Opening up about your mental health journey

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The thought of telling your loved ones about your mental health journey can be extremely daunting, trust me, I’ve been there. But I do believe that it is an extremely important step to take. Now, this doesn’t mean that you have to tell everybody in your life about what you’re going through, for example your Great-Aunt’s friend’s daughter’s cat doesn’t need to know about your anxiety!!! There are still members of my family and friends who don’t know about my mental health problems, and that’s okay, they don’t need to know. But sharing your story can be more helpful than you might think.

First off, I want to talk about judgement. There is still such a huge stigma surrounding mental health, which means people are worried to open up for a whole variety of reasons such as fear of not being believed, not being taken seriously and of course, fear of being judged. This is probably one of the biggest fears anyone has before telling anybody about their mental health issues and understandably so. And the first thing I want to say in response to this fear is, the people you tell your story to care about you SO MUCH. Your family and friends LOVE YOU and they want to SUPPORT YOU because they want you to be HAPPY. Don’t be afraid to open up to people around you, as anybody who does judge you was simply not meant to be a part of your journey.

The first person I turned to when I first began feeling anxious and depressed when I was just 16 was my mum. Me and my mum are extremely close – we always have been and are to this day – so she could tell something was not quite right and that I wasn’t being my ‘normal’ self. I eventually opened up to my mum, telling her exactly how I was feeling (through floods of tears and lots of cuddles) and she was truly amazing. She dealt with the it SO well and made me feel so much better about my situation. She supported me in my decision to leave college, helped me move on to a new path, came with me on several doctor appointments and even drove me to my first therapy session. I am forever grateful to my mum for helping me through such a difficult time in my life and continuing to be there throughout my rough patches, she is an absolute angel!

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Me and my BEAUTIFUL mum ❤

I appreciate that not every one of you will be as lucky as I am to have a mum who is so understanding and loving, but having someone close to you, whether that’s a best friend, brother, sister, grandparent or partner, can make those dark times a hell of a lot easier. And even if you don’t feel like you have anybody in your life to open up to, we are lucky enough to have access to an amazing, incredibly supportive online community full of people who are ready to welcome you with open arms. People who genuinely want to help you through your journey. Talking to strangers about my mental health journey sometimes actually feels easier than talking to those closest to me, which is why I am so open and honest on my blog/social media. I know my loved ones would be supportive no matter what I was going through, but talking to people who don’t have a predisposed idea of who you are as a person, people who don’t know your history and are in no way bias can be extremely refreshing and helpful. If you feel like you could benefit from joining the online mental health/positivity/self-love community PLEASE follow me on Instagram  @toomuchtooyoungblog & I can introduce you to some incredible people.

I hope you enjoyed this post & i would LOVE to hear your experiences of opening up about your mental health – good or bad. I believe we can all learn something from each other’s journey. Lots of love ❤

Meditation: how to get started!

Hey guys! This is going to be a really short post today. I just found a really cool little info-graphic which gives you 6 really handy-tips to help you get started with meditation and wanted to share it with you.

 I am still fairly new to the whole world of meditation, but since I’ve started, it really has changed the way I act, think and feel. It allows me to switch off from the world around me and focus on relaxation. If like me, you struggle to switch off, meditation can really help with just taking some time to centre yourself and help achieve a more balanced, calm mindset.

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I like to practice guided meditation and found that YouTube was a great place to start. Try this video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PkVvpfld7DQ

Lots of love ❤ xxx

The Happiness List

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“The art of being happy lies in the power of extracting happiness from common things” – Henry Ward Beecher

My happiness list has been inspired by a Facebook live video I watched on Friday. Mindset and happiness coach Samantha Hearne – (http://instagram.com/a.happy.mind) was leading a discussion based on anxiety and how to deal with it when it arises. Although the entire video was really helpful, one part of the video really resonated with me.

In a nutshell, Sarah said that in order to be truly happy and conquer our anxiety, we need to detach the things we find pleasurable from our happiness. For example, if we are associating alcohol with pleasure, we rely on alcohol to produce our happiness rather than relying on ourselves. So, you may feel like you are loving life while you’re on a night out with your friends, yet when you’re alone, your anxiety kicks in and you can’t quite grasp why.

Now, I believe this is such an important step in any mental health journey, as finding the things that truly make you happy are the key to maintaining a positive mindset. So, I’d thought I’d show you guys a list of the things I do for myself that make me genuinely happy, without having to rely on pleasurable experiences in order to create happiness.

  1. Reading – I find reading to be extremely calming and relaxing. There’s nothing I love more than going into a book shop and finding a lovely new self-help, poetry or fiction book to really dive into. Sitting in the garden with a cup of tea on a sunny day in the peace and quiet is something that makes me feel truly happy, and this is why it is right at the top of my happiness list.
  2. Meditating – In a similar way to reading, I find meditation to be super relaxing. I like to meditate, particularly in those moments where I can feel my head filling up with negative thoughts or am having a particularly bad day. Meditation can help you to focus on yourself, centre your thoughts and achieve clarity. Meditation makes me a better, calmer and more collected person which is why it makes me genuinely happy.
  3. Painting/Drawing – Now, I’m no artist. Somehow, I did manage to achieve an A in my GCSE Art course but the extent of my artistic talents end there unfortunately. However, I do love to draw and paint, I find this is the perfect way to unleash my creative side so even if I am feeling a little anxious, I can keep my mind occupied with something super proactive.
  4. Nature – nature is SO good for the soul. Whether it’s going out for a long, peaceful walk or simply sitting in the garden, there is something so magical about being surrounded by nature. When I was at the lowest points of my anxiety and depression, the thought of going for a walk frightened me, so much so that I didn’t want to leave the house – and I didn’t for days, sometimes weeks on end. But thankfully, I have managed to overcome this stage in my life and I am so grateful to be back out enjoying the beauty of our awesome planet. I am also lucky enough to have two little doggies to take for walks, but even if you don’t, pop your headphones in, put on your favourite music or podcast and get out into nature, I promise you’ll feel better.
  5. Blogging – so this one may seem pretty obvious to you guys. I haven’t been blogging long, but I am so happy to have found something I am truly passionate about. Sharing my stories with you and giving you (hopefully) useful tips and advice is something that really inspires me, and hearing that some of you even take the time to read my blog genuinely makes me so happy. So, thank you for allowing me to add blogging to my happiness list.

I’m sure there are more things that I could add to my happiness list, but I think that these are my top five at this moment in my life.

I challenge you, yes YOU! To write your own happiness list. Refer to this list when you’re feeling down, anxious or lonely to remind yourself what truly makes you happy and pick something from the list to spend your time doing.

Let me know how you get on ❤ x

An open letter to my anxiety

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Dear anxiety,

You took me down into the darkest parts of myself that I didn’t even know I could reach. You made me feel like a stranger in my own world. I had never known this level of unease, sadness and stress until you came around. Some days you made me feel like the loneliest person in the world, and it was like you were my only friend. But you weren’t a friend at all. Friends don’t drain all of the joy and happiness out of you. Because of you, I have missed out on SO much. You have held me back from parties, dates, my education, family gatherings, holidays, festivals, the list goes on and on. The worst part is that I will never be able to get those missed opportunities back, and that is all because of you.

But despite all of that, I would like to say thank you. After all the shit you have put me through over the last 6 years, you have also been one of my greatest gifts. Before you, I was unable to access the parts of myself where compassion, empathy, kindness and self-love were waiting all of this time to be set free. I wouldn’t be the woman I am today if it wasn’t for you. You have been my biggest teacher as well as by biggest lesson. You have given me more of a reason than any to love, care and seek help for myself. I hope you will continue to inspire me to become a better person, and help others do the same.

Yours Sincerely,

Chloe.

The girl behind the blog

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Those of you who follow my blog will know that I post pretty regularly and that I try to keep everything I post very positive, practical, informative and (hopefully) helpful for those of you who need some help with anxiety-related things. But while I was looking through my posts, I noticed that I’ve never really updated you guys on what I’m up to or what I do from day to do.

In case you didn’t know anything about me, here’s a little overview of… well, me! My name is Chloe, I’m 22 years old and I live in the U.K. I’m a full-time Sociology student, about to go into my final year of study (EEK). I also work part-time at my brother’s video animation business, writing video scripts for businesses, controlling the social media and email campaigns, basically all the fun marketing stuff.

Creating Too Much Too Young was an idea I’ve had stored in a Word Document on my computer for years, but it just never felt like the right time to start up. I wasn’t even sure what I wanted it to be, all i knew is that I wanted to share my story and hopefully inspire others to do the same. After finally going to the doctors to seek help for my anxiety and depression, I decided that it was time to start this blog, as well as my Too Much Too Young social media pages. As I was starting on anti-depressant medication, I decided to take some time of work so that I could fully adjust in the comfort of my own home, as I’d heard that the side effects can be pretty awful, turns out I’d heard right. I began to write posts, create quotes, and connect with people from the mental health community from all over the world – a community that I didn’t even knew existed before now. I also spent my time reading self-help books, meditating and showing myself the love and care that I needed to get through the two weeks.

Since starting my little blogging adventure and trying to help others, I’ve continued on my own search for self-love as well as finding ways to tackle my anxiety. I’ve travelled to Berlin, taken up painting as a hobby, baked and cooked some delicious healthy food, meditated like crazy and read/bought a load of self help books. All of these things may seem small, but these small, positive steps are helping me become a happier, kinder and much more calm person. Here are a few pictures from over the last month or so.

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I am so happy that I am able to share my journey with you guys and hopefully inspire you at the same time. Lots of love ❤

Why we need to stop comparing ourselves to others

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The theme for today’s blog post came to me during last night’s episode of Big Brother. One of the girls on the show (who is one of the favourites to win due to her awesome personality) started getting upset when she was talking about how she ‘never feels good enough’. She went on to reveal that this feeling of low self-worth is created by comparing herself to other girls. Now of course, this is in no way her own fault, nor is it the fault of the other girls, that’s for sure. The problem is that we (not all of us, most a massive amount of us) always seem to want/wish we had at least one thing someone else has, whether it’s their hair, eyes, smile, personality – whatever it is, we’re never just never fully content with our own bodies/lives/minds.

 

I hate to say it but I’m guilty of comparing myself with others too, not necessarily in a wholly negative way, but I do it. I do it unconsciously, as I think most of us do. Whenever I’m flicking through my Instagram page or Twitter feed and I see these beautiful people living the most amazing lives, of course I’m going to compare my life with theirs. And I’m pretty sure that comparison is just a part of human nature, an innate part of our make-up as humans that allows us to strive for and aspire to have/be more than we currently are. But this comparison becomes an issue when we forget how wonderful WE are. We forget that we don’t need to change to be ‘good enough’. Of course, you’re allowed to work on your mind/body, but this should never be because of another human being. Change should come from within and it should be rooted in positivity. We also need to remember that comparing our lives with social media influencers, we are technically comparing ourselves to an unrealistic, unattainable and untrue reflection of a person’s life. People on social media are particularly guilty of only showing the positive parts of their life, meaning we don’t get to see their struggles, heartaches, illnesses, bad days and so on.

 

We need to learn how love ourselves for who we are, without comparing ourselves to anybody else. We need to learn how to accept other people for all that they are and be happy for them without making it about us. I think that small acts of self-love, care and kindness are the first step in creating a world where you are completely happy with who you are, and can begin to accept others for who they are too and this is something we need to work on as a society.

My self-love journal

Do you ever find yourself wanting to do something productive in your spare time but aren’t too sure where to start? Many of us believe we don’t have enough time to fit something positive and productive into our daily lives, but I’ve discovered a little solution to this. I’ve recently started my own self-love journal which I’m starting to fill up with affirmations, inspirational quotes and other bits & bobs. I found myself a cheap, blank scrapbook in Hobbycraft and went from there. It only takes a few minutes every day (or more if you like) to write something down or doodle/draw something, so nobody can say that they don’t have enough time to do it!

If you’re not really the creative type or just simply can’t be bothered to think of your own journal content, one great way to get started is with these 52 Journal Questions. A lovely girl I follow on Instagram actually posted these questions a few days ago and I thought answering these every day would make the perfect addition to my self-love journal.

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Here are the questions: I challenge you to answer just one a day until you’ve completed all 52 questions! ❤

  1. What are you thankful for?
  2. Write about the place you call home
  3. What are five things you would like to do more?
  4. What is the view from your window right now?
  5. What is a good quote to live by?
  6. What was the best thing that happened this week?
  7. Write down something you’re stressed about
  8. Name a book that influenced your life
  9. Share a childhood memory
  10. How do you see the world?
  11. What is your playlist right now?
  12. Write about some of your favourite places
  13. What holds you back?
  14. Share a vivid dream
  15. What are you wearing right now?
  16. What are five things you should do less often?
  17. What do you love about yourself?
  18. What is something you are excited for?
  19. Write about someone you love
  20. What fictional character would you most like to be?
  21. How have you changed in the past year?
  22. What are your favourite movies right now?
  23. Name something you are proud of
  24. Write down one regret
  25. What do you feel strongly about?
  26. How do you relax?
  27. List a few small things that make you happy
  28. Best book you read this year?
  29. Write a letter to your teenage self
  30. 10 places you would like to visit?
  31. What is your dream job?
  32. Who would you invite to your imaginary dinner party?
  33. Where were you ten years ago?
  34. What were your highs and lows this week?
  35. A fact about you that you don’t share often
  36. Something you want to remember
  37. How would you like people to describe you?
  38. Write about someone you admire
  39. What do you need to be content?
  40. Share one of your earliest memories
  41. What is your favourite song to sing?
  42. Name three things you do well
  43. What are your priorities in life?
  44. Name one way you would like to grow in the next year
  45. Write down 5 weird things you like
  46. Write about something that scared you
  47. Name one thing you dream of doing
  48. What was the last thing you celebrated?
  49. Sum up what you believe on this page
  50. What would you be doing if money was no object?
  51. What is the things you love most about this time in your life?
  52. Name one thing you dream of doing.

I hope you enjoyed this post, follow me to see even more ❤