Posted in mental health, My Story, Sexual Violence, Trauma

Torment (a poem about mental health and trauma)

Torment

It’s in the past.
It’s in the present.
It’s in my memory.
It’s in my thoughts.
It’s in my every day.
It’s been two years but sometimes it feels like yesterday.
Sometimes, even like it’s happening now.

November it happened.
From December I’m haunted.
Nightmares,
Flashbacks,
Intrusive thoughts,
Intense emotions;
Tormented.

One day it happens,
One month it starts,
Next month it continues,
One year still going,
Two years still tormented.

Forget it.
I can’t.
Block it out.
I try.

It’s a torment, my trauma, I cannot lie.

By TwilightRising

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Posted in mental health, My Story

If Only You Knew (a poem about mental health)

If Only You Knew

If only you knew what it was like to be,
a girl that’s struggling,
a girl like me.

If only you knew what I hide from you,
what I try to keep,
out of your view.

If you only you knew what it was like to be,
a girl like me,
desperate to be free.

By TwilightRising

Posted in mental health, My Story

I’m Fine (a piece about mental illness)

I’m Fine

I’m fine,
I’m not too bad,
I’m alright,
I’m okay,
I say…
But I’m not.

I’m not fine.
I’m not good.
I’m not alright.
I’m not okay.
But I don’t say.
I can’t.

I can’t because…
It hurts,
I’m scared,
I’m worried,
I don’t want to talk,
I don’t want to admit it,
even though I know it’s okay not be okay.

I say I’m fine,
I’m fine,
I’m fine.
I don’t know who I’m trying to convince more,
me… or you?

I’m fine, but I’m not.
I haven’t been for a while.
But I don’t want to trouble you.
I don’t want to bother you.
I don’t want to be a burden.

I’m fine,
because I want to hide.
I want to hide the fact that underneath the surface I’m struggling,
I feel like I might explode,
One more thing and I’ll I go over the edge.
No matter how big, or small.
One more drop and I’ll overflow.
I’m already full, how much more can I take?

I’m fine,
because I don’t want to cry.
Or at least I don’t want you to see me cry.
Or I can’t cry but I want to.
If the tears come, they might not stop.
I don’t want to expose my troubles.
I don’t want to feel vulnerable.

I’m fine,
because I don’t know how to tell you anything else.
I want to be able to tell you,
But what if it’s too much?
What if I’m too much?
Too intense?
Too damaged?
Too much of a problem?
A burden?
A mess?

I’m fine,
because I’m scared to trust you,
I’m scared if I tell you you’ll runaway,
I’ll lose you.
You won’t want to listen.

I’m fine,
because I don’t know how to let you in.
Or how to tell if you’re genuine.
If you really care.
If, when you say you’ll be there,
You’ll really, be there.

I’m fine,
I’ll manage,
I’ll cope,
I’ll be okay,
I say.
I hope.

I’m fine,
that’s what I want you to know.
But I’m fine is not how I am.
Not how I feel.
But then again, I
don’t even know how I feel.

By TwilightRising

Posted in Acne, Beauty, Make-up

Me and Make-up (Huda Beauty Desert Dusk)

Okay, so I didn’t set up this blog to be discussing Make-up, especially since I’ve never really been a make-up person. Most days I don’t wear any but I have always been interested in eyeshadow.

I’ve never really been into make-up because when I was younger I was umable to wear a lot of liquid make-up; including the roll on glitter gel that everyone seemed to wear as a kid. I have ezcema so my skin would react to a lot. I don’t suffer so much now.

Although, my skin became less sensitive as I got older (and particularly after discovering some allergies when I was 15) I gained another skin condition when I was 12: Acne.

Now, I know a lot of people use make-up to cover their acne or just make them feel more beautiful or they just like and see at some kind of art. However, I was not only worried about the make-up making my acne worse and the fact that it was against school rules but I still felt my acne could be seen through the make-up and it didn’t make me feel any better at all. In fact, this made me feel worse. Acne really affected my perception of myself and I was fixated with my skin and often cried about it. It has greatly reduced on antibiotics but I am hopefully going to be put on Roaccutane next year.

So, as I never really wore make-up I only ever bought cheap make-up from high- street shops such as Superdrug. I would find spending £40 for multiple items of make-up expensive. However, since being at university I’ve often seen other people’s make-up looks and wondered why I can’t get mine to look like it- especially in regards to eyeshadow pigmentation so I decided this year to ask for an expensive eyeshadow palette (I picked a few I liked so my family would have an idea of the colours I liked). And as you can probably tell from the title I received the Huda Beauty Desert Dusk Palette, which looks amazing.

Untouched Huda Beauty Palette Desert Dusk

Here it is messily placed on my arm…

From bottom left up: Desert Dusk (which kinda blends in to my skin) to Retrograde. From Right bottom up: Cashmere to Blazing


Today I looked up make-up tutorials and attempted a look using the palette. Turns out there are 4 different types of shadows- mattes, pressed pearls, duo chromes and a pressed glitter- each with different ways to apply and use (guess eyeshadow was more complex than I thought e.g. plain versus shiny and just brush it on).

Now I know my blending isn’t great and I totally used the wrong brush as I couldn’t find my eyeshadow brush, but here is my attempt.

Eyes closed
Eyes open – angle 1
Eyes open- angle 2

Let me know what you think and if you like the look I can let you know what shades I used and if I can re-find the tutorial I followed I’ll share it with you.

Have you done any looks using this palette? Any tips? Or favourites?

Xxx

Posted in My Story, Rape, Reporting, Sexual Assault, Sexual Violence, Trauma, University

Everybody Has A Story That Needs To Be Told

Everyone has a story. That’s what I believe. A story that people will benefit from hearing. It doesn’t have to be long, grand or extraordinary-it can still be a story that can be learned from or provide comfort to another by the reassurance that they are not alone.

I want to share my journey because it is something I feel that needs to be spoken about more something that people should feel more comfortable talking about be less ashamed of.

My journey will resonate with many people-probably far too many people. This is because sexual violence is far too prevalent. In fact, recent movements such as #metoo although helping to get the issue out in the open and providing comfort that nobody is alone in their experience, it also reveals a startling reality.

Once when I briefly share the fact that had I been a victim of sexual violence, the other person didn’t know what to say and thought that potentially ‘I’m sorry’ was a far too common response. What is in fact far too common response that I received after sharing this information is ‘oh I’ve been through something similar’, ‘my friend experienced something like that’ or, the likes of ‘I know so many girls who have been through something like that’. It reveals the unsettling reality that sexual violence happens too often, to women, children and yes, men too. The victim can be any race, gender or sexuality-the perpetrator too.

The conviction rate for sexual offences is far too low. Speaking at reporting it does not guarantee justice and an empowering experience. It’s too easy to feed into a victim blaming narrative, especially when media outlets often only report on the very few cases of false accusations, or on how being accused of this crime is affecting the alleged perpetrator’s life and especially how the victim can’t possibly be telling the truth because ‘he/she’ is not the type of person who would do that-it can’t possibly be true.

Sexual violence far too often comes down to a he said she said type of narrative. But I can honestly say nobody wants to identify as a victim of sexual violence. Being a victim of this crime is not easy-the acts involved can be disputed as something consensual, that they wanted it because sexual activity is something many indulge in. A victim of knife crime is never-I hope never- told they wanted to be stabbed or that they enjoyed it. You wouldn’t tell a victim of a mugging that they just gave it away, or tell a shop owner that was threatened so emptied their till to avoid an even worse outcome that it’s no longer a robbery because they ‘gave in’, or gave the money away because they were scared to something worse was going to happen.

Sexual crimes often have the problem of not having enough evidence. Victims get persecuted when they keep quiet and when they speak up.

‘Why don’t you tell someone?’

‘You should go to the police’

‘why didn’t you go to the police earlier?’

‘Why didn’t you say something earlier?’

That ‘it can’t be that bad if you’re talking about it’

‘are you sure it was that?’

‘If it happened to me I would have…’

If you speak up you are criticised about how long it took, why now? Then subjected to potential judgement and victim blaming. You are exposed, vulnerable and ready for everybody to comment on what you say and how you act and whether it conforms to their idea of a sexual violence victim. I feel sometimes people forget that everybody is different and that trauma affects everyone in different ways.

If you keep quiet you often feel alone, left with your thoughts, in denial and potentially prolonging the inevitable. You get asked why didn’t say anything earlier but you felt embarrassed, ashamed, didn’t know who to talk to, or were busy trying to deny that that was even what happened and ignore it.

No matter what action you take it never seems to be good enough, or the right one.

Experiencing it is terrifying, talking about it is terrifying, reporting it is terrifying. Nothing about it is appealing.

People are becoming more open about talking about mental health but talking about trauma from sexual violence is still scary and potentially taboo. Yes, more and more people are speaking up and speaking out but it is also revealing how much victim blaming is ingrained in some people’s culture. It is still scary and difficult and probably a lot of people are less open to talking about it. It’s taken me a long time to get to this point but I feel like I should have no shame about having experienced sexual violence. I should be able to talk about it because it is necessary people shouldn’t feel caught off-guard or scared when hearing about it. But perhaps, one of the reasons it’s so difficult to talk about is not just because the act itself was traumatic but because it is so personal, such an intimate violation and because it can happen to absolutely anyone.

There is often the fear of the stranger rape but in 90% of cases the perpetrators known to the victim. And the fear and concern around false accusations, which are in the extreme minority-it is a rare occurrence.

Perhaps it is naïveté, or innocence, or even lack of education or awareness of the prevalence of the issue but it never occurred to me that I could/would become a victim. I knew about being careful who bought you drinks, not leaving drinks lying around in case they got spiked etc.

You think if it was to happen to you, you would know that that was what it was. It would be a black-and-white situation. It would be crystal clear. It would be forceful, you would say no-put up a fight. But the thing is it can happen in many ways and you can never plan or foresee how you will act and react in a traumatic situation.

I’d have thought going out drinking with friends I would be fine, talking to different people on my course would be fine and that one more drink would be okay. I was a sensible person. I don’t believe in one-night-stands but it was other people’s choices on what they did. I was a virgin. I’d never had a boyfriend, I’d never done anything sexual. I kissed someone before – and in a club, but that was it-what happened in the club stayed in the club. If they wanted something more, I always ALWAYS said no. That is why it never made sense.

The situation I found myself in at university is an example of one that happens far too often. Universities have difficulty tackling it. Only in 2016 were new rules and guidance for universities brought in on how they might be able to deal with these situations. But it is still not enough.

xxx

Posted in mental health, My Story

Why Twilight Rising?

I could just say that I thought the name had a nice ring to it. True, but there is more to it.

Twilight is not quite darkness but not quite daylight- it’s inbetween and guess that’s kind of how it feels when your mental health is better but not quite there. You may still dip back down into the murky depths and troubles of the darkness but most of that is gone but the experience and possibility of suffering again is all but gone. Some see improvement, especially when you appear to be ‘back to your old self’ as you being better when actually you are not totally there. The struggle is not over. You are in a half-way house not at your worst but not ‘back to “normal”‘ or your best. Like Twilight you’re not in darkness or light but somewhere in the middle, sometimes darker, sometimes lighter, forever changing.

Rising- movement of going upwards. That is the direction I want to continue heading in, an upwards movement of improvement. Things will get better even if they don’t always seem it.

Now don’t get me wrong, the battle is not linear, there are always ups and downs. Also, nobody’s experience is the same and not everyone sees everything in the same way. Some people prefer to identify with one term or set of adjectives. metaphors etc which another might reject to. Everyone is different and everyone is valid and this is just my viewpoint.

xxx