It’s Mental Health Awareness Week!

Hi there folks. Hope you are all doing well! Here in the UK, it’s mental health awareness week. Already on the news bright and early this morning there were speakers and wonderful content on mental health- and a highlight of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge starting the ‘Heads Together‘ campaign aiming to end the stigma surrounding mental health. mhaw-tile-relationships

It’s just as important as physical health, and it affects each and every one of us. In my opinion, I feel we’re making progress. Maybe that’s because I’m actively doing things surrounding wellbeing and mental health, but a lot of organisations, non profits, charities, as well as some amazing individuals are starting to speak up and fight for better MH education in schools, as well as fund their mission to break the stigma and provide support. It’s truly amazing to see, and that means we are reaching more people of all ages about taking care of ourselves and each other.

Know that you are not alone, my sweet. We as people are always going to have good and bad days. We’re not happy all of the time and for some of us, that can be a challenging thought. We always think people have it better off, but in fact its just not the case. We’ve all got something that gets us down, and sometimes we don’t know why we feel so upset.

Check out the helplines on my site and take a peep at what they’re up to this week for Mental Health Awareness. I’ll be doing more posts for MHA week about what I find good for ways of coping with the bad days, plus more about how our wellbeing affects us in such diverse ways.

Be gentle with yourself, and as always – keep real! ❤ ❤

p.s if you’d like to have a chat in a confidential manner, do not hesitate to email me at kimmykeepreal@gmail.com

Mental Health Is A Part Of Us All- Yes, Us All!

We have physical health, and we have mental health. It should be quite simple, right? Well, it feels like common sense- that our health is us as a whole, that we need to take care of our bodies and minds as one. Then how come mental health isn’t spoken about as much? Sometimes our mental health even comes with physical symptoms. Chest pains, loss of appetite, migraines, fatigue etc. It’s all linked, and our mind controls everything too! Ever get a tummy pain or a headache, and the more you think about how much it hurts- the more you feel it hurting somehow? When we focus on our pains or aches with our thoughts, the more our pains and aches control our thinking, our ability to concentrate and even our mobility as a person. Well, it all loops back to our thoughts and our mental state. This is our mental health. Whether you know it or not, you have mental health. Just like we all breathe in oxygen, have bones, skin, as well as blood flowing through our veins. It’s a part of us, and we have to take care of it.

Having a healthy mind is just as important as a health body

The next time you see someone in the street, or on their way to work, even in your workplace- just remember they have mental health. We aaallll have mental health! You are not alone, we all go through something- and you deserve to be ok. Every single person on this big huge rock we call our home has a mental state, even if we don’t talk about it. Our health is part of us all, whether we can see it or not.

Take care of yourself you, and keep real!

A list of helplines are on my blog, and if you feel you’d like to read more on mental health, type ‘mental health’ into the search bar ❤

Emma’s Story: Navy to Never Giving Up

Emma’s Story: Navy to Never Giving Up

Hey folks! I had the pleasure of interviewing the very inspirational lady Emma Macdonald, who is embarking on a new journey after her time in the Navy. Through her personal struggles, she is aiming to set up her own coaching business called ‘Seize the Day Performance’ working with individuals who struggle with self-esteem and mental health issues. A story of true determination, resilience and over coming personal experiences ❤

Hey Emma, please tell me a little bit about yourself!

Allow me to introduce myself… My name is Emma MacDonald. I grew up in small village outside of the city called Perth (East coast of Scotland). School was a little bit of a challenging time in my life, not really knowing who I was, or what I wanted to do with my life. I also still carry a belief around that I wouldn’t amount to anything due to not going to university, Crazy right?? I also found myself growing up really fast, being introduced to drinking & drugs at very early age (15). I worked in retail for the majority of my time selling phones for o2, up till I joined the Navy at age 22.

What inspired you to go into the Royal Navy?

My inspiration for joining the navy was that I had enough of living in the same town I grew up in, doing the same un-fulfilling job, heavy partying. I was just wasting my life… So on the 3rd March 2010, I joined HMS Raleigh to start my training for the navy. From here, I joined a ship in 2011, which was a type 23 frigate called HMS St Albans. We were tasked to do a 6 month deployment of the gulf, patrolling areas where drug trafficking was rife, at threats of piracy to container ships was also a threat.

What were your highlights of your career?

I have managed to visit some incredible places with my time on board St Albans. Dubai, Greece, Lisbon, Malta, Iceland, Hamburg, the list goes on…

Tell me about your experiences concerning mental health.

In late 2012, after being attached to St Albans for nearly two years, I was playing football when I incurred an injury to my right knee, rupturing ligaments and tendons.  This was severe injury, so I was then taken off my ship and landed shore side. While I sought medical treatment & rehab, during this time I have to say I had bit of a breakdown. Many things came to my head, which had been building for quite some time. I became very withdrawn, sleeping a lot, drank a lot, thoughts of killing myself. I knew this was only going to get worse unless I sought out help.

I was referred to the Defence Centre of Mental Health. This is where I underwent treatment for my then diagnosed depression. For around 6 months, it only involved talking therapy, which I kept to myself.  As you know yourself, the stigma involved in mental health, is not something I wished to talk about with others back then. During this time, I resisted going on medication. After 6 months of some mild improvement, I was told that medication alongside therapy is the best chance of my recovering from my depression.

For many years during this time, I must admit I was going to pursue a career in the navy as a Physical training instructor.  I came up against massive amounts of resistance, and lots of hurdles I had to jump through. This went on for a few years, all with still being injured due to my knee and mental health. I eventually had surgery in March 2014 to repair my damaged ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament).

With this added stress and uncertainty regarding my future, all the added worry of gaining weight while recovering (not being able to exercise fully) I developed what you might call an eating disorder…

As someone who was seen to be fit and healthy on the outside, this was a very hard thing for me to get on board with. I fought the system hard believing that there was nothing wrong with me, it was just who I was…

After some time now, I have come to realise that some of my behaviours are not normal, then what’s normal? Who wants to be normal!!! As my current condition does not fit with in military life, I will be discharged in June 2016. If I am going to be completely honest, this is something that my psychologist and I have agreed on. I have had the most incredible life changing experience while being in the navy, I just feel it is time for me to know move on, and pursue my passion…

Tell me about your passion!

I am in process of setting up my own coaching & mentoring business called  ‘Seize the Day Performance’.  The name comes from my thought process of being in tune with the here and now. This is because all we really have is this moment. If you can do the best you can today then tomorrow will be even better, so seizing today, tomorrow etc.  It’s all about making this day count, however small that little triumph is!

My coaching business is aimed at people who have or are still suffering with mental health issues. Empowering others, to then empower themselves through sound nutrition, movement and mind-set… These three key elements have helped me get where I am today, stronger in body and mind. I truly believe that if these three things are not practiced, you will have a very slim chance of recovering from mental health issues…

Do you have any advice or guidance for people struggling with these issues?

My advice to others would be…

I have been on such a journey, I have been in some very dark places, so I know what it feels like to feel you have no one or nothing to live for. As I gradually introduced these practises in to my life, things began to change.  I didn’t bombard myself with trying to juggle as many habits as I could. I slowly implemented small sustainable habits, which have now led to me feeling like the person I am today. Things like reading for 15 minutes a day (mindset books), implementing protein & vegetables in to one meal at a time until I was eating protein/vegetables with every meal.

Also if, you can afford the investment hiring a coach or mentor to hold you accountable, to give you guidance a help hand, I also highly recommend this investment. This is something I have been undergoing for nearly two years now, being coached & mentored by Wildepreformance.. I could go on and on!

The key is small changes, Small daily changes = big results!

What are your aims after your time in the Navy?

My aim within the next 5 years, is to help as many people as I can, get unstuck from destructive behaviours, for them to see that life doesn’t have to suck. There are ways and means together, and we can aid you back to becoming the awesome self you once were.

 

Check out what Emma’s up to on her social media platforms (Check out here Instagram account)! She’s going to be some amazing and inspiring work, and I wish her all the best for the year! Go Emma!

 

Keepin’ Up With Kimberley #8

Hello my lovelies! Man, this week has been rad so far! I’ve been having such a wonderful time and there’s so much to be getting on with. Here’s what I’m excited about lately and some updates on my adventures.

I got a beautiful little email this afternoon from Rethink Mental Illnesscropped-wpid-img_20150525_132636.jpg, saying that they are going to publish my post sometime next week! I’ll keep you informed when it is up on their page so you can check it out! It’s all about my experiences with anxiety and how it is possible to come out of the other side. It is possible to break through those barriers you feel you have ❤ I thought to share my experience so it could hopefully help some folk. Plus, I’m training for my fundraising with Rethink- so I’ll be posting up a JustGiving page real soon!

Plus some exciting news concerning my garment and goods brand Keep Real (follow on Twitter and Facebook). Designs are being finalised and selected for the brand new collection. I am so excited about these dotwork illustrations!! I able to tell you that the new collection will be called ‘Brotherhood/Sisterhood’.cropped-wpid-img_20150608_1012111.jpg It’s all about feeling real good, doing good and celebrating the bond we all have with each other. We all stand together. We shouldn’t be tearing our friends down or making other people feel bad because they are on different paths- we should be supporting each other and pushing ourselves and everyone around us to be the best they can be. We are part of a brother/sisterhood and collectively, we all have the ability to stay true to ourselves and be humble in our walks of life. We gotta keep real. 

I will keep you all up to date with my ‘Keepin’ Up With Kimberley’ posts- so have those lovely eyes peeled in your inboxes or wordpress readers!

P.s it would be awesome if you could fill this quick poll in for my blog ❤ Sending you all the love and posi vibes!

 

Mental Health Attitudes Are Improving!

Slowly but surely attitudes are changing for the better. Time to Change launched it’s findings from the National Attitudes to Mental Illness survey. The survey shows that people are becoming more understanding of people with mental health issues. Nine inTTC RGB ten people (91%) agreed that we need to have a more tolerant attitude towards people with mental health problems in society, and 78% agreed that people with mental health problems have for too long been the subject of ridicule.

This is absolutely fantastic, a step forward in mental health! However, there is room for improvement, especially in the workplace concerning the stigma and discrimination of employees. Although 40% of people said they would be comfortable talking to their employer about their mental health problems, nearly half (48%) said they would feel uncomfortable.

Even though there is still a long way to go, 2.5 million people’s attitudes have changed. Change is happening!