Dear Kimbo, Lots of love, Kimbo xoxo๐Ÿ™‹๐Ÿฝ

So basically I’ve totally run out of ideas to write interesting blog posts on. I’ve had a couple of great suggestions from friends, which I fully intend on exploring, including the dire state our world is in right now. One word: TRUMP… ?

Anyway, while I think I will do a post on some of these great suggestions (thanks in advance, everyone๐Ÿ˜Š), I thought that I would write this post as a letter to my past self-first year Kimbo. ๐Ÿ’…๐Ÿฝ

So here goes…

Dear Kimbo,

Kimbo is, as I’m guessing you’re currently realising what you will be known as in years to come. You’ve had a few bad nicknames along the way so just be glad it’s not Kimberley. Yuck!

So you’re in first year. You’re still young, ambitious and full of life and joy. That’ll change pretty quickly, trust me. 6 years in secondary school will fly by, at the same time though, it will be the longest 6 years of your life. Regardless, please try to enjoy these years. Make the best of them and even on the duller days, find something to smile about! As your future besto, Aodhnait likes to quote: “Every day may not be good but there is something good in everyday.”

Over the next few years you’re going to face some amount of shit. Life is going to seem unbearable at times, and sometimes you’re going to feel like you’re really close to just giving up. I’m telling you that you are strong enough. You are brave enough and you are smart enough. You WILL get through everything that life is about to throw at you, and come out the other side with a big smile on your face, still in your goofy, over patterned clothes and be happier than ever. I promise!

You’re going to meet some people along the way that will quite literally save your life. Embrace these people. Love them with every bone in your body and never be afraid to trust. For although there are a few bad eggs that you will inevitably meet along the way, there are FAR more good in the world. It is worth being hurt by a couple of bad in order to stumble upon the good people. The great people. The people who will turn out to be your heroes. Friends, Neighbours, Strangers. You will meet the most incredible people, I can guarantee you. For someone with a teeny, weenie amount of biological relations, you will end up with a bigger family that you could have ever imagined. โค๏ธ

I’m going to ask you to be yourself. People will respect you and love you for just being you. You’re going to spend a lot of time trying to fit in. Don’t do it. It’s not worth it. Being happy in yourself and having friends who like you for exactly you is a lot of fun, I definitely recommend it!

You’re going to learn some really bad duck jokes in third year while living with the Downes’. Tell them to everyone you meet. Even if people are laughing at you being in hysterics over your own jokes, go for it! They make you laugh and no matter the reason for others laughing, they will still be laughing. The more people you can make smile, the better! ๐Ÿฃ

People will tell you to put your head down during 6th year and study like you’ve never studied before. I really wouldn’t listen, Kimbo. You probably won’t do very much except for party and stress about the fact that you’ve done nothing and that’s okay! Although you will have your heart set on Trinners, you’re gonna end up in Maynooth and that will be your place! So although I don’t think you should show anybody else this particular paragraph of the letter, chill out! You’ll make it in the end and you will LOVE it.

This is a pre-warning that you’re going to stop avidly watching Eastenders. That’s okay ’cause you will eventually come to your senses and realise that it’s a shit show. Literally. Do yourself a favour, save yourself a couple of years of emotional turmoil and just switch to Emmerdale now. It’s much more entertaining ย and there’s also plenty of pretty boys in it too!๐Ÿ˜‰

I’m going to make your day right now and throw in here that you will FINALLY get a dog!! (Thanks Dad) ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š Regardless, keep begging and pleading… maybe he’ll change his mind if you put in more effort and let you get 2 Sallys instead of just one. Although one is FANTASTIC! ๐Ÿถ

I’m going to advise you to always really appreciate the people you have around you. These people are usually just trying their best to help you and in a couple of years you will learn that they were almost always right and you were almost always wrong. Stop being so stubborn! Rely on the people you have in your support system, please? You’ll see as you get a bit older that all the burdens you’re carrying on your little shoulders seem a lot less heavy when you talk about your insecurities, worries and fears with the people you trust.

Oh yeah, teachers are not all big scary monsters who give out to you for not wearing your tie and who thrive off the pleasure they get from handing out homework and ruining your weekend. Some of them are actually pretty cool and will help you a lot with all the struggles you’re about to face. (Although, there is of course, the odd monster..)๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ™Š

Hummm… what else?

Aside from the usual, getting rid of the big school bag and ‘losing’ mom’s sensible shoes… I’m not sure if there’s much else I can advise you on. I mean there is of course! I could warn you about a lot of things but I think that all the people you will meet, experiences you will go through and places you will visit along the way will make you into a pretty cool, well actually really dorky, but kinda funky gal. You will learn so much about people, the world and most importantly yourself. It’s not going to be an easy ride by any means, but I know that you will grow into a good and a very happy person. Although not all the time, 96% of your time you will spend having fun. Try to get that percentage up.

Before I finish this letter to you, my dear Kimbo, I have one last thing that I would like to say. Please refrain from proudly announcing that ‘You will never drink alcohol, that it is stupid and pointless and that you can have just as much fun without it.’ This is not true and you will regret saying it. Trust me. Also 13-year-old Kimbo, please don’t try to pluck your eyebrows. They are FINE just the way they are.

Lastly never forget to smile always,

Lots of Love, 20-year-old Kimbo xxx

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Always wear your invisible crown!โœจโค๏ธ๐Ÿ‘‘

๐ŸŒŸ “It’s okay to be a glow-stick; sometimes we need to break before we shine! ” ๐ŸŒŸ

So in my last post I said that I was going to talk a bit more about Depression. I think that this is a pretty tough subject for a lot of people so I’d like to apologise in advance if anything I write comes across in any way as insensitive or triggering.

I was diagnosed with Depression at the age of 14. I was lucky, I’ve always had a great support system. There’s always been someone looking out for me and someone to turn to. ย I think I’ll always be grateful to those people. I haven’t always made great choices, I still don’t, but the fact that someone has always made a point of catching me right before I fall makes me an extraordinarily lucky girl! โค๏ธ Even when I didn’t want the help, it has always been given to me and no matter how stubborn my argument, I have always come out the better because of it.

I can remember the first time I told anyone about my depression like it was yesterday. I hadn’t felt like myself for almost a year previous. I knew that something wasn’t right but there was a lot of family issues going on and I figured that I was just ‘sad’.

It wasย a school night. I remember that clearly. It had beenย an awful day in school. I remember being in the art room, washing my palate and one of my class mates had almost noticed the cuts on my wrist as my sleeve was rolled up, just a little to avoid getting wet. I remember getting home and thinking over and over the days events. What would I have done if she had seen me? What excuse would I have made up? What would she have thought of me?… It was then that I realised that something was really wrong and that I needed to tell someone. I remember texting a really close friend. I remember the first reply I got was telling me that everything was going to be okay. That I wasn’t making it up. That how I was feeling was real and valid and that she was going to help me through it. It still, to this day is one of the most comforting messages I’ve ever heard. I’m not entirely sure what I would have done if my friend had not said something so reassuring. I remember it being one of the scariest things I’ve ever done, so I imagine, I might have not said anymore and just suffered ย scared, alone and in science.

-Like I said, I’ll always be grateful! ๐Ÿ’›

I was too scared to tell my school counsellor, Jimmy or anyone else for that matter so after about a week of refusing, my friend went to Jimmy behind my back. I’m so glad she did! Obviously, at the time I was furious but, things got so bad as it was, I can only imagine how much worse they would have been without Jimmy by my side.

After sometime, I found myself in counselling, attending a psychiatrist and taking medication. I was diagnosed with Chronic depression, Generalised and Social Anxiety and a few other bits and bobs. ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜Š

It took a long time to find a psychiatrist that I worked well with. It’s important that when you’re opening up to someone, you find someone who you trust. Over the next 5 years, I went through 6 different psychiatrists and I think that this is a clear flaw in the limited Mental Health services that our country supplies to the public. It’s really difficult when you’ve just built up some sort of relationship with someone and begun to trust them and then they are moved to a different facility and you have to start all over again with someone entirely new.

By this stage I had lost a lot of confidence. I was on the highest dose of medication that I could be on for my height and weight and I felt no better. I hated talking to people about what was going on and I found it really difficult to let go a little and trust. I remember that everyday went by so slowly. I didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning, my school day would be as bad as my mood then I would return to not a very happy home, crawl back into bed and start it all over again the next day. I had come to the conclusion that life was not worth this pain anymore and that it was never going to get better. Thank goodness there were people there to catch me when I fell. โค๏ธ

From that point onwards I wasn’t really allowed the chance to fall anymore. A family, who I now consider to be part of my family – The Downes’ took me in under their wings and from then, life got better. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a quick fix, depression is something I still battle with to this day. I just have it mostly, very much under control.

Things all changed when my dog, Sally came into our lives. It’s safe to say that I am totally and utterly obsessed with my dog and here’s why…

I had wanted a dog more than anything for years. When I got Sally, she depended on me. Sally is an absolutely bonkers dog. Like, the amount of energy she has is ridiculous. I couldn’t do anything to harm myself because I figured that no one would ever be able to love her and care for her quite like I did. That scared me. I couldn’t let anything happen to her. It sounds totally mad, but when I didn’t believe life was worth living for myself, I lived for my dog. I whole heartedly believe that Sally essentially saved my life. That is why I love her more than anything in the world.

Even now, I am still in regular contact with Jimmy. He is definitely one of the people who I trust most in the whole world. I know that without Jimmy, I would not be in the place I’m in now. Life would have been a lot harder and recovery may not have been achievable. He really is a living super-hero.

During the worst of my depression, I struggled a lot with self-harm. I’m not ย going to go into that much because it’s a really personal story for me but it took a long time to overcome. Harming myself felt almost like an addiction. The relief I felt from a fresh-cut was like a weight off my shoulders. I still get an urge to harm sometimes when I’m really upset over something. I have however worked far too hard to let myself fall into that rut again.

Like I’ve said before, I love to paint. I find painting so relaxing and when I’m painting I don’t think about anything else. Now whenever I get the urge to self-harm, I paint on my skin instead.

I also got a wrist piercing. I’d love a tattoo but I’d also be shot by my dad. ๐Ÿ‘ท๐Ÿฝ So I got a piercing instead. I got it to symbolise something beautiful on my wrist. Something that I love showing to people. It acts as a deterrent to hurt my wrist in any way. It’s a reminder of why I should love my body, and not to destroy it and as a result hide it away.IMG_3176.jpg(Excuse the cringe selfie)…

I’ve found that since starting college, and making a huge effort to start again and to be exactly the person that I am, life has been a lot happier. โ˜€๏ธ I’ve made a big effort to exercise a lot and take care of my body. Taking an hour out to myself on a Sunday to do something small for me – to do my eyebrows or paint my nails, has become a ritual. It enables me to start the week feeling good about myself. I start how I mean to go on, even though this doesn’t always work out. I’ve found that joining the gym has had a great impact on my mood. I’ve watched my body transform into something that I’m a lot happier with. I’ve put so much work in and I’ve really seen the results. I’m healthier and fitter than I’ve been in a long time. It’s really difficult to find the time for exercise but when you do, everything else gets easier to manage. I try to keep an eye on my diet too. I’m not great at that though. I find when I’m eating a healthy balanced diet my mood also improves.

Things like prioritising having a good sleeping pattern, taking time out to do something I really enjoy a few times a week and attempting to stay organised all help me a lot as well!

And like I say all the time: TALKING TO SOMEONE YOU TRUST ABOUT HOW YOU’RE FEELING AND ABOUT WHAT’S ON YOUR MIND IS ESSENTIAL! (No matter how scary)๐Ÿ”‘

It has been a long journey. One that is still not complete. I still have bad days and bad weeks. They are just much less intense and come much less often. They are manageable and I know that they will end. My mental health is always going to be something I will have to look after carefully. Winter is always a hard time, as I think it is for a lot of people who suffer with mental health difficulties. The lack of vitamin D from the sun takes a serious toll on my mood. The difference however, I now look forward to the Spring. ๐ŸŒผ

Getting through Depression is not by any means an easy thing to do. But it is possible with the right attitude and help. Please don’t ever give up! You have my word, it does get better! ย Listen to your body. Take care of it. Its yours and only yours. Talk, tell someone how you’re feeling and whats going on. Fight for happiness. It’s worth it, I promise!

I’m going to post a picture of someย help lines on my blog after I publish this. Just incase anyone ever needs it. Never be afraid to ask for help.

For now, know that you are absolutely strong enough to get through this and without a doubt, 10o% worth the fight! โค๏ธ

Love and Hugs to anyone who needs it,

Smile always,

Kimbo. X ๐Ÿ’›๐ŸŒธ๐Ÿฃ