Sunday, 30 March 2014

Flavours of stigma

So in my dissociation post the other day I alluded to the idea that people's reaction to mental health conditions could be different depending on the condition itself. There are many misconceptions that people have about the subject as a whole, but often certain ones seem to be trotted out more in connection to certain conditions. Often the overlap, in a sort of Venn diagram of discrimination, and some conditions seem to come in for flack from every which way. Obviously this is just me rambling about my personal thoughts, but I like to categorise and put things in order. So here are a few of what I consider to be the more common ways of thinking about mental health.

1. Diminishing, belittling, invalidating- think about phrases such as 'you just need to...' or 'when I'm sad I...' or 'pull yourself together'. This is tricky, because often these things come from a very well-meaning place, people are trying to help. They are built largely on the assumption that depression equates to sadness or anxiety to worrying. The assumption that they know exactly how you feel. This can be hard to deal with, you want to acknowledge that people are trying to help and be grateful for that....but it's difficukt when they've so titally misunderstood everything about how much it hurts and how difficult it makes life. Anxiety and depression are most often subject to this kind of thinking, particularly when the condition is new.

2. Annoyance, frustration, anger- pretty much an extension of the above, the language becomes 'just get a grip already' and 'we all have bad days you've just got to deal with it' and 'I've had enough of this now'. Because, lets be honest, it's hard work caring for someone who's ill, even if we were talking physical illness. And when people don't know the details or the reality of a condition, which is so often the case with mh, it can be very hard for them to grasp why you're not behaving as you 'should'. Mental health is not a logical thing, it's not something you can argue,  or bribe, or persuade someone out of. And trying leads to hurt and anger and pain on both sides. Depression and anxiety can fall here again, particularly if it's more enduring, but also disorders such as OCD or eating disorders and body dysmorphia and similar.

3. Suspicion, judging, accusing- this is 'attention-seeking' territory, where 'you just like the drama' or you're 'manipulative' or 'holding a personal pity party' or similar. Often it can seem this way, partucularly when behaviours or extravagent displays of emotion are involved. Often people are not in control of how they're behaving, or are too desperate to care...maybe they feel they have no choice or maybe their behaviour is misread entirely. Sometimes our own feelings and preconceptions get in the way of our perception of others- in our anger we can accuse an upset person of 'turning on the waterworks', for example, when crying is a natural human response. Conditions such as BPD/EUPD come under fire from this sort of thinking. Behaviours such as self harm. Even suicide attempts/ suicidal thoughts.

1, 2 and 3 can be lumped together in some ways in that they all work on the basic assumption that the individual has a choice about their illness....they choose to be ill and choose to remain ill and therefore they must want it in some way and are consequently selfish.

4. Fear- my fourth catch all group. Technically there is fear involved in most judgements we make but I'm thinking less of worry and more of 'omg stay away from me'. The assumption that 'mental people' are dangerous ir violent or volatile. That desire to lock people up and throw away the key because they shouldn't be around 'normail people'. Often thought processes followed by people with no knowledge of mh at all or towards conditions where perception of reality is in question. Schizophrenia, DID (not the same as schizophrenia), psychosis, mania.

Ironically the fact that people think individuals have a choice or control over their condition is one of the driving forces in this type of stigma!

Like I said at the beginning, mh can't be split down and categorised so simply, many things will fit in more than one box, or need a box all of their own. One thing you may have noticed in the list though us the fact that most all of these are based on misinformation and lack of knowledge. Education and understanding can make a massive difference. X

Models own mush

Yea so obviously I gave in to the six for £20 offer, oops! Anyway it's late so tops isn't going to be an in depth review of anything.

Just a few comments. First, they all apply nicely. Second, I'm having fun playing with pinky brown over different colours. Third, I'm in love with the speckled eggs (especially the green weirdly!). Fourth, I got compliments on several of these... which is good going cos most people have gotten bored and stopped commenting on my continual nail changes lol.

So, in no particular order and with pictures dumped at the bottom:
- the blue speckled egg, duck
- the green speckled egg, magpie
- pinky-Brown, the coats on its own and one coat over Black (Essie liquorice)
- pink punch from the iced neons collection
- hyperGel cornflower gleam
- and mermaid tears over it on middle, ring and thumb

And that's it. X

Saturday, 29 March 2014

GOT- the yellow wallpaper

Ok I confess this is not the prettiest mani you've ever seen (even by my standards of nail art lol). But, in my defence, it's deliberate.

I kinda wasn't feeling the whole leopard print idea tbh, and i couldn't make the colours work. And then I remembered the short story I just read. The yellow wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman written at the turn of the twentieth century. I don't particularly want to write a full on book review but I liked it a lot (and it's free on Kindle and about twenty pages long so you're not losing a lot lol).

It's a first person narrative (or something like that), with a steam-of-consciousness feel. Written from the point of view of a woman who's physician husband takes her to the country for a 'rest cure' to treat her 'hysterical depression', it explores the treatment of women's mental health at the told and the position of women in general. Gilman has a background of non fiction feminist works and works this, along with her personal experience of post natal depression, into the book.

Having been denounced as a hysterical woman the narrator is removed from all activities considered to be over-stimulating, including working, writing and most social contact. She spends most of her time in a single room where she becomes fixated on the hideous wallpaper, desperate to apply meaning and purpose to it.

And I don't want to write a synopsis either so I'll stop there. Suffice to say it's a good read, simultaneously gripping and thought-provoking. And now you've discovered why I'm not a literature blogger I'll move on to the mani.

I thought I'd try to emulate the wallpaper that was so abhorred by the books narrator. I'm not suggesting either of the polishes used are horrible in fact the base colour, tarastalons sandcastles is a favourite of mine (and another from the first mystery bag way back when). But I don't wear it alone because yellow really doesn't suit me as a colour...It gets featured a lot in rainbow based designs though :).

Check one got hideousness: a full mani of a colour that looks horrible with my skin tone. Next I took tarastalons ( lush lemon nail art pen (not that old tbh, is from the Christmas gift box but Meh I don't have many yellows!). It's very very close in colour but not quite the same. Check two: jarring colour combo, not close enough to match not different enough to contrast. Then I drew random patterns with no real plan or design. Check three: pointless unstructured design.

I didn't top coat because I liked the texture of the slightly raised design. In the same way I like the polishes separately, I also quite like the concept. Maybe I'll try it in a different colour scheme sometime. So there you have it my hideous mani :p. X

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Should be GOT but it's not

Yea I'll be honest I'm being lazy. I'm tired and the theme is yellow/peach. I really don't own many of these colours... The neon yellow that I wore just last week, a color club peach that I also wore last week brand new coral the polish I want to use which is an old and well loved tarastalons yellow. I just dunno what to do with it yet lol. I have vague ideas of leopard print (along with an old almost-peach) but my brain isn't awake enough to combine colours properly.
All of which brings us to this: Here's a NOTD post. It features another new models own.... New to me not to the world I mean, it's actually from the iced neons collection and is called pink punch. Layered over the white hyperGel whatever that's called and matted with Essie matte about you (actually this polish is old and neglected lol). Ring is the black from the revlon duo I wrote about last week.
Studs I'm pretty sure came from she sells seashells... though they may be from bornpretty store....I just know Moat I'd my embellishments come from she sells cos they have cute unusual little things that catch my eye and sneak into my basket where they sit all lonely until I give them beautiful friends to play with.

I definitely need to sleep lol. X

Wednesday, 26 March 2014


So for the most part I'm reasonably 'normal' in my craziness. People get annoyed or frustrated but not scared. When it comes to anxiety and depression and the like people may have misconceptions but they know of them, they have a starting point. Things like self harm, suicidal thoughts etc start bringing in hints of fear... though mostly people are scared for you (amongst other things) rather than of you.

Then we have dissociation.

Which scares people. Which is weird because most people will have experienced it in some way or another. Like most mental phenomena it's a continuum... At one end you have the extreme cases such as dissociative identity disorder (often referred to as multiple personality disorder). But at the other end you have things like daydreaming or arriving at the shops with no real recollection of the drive that got you there.

Google dictionary defines the word dissociation as 'the action of disconnecting or separating' and goes on to describe its use in psychiatry as 'separation of normally related mental processes, resulting in one group functioning independently from the rest'.

However, as I said, it's a continuum, and that continuum spans a huge range of experiences some pathological and some everyday. They can be caused by stress, sleep deprivation, drugs, trauma- both current and historical- and many other things, even boredom. I have no real interest in sitting here and listing them all, and I'm sure you'd have no interest in reading them. Instead I'll tell you about my experience.

Nowadays dissociation is something in my life that occasionally crosses the fine line between 'normal' (whatever that is) and 'problem'. But for the purposes of this I'm separating out a particular time in my life when it was particularly influential.

I'm not sure exactly what the trigger was at the time. I know I wasn't sleeping enough and I was stressed out at work and with life in general, was filling every hour of every day with busy busy busy trying to run away from my brain. So I guess it's just an extension of that.

It's hard to pinpoint a beginning as well tbh. I remember an increase in those silly little everyday things, the drifting off whilst driving then snapping to not quite sure where you are, missing turnings etc. Then they started getting annoyingly regular and I'd have to focus hard to remember the way to places I went all the time. I remember sitting in a carpark ringing my friend cos I couldn't remember the way home from a village i went to every day.

Then I started writing silly things in the paperwork. You know how you might write last year's date or the wrong month, or maybe miss out a word for no reason? Eventually I was writing total nonsense though. My friend would point out that I'd written stupid things like 14/15/22. I signed my name wrong, at one call I was Frank. I gave ladies two squares with orange (toast and marmalde) or a cup hot (tea). Typing and texting were a total no-go, words turned into a mush of jumbled letters. Predictive text meant I got real words but couldn't distinguish between them, if I turned it off I got snectenef kel I his t (sentences like this). I freaked a friend or at the pub one night speaking slow slow and disjointed. But then sometimes I'd speak super fast and it'd become a jumbled mush.

And all the time nothing was real. I touched things to confirm they were solid and that didn't help. I had a strong urge to just drive straight ahead at corners or drive into trees because I was pretty convinced I'd just go straight through them and I wanted to know for sure. The world felt flat, thin like stage backdrop or a hologram and I worried about leaving the ground floor because it felt like floating. I made everyone text me everything, meetings with friends, extra work...I didn't trust my memory or anything I'd written (or tried to write) myself because I couldn't distinguish between what had really happened and what I'd thought or dreamt. What was really there, was this an actual object or an illusion, am I sleep or awake, dream or reality?

I posted a lot in a support forum at the time and despite the fact I'd met several of the members I was convinced that everything was written by one person, photos were fake it was all make believe. Maybe I'd written it myself. Anything or anyone I couldn't see didn't exist. My friends kept wondering why I didn't call or answer the phone, was I ignoring them? It's not really polite to answer 'no but I'm fairly sure you don't exist so talking to you makes my brain hurt'... That's probably considered rude.

Simple things like driving or dressing or making tea got really confusing. I talked myself through them step by step. Sat in the car and tried buttons and levers to turn the lights on. Thought hard about how to use a gear stick and what those pedals were for. Put a teabag in a cup fill it up with orange juice. Put a successful cuppa in the fridge. Put milk in the kettle.

And my brain couldn't decide if it was too full or totally empty. There were thoughts flying around everywhere bouncing off each other and making a tonne of white noise. But I couldn't grab hold of any of them to do anything with, they all just fluttered around and dodged away every time I got close. And if I eventually managed to pin one down it turned out it was only half a thought, half formed, or a mutant cross between two unrelated thoughts. Everything trailed off into nonsense and noise.

And I was fine. Fine fine fine. As long as I kept moving kept busy didn't stop everything was just fine. Fine. The word like a mantra. Nothing was real so it's not like it mattered. And maybe this is what happy is like. It's fine I'm fine nothing to see here. And I really did believe it.

Then inevitably fine crashed down around my ears. I turned up to a double up sat leaning on the car trying to smoke...which is a challenge when you can't remember how a lighter works or how it relates to a cigarette. I just sat and stared at the two random objects that may or may not have been real. My double up partner found this weird when she arrived. Especially when I didn't answer her or even react to her talking. We must have gone in the house cos we were in the kitchen then, she left me some menial job to do while she did actual work. I stood and looked at nothing. Trying to talk to her, answer questions failed. I wrote 'can't words' on my phone and she said 'I know' I showed her a friends number and she said 'yes'. I drove. I had somewhere to be. But I didn't know where. Another call. Don't know the way. Don't know who or what or how. I stopped. And then the friend rang me cos the double up person called her. Pretty sure I didn't speak to her either. Then my boss called wanted to know where I was so she could come find me. We seemed to figure that out between us, a name of a service user nearby.

I ended up at the friend's house. They called my mum. They called out of hours gp. They wanted to call an ambulance. They called me psychotic and bipolar and dangerous. They said it was scary and 'not right'. They said I wasn't safe. For myself or others I don't know. I think I cried a lot. And then I saw the Dr and he said it wasn't ok and it wasn't fine and that I shouldn't go to work tomorrow but see my gp. And my boss convered my calls for a few days. And I was signed off for a while. And I was assessed for the billionth time and never heard anything more. Then I was less sleep deprived and less stressed and I set up boundaries with work and it was all fine. Fine fine fine. Well life was real anyway.... which was less scary than unreality but hurt a lot more.

This is a bit of a mush tbh. And this is the reconstructed version. What I've got by trying hard to remember, speaking to people, reading back things I'd written or text. It's all mushy. And not all really dissociation probably everything was a big swirling mess so it's hard to recall it now. But that's my little story. Maybe it explains something. I can at least promise you I wasn't dangerous. I didn't even really fail at my job. The paperwork was shit and I didn't do a great job which is pretty shit but I never did anything dangerous I don't think. But I could be wrong. Oh well a picture of nails to end. Cadillacquer echo which I swatched badly long ago and maybe did a better job of this time. X

Monday, 24 March 2014

Sarah Smiles swatches :)

Ok so first up I have to confess I left the bottlesin the other room and can't remember the names, sorry! If I think tomorrow I'll check and add them.
That aside, look at the beautiful-ness! Sarah has been running competitions across her social media sites, these were the prize for her Twitter giveaway but the fb and instagram ones are still running so do check them out (sorry my sleep deprived brain is finding it hard to link to the fb one from my phone lol). You can also find her shop on etsy, where there are lots of beautiful polishes and polish related jewellery and things too. I have a worrying feeling that once payday rolls around I will struggle to resist!

Anyway onto the pretties! They were lovely to apply, even the glitter was no hassle whatsoever. I used three coats of the blue and one coat of glitter on my thumb, middle and ring. Two coats of the base would have been fine but I used two  a. Because I was sloppy with the first two coats and b. because of my usual vnl paranoia lol. The blue base colour has shot right up my favourite blues list. I have some beautiful royal and navy blues that I love but I don't really have this colour of sky/baby blue. It feels like a very peaceful colour and the dark blue and silver microgpitter just sets out off beautifully. It also helps it compliment the colours in the glitter topper, though there is also turquoise in the topper too for extra zing.
I am genuinely very excited about these :D. You can't actually but these particular polishes (sorry!) But like I say application is lovely, so do check out the etsy shop for some equally beautiful options. X

Ps. I feel like I've neglected the mh side of my blog recently... But I've got a few 'serious' posts lined up this week so hopefully that'll redress the balance.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

NOTD- models own hyperGel

Yes I bought more hypergels on my latest trip to boots. White Light I grabbed because, well you know everyone wants to find that perfect easy to apply white. I quite like this one it's not too streaky...I did have to do a lot of cleanup (but that could be because I was half asleep :p), though it cleaned up pretty easily do that's cool. Coral glaze I couldn't resist just because it's fun and summery and I don't really have a proper coral colour.... Oh yea and dis I mention 3 for 2 lol.

Ok justifications over! I had some time to kill the other afternoon (wow when does that ever happen these days?!) So I decided to play. I'm kinda lacking inspiration atm but I wanted to play with my new pretties and I like coral and white together. Feeling too lazy for art really so I just used a dotting tool to outline each nail. This killed a lot of time so object achieved lol. It's a little wobbly in places and the top coat smudged bits but I quite like it. And it must have been easy cos I did both hands!

Friday, 21 March 2014

GOT- ruffle

Oops in a day late...I felt rank when I got in from ringing and ended up falling asleep before I got round to posting lol.
Anyway, that aside. Ruffle. I'm not great with ruffles, they always end up wonky and weird and I choose the wrong colours and blah blah blah (I'm rubbish I hate myself why do I even bother etc etc etc who knew a simple ruffle mani was so filled with mental idiocy :p).
I figured since I couldn't be neat id try to be creative instead. Turns out in not great at that either but it gave my brain a moments exercise lol. The theory was to try to get a sort of double ruffle effect by doing smaller dots inside the big dots. I'm not sure it really works but I had fun so who cares? Plus my fingers are slowly, slowly improving! Yay!!
The base is butter London Billy no mates which is an ages old tkmaxx purchase and in fact possibly the first polish I bought from tkmaxx? I should probably remember to use it occasionally! Then we have opi I have a herring problem... Also from tkmaxx, though I forget when if I'm honest, not recently. Finally the pink is L'Oréal insolent magenta. I think I bought it from sainsburys when I needed to buy something to use the carpark, which obviously seemed like a great excuse to buy polish!
There'll be an in linkz here later so do check out all the clever ladies more successful ruffles! X

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Playing with revlon

Aka, boots 3 for 2 strikes again!
So yea, it turns out I really can't go anywhere near boots without money flying out of my purse....But anyway. Having bought five items I picked this up on a whim as the sixth. It's called revlon nail art chalkboard apparently. Basically it's a matte Black polish with a mate pastel polish at the other end with a striping brush instead of a normal one. This one is very pale purple (the label on the end says 'home-coming). And it was quite fun. I don't actually own a matte black anyway so I figured it'd full that gap if nothing else (though I do own a matte topcoat....). The black applied nicely and the nail art end was easy enough to work with, similar to the brushes in the models own nail art pens. And I did enjoy being a child and doodling! I couldn't resist being entirely childish and doodling randomly, creating a skittle of sorts (my right hand has another five entirely different designs lol... But I'm not great drawing with my leg hand so I skipped photographs haha).
I'm pretty pleased with this asa random little impulse buy.... though I probably won't run out and grab the whole of the rest of the collection or anything lol. X