Stand Up & Speak Out

"Don't Give Up!" ~ Letter to my 16 year old self 

Whether we are 5 years older, or 40 years older, we all wish we could go back to some part of our lives and advise ourselves to do or not do something. It may be very cliché but it is the truth. 

It can be anything from; saying "yes" to a date or indeed to a job proposal. It could be walking away when times get tough instead of fighting your corner. For me I would advise myself to "not give up" because 4 years on, "you will have the best life possible, a family of friends around you; the best degree you could imagine and the amazing family that always stood by you". Knowing my 16 year old stubborn self, I would not have believed this statement, because for me, whatever I thought I did, and that is where my life changed forever. 

If you have followed my story and my campaign you will know about my bullied past; the 12 months of endless cyberbullying; the endless taunts on the corridor; the constant buzz of negative thoughts running through my head. You may think that I had a brutal time at high school, so it may seem; but in fact I loved school and did not want to miss a day. Despite staff members and friends telling me to take a few days off to tune in with myself, I stayed put. I worked myself into the ground because for me; taking time out was what quitters did, and I wanted to show everyone that I was not going anywhere. 

Whether I want to believe it or not, my own stubborn ways led to me becoming very ill. Not only was I not fit to open a book to revise, somedays I was not fit to sleep because of the endless nightmares of what happened a few months prior. 

"Don't give up", was the message I had on my laptop screen, my phone screen and even on a whiteboard beside my bed. The days where I felt like throwing in the towel, my own messages of positivity helped me through. Despite this, Halloween 2012 I did just that, I gave up on myself; the prospect of having an amazing family of friends, the idea of perhaps studying for a degree was for me too far away that it did not even seem logical to hold on to. My friends will tell you that I cannot stand Halloween, so now you know. 

Just over 4 years on, I can remember that night as though it has just happened; but why? Why can't I let it go. Perhaps it is guilt. 

From personal experience, time is the best healer. As it allows for us to look back and forgive ourselves, it allows us to look back upon our life and compare it to what is now. 

The moment you think; "everyday is a losing battle, that I cannot fight" STOP! As that is the moment that you start to give up the fight and start to give up on yourself. In that moment; stand up, pick up your phone and scroll through your contacts and look for those that you could call upon day or night with a query or concern. For those that do not fit the bill, click "delete". The individuals that you have left will fight for you when you are not fit enough to lift your head. They are those who will fight with you when you are ready to take on the world. It does not matter what age you are, we have all fought through battles in our lives. Bereavement, illness, bullying, you have battled through it. You conquered fears that you thought were unconquerable. Remember that!

The days that you just do not want to get out of bed, (Depending on work/school commitments) don't! Stick to your gut. But the moment that you begin to feel sorry for yourself, get up. Bring some humour in to your life. Log on to YouTube and watch funny videos until you laugh your socks off. The best therapy for me is laughing at myself. I have the worst singing voice since sheep learnt to bleat, so I use this in my favour, log on to snapchat and sing using the filters. Laughing is a therapy in itself and I find that laughing at myself is the best medicine. We are all different, so what works for me, may not work for you all. 

If you hear someone say, "You can't do that" "You are not strong enough" or if you hear a voice telling you to "give up". Don't listen to it and shut it off. "How?" I hear you ask. Display the following quotes on your phone, your laptop and around your house. "Hey you fighter, you've got this. Stay Strong" "Don't give up, you are stronger than you think "Today hasn't happened yet and tomorrow hasn't been written yet, so go out and take on the world." Cover your house in them. Still feel slightly unsure? Put up more. Find yourself contemplating life and its negative ways in the shower? Stick one of these quotes on a post-it note in a polypocket and hang it up so you can see it. Bit of a singer? Sing "I Will Survive" also. Daft? Not at all. These are all simple strategies to keep you, the amazing individual that you are, here on this earth to carry out many amazing tasks. You have been carrying out the biggest one of all since the day you were born, and that is to be you! Don't feel like you are doing that role justice? Start afresh, tomorrow is a new day!! Go for it, you have nothing to lose!!