A few weeks ago, I had the absolute privilege of interviewing one of my favourite people, Louise from Louise Chatters. We met through the #TalkMH chat (Thursdays at 8:30PM GMT) and she has been an absolute angel to me, one of my favourite ‘online’ friends. So here we go…
1. First up, tell us a little about who you are, your interests and your favourite album of all time?
I’m Louise from Louise Chatters! I’m from Scotland which can be rubbish because I NEVER get to go to blogging events unless I plan waaaaay in advanced. I write about anything and everything, any nonsense that is in my head to be honest. I’m a good time gal, always up for a laugh and trying to make the best of every situation! I love love love reading and I’m so passionate about ending the stigma surrounding mental health. I can be extremely lazy and love a good Netflix binge but who doesn’t? I feel like I can speak better through GIFS than words.
Uhhh, I have so many favourite albums. I think I can narrow it down to three; Biffy Clyro – Only Revolutions, Ben Howard – Every Kingdom and Frank Hamilton – Best of #OneSongaWeek
2. Why did you start your blog?
Well, this is actually my second blog. I started this one because over the last year I’ve changed so much and really wanted to write about mental health. I pretty much started this new blog to write one post which is kind silly right? I don’t know why I couldn’t have just wrote that post on my old blog but honestly, it was soooooo naff, I pretty much just reviewed gigs I went to and books I read. It didn’t really represent who I am as a person.
3. How do you feel mental health affected you and your life?
Oh goodness, where do I even start. I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression just over two years ago now. At the time, I was in complete denial and refused to believe there was something wrong with me. The most important thing I know now, is there is nothing ‘wrong’ about suffering from a mental health illness. It is called an illness for a reason. I feel like I am getting nowhere and sometimes it seems like everybody else is getting on with life except from me. At times, I can feel like I am the only one who is struggling with my journey and that I am never going to make it out happy. But I have learned that I am not the only one, and that makes me feel a hell of a lot better about the situation. I always try to remind myself it’s absolutely, 100% okay, not to be okay!
4. What has your experience with mental health services been like?
My own personal experience of trying to get help hasn’t been that great to be honest. And I’m someone who never complains about a service, let alone our health service. And this post isn’t a rant on the inefficiencies of our health care professionals, I know fine and well all doctors, nurses and anyone in the field, work their arses off for us, every single day. It’s just the system and lack of funding that really frustrates me. I was analysed and asked a million and one questions by a psychiatrist at the hospital who told me ‘there’s nothing wrong with you, you just have emotional issues.’ Firstly, I find it really difficult to open up to people and it takes me a long time to trust, so opening up to her took a lot for me and to be told there was nothing wrong with me, it felt like, excuse my vulgarity, but it felt like she had shat all over me. Secondly, her telling me there was nothing wrong with me, made me convinced I was making it up. That’s when I really thought I was going crazy. That wasn’t a very enjoyable experience as you can imagine, but a doctor I was referred to recommended my personal GP to give a second opinion, as he had known me for over 2 years and the psychiatrist who analysed me had known me for 10 minutes. I’m not even sure what to write without sounding ungrateful and sounding as if the system failed me. My GP was absolutely furious with how I had been treated as he said it could have triggered me even more. He dealt with that side of things and tried his utmost hardest to get me an emergency appointment with someone who could help. I was still feeling pretty low that I didn’t think anything else would actually help. Tbh, I had tried everything before, medication, counselling and classes but absolutely nothing had worked for me.
5. As an incredible blogger, how do you feel writing has affected your mental health?
Writing helps me so so much. If I feel like I need to have a rant, I will just furiously let all my feelings out, whether I publish them or not, that’s another story. Interacting with other people helps so much as it makes me realise that I’m not the only one who feels like this.
6. What motivates you as a person to keep going?
Sometimes, I honestly don’t know. But in the past year I have completely changed. Before, I would say I was quite a bitter person and would do things to prove people wrong. But now, everything I do is for myself. Sometimes I need to remind myself how far I’ve come and everything that I’ve achieved. But on a day to day basis, I just try and remind myself how fabulous I am to get through the day.
7. Honestly, how do you spend the inevitable dark days?
Honestly? I’ve still not found a method that works for me. Unfortunately, I work full time so I can’t stay in the house and have a day to myself. I keep myself busy to try and keep my mind off things. If I’m at home and having a dark day, I come off all forms of social media. It’s not good for me or anyone around me. I don’t like being negative because it can trigger people’s moods. I try to distract myself and keep busy or if it’s in the evening, I simply have an early night. Reading can work wonders for me because it takes me away to a different world.
8. Many people in the public eye are coming out as having mental health issues at the moment. What are your opinions on this?
I think this can help people a lot to be honest. If someone notices their idol or a popular figure talking about mental health and their personal struggles, then it might encourage people to seek help themselves, or even just be more open about how they’re feeling. I think it can be quite beneficial as it also makes people realise that MHI’s are a real issue and so many people suffer. It’s a step in the right direction to ending the stigma.
9. What are your top tips for self care?
- Find something/things that make you truly happy and relaxed
- Practice them often, even 10 minutes of self care each day can really improve your mental well being
- Allow yourself time on your own. This gives you time to reflect and can give you time for your brain to switch off. Having space and time to yourself without other people surround you with their opinions can be wonderful and rejuvenating.
10. Any last words of wisdom?
Please, please please treat people the way you’d like to be treated yourself. Everyone has their own story and demons and not everyone shows they’re struggling. Be patient and kind with every human you meet. And always remember, it’s absolutely ok not to be ok! But I promise you, this too will pass! Remember to take time to yourself and it’s alright to be selfish! You’re amazing.
Again, you can catch Louise over at Louise Chatters.
Until next time,