Tag Archives: Help

Blind Girl Hacks: Top 10 Uses For Vaseline

Blind Girl Hacks; 10 Fab Uses of Vaseline.

There are some things in life which I believe every girl needs,; yes you’ve guessed it Vaseline! Not only is it cheap but vaseline is multi-purpose! here are just a few ideas that I’ve found Vaseline to be fantastic for! And as a blind girl, it’s a double positive!

Primer

This may not be an original thought for those of you who are into beauty and make up, but as an emergency Vaseline can be used as a primer! It gives your face the smooth and glossy look, while also moisturising your skin!

Fix Eyeliner

Whether you’r a pro at putting on eyeliner, or you are just starting out with experimenting Vaseline is a handy way of removing excess eyeliner. Simply uses a cotton bud with a small amount on the end and rub the thickest part of the eyeliner.It will remove it, without messing up the rest of your make up!

Teeth

Sounds a bit strange right? But applying a little amount on your top 6 teeth before applying lipstick will make sure that not only will your lips not stick to your teeth, but if you do have a lipstick stain it can be quickly removed!

 




Lipstick

Applying a thin layer of Vaseline on your lips a minute or so before applying lipstick will give your lipstick extra hold and extra shine.

Lipstick II

Not a big fan of lipstick, or just forgotten it?
Use a cotton bud or lipstick brush and add about a pea-sized amount of Vaseline to the tip.
Using your finger add some eyeshadow to the brush/bud, and gently mix the two. You can now apply your new lipstick shade to your lips.

Highlight/Shine

Add Vaseline to your brow line, cheekbone and cupids bow to give that highlighted/shimmer effect.

Makeup Remover

If your make up isn’t budging with soap and warm water, apply Vaseline to the area and gently wipe with a cotton pad. Be careful around your eye area!
Applying Vaseline to your eyelashes helps give a glossier shine as well as helps the lashes to grow!

Nails

Applying nail polish can be a pain, especially with limited or no vision. Make sure to put a healthy amount around each nail before painting them, it stops the nail polish from staining the finger, and makes the excess easy to remove with a cotton pad.

NailsII

Gently massaging Vaseline into your nails is a great way of keeping your cuticles soft and healthy! If you’re lucky enough to not get varnish on your fingers, use the excess to rub into your cuticles, instead of removing it!
Make sure your nails are dry first! 🙂

Perfume

Applying Vaseline on your sweet spots beforehand, such as wrists, inner elbow and collarbone, keeps the fragrance lasting longer throughout the day.
Don’t rub your perfume, dab it!

I really hope these tips were useful, they certainly make my life easier 🙂

Much love,
Sassy x




20 Ways To Save Money on Your Wedding

With the average cost of a British wedding measuring a whopping £25,000 it’s no wonder people are searching for cheaper alternatives or budget tips.

For those savvy savers, or just looking for ideas to help cut costs i’ve compiled a list of tips to help you stretch your money a little further.

Get married on a different time of the week/ year.

If you get married on a weekday, or in Winter you can save anything from 1/3 to 1/2 off your bill.

Create a wedding website.

There are so many great wedding websites out there, which you can completely customise to suit your theme and personality.
This can save you a ton of money as well as being good for the environment.

Don’t get married in the traditional places.

Unless your heart is set on a church or hotel wedding, opt for local places you can hire and make your own.
Hire a farmers field and have an outdoor wedding.

Hold the ceremony and reception in the same place.

This can save you money on transport as well as stress.
Hosting the big day at a hotel or country house means you don’t have to organise transport and sleeping arrangements could also be included in the price.

Ask a friend/ family to be master of ceremonies.

If you want to make your ceremony more unique, ask a person you care for who is not shy with public speaking to say a few words.
This would not make the marriage legal, so you would have to get legally married either before or after your big day, this again could save you money because your are not paying extra for registry / minister fees.



 

Don’t mention the W word.

Whether you are doing your research online, on the phone or in person, do not mention to vendors that it is for a wedding when you are seeking a cost analysis.
Tell them it’s for a celebration or party, and once a price has been given, explain that it is for a wedding,

Only invite immediate family and friends.

This is definitely a tough one, especially if you both have large families,but weddings are expensive and the food per head is usually a large chunk of your budget.
Don’t invite colleagues, neighbours and distant relatives, this can definitely help trim the guest list down.

Ask wedding guests for their time/ talents as wedding gifts.

Does your nan fancy herself as a florist? Ask her to do your centrepieces.
Is your best friend a keen baker? Ask her to make your wedding cake.
A cousin who can keep a crowd laughing? Ask him to do a 15 minute set to entertain your guests?
There are so many possibilities if you tap into a persons’ creative side, plus, more often than not, people love to be involved and help in any way they can.

Use a credit card for payments.

There are plenty of credit cards out there that can give you up to 5% cash back on purchases You need to pay it off in full every month or you’ll get charged massive interest.
Credit cards are also great because under section 75 of the consumers act, if you pay for an item on your credit card and the item is damaged or faulty, the credit card company is jointly liable and protects you as a consumer.

Buy from the high street or rent.

These days there are some beautiful wedding dresses, morning suits and accessories for a fraction a the price.
High streets realised there is a market for good quality but affordable wedding wear, such as  Debenhams and Asos so you will be sure to find something for a fraction of the wedding industry price.

You can choose to hire suits and this can definitely slash the cost instead of buying outright.

There are also great second hand alternatives such as, Preloved and Sell my Dress and in a lot of cases the dress was purchased but never worn.

Alternatively ask for your party to buy/ wear their own.This may make you feel uncomfortable but if you are trying to save money that can be a great option.
Giving your wedding party an outline of what colour scheme you are going for and giving them free reign to choose their own outfit can make the wedding more personal and relaxed.



Use a courier service to transport your goods.

Whether it’s UK based or even further afield, you may not have the time or budget to collect a bespoke ornament or wooden decorations.This is where Shipley comes in handy, they safely deliver your purchase, using already loaded but not full cargo. They use all available space and resources instead of sending drivers to do one drop off.
This saves the environment and can save you a lot of money too!

Buy your own alcohol.

Depending on where you choose to get married, there may be a corkage fee on your venue.
However if you are staying away from traditional norms and holding your wedding in a village hall, alcohol will be up to you to provide.
A booze run to France can certainly save you some pennies.

Make DIY bunting/ confetti/favours.

If you and your significant other are crafty and also wanting to cut costs, creating your own bunting, confetti and favours can save you a lot of money.
Places such as hobby craft are great for inspiration as well as getting all the materials you could need to create your own special touch to the day.

Don’t hire a photographer/ videographer.

If you have a budding photographer in the family, ask them to take snapshots of your special day.
Likewise ask friends and family who are attending the wedding to take photos and upload them to your wedding website after the big day.
Not only will you have a keepsake but you’ll probably have some candid shots that a professional may not catch.

Don’t hire a DJ or a band.

The price of music/ entertainment for a wedding can be enormous, remember the W word?
If you have musically talented friends or family, ask them to perform, it will make the day more intimate and save your bank balance.

Create your own playlists.

If you want to go super savvy, but not lose out on keeping the party going. Creating a playlist on Spotify can get you and your significant other to put together a list of your favourite songs, again making the day become personal and intimate.
Likewise, if you don’t want to do the legwork, or you and your S.O, have different tastes in music ask your guest to pick a song they like, that everyone can dance to.
This will make your guest feel more involved and take some of the strain off of the two of you.

Don’t hire transport.

If you are holding your ceremony and reception in the same place, that alone can save you money, because you don’t have to pay for transport for you and your guests.
If your ceremony and reception are within walking distance, why not take that stroll with your guests to the venue, it’ll give them a chance to mingle and get to know one another, and give you and your other half time to soak up the atmosphere.
Another option is car sharing, if the reception is close by, you could have a bunch of designated drivers to take your wedding party, just make sure to stick some pretty ribbon to the cars so your guests know it’s the right car.

Buy flowers at local markets.

If you want to save money on a florist, and don’t have any green fingered relatives or friends, going to your local flower market a day or 2 before your big day can be a way to give something back to your local community, as well as getting some gorgeous flowers at a very reasonable price.
The only drawbacks would be, needing to arrange the flowers for your party and reception yourself. as well as getting flowers that are in season and at the market at the time.

Serve wedding cake as pudding.

This is a brilliant idea. By the time you have eaten your share of food, guests are generally too full to eat any cake.
Even if you wrap it up, guests can still leave it behind in their tired or drunken state.
Serving it to your guests as pudding ensures it gets eaten and the bakers hard work has not gone to waste.

Create a honeymoon fund and ask guests to donate instead of giving presents.

As we are in the 21st century and most couples live together before they get married, the traditional registry list can be null in void.
Guests want to gift you with something, and if you have everything you need, asking for donations to your honeymoon fund, will mean less for you to save, and your guests feeling happy that they have contributed to something you truly want!



***
Remember your day is about you and your partner joining together in front of your nearest and dearest. Ultimately the decisions are up to you as a couple. Don’t let others influence you or make you feel bad for including, or not including specific things to your day.

Make sure to ask vendors upfront that if the price they are giving you includes VAT, otherwise this can come as a nasty shock looking at your bill.

Always get EVERYTHING in writing. This means you and your vendors have physical evidence of communication and can stop any disputes in their track.

And most importantly remember, have fun! It’s one day, and it’ll only be you that notices the little things.

*This is a sponsored post, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Working On Your Wellbeing: Is It Time You Paid More Attention To Your Mental Health?

When somebody mentions the word health, what springs to mind? As a society, we tend to focus most of our time and energy on physical health, but what about mental health? When was the last time you thought about how you feel? Mental health should be a subject in which we all take an interest. You shouldn’t have to have a psychological disorder to pay attention to your mental health. The truth is that we should all be concerned about our wellbeing. If you don’t give your mental health much thought, this guide should come in handy.

A lay looking into the sunset with her arms spread

Image from https://www.pexels.com/search/happiness/

 

The importance of mental health

Do you go to the gym or try and be as active as possible? Do you watch what you eat and try and ensure that you get enough sleep every night? Most of us make an effort to look after our bodies, but it’s much less common to go out of your way to take care of your mind. When you hear people talking about mental health, you may assume that this only applies to issues such as depression and anxiety, but this isn’t the case. Everybody should be aware of the importance of mental health. We all have a mind, we all have thoughts and feelings, and we can all do more to try and improve our mental wellbeing.

 

If you’ve never had days when you find it tough to get out of bed or you’ve never been in a situation where you’ve been crippled by anxiety when everyone else around you seems fine, you might not have given mental health much thought. Even if you are happy and content, you’re not immune to mental illness, and it’s always beneficial to try and take steps to reduce your risk of developing psychological disorders and to improve your mood. In the UK, it is estimated that 1 in 3 people will suffer from a mental illness at some point in their lives.

I am happy with a smiley face written on a lined sheet of paper

Image via https://pixabay.com/en/happy-i-am-happy-smile-happiness-725815/

 

What are the signs and symptoms of mental illness?

Part of the problem facing a society that doesn’t like to indulge in open discussion about mental illness is being able to spot potential warning signs and symptoms. If we don’t talk about depression, stress, and anxiety, how can we expect people to understand what’s going on in their head? Everyone is different, and some people experience very different symptoms to others. There’s often a lot of confusion surrounding illnesses like depression, as it’s very poorly understood and it’s hard to express how it feels unless you’ve suffered yourself. It’s very easy for other people to view depression as a condition that can be shrugged off, but the reality is that it’s often a very severe illness. You would never tell somebody to shake off a broken leg, but it can be much tougher to understand mental illness because it doesn’t cause bruising, limping, or any other visible signs. Depression is not just feeling down or having a bad day. It’s going through periods of time when you question your worth, you struggle to control your emotions, and you find it difficult to summon up the energy or the motivation to see friends, get out of bed or leave the house.

The back of a woman who has her head and sholders hunched over apearing sad

Image credit https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Figure_5._Anxiety_can_leave_a_person_feeling_extremely_sad.jpg

 

Help for mental illness

If you are worried about mental health, you’ve been feeling out of sorts, or you’re concerned for a loved one, there is mental illness help out there. You may find that something as simple as having a chat with a family member or a close friend is enough to make you feel better, you may thrive on exercise or meditation, or you might need more intensive help from doctors, counsellors, and therapists. The first step is acknowledging that everything isn’t quite as it should be. Once you understand that you don’t have to fight these battles alone, you can start to move forward. Techniques like counselling and cognitive behavioural therapy can help you to process things that have happened in the past and prepare for problems that may arise in the future. They can also help you to adjust your mindset and to gain confidence.

 

Many people also find it helpful to talk to others who have been through what they’re dealing with or people that are in the same boat. It’s hugely reassuring to know that you’re not on your own, and it is possible to get better. Charities can provide group support, and you can also link up with others through forums, events, and social media.

A female doctor talking to a female patient

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/59308652@N02/5431718990

 

Working on your wellbeing

Every single one of us should want to work on our wellbeing. You don’t have to suffer from anxiety or depression to give your mental health some TLC. You look after your body to prevent injuries and illnesses without giving it a second thought, so don’t hesitate to take care of your mental health too. Often, making very simple changes to your lifestyle and how you spend your time can pave the way for major improvements.

 

To boost your self-esteem, happiness, and confidence, spend time with people who make you feel good and form positive relationships. Make time for yourself, as well as being sociable, and set aside time for hobbies and interests. If being creative or playing sport makes you happy, find time in your schedule to do this. If you are struggling in any way, for example, if you’re stressed or you’re finding it impossible to sleep, think about the causes, try and find solutions, and don’t hesitate to ask for help. Triggers can range from a bad day at work to the loss of a loved one. Find activities that make you feel calm and relaxed and know when to take yourself off to a happy place. When things are getting on top of you or you feel low, give yourself a time out, take deep breaths, and calm down. Perhaps you find it comforting to call a friend, you need 5 minutes in the fresh air, or you find it helpful to meditate, stretch or write down what you’re feeling.

A book resting on a Ladies knee as she writes

Image courtesy of https://pixabay.com/en/photos/writer/

 

There’s a lot of talk about mental health at the moment, but we still put a lot more effort into keeping our bodies healthy than we do our minds. If you haven’t given mental health much thought of late, hopefully, this guide has encouraged you to be more aware of mental illness and to take steps to boost your wellbeing.

Depression And Finding The Way Out…

We all feel like it sometimes, but when we sense the black dog on your shoulder, as Winston Churchill called it, we can feel desperate, helpless and everything in between. Your frame of mind is a big part of your health and suffering from a bout of depression can be very debilitating. But it also is important to know about the help that is available, and while a lot of us may choose to try and embark on our own rehabilitation methods, it’s always best to know what is out there for you.

Antidepressants

Diffrent types of medicine on a white table

Image

It can depend on the root cause of your depression whether a course of antidepressants is the right method, and there have been various cases for and against taking antidepressants but it’s proving to be most effective for those that have a case of mild depression or are going through a difficult period. It’s usually the first port of call for many doctors to give out antidepressants but it’s important to discuss with your local pharmacy if there is anything you may feel uncomfortable with it, especially when it comes to the long list of side effects on the package. It all depends on where you live, but some excellent non-profit pharmacies work with healthcare professionals to try and provide a holistic approach to your medication. Places like Rx Outreach services don’t charge membership fees or shipping fees for medication, which if you are in the US, can make a big difference if you are thinking about going on a course of antidepressants or not due to the cost.

Meditation And Mindfulness
A drop of water causing ripples
Pixabay

This is another approach to tackling depression with regards to calming down the symptoms of anxiety. A lot of people find that they function with depression as their baseline and have been operating in this way for many years without realizing it. So taking part in relaxation techniques to help quieten the mind have been shown to work in the long term but it has not proven to be so effective for those that are operating under an extreme level of anxiety. Meditation is a very effective long term practice to have in your life, and once you have got to a suitable baseline of relaxation, it is then that meditation proves most beneficial. If you find that you need to calm the symptoms of anxiety before embarking on a meditation practice there are things you can do such as specific breathing exercises which have been shown to reduce blood pressure and calm the lymphatic nervous system.

Counseling

A man in a counceling session

Picture

If the root cause of your depression or anxiety stems from something that is ingrained in your past, counseling with a combination of cognitive behavior therapy has proven to be very effective, primarily for the reason that the issues are being discussed and dealt with after a long period of time. Depending on where you live in the world, so it is possible to get counseling for free through various charity organizations, but with the right structure, it’s possible to work through your issues with a friend or a confidante.

Depression isn’t something that should be suffered in silence yet most of us tend to. If you are feeling in the grips of depression, it’s important to try and get whatever little help you can, and these three methods can be a springboard to a happier and healthier life, so don’t deprive yourself of this.

Celebrating National Parks Week With NRS Healthcare

Celebrating National Parks week with NRS Healthcare.

Summer is here and one of my favourite ways to spend it is putting on my walking boots and to go exploring around various nature trails with Gary.
This summer we are making a concerted effort to travel the UK to walk, picnic and even hike through some of the National Parks ,breathing in the fresh air and enjoying nature at it’s finest.

Having Arthritis as well as a visual impairment can make walking, and especially hiking pretty difficult and Gary and I have been looking at accessible trails online
Picture my happiness when I was contacted by the lovely folks at NRS Healthcare who informed me of their free and accessible guide to venturing the National Parks with a disability!

I got so excited reading through the guide, this was exactly what I had been looking for, a place where all the information is presented in one place.

The guide talks about empowering those with disabilities to go outdoors no matter what reservations you may have about restrictions to access.
Wheelchair user that fancies electric boating?on the Lake District?
Visually impaired and fancy hiking in Snowdonia?
It’s all possible if you know where to look, and now we do!

A visually impaired person being guided along a dirt path in the national park with a tree and moss covered boulder on the left.

It’s National Parks Week here in the UK, 24th-30thJuly and to celebrate the beauty and accessibility of our 15 National Parks, NRS Healthcare have written a free accessibility guide for people like you and me who love to be outdoors, but find it a chore researching where is and isn’t accessible!

An extra added bonus is the equipment and products listed in the guide you may consider taking when you are on your adventure, to make your experience more relaxing and enjoyable.

A wide richer with a stone arc bridge in the background. The river is flanked by green and browning trees

The best thing about the guide is that the activities listed are not just Summer activities, most of the excursions and trails are available year round, so if you fancy skiing in winter or surfing in Spring, it is all doable. 🙂

Are you an outdoorsy type?
Would you consider trekking the national parks with a disability?

*Information from a press release by NRS Healthcare, But all thoughts and opinions are my own




Are You Indirectly Discriminating?

Are you being indirectly discriminative?

The Equality Act 2010 says that indirect discrimination is:
“A practice, policy or rule which applies to everyone in the same way, but has a worse effect on some people more than others.”

Without realising it, we are indirectly discriminating…

How am I indirectly discriminating you may ask?

I will get into that very shortly but first I will give a brief explanation of what the Equality Act is.
The Equality Act 2010 was proposed as a way to combine previous legislation together to make a better stronghold on discrimination and support those who may potentially be discriminated against in the future.

There are 9 protective characteristics:
*Age
*Disability
*Gender Reassignment
*Marriage or Civil Partnership in employment only
*Pregnancy and maternity
*Race
*Religion or belief
*Sex
*sexual orientation
But for today we are focusing on disability.

Disability and Access to Websites.

The Equality Act at Section 21 includes the adoption of a single concept of the provision of a service which covers ; goods, services and facilities among other things.

While the Equality Act 2010 doesn’t expressly refer to websites the consensus has been that the reference to the provision of service does apply to commercial web.
You can find more information on the Statutory Code of Practice.
“Websites provide access to services and goods and may in themselves constitute a service; for example, where they are delivering information or entertainment.”

*****

Websites can be a double edged sword for those with disabilities. People with sensory impairments such as blindness may choose to shop online, but much in the same way shops/ buildings can create physical barriers, a website can present the same barriers.

Screen readers are software programs giving blind and visually impaired people a way to navigate computers, tablets and phones through audio feedback.
Problems arise when user interfaces such as buttons are not labeled correctly, tables are not configured properly and images have no alternative text. Also known as Alt text attributes.

Why is this important?

Imagine the frustration of browsing the internet and being denied crucial information, such as buttons with the Twitter logo only saying link, tables reading non stop from left to right and photographs only saying the word image.

So going back to the earlier question: how am I being indirectly discriminating?

By not labelling these interfaces/ attributes correctly, you are denying visually impaired people access to your website. Whether it is intentional or not.

So what can you do?

By adding Alt text! Adding Alt text is simple; when you upload/ edit a picture on your website, you should give a clear description of the image.
Example:
Brighton Beach with a calm sea and the pier in the distance

The Alt text reads “alt=”Brighton Beach with a calm sea and the pier in the distance” which will be read aloud on all screen reader software.

Likewise, if you are adding a text based image to your website, you need to include the original text of the image as screen readers cannot distinguish the writing/text.

Flowers with the caption "Smile, and the world will smile with you!"

The Alt text reads “alt=”Flowers with the caption "Smile, and the world will smile with you” which will be read aloud on all screen reader software.

Blogging and SEO.

so you’re a blogger and you bake a delicious cake, you’ve been told to include Chocolate Cake Recipe , in every image of your tasty treat. In order for SEO to give you better rankings you need to include the Title for every image caption, right?

WRONG!!

The caption/ tag area is for Alt Text descriptions. Blind and visually impaired users need to know what the image is about, and SEO will also penalise you for not doing this.
SEO sees this as spam. In order for you to get good SEO rankings as well as being lawfully abiding, your images/ photos should have a brief description.

Most blogs are being indirectly discriminative, and not just to visually impaired people. People with other sensory impairments, motor skill problems and cognitive issues may also be indirectly discriminated against.

If you are unsure whether or not your website or blog is indirectly discriminating, you can use these free tools below to check.
Please think about your potential audience before you hit publish.
Make sure your user interfaces are labelled correctly, images have Alt text and videos have a written translation of what your video contains, especially if it is a slideshow of images.

http://wave.webaim.org/
https://tenon.io/
https://www.squizlabs.com/general/html-codesniffer




 

References
https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/publication-download/employment-statutory-code-practice
http://www.firstcovers.com/userquotes/111218/smile,+and+the+world.html
https://www.gov.uk/service-manual/helping-people-to-use-your-service/making-your-service-accessible-an-introduction
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2010/15/contents
https://www.w3.org/WAI/




Please, Show Some Compassion

Let’s show each other some compassion.

Yesterday Gary and I were walking back to the car, when he said:
“That’s sad, there’s a homeless guy over there and he’s crying.”
Me:
“Let’s go over and talk to him.”

We spoke to him and this is his story.
His name is William and he was brought up in care because his parents died when he was 11, He has been on the streets for around 8 months, and couldn’t sign on to job seekers because he had no ID.. he has just recently secured himself a passport, and this now means he can actively look for jobs, and sign on. He had been looking but as he had no clean clothes, he knew he was getting knocked back because of the way he looked.
The reason he is currently on the streets is because his ex and he had a baby, who had died of cot death, and although there was nothing either of them could have done, to prevent it from happening, they blamed each other constantly and got into many fights concluding in her throwing him out.

He has no family, except for a sister; who is not biologically his sister. She tries to support him but due to having 6 young children of her own, he doesn’t want to get under her feet, also the sister has a child the same age as his little baby that passed away. And he finds it increasingly difficult to be around them at the moment.

He asks for money because the local homeless shelter was closed and he needed money to catch a train to another homeless shelter for a place to sleep for the night. He had previously chanced his luck and got caught by the ticket conductor and was fined £50 on the spot.

William is only 24.

He is not a drinker or takes drugs and this was verified by the shop owner a few doors down.

Gary and I gave William some money, and even went to the train station to enquire how much a ticket would cost, unfortunately it was far more than William had first told us, so we reluctantly decided not to purchase him a ticket.

When we went back to see him, he was walking towards us., in the direction of the town centre.

“Oh, you came back, I thought you weren’t coming back…”

We explained that we enquired about a ticket but they were far more expensive than he ad said, he was apologetic and said that he didn’t think we would check, and he was sorry because he knew just how expensive the tickets really were.

Throughout our entire conversation, you could really tell William was really down, and out on his luck. But he was also extremely grateful to us for stopping not only to chat, but that we gave him some money, so he could feed himself and have a place to sleep for the night.
Logistically he still didn’t have enough money to cover a train fare, so we suggested him explaining his situation to the bus driver to see if he would possibly drop him near to the shelter a few towns over. Which he agreed he would do. He hugged us both and we parted ways.

***

Gary and I truly felt for William, and his desperate circumstances, and we said we would keep an eye out for him, and if we saw him again we would take him out for lunch.

***

On our way to the train station we encountered yet another homeless guy who was asking for money, and I could hear the desperation in his voice and it made my heart break. Gary apologised and said we didn’t have any money.

William, and this other man have been playing upon my mind since our encounter, I felt awful that Gary and I were going out of our way to help one homeless person, and yet did nothing for another.

I’ve cried over this situation, because I truly feel helpless.

I could have been them.

If I didn’t have friends who allowed me to sofa surf while I tried my best to look for accommodation, It could have been me desperate for a roof over my head, wondering if I too was going to have to sleep rough.

***

Gary and I had a long discussion about it and he was the one that not only said I should write this blog post, but made me see that I can’t help everyone.

As we passed the homeless guy twice, not one other person around us stopped to talk to him and/or offer him any money.

Gary reminded me that i can’t carry the world on my shoulders and it’s not just MY responsibility to stop and speak to a homeless person.
My depression has come back and Gary doesn’t want me to get worse because I feel guilty and useless being unable to help people.

We have since come up with a solution, that I feel I am helping, but without putting myself out of pocket, or spiralling further deeper into depression.

On Monday I am going to contact my local homeless shelter / soup kitchen and see if I can volunteer my time, even if that is just being a friendly ear for people to talk to, or give homeless people further information of where they can go for support / services.

***

I know that we get caught up in our daily lives, our struggles, our stresses and our plight, but I would urge you to take the time out to talk to a homeless person, and even give them some change.

You don’t know the difference it would make to that person in question.

I would like to point out that I am not naive not everyone is in a similar situation to William, some people have put themselves there, with their lack of good financial management, through drink/ drug abuse.

But, we are still all human, and I do believe that we should strive to help our citizens get back on their feet.

Drug/ drink abuse should be supported through rehab programs. No matter how angry I get at people for their ill choices, poor management, and a drain on the NHS, I still believe everyone deserves that second chance to try and put their lives right.

Please, show some compassion. It might make all the difference.




Find A Way To Shine No Matter What

Find a Way to Shine, No Matter What

By Jennifer Hansford (@HansfordJen-twitter)

My life’s ambition has always been to inspire people and give them hope in some way. I want to do this, because I have always needed something or someone to give me hope too, and I know how important it is.
I was born with Cerebral Palsy. I can walk, and to do things pretty independently, but I do have a distorted way of walking, which I have always been self-conscious of, as people would often stare at me, or say mean things.
When I was around 9 years old, and in fourth grade, I had an operation on my hip, and tendons in my legs. In the process of my recovery I had to learn to walk again. It was pretty painful, but I have always been a determined person, and nothing in my life has been easy, so this was just another thing for me to get through.

I was made fun of a lot as a child, because of the way I walk, and sometimes even in my high school years. I remember one particular girl who was in one of the same classes as I was, who had started to say some things to me that I didn’t like. I don’t remember what they were, but I do remember losing my patience with the situation and saying to her, something like, ‘I don’t appreciate being made fun of for something I can’t control.’ She left me alone after that.
The one place I did feel like I belonged, was in college, where I studied journalism. School became like a second home to me, and I had the best professors in the world. My main professor, the one who taught us about reporting and newspaper layout, was one of the reasons I have always tried to remain in the journalism field. I remember him telling me, “If I give you a story that you can’t get to (possibly because of stairs, or something that might be difficult to navigate) just tell me, and I’ll put you on another one,” or perhaps he would find a way to get me to the one that was assigned to me. He told me there should be no reason why I shouldn’t have a great career in the field. Sometimes, though, the rest of society doesn’t share this type of attitude.
I have only freelanced for various publications, and I liked doing that, but I wanted to have a staff job at a newspaper, so I could feel like I had a ‘real career.’ A lot of staff jobs were unattainable for me, since I can’t drive on my own, which is why I liked freelancing. I could get around by bus, or someone driving me, and the editor was non-the-wiser, since I had never met my editors in person. I wasn’t judged by how I got my story finished, and they were unaware of my physical disability. They were just happy with the finished product. I had gone to an employment agency that is supposed to help people with disabilities get a job they want, and had asked them to call newspapers on my behalf, and assure them that I am perfectly qualified and able to do the actual job of researching, and writing an article, even though getting around has to be done in a different way than anyone else would. The worker I spoke to told me she wasn’t going to do that, and that if a career in journalism was going to happen for me, it would have happened by now.
This is the kind of attitude I wish I could help get rid of in society. Those who are ‘advocating’ for people with disabilities, especially should not have this attitude. I guess that’s part of the reason why I have an interest in journalism. Everyone has a story, and some people need others to make that story known. Everyone needs a voice, and everyone deserves to be treated with respect. I wanted to be the one to share those stories, and bring awareness to things that need attention and respect.

Two years, however, I developed health issues with my throat, which left me not being able to swallow food properly. I have lost a lot of weight, and also lost a lot of my hair, which I’m assuming is because of poor nutrition. I’m very weak most of the time and sleep a lot during the day, so I do my creating at night. I didn’t want to completely give up on all my writing goals, so I created my blog called Exuding Energy. This is a place for me to still do some form of article writing, as I find people willing to share their stories, ask them questions, then write about it. I decided to focus on what, and who, inspires people to keep trying to achieve their goals, while they are facing challenges or difficult times, because blogging became my way of staying positive during my own struggles.
This is my way of still sharing people’s stories and giving them a voice, while still giving myself a voice too. To all the people who also have disabilities, whatever they may be, I hope you’ll continue to do what it is that makes you happy, no matter how you have to do it. We may have to do things differently, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do it well…Right?
If you have a story to share, I hope you’ll share it with me. I also have a YouTube channel, which will be based on my blog (I only have two videos posted right now, but I hope you’ll check them out), so if you have any video or photos to accompany your story and wouldn’t mind me making a video version of your story, please feel free to send them along as well.

The link to my blog-https://theexudeblog.wordpress.com/

The link to my YouTube page-https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQydLY3VDFXOxoz0gQ1qsyg

Thanks so much to Sassy for allowing me to share my story on your blog!

Letter To My Younger Self

A letter to my 14 year old self.

Your biggest worry right now is that you’ll never grow boobs, i’m happy to say that you do, but unfortunately it won’t be for a lot longer than you hoped!

I need to prepare you, things are going to start getting tougher for you Sassy. Your sight is going to start deteriorating, and it’s going to be a source of vexation and stress for you and the entire family, don’t worry, it doesn’t go all at once, but the decline starts at the end of year 10. I feel like I need to prepare you, you are defiant, stubborn, short tempered and irrational exclaiming such things like you’ll take your own life if it gets any worse.

You need to make sure the school support you adequately, don’t just try and muddle through, academically you are far more capable of what you achieve, maybe if the support was put in quicker, you’ll find it easier to study for the exams you detest.

Things are going to get worse, and you are going to have several operations, as well as treatments.
Dump the methotrexate, you were right all along, it did nothing for you. I still feel sick thinking about you taking it even now.

********

You will be hesitant at first, but going to a college for the blind is your best option, and it will turn out to be life changing in so many ways.

You will make friends that you would never expect to, but hold them tight, these friends will be invaluable to you.
Friendships are strong and fickle during this time, walk away. Every time.having the last word gets you nowhere but trouble. Oh and both times you and your friend have gut instincts things are going to go wrong, listen to them. Stand your ground, and let her stand hers.
It’s not worth the consequences trust me.
You will fall in love, and it will be amazing, but you will also ruin the relationship because of your depression and anger.

You should seek help, not from inside though, you are right not to trust them.
But if you don’t accept it’s over, and acknowledge you need help, things will only go from bad to worse.

Depression is Anillness, and although you think you’re fine, and it’s everyone else who has the problem, sadly you’re mistaken.
YOU are the problem.

There’s no point sugar coating it, you are not the only one to blame, but it’s better to understand now.

things are only going to get worse unless you seek help.

You are going to lose your sight more than once.
With deterioration you feel out of control.
Don’t deny it, or deal in anger, you’ll only end up hurting yourself.

********

Do you want to hear the best bit? It’s not as bad as you dreaded.
You WILL cope, and you WILL live.
Of course times will be tough, stressful and heartbreaking, but those are blips in the road.

In the grand scheme of things, it’ll be nothing. You are so strong and resilient. At this time you will find who your true friends are, and although it will hurt at first, you’ll realise they weren’t worth the effort in the first place.

So many things will happen to you between this age of yours and the future.

But not all of it is bad. Far from it. You are the happiest you’ve ever been. I bet you never thought that would be the case huh?

Take the bad times and roll with it, because throughout it all, you will come out a stronger, better, kinder, happier person.

And aside from your eyes, your of good health. Be thankful. Cherish everyone around you, and forgive quickly.

There’s no point ruminating.

You are going to change, but it will be for the better.

One massive tip though; take your bloody MacBook to the shop as soon as it plays up! Leaving it for months because you were too scared to head to the city by yourself knowing how little you can see now, just ask someone to take you! Pay for their travel/lunch, it will be a nice bonding experience. I know you are stressed about always relying on people But the worst that can happen is they say no… It’ll give you the opportunity to learn how to finally navigate your way around Apple better.

Who knows, you may start blogging earlier?

********

I believe everything happens for a reason, and no matter how much I would love for you to know this information, it’s moulded you into the person you are today.
Every story has it’s scars and these are yours.

Suicide

Suicide: A Guest Post.

For this piece I am stepping out from behind the clown mask. I am hoping to do more here than share a laugh or deliver an opinion piece. I am putting humor aside to talk about something very important; about something that is affecting many people in this world of ours, and has been for many ticks of the clock. The young and old, the rich and poor, the black and white, none of it matters because this monster doesn’t discriminate, anyone can be a victim.

I would like to talk about suicide. I would like to share my personal battle with it and how at one time I thought it was the only way out. I thought it was the only way to silence the demons that were relentlessly attacking and poisoning my soul with never-ending self-doubt and vicious lies about my reality, every day trying to destroy the foundation that was my life.

My desire is to show others in a similar situation that when they feel they are at their lowest or at their breaking point that they are not alone and that there is help out there. There are ways to relieve the weight that burdens your shoulders, but it’s not in a drug/drink, nor is it with you lying on your back six feet under with a face full of dirt.

Suicide stalks its prey like a highly skilled assassin, ever so silently and with deadly precision, and if you’re not cautious, you or a loved one could be its next target.

“Just because someone is smiling on the outside, doesn’t mean they aren’t hurting on the inside.”

Close up of a young boys face looking through a hole in a box, sunlight ilumanating one eye

(Suicidal) When the wrong feels right…

“God, should I come home now?” is a question that I have asked myself many times before, and I’m sure I’m not alone.

We’ve all had times where we felt as if the world was against us. As if everyone was screaming our name, and not like an adoring fan would scream the name of their favorite rockstar, but rather like the way a bloodthirsty mob would scream for your head as you were about to be hung. All you want to do is run and hide, but no matter where you go the voices just won’t stop.

On the outside it is bright and sunny. No one could tell from looking at you that something was wrong. However, on the inside it is dark and gloomy, your mental state is not well and your life is on the edge of devastation. You don’t know what to do. You’re like that whimsical cookie jar that sits on the counter, on the surface you seem all together, complete and even at times upbeat. Although the truth of it is that on the inside you are emotionally disheveled, scattered and spiritually broken into little pieces.

You want so badly to shout out to the world how tortured you are, but at the same time you don’t want to be perceived as weak and/or any less of a person by doing so, and as a result you hold it all in. Because of this decision the pain stews inside of you, making a mess of things both emotionally and mentally, leaving you a total wreck, spiritually shattered and intoxicated by misery and despair.

You can’t believe that your loved ones don’t notice that something isn’t right with you. They aren’t aware that your life is in shambles and that you have no idea how to fix it. This makes you feel damaged, lonely and desperate for a way out.

Yet you put on an Oscar worthy performance to make sure people don’t find out what’s really going on. Doing all you can to put your best foot forward to keep your deadly secret hidden within the confines of your soul. You are torn, you feel as if all the clues are there to help them solve the unfortunate case that is your life, but in all reality you have orchestrated a crime so masterfully that even CSI couldn’t solve it. This is absolutely a no-win situation and cannot end well for anyone involved.

How can you stop the sadness? How can you find peace? Is there a way out or are you destined to go through life depressed and constantly fighting for the happiness and comfort that seems to come so easily to those around you?

You start contemplating suicide. You start thinking that with your dying breath the pain will finally cease and you will be comfortably at rest and in your own skin.

Your absence wouldn’t matter to anyone, because obviously they didn’t care when you were alive so why in death would things be any different? What would be the right time? How would you do it? Should you leave a note? These are just some of the things that cross your mind as you think about moving forward with your ill-fated plan, as you consider the best way to execute your personal mission for mental stability and closure on the agony that is your being.

“Admitting that you need help isn’t a sign of weakness, especially when holding it in could mean death.”

Two hands reaching for one another with text saying "Asking For Help Does Not Make You A Failure"

(Cautious) Living with untreated depression is like taking permanent residence on death row…

Unfortunately there are some people who actually follow thru and succeed in ending their lives, and then there are others, who by the grace of God manage to make it through these dark times and move forward in a positive direction. Gratefully I am the latter.

I was close to calling an end to my time here on this planet a few times, each time believing it was the only way to correct things and to truly put my mind at ease. I felt like it was the only way to get past the torment and heartache. Thankfully though, I had a great support system and was able to open up to people to let them know how I felt, which wasn’t easy by any means but absolutely necessary for healing.

Life is hard and unforgiving at times, if you let your guard down for too long it will swallow you up and drag you down to the depths of hell. I know it’s not all doom and gloom, but the truth of the matter is this, life is not all that kind and will tear you apart if you don’t prepare accordingly.

We can’t just assume that people know how we feel, especially when we go out of our way to disguise our true feelings (as stated above). We must be able to trust our loved ones with our innermost workings and allow them to help when they can. We can’t be afraid to ask and/or seek help when needed, professional help if applicable.

Your mind is extremely powerful, and at the same time very dangerous, especially if you have not trained it correctly. You could be your own best friend or your own worst enemy, completely depending on your overall mental health. When battling depression you become a hostage to your own psyche, which in turn, if not treated properly acts as the judge, the jury and unfortunately the executioner of your being. It is a menacing adversary who will do any and everything within its power to have you succumb to its will. This is not a war you want to fight alone because you won’t stand a chance, call in for backup!

You have to reinforce the barriers that protect your weak spots, train your mind to follow your lead, instead of it being the other way around. We must be strong and steadfast in the face of depression, so when these situations arise we can conquer them, and do so in a healthy and productive manner. If you’re not careful, your mind will bully you and beat you down, leaving you for dead…literally.

From the birth certificate to the obituaries, life can be a cruel mistress. Whether it is that tasty treat that you can’t have until you finish your icky dinner, or something more adult oriented like the loss of a job and/or bills piling up faster than you can knock them down. I’m sure you’ve heard this many times before; life is not fair and doesn’t play nice. The game is difficult, but totally worth playing, so put your game face on and play to win!

“Depression is the fire, and playing with it will get you burnt.”

Lady behind a rain coved window with one hand touching the glass.

 

(Due Process) Here comes the judge…

We all know the expression, “don’t judge a book by its cover”. The reason why we shouldn’t, is because until we read the pages of that said book we don’t really know what it’s about. Those pages may consist of unspeakable horrors, soul crushing pain and severe hardships. The cover may be all rainbows and unicorns, and the pages dark and depressing, and you’ll never know unless you move past what’s on the surface. Don’t discount someone due to superficial reasons; if you do it could lead to dire consequences.

For those of you who think that suicide is a sign of weakness, something that only a coward would do and/or something that only affects the most desolate of people, you’ve got a lot to learn. I am thankful that you’ve never had to endure the deadly sting that is depression and hopefully you never will. Don’t be foolish, because trust me this can happen to anyone, no matter who you are and/or where you are at in your life.

You may not personally be the one who is battling with depression and/or with the thoughts of suicide, but someone you know may just be, so keep a watchful eye out for the warning signs and don’t be afraid to act if necessary. As I said prior, due to an unfortunate stigma in this country when it comes to mental health most people are ashamed to speak up out of fear of ridicule and/or being considered weak. Bottom line, they are not going to come to you, you have to go to them.

Sometimes your perception of things is askew, things aren’t always how they appear. With that said, do your loved ones a favor and pay attention, don’t take anything for granted because by the time you finally realize there’s a problem it could already be too late.

We classify many different conditions and addictions as diseases in this country, which I can only assume is to make people feel better about overindulging, physically, mentally and of course financially. However, when it comes to depression we dare not speak of it in public out of fear of being labeled crazy, insane or mentally challenged in one way or another, hence the reason why we have such a problem with suicide in our country. This fact completely amazes and leaves me scratching my head in utter confusion. Needless to say, this has to change if we truly ever hope to rectify the issue at hand.

We ask each other, “How are you” but we don’t really want to know, we only do so to be perceived as caring individuals, of course not all but most for sure. God forbid they actually tell us their troubles, because then they are considered complainers and in our busy lives and hectic schedules we don’t have to for that.

We are programmed to act concerned and compassionate to our fellow humans because it’s the right thing to do, but the truth of it is that we don’t really want to be bothered. With the social stigma that already comes attached to depression, this way of being only makes it more complicated and risky for someone to feel comfortable enough to open up and honestly share what hinders them with us. We need to start being there for each other, and stop trying to hide from each other!

“Remember, sometimes a crowd is the loneliest place of all.”

Single Yellow flower in a field of grey ones

(Misconceptions) Walking a fine line, the razor’s edge…

Some say that suicide is selfish, which may very well be the case to those who’ve lost, but when someone feels lonely and abandoned who exactly are they being selfish to; at least that’s how they see it. Consider this, in their mind your loss is their gain, makes sense?

The old adage, “time heals all wounds” may be true for some, but it is definitely not true for everyone. We’re not all the same, and you’d be wise to remember that. To quote the Diff’rent Strokes theme song, “Now, the world don’t move to the beat of just one drum, what might be right for you, may not be right for some”. More accurate words have never been spoken, and if someone tells you otherwise, feel free to let them have a, “What’chu talkin’ ’bout, Willis”? No one has the right to tell you how long you should, or shouldn’t grieve, regardless of the circumstances.

Some personalities choose to stew over their plights; it’s just how they were made. They let them slowly cook like a meal in a crock-pot, and unfortunately by doing this; their internal temperature rises and things eventually boil over leaving nothing more than a hot mess.

Without help and/or a healthy way to release this pressure these individuals could possibly find themselves in dire straits. The aforementioned “time” that is supposed to heal all wounds becomes a catalyst for disaster and ultimately ends up doing more harm than good. Moral of the story, don’t assume that the way you handle stress is the only and proper way of doing so, because those assumptions could be very costly to you in the end.

“There’s always someone who has it worse”, is a statement I have heard thrown around many times as an attempt to “help” someone realize that their burden isn’t really all that bad in the grand scheme of things. Now this may very well be the case, and to some this may even be helpful advice, but unfortunately to those with depression this knowledge does little to ease the anguish that haunts their spirit, if anything it diminishes their pain and adds more fuel to the already raging fires. Be mindful with what you say and to whom you say it to, because your attempt to help may result in your outstretched hand becoming a clinched fist.

You know that you’re not to be negative, your glass is always supposed to be “half full”, because that’s the politically correct way to think. You’re not to fall down and stay down, you’re to pick yourself up and have a feel-good “Rocky” moment, where you kick ass and take names. Anything else makes you inferior to the masses, or at least that’s how you see it. Believe it or not, it’s perfectly acceptable to admit defeat and to ask for help when you need it. Doing so doesn’t make you any less of a person and/or weak, if anything it takes more courage and strength, so that is something you should take pride in.

“Don’t assume that others know how you feel about them, make it known.”

Girl with her head in her knees curled up, in a dark surrounding.

(Coping) The living dead…

This section is not about mindless zombies who crave brains like some of us crave chocolate, but instead the individual who is left behind after the person he/she cares about commits suicide. Their life becomes an out of control emotional rollercoaster filled with many “what ifs” and “whys”. Nothing makes sense anymore and they are as lost as a kid on the back of the milk carton.

There are cases where people realize there is something wrong, the warning signs have been heeded and the necessary actions taken. They try to help but their efforts are all in vain, their reached out hand is met with a stiff barrier reluctant to move. Their words fall on deaf ears; to the damaged psyche you come off sounding like Charlie Brown’s teacher. This is not because these people don’t want help, but rather because they don’t feel they are worthy of it, in their minds they are already at the end of their rope. No matter what how hard you tried, nothing got through to them and ultimately still decided to extinguish their flame.

Then sometimes even with the subtle clues and whispered cries for help a person can be blind to the issues at hand and not pay them much mind, they just write it off as a bad day or trouble getting over a pothole in the rearview on the road of life. Does this mean they don’t care, of course not, they just can’t see the pain and suffering through the overly happy façade of their loved one. Now although this is not done intentionally and/or with hate in their hearts, this is a costly mistake that could come back to haunt them when all is said and done.

Is this torment deserving and/or warranted, especially in the shadow of a recent loss? It is not, but regrettably it comes with the territory and is an unrelenting burden that the survivor(s) must bear until they learn to cope with the tragedy in a healthy manner.

“They have taken their life and left you feeling dead inside.”

 

Close up of an eye welling with tears

(Hope) The light at the end of the dark road…

This may be hard to believe, and even somewhat cliché to say, but there is a way to overcome the barrage of devastating punches life has bestowed upon you without having to throw in the towel. Keep your chin up and do your best to not give up on yourself or your loved ones.

I hope and pray the best for everyone, and if you ever need to talk feel free to let me know. I may not be able to solve every problem, but at least I could be an ear willing to listen and/or a shoulder to lean on if need be.

I’m speaking from experience my friends, I know it’s not easy, but you’re worth fighting for and doing whatever is necessary to live a happy and healthy life. When it comes to suicide the quote, “that which does not kill us, makes us stronger” has never been more fitting. Don’t be a statistic, be a survivor!

Truly words to “live” by!

“No matter what side of the coin you’re on, there are no winners when it comes to suicide.”

The End, but hopefully not for you…

When it comes to mental health screw society and its standards! We must be able to talk about it freely and without the fear of condemnation to truly be able to help those in need. Spread the word! #ChangeYourMindChangeTheirLife

“Bring flowers to someone to show them how special they are to you, not to decorate their grave after they’ve passed on.”

MJM

Helpful Links/Numbers:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Phone Number: 1-800-273-8255

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention – Official Site
http://www.afsp.org/

Suicide Prevention: How to Help Someone who is Suicidal
http://www.helpguide.org/mental/suicide_prevention.htm

“Battlefield of the Mind”…a great book with lots of helpful practices and techniques to strengthen your mind, spiritual or not, this is a good read.
http://www.joycemeyer.org/battlefield/

Warning Signs – https://www.afsp.org/preventing-suicide/suicide-warning-signs

Cope – http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/end-of-life/in-depth/suicide/art-20044900

“Suicide” was Written by MJM
Original can be found at: http://the-insane-asylum.blogspot.com/2014/03/suicide.html
For more information check out: Mikejmele.wix.com/mjmwriter




 

I would like to take this moment to say a massive thank you to Michael for writing this raw, honest and heartfelt peace.
He and I became friends just recently, I have been following him on Twitter for a long while now, but as we got chatting, I plucked up the courage to ask if I could use his piece on my blog as a way to spread awareness of suicide and depression. He very kindly and humbly agreed.
I feel Michael has captured the way I have felt within my lifetime, and put it so eloquently. Unfortunately suicide is still very much a Taboo subject in today’s world, and that makes me very sad.
Suicide hits you when you are at your lowest point, and feel like you have nowhere else to turn. But there is hope, and there is so much help out their available to any person struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts.
Please reach out, people dO care and want to help.
here are a few UK support links:

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Suicide/Pages/Getting-help.aspx

Samaritans (116 123) operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year.

PAPYRUS (0800 068 41 41) is a voluntary organisation supporting teenagers and young adults who are feeling suicidal.
***disclosure*** Michael gave me permission to post his piece on my blog. I included the images.
If you would like to contact him regarding this fantastic piece you can find him on: https://twitter.com/MikeJMele?lang=en-gb
He also runs and publishes 3 very interesting and successful blogs:

The-insane-asylum.blogspot.com
The-nerdy-side-of-life.blogspot.com
Extremechristian.blogspot.com

Please comment and share this post. Our aim is to spread awareness of suicide and depression, by sharing this we can reach more people, and together show them that they are not alone!

Thank You ❤️