I’m A Mum To A Suicidal Teen.

Please before you read this, check in with yourself, this blog mentions topics that may be a trigger to yourself, or those around you. If you don’t feel that you are in a OK space to read it at the moment, that’s alright, flag it and read it later. Tell someone you want to read it, so that you can do it together, so you’ve got someone to talk about it with afterwards. This may help some people, it isn’t intended to make anyone else feel any worse. Self care and self check ins are so vital when it comes to mental health. My DMs are always open and so are my emails. There are also other services available for support and advice, please utilise your local areas resources should you need further support.

When I first became a parent I had the image in my head of the parent in all those books. You know the ones, in the fields surrounds by wild flowers, in the perfect floaty dress, children smiling around me, and me looking ecstatically happy. Little did I know my reflection would be more like dark circles under my eyes, hair styles that consisted of alternating between a messy bun and a ponytail depending on the length of time I can hold my arms up that day, baggy tees to cover the untoned, unkempt midriff that has kindly carried my amazing butterflies into this world, not to mention the permanent glazed over look in my eyes which is thanks to the permanent state of exhaustion despite probably consuming enough caffeine to switch my entire blood volume over the years over to coffee! Now that’s the image they never put in the parenting books! I wonder why???

They also never put the images of the parents sitting there looking at their phones redialling their teens phone numbers over and over in the hope they will answer, in the hope someone will answer. Or the images of us mums (or dads) sitting there crying as the worry and guilt floods us and the emotions are just overwhelming, not knowing what it is that we’ve done wrong to upset our child in that moment, when the chances are it is something that can be resolved if only the emotions on both sides just hadn’t got involved in the first place.

Every parenting image that I had in the beginning was a positive one, was a happy one, was one which involved a good memory, something that would be exciting and fun. The reality is the complete opposite.

If you’ve read my previous blog ‘Never Give Up’ you’ll know I’ve been on a bit of a journey with one of my butterflies recently. If you haven’t read it, please do. It’ll give you a back story to this blog and highlight how amazing my young one really is. With every butterfly going through a difficult time, battling the difficult challenges of mental health, is a parent trying to be a parent. By my butterfly there is me, her mum. Reality struck the other day when I was with her in the hospital and someone asked me “how are you managing being a mum of a suicidal teen?” That one question alone made the reality of everything shine so bright in my head, not necessarily how am I managing, but that is my child, and not only is that my child but you are right. I am a mum to a suicidal teen and that’s actually really fucking hard.

Sitting back in the hospital next to a bed that is housing my amazing butterfly, wrapped up in a mixture of hoodies, blankets, headphones and drowning the world out with music, I find myself thinking an awful lot. What did I miss? Could I have stopped this? What did I do wrong? Could I have fought harder for her? Should I have fought harder? Should I have said no more often? Should I have said yes more often? Did I hide everything properly?

Why didn’t I hide everything well enough? What if no one had called? What if she hadn’t have text her friend? What triggered this? Where do we go from here? Will she hate me for not staying all the time? Will she hate me for being here? Am I being too much? Am I too selfish and missing the point altogether here?

“Every parenting image that I had in the beginning was a positive one, was a happy one.”

@butterflieswithrainbows

Those are just some of the million and one questions that were running through my head in the first few hours, I had zero answers. None, now for those that know me and read my blogs will know that I always have answers. Not this time. I was empty. I wanted to hold my butterfly and pop her into a protective cocoon and not let anyone or anything near her. That wasn’t the solution either. What was the solution? What was the best next step in this situation? Was anyone going to tell me what to do? Why didn’t anyone tell me this in those parenting books? Why isn’t this taught to us?

How can I be a mum to someone who constantly ends every sentence with ‘if I live that long’? Well for starters, I can be. Everyone can be. Because when we became a parent, wether that’s a parent from birth, marriage, adoption, foster, you have that agreement in your heart and brain to stick by your child, no matter what. It can be hard, and it is really hard, especially to see the light go out in their eyes, but it’s our role to help them see that light is still burning. It’s just a bit of a smaller flame at the moment. That little flicker of light they need to see, is hope.

How was I managing to do this? I had to be sure I can hold on to hope first. Knowing my own families strengths, what their dreams are, what they want to be able to achieve, their best hopes. Not to be afraid of having those scary conversations. It’s true what they say, asking about someone’s mental health doesn’t create mental health difficulties.

“No one tells us that as a parent we will spend most of our lives scared, but filled with so much love it actually hurts.”

@butterflieswithrainbows

Despite all of that, I’ll admit getting a phone call to say ‘your child has od’d your needed at the hospital now’ is one which I won’t ever forget. Knowing that it had only been a matter of hours prior that I had hugged her, told her I loved her, and seen her smile. That tsunami of emotions and confusion came crashing in only (if I’m honest) it hasn’t fully hit yet. In movies you can pause a scene, which is kind what it feels like all those emotions and thoughts did in that moment, just hovering at the peak of the wave, dripping every now and then. Allowing me time to rush around underneath so that there won’t be any damage when that wave falls. This was a week ago now, a whole week since that call, yeah.

The last 7 days have been taken one day at a time. Every single day I’ve been asked by my butterfly ‘I might get to go home today right?’ And I’ve had to have the conversation about how she’s safer where she is, we have a laugh and a joke about how she will have to start thinking about redecorating her room, but the message remains the same. You need to stay safe. As a parent that’s all we want for our children isn’t it? Even if those decisions are the hardest ones to make, and can feel like they are ripping our hearts in two.

Being a parent in this situation teaches you things books can never ever teach. The ability to listen from afar, you know what I mean right? Those mumbles which are then followed up with ‘why weren’t you listening?’ Believe me when I say you learn to listen to everything, not a word goes un-missed because nothing gets repeated, if you need it repeated you get ‘it’s fine’ or ‘it’s not important’ or the best one ‘told you no one listens.’

The ability to make alternative games out of anything! Literally, have you ever tried to play Jenga with the blocks the opposite way? Or half the blocks and play against each other? They also make an amazing domino run, and not mention build a fabulous castle.

You learn the ability to look for smiles. Those moments that would normally go unnoticed now become moments to be held onto. When you walk in and see a small smile, and choose to respond with ‘that’s nice to see’ rather than with nothing at all. Or when you see a smile appear and choose to ask who’s send that message that made you smile, the smiles that appear because you played a game together, watched a YouTube video that you wouldn’t normally do, or even just sat in silence because at the moment that’s what was needed and it didn’t go unnoticed. You learn that the smallest of smiles can be the sign of thank you, I appreciate you, I needed that.

“Having the confidence to be bold enough to ask ‘can you keep yourself safe tonight?’ And being prepared for that answer to be ‘no’ so your own emotions don’t throw you off guard.”

@butterflieswithrainbows

You learn patience, so much patience. I never knew how patient I was able to be until now. That mum voice inside of me still tells me to just get on with everything, to just give that hug, just pour that drink, hand that sandwich or snack over. Instead I’ve learnt that it’s better to do things differently, ask if it’s ok to have a hug today? I’m pleased the answer is yes more often than not, and I can’t even explain the emotions when I heard the words ‘I want a hug’ the other day. It took a lot of will power to not squish my beautiful butterfly. To offer time and space, and understand that it’s not hate that pushes me to the edges. It’s just the moment in time, and time passes, so will this moment. Just because being there, sitting in silence doesn’t mean much to one person, it might mean everything to someone else, so not to criticise it, that doing stuff all the time is exhausting, and draining.

You learn that the person you thought you knew is still there. It’s so easy to think ‘who are you?’ Or ‘I don’t recognise this person anymore,’ but they are there. Showing the love, care and kindness you have will bring that person to the surface. Will show that you love every bit of your child, their colourful wings as well as the version of them that isn’t able to fly as high. Shows you will always be that consistent person by their side, on whatever level they are on. Wiping tears of sadness or wiping tears of joy, you’ll be there. Every now and then that laugh creeps out, their little quirks can be seen, the excitement for life try’s to spark up.

You learn when these sparks are there to grab them with both hands, to pounce on them quicker than your cat pounces on the mice in the fields. To hold them, and cherish them, water them, and help them flourish. Talk about them and fill these sparks with love, wonder, and excitement. With Hope. Before handing them back to continue their growth within your butterfly, for them to become embedded into bigger sparks. In the hope that the next time a brighter spark can be seen when you look in their eyes.

You learn to hold in how much it hurts, to walk away at the end of every day knowing you’re leaving your butterfly alone. Hoping they are strong enough, hoping they will be ok, hoping that despite all the positives in the day that something stuck. Just a piece of it. Knowing it’s hard, knowing they don’t want to see you upset, but you don’t want to see them upset either. Knowing that your own butterfly is just as stubborn as you are, which makes you proud, but scared at the same time. You question if you really did enough that day, knowing your butterfly will tell you you’re being dumb!

None of these things get taught to us, we have to just wing it and hope we do ok. We rely on the guidance of others to help us through, to tell us how it’s going.

No one tells us that as a parent we will spend most of our lives scared, but filled with so much love it actually hurts.

No one tells us that as a parent we will go through excruciating painful times that we have zero control over, and it leaves us feeling guilty, isolated, ashamed, overwhelmed, over protective, and cautious of the world we live in.

I write about this not for sympathy, not for pity, but because I know there are other mums, dads, nans, grandpas, aunts, uncles, carers, brothers, sisters, friends, all around the world who have been or are in the same boat. Thinking the same questions, and feeling the the same or similar feelings.

The expectation is to sit back and hear the words ‘this is your fault’ ‘you should have done better’ well guess what! This is not your fault. This is nobody’s fault, not yours as the adult caring for your teen, and most certainly not your teens fault either. This is the situation that we have found ourselves in and the way to work through this is one day at a time. An hour at a time if needed. You are not alone in this journey and there are others fighting alongside with you, encouraging their own butterflies to rest, gather their strength, and looking towards a more positive future.

“Being next to the bed holding your child’s hand is not your fault. Leaving them in a place of safety to receive treatment and care is not nice, but you are not abandoning your child.”

@butterflieswithrainbows

The main focus will always be on our butterflies, to aid their recovery. As their parent it’s important to check in with yourself too. My own butterfly (as frustrating as it is at times) is all too aware of how other people are managing, and does this with me. Keeping ourselves physically and mentally strong enough to keep that flicker of Hope going is important for us all. If that means taking those few moments to yourself to get a coffee and let the tears flow, that may look like taking a day to just off load and recharge with a trusted friend, however it looks, our own strength bounces off of those around us. So again another thing no one tells us is to be sure to make time to check in with you, how are you managing. Acknowledge how hard it is, because it really really is, but you’re doing great. You know your young person better than anyone, you know how they will respond to your words. If you can, tell your butterfly if you’re having a tricky time, believe me when I say right now they know what a bad day feels like, they will get you.

Talk, to anyone that’s willing to listen! We have a long journey ahead and any long journey is less scary with a friend or two to chat to along the way. Making sure all plans are clear and support is in place for everyone. Sometimes questions come up in conversations that we don’t even think of when we are asked ‘do you have any questions?’ And just be honest. Don’t feel guilty for taking some time for a bit of self care. The doctors and nurses are used to seeing me doodling or colouring while my butterfly is resting. It’s all about balancing everything.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, having a young person who is suicidal is hard, but it shouldn’t be something to be ashamed about. The world is slowly attempting to break the stigma surrounding mental health so why is it still so isolating as a parent sitting next to that bed? Reach out, because you really are not alone. The more people that talk about this the more awareness there really is, more parents will have the confidence to ask questions, and more importantly not be afraid of the answers.

Being next to the bed holding your child’s hand is not your fault. Leaving them in a place of safety to receive treatment and care is not nice, but you are not abandoning your child.

The things your child will remember in this time (from my own butterfly) holding my hand by my hospital bed, coming to see me every day, calling every day, bringing my favourite blanket, taking me for a walk to by nice food and a tasty drink, you making funny jokes about the disgusting food, doing my laundry and making the clothes smell like home, you bringing my phone charger so I can use my phone, reminding my to shower so I can smell good and make the ward smell like a beauty parlour.

These are what make the moments count, these are what matter, these are the moments to focus on.

I hope that reading this has helped some of you feel less isolated, and less lonely. I know I can say that this is definitely one of the most unexpected experiences I ever thought I would have to go through personally, and still feel totally unprepared for what the next few days, weeks or even months will bring. Accepting that I am a mum of a suicidal teen has actually been one of the most grounding things ever. I’m not just a mum of a teen with mental health issues, saying it as it is has helped me manage it better and see the world a bit better, to understand that actually it isn’t as simple asking once a day ‘are you ok’ and walking away. It’s a lot more deeper than that, more complex, and I’m ready to fight this with my little big butterfly all the way so we can both fly high together when the time is right.

I hope that you are feeling ok after reading this, please reach out if anything has upset you, left you with questions, of just left you feeling a bit unsure. Talking about mental health and suicide is a sensitive subject and as at the beginning of you need to seek help then please utilise the support networks in your local areas. Take care. 🦋🌈🦋

Feeling silenced, but the words will soon fly free.

Interview with @burstingmybubblesblog the fabulous Charlotte.

I had the opportunity to have an amazing conversation with the fabulous Charlotte, who is not only a fabulous mental health advocate on Instagram, but she also has her own blog page as well.  Charlotte is from Sheffield and loves to travel.  You can find much more information about her by checking out her blog right here, https://burstingmybubbles.com/worsbrough-reservoir/ Over on Instagram you will see a tonne of positivity, and an impressive layout of videos, reels, and don’t forget to take your morning brew and share this with her in the mornings.  One of my personal favourite activities.  When we met we had a talk about a few things, it was a very exciting time as Charlotte had just celebrated the release of her first product online as well.  Read on to see the conversation we had, and to check out the links where you can find more information about @burstingmybubblesblog

I have some questions, but in general it is more of a getting to know you and more about your page.

OK sweet

First of all, can you tell me about what was it that inspired you to start your page?

Do you want me to voice note or type lovely?

Up to you. if you can type it will be best for me for writing the blog but what is easier for you.

So, for me I’m incredibly scared of a lot of things. And I live in a little bubble. So, to push myself I sometimes have to pop that bubble I do have a blog post on it of that would help?

ooohhhh I can happily include the link to your blog that would be super useful.

Pushing ourselves out of the bubble is sometimes the hardest thing ever.

I’ll send you the post that addresses that at the end.

Amazing thank you.

It’s so hard to push ourselves sometimes and I’ve really had to work at it.

Which came first? your blog or your Instagram?

They came the exact same time as I joined a blogging programme.

ooohhhh interesting.

Yeah by @anitahendrieka!

How did you find that?

Instagram.

Cool.

May have a look.

Do she’s amazing.

How long have you been running your page for now?

I found her by choice, I was at that stage when I knew I didn’t want to do what I was doing anymore but I didn’t know what I wanted to do.  I knew I wanted to do a travel blog but didn’t know how to do it.  I came across her and she has her own blogging course, honestly, she is that amazing, I have renewed my membership with her now for my fourth time, I have been working with her now for over a year. She’s amazing. Working with her for the past year I’ve got my own accommodation sponsorship, I’ve got my own products and stuff, it is really good.

That does sound amazing.

I will look her up.

Since you have had your page up and running what have you been pleased to see? What have been your wow moments?

I know one of them.

Getting accommodation and brand sponsorships, creating my own products, being able to help people!

They are all pretty big things, aren’t they?

Sooo what inspired the creation of your first products? The Travel Anxiety Kit.

It’s something me and my mum both suffer from and we couldn’t find any help so did it ourselves.

Amazing, so if there isn’t something that you need, then create it yourself.

With the creation of your posts, your blog, and obviously your products, how do you keep yourself motivated?

It can be hard, and I definitely have my bad MH days. My partner is incredibly supportive, I’m a coach myself so my clients keep me going, and my family!

A good support around you is always helpful, I was going to ask what do you do to help yourself on the bad days? How do you support your own mental health when you’re supporting so many other people online and in your role as a coach?

So, I create a personalised plan for myself and my clients. I give myself an attainable to do list so I feel successful.

I know you’ve kind of answered it with the having the support of your partner, but it is there anything else that you do?

I’ll go out even if it’s just on my doorstep
And I make sure I eat!

I am also really open about my MH, so I talk about how I’m feeling

Also, what are your hopes for the future of your blog and page?

I’m transferring it into being my full-time job.

That sounds so exciting.

Thank you!

You are so inspirational.

Those were all the actual questions I have, was there anything that you specifically wanted me to add into the blog for you?

If you send me the details for your blog, I will be sure to include that in

Thank you for inviting me!

Here is a link to my blog.

https://burstingmybubbles.com

Perfect thank you. Are you only on here? do you have a Facebook/twitter account that you post on

I do have a fb group.

Ahhhh amazing!

Eeek thank you so much!

What an inspirational young lady, who has taken strength from her own anxieties and used this to create something that can be used to help many others.  Using social media platforms to send positive messages and share hope to others around.  Having a blog page that is accessible and full of useful information that can be referred back to again and again.  Charlotte’s sense of humour, character, and quirkiness comes through in all that she does, and her willingness to support others is an inspiration to all.  Check out her socials here,  Mental Health & Travelling | By Charlotte Blackburn | Facebook for her Facebook page. 𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐫 | 𝐓𝐫𝐚𝐯𝐞𝐥 & 𝐌𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐚𝐥 𝐇𝐞𝐚𝐥𝐭𝐡 (@burstingmybubblesblog)  for Instagram, you can find her blog page here, Home – Bursting My Bubbles

Thank you for reading.

Photo by Rebecca Diack on Pexels.com

Meeting with Compassionate Counselling UK, The wonderful Heather.

I recently had the pleasure of meeting with Heather.  We had an amazing conversation about her role as a counsellor.  Heather is the first person I have spoken to who has a professional qualification and is running a page to help spread some hope and inspire others.  As you will see we had some common interests and discovered a shared love of books! 
Heather has an amazing page full of useful information and can also direct you to her professional services if needed.  All of her details are available over on her page Compassionate_counselling_uk on Instagram.
Heather specialises in counselling which is person-centred, so it is focused all on you, and she goes on to explain more about this as we spoke.   Hope you enjoy reading our little chat, and please feel free to pop on over to her page to check out the content she is sharing. 

Hi, and welcome.  I think I explained previously why I was writing these blogs; did you have any questions before hand?

No, I don’t think so, I’m just grateful for the opportunity:)

I am grateful that you have given me your time, so thank you.

I have a few questions which I would like to ask, but it’s really just a bit of a chat, to get to know you, how you came about starting your page, and what your hopes are for the future is that ok?

Yes of course.

So, I know from your about me post you are a person-centred counsellor. How did you come about going into this field? What was it that drew you to this?

Well, I have always struggled with anxiety and during school my mental health gradually got worse. I was bullied a lot and lost a few close family members suddenly so it all took its toll I suppose you could say. I was diagnosed with depression and panic disorder and I used to self-harm, so I have been through a lot over the years. I have also seen a fair few counsellors in that time, and I didn’t feel the right connection with them, and I didn’t feel supported to be perfectly honest. So, I wanted to go into counselling to help and support people who are struggling, because I have been there too, and I know how much of a difference feeling listened to and supported can make. I wanted to be there for people and give them a different experience than I had.

The focus is on the working relationship between client and counsellor in person centred counselling, this is one of the main reasons why I decided to train in this field. Being able to be there and work with the client to help them to help themselves is very rewarding.

I like that you were able to take your own experience, despite it not being the most positive and turn it round to promote your own strengths.

As a result, you are where you are today, and that is amazing.

Thank you, I just wanted to be able to be that support for other people.

How long have you been a counsellor for?

I did 7 years of training, which included both a psychology degree and 2 counselling diplomas. I qualified fully in 2019 but I have been a volunteer counsellor whilst I have been training for the past 3 years now. I decided to try to set up my own private practice earlier this year.

I also used to be a volunteer counsellor for ChildLine which I loved.

That is a long training programme, and a lot of commitment. It definitely shows your passion for the role.

Yes, I am deeply passionate about counselling and raising awareness of mental health.

What was it that made you decide to start up your Instagram page?

Well, I had been thinking about it for a while as I was thinking about starting up my own private practice. Since I had a lot of free time during lockdown (as lots of people did!) I decided, with some encouragement from my sister, to do it and set up my Instagram page.

I wanted to promote mental health awareness, show people that it is ok to not be ok and that there is hope out there. As well as promote my private practice.

Your sister sounds like a good support.

Yes, she is, I do have a lot of support around me.

“Being able to be there and work with the client to help them to help themselves is very rewarding.”

@Compassionate_Counselling_UK

Since you have had your page going, have your views, or practices changed in anyway?

My practice is constantly developing and growing I would say, rather than changing. It is important to keep learning and keep developing yourself as a person as well as a counsellor.

I have learnt a lot from other counsellors and mental health pages on here, there are so many!

Yes, there are, it is amazing how many pages there are with experiences, and knowledge here.

Have there been any standout moments for you in your career that you can share?

I have been fortunate to work with lots of different people who have had a wide range of mental health problems but mostly I have worked with people suffering from anxiety. I had a client previously who was a single parent and was suffering with anxiety due to a past abusive relationship. I worked with her for a good few months, but her progress was inspiring, she was inspiring!

Hearing success stories is soooo nice.

I will never forget working with her, she wanted the support, she wanted to change, and she did it for herself and her child and she “found herself again”.

That is amazing,

Yes, I was so grateful to be a part of her journey.

I was going to ask what is it that keeps you motivated, but I feel like that is probably your answer.

Yes, definitely my clients are my motivation. I just want to be able to continue to support people through counselling for as long as I can.

That’s a rather good motivation.

I think so too 🙂

If you have the motivation to keep going, and you enjoy it then that’s an amazing recipe for success.

“I want to spread more awareness of mental health and the message that there is always hope.”

@Compassionate_Counselling_UK

So, with your work, keeping your page up to date and active, how do you keep yourself balanced? After all it is all important, and so is your own mental health. So, what do you do to keep yourself grounded?

Oh, good question! For me, yoga really helps to keep my mind clear and focused. It helps me to destress.

I also try to get outside when I can for walks in nature, it helps even more when the sun is out, but as we know in the UK that isn’t always the case 🙂

I am also a book lover! Reading helps my mental health a lot actually, I love the escapism they bring.

Getting outside is great when we can.

oohhhh what are you reading at the moment?

I have just finished reading a book called “The Golden Sea” which is book 2 of a series called The Mapmaking Magicians by Emma Sterner-Radley. I am currently reading “Inhibited” which is a complex fantasy by Cerynn McCain.

I am a very eclectic reader.

ooohhh I’ve not read those; I may need to do some research. (when i have finished my course)
I love reading and writing so I read literally anything.

Me too, my bookshelves are jam packed with books I still need to read, but i am always buying more!

Same here, I have an e-reader, but it is not the same as an actual book.

Oh no I completely agree! Although I do read some books on my phone through apple books, nothing beats the real thing 🙂

lol definitely. Literally the sofa, blanket, book, I am sorted. My kids can leave me there for hours.

I just need to get them to read, I have one reader so far. I guess it’s better than none.

You can do it! It is just a question of finding the right book! 🙂

Yes, I agree

“I want to show people that it is ok to not be ok and that there is hope out there.”

@Compassionate_Counselling_UK

I have a final couple of questions for you if that ok, then I will let you get on with your day.

Unfortunately, they are not about books or reading.

That can be for our next conversation.

What a great idea!

What are your best hopes for your page and even your having your own practice? For the future

My hopes are to be able to reach more people who are in need of counselling and mental health support. I want to spread more awareness of mental health and the message that there is always hope. I would also like my page to keep growing and for people to enjoy my posts.

I would like to keep learning, growing, and developing myself and my practice as well.

I love that, it is hard to get the support, and the fact that you want to be able to provide that support and make it reachable is amazing.

Literally would like nothing more.

And finally,

what key message would you want all the readers to hold on too?

That there is always hope and support out there, it is just about holding on and finding it. You are loved, you are cared about, you are not alone ❤️

I love that. Thank you.

I do not have any other questions for you.

you are freeeeeeeeeeeee.

Thank you so much for inviting me for this chat.

Amazing.

I think a book talk definitely needs to happen!

And yes, a book talk most definitely has to be arranged.

Thank you so much x.

So, a massive thank you to Heather for sharing some inside information on herself and showing us the importance of having some down time, and also that we all have a story.  Our own story doesn’t have to define us, it can build us and give us strength to help others and develop us in ways that at times we not imagine.  Watch out for some joint book reviews, as I have a feeling, they may be coming this way soon, now we have discovered a shared love of books, I can’t help but wonder what the vast array of genres spread across our bookshelves, I am very much looking forward to that conversation.  Don’t forget Compassionate_counselling_uk is only on Instagram, you can click on the link anywhere in this post or from my page.  Thank you for reading.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Meet Kate, AKA Creature_of_Kindness.

On the 7th April I had the amazing pleasure of talking with Kate.  Kate is the face and voice behind Creature_of_kindness on Instagram.  We got talking about lots of different things, including managing our own mental health, while juggling studies and work.  Kate has a passion for helping, and to spread kindness to all.  As well as managing this page using her own experiences, she also has been studying law and working.  I was so impressed at how Kate finds time for it all, plus finding time to have a chat with me, but she did and here is how it went.

First things first, when did you start your page? and how did you decide the name for it?

I started on the 13th of January this year. The name was probably the hardest part, especially to find something that’s not already in use. Creature of kindness just popped into my head and because my ethos being the page was really to spread a bit of kindness it just felt right.

I love the name, and that it feels right means it encourages motivation as well.

Thank you!

What was it that made you decide to start your page?

Honestly, it was quite spontaneous. I’d been thinking about doing something to keep me occupied during the third lockdown and it was actually my boyfriend that suggested making an Instagram page to share some of my experiences and lessons I’ve learned. After a few days of thinking about it I just decided to go for it. I guess it was kind of a gut feeling telling me to just go for it.

That is amazing.  Your page has grown a lot since January, what is it that keeps you motivated?

“I’d love to continue to make posts and build my page so that I can reach more people and spread some love and kindness.”

@Creature_of_Kindness

The growth of the page has been so unexpected and I’m so grateful for all the support and positive feedback I’ve received for it. I have connected with some amazing people and pages on here and getting to know their stories has been incredible. I also find it quite therapeutic for me to share some of my experiences and thoughts and if it helps even one person or I can make someone smile then it makes it all worth it.  Meeting with others and getting to know their stories has been a highlight for me as well, I have to admit.

Other than the sharing of experiences, what have you been pleased to see with your page? is there anything that stands out to you?

I love seeing so many people dedicated to ending the stigma around mental health and promoting a world where everyone is kinder to themselves and others. Especially during lockdown after what has been an incredibly tough year for everyone, it’s restored some of my faith in the world.

It is so nice to see, and you are playing a massive part in that as well with your input too.

Thank you, and likewise with your page!

Thank you.  So, with the concept of your page being about promoting positive mental health, how do you manage on days which are difficult? we all have them after all,

I have found that deep breathing and grounding techniques work really well for me when I’m feeling particularly stressed or anxious. I’ve also been working hard on shifting my mindset and looking at things in a more realistic and helpful way, instead of listening to my anxious or negative thoughts. I also try and be proactive about my mental health and set myself up on the good days, so I’m better equipped to handle the bad ones.

That is really useful, and great that you have learnt what helps you.  What are your best hopes for your page in the future? where would you like to see it going in the future?

Honestly when I started the page I never even imagined getting this far! I’d love to continue to make posts and build my page so that I can reach more people and spread some love and kindness. I’d love to collaborate more with other creators too.

That sounds like a great hope. collaborating with others is brilliant to help build stronger messages and spread awareness I find. how about you?

Yes definitely! Especially teaming up with someone who has a different experience or maybe knows more about a particular subject than me so we can share knowledge.

Definitely, sharing knowledge and experiences is so valuable.  I was wondering, is your page your full-time role?

I’ve actually been doing it alongside university, but I finished uni last week so I’m going to have a bit more time to spend on it until I go back to work.

oh yes, I remember you said you were studying.

So, I’ve just finished studying law and my hope is to go into criminal law (a bit of a contrast from this page which may surprise people.

That sounds sooooooo interesting.  Thank you so much for talking with me,

Lovely, thanks so much! I really appreciate you writing this about my page.

It has been so nice getting to know you, and more about your page. I am excited to write this up.

“I love seeing so many people dedicated to ending the stigma around mental health and promoting a world where everyone is kinder to themselves and others”

@Creature_of_kindness

So Kate has a page full of inspiration, hope, and empowerment.  You can take a look at her account here on Creature_of_kindness.  You will find some self-care tips, along with some helpful words on mental wellbeing.  I am so excited for the future of this page, and what posts are to come.  I hope that you can all gain some strength from this page as I have done.

Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com

Meeting with ‘a_ray_of_positivity’

I had the amazing pleasure of meeting with the person behind a_ray_of_positivity the other week.  She is a teacher, of the little cute reception children.  Definitely not something that I could so but how amazing is she?  In amongst all the time keeping little hands and minds occupied and educated a_ray_of_positivity is on a mission to create a space to help others through mental difficulties with her amazing words of wisdom and quotes.  We spoke about a variety of subjects, and how having recently surpassed 1K followers how a_ray_of_positivity will continue her journey and what the future holds.  Read on for more of what we spoke about.

Thank you for taking some time in your busy day to have a chat with me.

 Ah that’s ok.

An amazing way to celebrate hitting 1k followers.

Thank you.

So I have some questions, but in general it is a bit of a chat about how your page came about, and things is that ok?

Yes of course.

Then I will get it written up, and will send you a copy before it goes live on my blog site.

That sounds amazing.

“pay it forward – share positivity and kindness with others around them to make the world a much more positive place”

@a_ray_of_positivity

First of all, can you tell me about your page. When did you start it? and how did you come about the name for it?

I started it previously during May in lockdown last year as I decided to raise money for mind, and run and walk to start with 100 miles and then a week in up it to 200 miles- I ran 41 miles and Walked 159 and raised over £1000 🙂

That is an amazing achievement.

Thank you so much 🙂 I had been thinking for a while to start a positivity page but didn’t know how to go about it- a few of my friend refer to me as a ray of sunshine. and so, having read a card from a friend saying exactly that I started it in February:)

First using other quotes I’d found online and then after I found that a few people shared it and it had taken time with making it pretty for my page… my best friend said you are always sending me positive quotes and sharing them why not do your own and use your thoughts and so I did 🙂

I like that. Listening to what your friends are saying are your strengths.

Excuse the essay 🙂

I love essays, so don’t worry about it

And so, from that I created a logo that I placed on each post that I had taken the time to write myself :)You will see on my page where it started to be me 🙂

I took a look, they are lovely quotes, and I think it is nice when they become more unique and personal to the person who is running the page.

  Thank you ☺️ that means a lot- I had a wobble about two weeks ago when I became quite vulnerable on here as I felt why would people want to listen to my thoughts and feelings you know and actually that’s when people became more aware and engaged with my page.

I would definitely agree- I think being honest and showing vulnerability allows people to relate to what you are posting and feel like their feelings at that time are also valid 🙂

I have battled depression and anxiety on and off since I was a teenager so wanted to try and create a page to be honest and open and allow people to relate to my thoughts- which they seem to which is amazing.

The wanting to create a safe place for others is a theme I am finding in speaking to others who have pages. I think it is an immensely powerful thing and instils a lot of hope when they can see the progress in others.

It’s really helped me mentally too ☺️

The reason for me wanting to create a safe space to direct and encourage people to look at accounts is for similar reasons. True experiences, real stories of hope, and encouragement are sometimes more valuable that people realise.

I totally agree- I think it’s a lot about having empathy and understanding for others who have been through similar things, that they aren’t alone- and during lockdown I feel like that’s been a very common theme for myself included.

I was going to ask why this page is important to you, but I think you have answered that. Is there anything you wish to add for the importance of keeping your page active?

It’s also for me to raise awareness that whatever you are feeling is ok to feel- not everyone is ok and not everyone is struggling you know 🙂

That is true, I also think it’s hard for people to admit they are struggling,

“I’m not just writing for me- you know, I’m writing for all the people who are struggling to express how they are feeling- but my post may well be the catalyst to help them to speak out.”

@a_ray_of_positivity

Ultimately, I’m just a woman sharing my thoughts and feelings and hoping that people can relate to me -you know.

I would like to think many people would say you were more than “just a woman”.

 Thank you that means a lot- I’m also very good at not taking compliments.

Is anyone?

Right now I’m in a very good headspace but I have battled in and off for years and special quotes have helped me throughout- ones that I’ve found or ones that I have been sent- and if my friends themselves are going through a hard time the first thing I will do is find a quit to help them get through the day and if a quote I have written can be that light- the ray as you will to get them through

It means the world just to know that people are ultimately relating to what I have to say and that I am helping people by what I am writing, for example being able to have a place on your blog 💛

Likewise.  This is the reason I am using my blog, to allow people behind the images to have space to be related too.

Yeah no I totally get that- it’s such a fantastic thing to be doing and I really appreciate you taking the time to talk to me and hear what I have to say.

Thank you.

While you have been keeping your page going would you say that keeps you motivated? Even through the difficult days?

Knowing that I can make someone’s day better with the things that I post- that means everything- I’m not just writing for me- you know, I’m writing for all the people who are struggling to express how they are feeling- but my post may well be the catalyst to help them to speak out.

Sometimes it’s just something small to make you think- but I always try and write how I was feeling below to help others to know what made me choose to post what I have posted.  If that makes sense.

Yes that makes sense, I think it is a brilliant way to put it all into context and a spark of realism into what people are reading.

Thank you so much- sometimes I think I waffle too much, but I guess through that my followers get to know what makes me tick a bit more,

Waffling?? have you read my blogs??? Now that’s waffling!

Yes, they are beautiful written with how you feel in that moment 🙂

I over analyse myself constantly.

The fact that you recognise that you do that is a brilliant strength, the important thing is knowing what the next step is in managing it?

We are too harsh on ourselves at times, it’s how we react to that harshness that’s important.

Yes, definitely I think I’ve taken from my page- is that is ok to just be me- with no airs and graces- most of the time I am very bubbly and upbeat- but sometimes I do just need some time to myself and it’s realising that no the depression is not coming back but that I just need some time for myself 🙂

Definitely, and important lesson for all.

Talking of taking things from your page. What would you say are your best hopes for the future of your page?

Just to continue to help people with who are battling with mental health- who through reading my posts know that they can get through it and be all the stronger and more empathetic to others as they do, and like my favourite film- “pay it forward” share positivity and kindness with others around them to make the world a much more positive place xx

If that makes sense.

Yes, that does make sense.  Paying it forward is a great concept to go by.  I hope that it is something that you can continue to get across on your page.

I don’t think I have any other questions for you.  Congratulations again on hitting 1K followers, I see you’ve flown past that now.  I am sure it won’t be long before you hit another milestone and continue to spread your beautiful positive quote to many more followers.

Thank you so much! I know it’s madness. But so lovely.

‘Paying it forward’ what an amazing saying.  It is something that I have heard before but never really considered in on a non-physical level before.  Sure, I have heard of paying it forward when it comes to helping out the person in front of me in the supermarket when they need a hand, or paying it forward to help someone out when they need something practically doing for them.  Paying it forward with support and kindness.  It makes sense, being kind and supportive to others, passing that same level of kindness on that you would expect, one day if you needed it, someone would give back to you.  All of the quotes on a_ray_of_positivity Instagram page are written by herself, so head over and get a glimpse into the wonderful work that has gone into this page.  To take some time out and allow yourself to just think, and who knows, maybe just one or two of them may open that opportunity to reach out and ‘pay it forward’ to someone you know.

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Pexels.com