a tricky one today. You don’t give in though, you know you have got to keep trying. Nothing will ever get completed if you don’t keep trying.
Standing there you look down at your outstretched hands. Just as you thought, shaking and sweating. Only now you start to question yourself on how you’ll complete anything like this; figuring that keeping busy will be a sensible step. Keeping busy in the heat however requires you to drink. Your poor stomach.
This puzzle piece is a lot more challenging that you thought, so much so you begin to wonder if it actually belongs here. Or is it a rogue piece? Still persist you will. Let’s try again, this time though let’s try and see if it’ll fit after talking, some thinking and making a plan. After all if you plan for any eventuality then it has to work. Right?
A plan, reassurance, and a little boost of confidence and look at that. That little puzzle piece slotted straight in its place. The churning feeling in your stomach eased, and those shaking hands? They’ve settled too. What was it about that piece that made it so hard?
Now onto the next piece, do you think two pieces in a day? Should you do it? After the success of the other piece the motivation and energy to attempt another piece is brimming, and so you go for it.
The next one is a tricky piece, it has lots of notches on it, and you need to make sure they all line up to make it work in your puzzle. This looks like a scary piece to fit, so you better get it over with. Fear can make pieces seem harder than they need to be, like a shadow in the dark. Once the light shines on them though the reality is they are small and harmless. It is just one piece, how much damage can it cause?
Turn and twist, can it work? Looks like it should. But wait hold on, what’s that? Just as you thought you had it, and extra notch appeared. Another hurdle to overcome, another challenge, another set of obstacles. This isn’t where it belongs after all. The frustration builds up, the tiredness sets in. The determination to get this right despite extra hurdles starts to build inside. So you keep going.
Careful now as you prise it out of that space, you don’t want to……. oh you did it. You shouldn’t have pulled it so hard, or got so angry with it. Now look what’s happened.
How many pieces came out with it?
How far back did you fall this time?
As the day comes to an end you pick up the pieces that fell. Are you picking them up alone? You don’t have too. Everyone needs a helping hand sometimes. What would happen if you asked for someone to help collect those pieces that fell? What can you do to prepare for another day tomorrow?
This is the advantage of a new day, each day is a new opportunity to face the puzzle again, to try again and have another go. To not give up and to hold on. You are not alone. Have hope and believe in yourself that any puzzle can be completed no matter how many times the pieces fall to the ground.