Friday 4 July 2014

Interview on bullying, body confidence, self-esteem, depression and anxiety with Louise.

Hi Louise! Thank you for taking part my project by letting me interview you! Tell me a bit about yourself?

I'm a total bunting addict who loves 90's pop punk and graphic novels. If you ever needed to find me, I'd be in a cinema, sorting through vintage stores, listening to my record collection or playing a game or two on the Playstation. I'd like to say I'm extroverted but I'm not - I love my small group of friends and I find I'm happier this way. What else... oh yeah, I blog.

What do you blog about?

I blog about adventures I go on with my friends and fiance, Green Ranger, recipes I try and absolutely love, wish-lists for clothes, beauty and stationery among other things, random opinion/inspiration pieces that have helped me through and blogs about topics I find generally quite interesting and hope my lovely readers will too!

What inspires you in life?

In all honesty, other people. With the influx of social media in everyone's lives, it's now so much easier to see the 'good' and the inspiring stuff that people are doing all over the world. It shows that the world doesn't have to be this dark, depressing place that the news always paints it as. I think, for me, Tumblr and Instagram showcase this really well with the communities on there - full-blown creative minded people with stories to tell. What's not to be inspired by. I guess other things that inspire me would be magazines like Company and Glamour, other wonderful bloggers like Becky Bedbug and paperbagblog, specific indie films like '500 Days of Summer' or 'The Secret Life of Walter Mitty' and music, my favourites are Foos, Coldplay, Beatles and probably, Kings of Leon at the moment.

Social media definitely provides great opportunities to be influential and promote a positive community! What keeps you motivated?

When dealing with OCD, you tend to be fairly motivated, so I've not really struggled in this department, apart from when I was suffering with depression. It was a toughie as OCD meant I HAD to do all these things at the right time and all the time or I'd get major panic attacks but the other half of me just could not be bothered, I couldn't get out of bed, let alone do anything else! Luckily, I had special friends who saw me through and dragged me out when I needed it, talking about past issues with my psychologist definitely helped. Having someone who could say to me that what I was thinking, whether that be 'I'm fat - so why should anyone love me?' to 'What's the point?' was okay and talk it over rationally with me really helped.

I can definitely relate with OCD! It's a real time consumer as well! What is your proudest achievement either in life or the blogging world?

In the blogging world, it would have to be going to the #LDNBloggersTea in Kensington about a month ago. It was SO nerve-wracking, having to talk to brand new people, going alone and having to make conversation was so anxiety-inducing I nearly didn't make it. It took the kind words of my fiance to calm me down, tell me that I looked fine and talk me into going. I still wandered around Kensington Gardens to calm myself down before venturing anywhere near the venue! Non-blogging world, it'd have to be overcoming anorexia, I say overcoming but I still have the thoughts that accompany the disorder. I'm glad to say that I now eat three meals a day and it is under control from a physical sense. This took literally everything I had and I wouldn't be here without my family and close friends who supported me.

What is your experience with bullying, body confidence, self-esteem, depression and anxiety?

When I was at school, I was always bullied for being a bit of a porker. I was admittedly obese as a child but I didn't deserve the daily ridiculing from the other children. Nonetheless, I compartmentalised it and got on with my day-to-day, I became very good at putting on a front - 'the fat, bubbly girl'. But inside I was hurting and my self-esteem was practically non-existent.

I can't remember what it was exactly that changed, it may have been the death of my nan (she was the closest thing to me in my world) but I just gradually ate less and less to the point where I was banned from the gym and PE as they saw I had 'issues', and I was counting a grain of rice as dinner - nothing else, not even water for fear of calorie intake.

I eventually got hospitalised and decided I'd rather die before eat anything. I had lost all self-worth all without anyone really recognising bar the odd guy on the playground who'd then ridicule me for having an eating disorder. Being thin meant that people talked to me like an 'average' human girl in most instances, who could be attractive and interesting, without being thin I was nothing. It's fair to say that it gave me a degree of control over my own life when a lot was changing, it masked just how depressed and anxious I was about my life and my future.

How has it changed your life?

Suffering with the above changed my life immensely, I went from being an outwardly 'happy' child who didn't think on anything bar the next S Club 7 song to being the most cynical and downright depressing person you'd ever meet who could burst into tears at any opportunity. I'm glad to say that I have stabilised now, in my younger adult years, but I still walk down the street and wonder who and why is staring, I still 'hate' the way I look and question why it is that people would even want to talk to me. These are just a few things that are coped with on a day-to-day business. And that is exactly what it is, a day-to-day business. You can't plan for being sad one day and happy the next - it doesn't work like that.

How are you coping with it?

Distraction. Seeing a psychologist is out of the question, I have a full-time job to maintain and appointments don't exactly cater for this. So I use good, old distraction techniques. I tried the self-soothing exercises but these never helped me, that negative voice in my head always overcame it but listening to music, watching a film or playing a game I like takes me away into a world where I'm not always anxious and I'm not always putting myself down. It gives me a break from the monotony of negativity.

Do you feel like the media are doing enough to help people who suffer from bullying, body confidence, self-esteem, depression and anxiety?

I think compared to when I was a kid/teen, there has been a lot of awareness campaigns about the above, acknowledging that it is a problem BUT there simply isn't the actual support. Funding has been cut in all the wrong places and people like me are being affected everywhere I turn. The problem is that these problems are inherent within out society and until that changes then these issues will always be just that, issues. The media need to change the perception of these illnesses and I think they're only a small percentage of the way there. That is not to say that it won't improve.

What are your top tips for anyone living with bullying, body confidence, self-esteem, depression and anxiety?

As difficult as it may be, you need to be true to yourself and who you are and keep your head held high no matter what because there is always light at the end of that dark tunnel. Sod what anyone else has to say and ignore it, they're just insecure about themselves and projecting this onto you as a means of coping - you don't have to listen nor take it. Surround yourself with supportive people and things you love too, these will inevitably guide you through on the crappiest of days - they are your rocks.

Thank you so much, Louise! I found your answers so interesting and honest, which I'm sure people will appreciate and find inspiring! If you'd like to visit any of Lousie's links, here they are:

anxiety, self-esteem, bullying, depression, body confidence

If you would like to be interviewed or get involved with my campaign/platform on any of the topics mentioned, please get in touch! My links are:

Twitter: @ChloesConcept
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Thank you for reading!

Chloe x

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