An Empathetic Gesture.

The third time I went to A&E to insist that something was wrong with my mental state, I went alone. It was a Monday, I had spent the weekend sobbing feeling overwhelmed at the thought of leaving my bed and I’d had enough. I’d been accompanied the last two times I went to A&E and having other opinions in the mix made me ignore my instincts and back down from what I was certain that I needed-to be hospitalised.

I don’t know where that certainty arose from. I’d never known anyone who went to a psychiatric hospital before, but I knew I wouldn’t make it through if I tried to heal myself on my own.

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Am I a Victim or a Survivor?

I would definitely label myself a survivor, but sometimes it’s been to my own detriment. I saw it as my responsibility to overcome my obstacles that were in my way. I burdened myself with a need to handle different situations in a “correct” way.

It was really harmful to think this way and ultimately it lead me to burn out. By the time I arrived in the hospital, I had exhausted my defence mechanisms. I was completely vulnerable to anything and everything

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Reasons I’m Not Grateful for my Mental Illness

It’s difficult to find any reason to be grateful for my mental illness. I could go on all day about shitty things that I have to put up with, but here are some things that people may not understand about the nature of both depression and anorexia. They don’t just make you sad and hungry. They affect almost every aspect of your life.

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Reasons I’m Grateful for my Mental Illness.

There are so many reasons that I’m not grateful for my mental illness. I’ll be writing about those soon, but I thought I’d start with the positives. It’s snowing outside and I’m feeling cosy and I don’t want to have to think about the ways which I’ve suffered. Adversity brings good things with it. And being ill has definitely improved my character in a number of ways.

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I Have Low Self Esteem (Who Knew?)

I was participating in one of the therapeutic workshops that my life seems to consist of these days when we began discussing low self esteem. It came as quite a shock to me to realise that I suffer from it. You may scoff and think “Laylah Beattie? Low self esteem? Bitch where?” And I would have thought the same. But when I heard the details of this particular affliction, I realised that I really do fit the bill.

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Mourning my Twenties

I concluded my last collection of essays with a rather bleak ending. I’d just had my first hospitalisation because I was at the beginning of an extreme breakdown and I promised that by the next time you heard from me, I would have tried my best to recover.

I have many amazing childhood memories, but through therapy I’ve come to the realisation that I spent too much of my childhood thinking things that I really shouldn’t have. Issues about gender identity and extreme confusion that no child should have to deal with. In a way, I feel like I was robbed of the “normal” childhood experience.

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Building My Nest.

It was a couple of weekends into my stay at the psychiatric hospital when I was introduced to the concept of the wellness toolbox. It was described to me as a physical box which has a number of things in it that will bring you comfort in times of high emotion. It was suggested that it should be kept near your bed or somewhere that would be easily accessible to you in times of need.

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Appreciating Yourself

Now that I’ve made my ebook “Who Cares? Life for an Irish Transgender Teen” free to the public (you can download the full thing here), I’ve decided to publish the chapters here on my website. Below is a chapter from this book which was published in April 2016.

We learn to appreciate ourselves by acting in a way that makes us proud. I believe that the best way of doing this is by learning through other people’s experiences. Throughout my entire life, if there was a character in a movie or a book that I admired, I would pick my favourite aspects of their personality and adopt it into mine. If I looked up to traits that my friends or family possessed, I tried to also possess these traits. I don’t think that this is being fake, quite the opposite in fact. I think it’s being true to yourself to want to develop into a person that you admire. It takes courage to do things that you look up to in other people. To me, it’s quite noble to desire to be your best self.

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Dark Times

Now that I’ve made my ebook “Who Cares? Life for an Irish Transgender Teen” free to the public (you can download the full thing here), I’ve decided to publish the chapters here on my website. Below is a chapter from this book which was published in April 2016.

Every now and again, I suffer from something that I like to refer to as a dark time. I believe that it may be a form of depression. However, I do not refer to it as such because it never lasts very long. These dark times began when I fell in love and lost my friends. This was a horrible time for me. I suffered greatly with these losses and the result was a new, darker mind. However, I never ran from this pain, I confronted it head on. When I couldn’t sleep because I was overthinking, I read my books. When I wanted to lock myself in my room, I listened to sad music. When I spent the day in bed I would watch movies that I loved. I would do what I needed to get through a day, telling myself that it was temporary. I would call my friends if I needed to talk. Turn my phone off if I needed to be alone.  I would write in my journals as much as possible. I would look at old pictures and think about what I had lost. Watch YouTube videos of my idols. Go out and get coffee alone. Spend all of my money on sweets, diet coke and magazines. Take long, hot showers and baths. Read articles online about pain and loss.

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Selfishness

Now that I’ve made my ebook “Who Cares? Life for an Irish Transgender Teen” free to the public (you can download the full thing here), I’ve decided to publish the chapters here on my website. Below is a chapter from this book which was published in April 2016.

I believe that people have the wrong idea about selfishness. They think that it’s a sin to be selfish when it’s exactly how you should be. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advising that you don’t consider everyone around you because you care about yourself more, or to put your priorities ahead of everyone else’s. All I suggest is that you put your priorities on a par with those of other people. You are important. You are worth your own time. So you should treat yourself as such. Don’t let people convince you that it’s wrong to want the best for yourself. Don’t let them tell you that you shouldn’t prevent yourself from getting hurt. That you shouldn’t follow your dreams or treat yourself with the utmost respect. That you shouldn’t occasionally make decisions that no one in your life agrees with or that you shouldn’t be slightly vain. For some reason society likes to teach us that these things are wrong and we usually listen.

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Doubt.

Now that I’ve made my ebook “Who Cares? Life for an Irish Transgender Teen” free to the public (you can download the full thing here), I’ve decided to publish the chapters here on my website. Below is a chapter from this book which was published in April 2016.

In life, amongst other things, we have to battle two forms of doubt. The doubt that we have in our minds and the doubt that others have. Each is cruel. Each is horrible. I’m sorry. I wish you didn’t have to deal with these. I wish I didn’t have to deal with these. Are these two forms of doubt related? Of course. They walk hand in hand with one another. Other people’s doubt can make your doubt stronger and more relentless. The less self-doubt you have, the less other people’s doubts affect you.

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About Stay Wild.

One thing that I’m definitely learning (please note the use of the present tense) with great difficulty is how necessary it can be to make sacrifices. Throughout the course of writing these essays I’ve experienced many health difficulties, both physical and mental, relating to my hormones.

Now that LaylahTalks has taken off a bit more, I feel that bit more pressure to be okay. I feel the need to end every essay about harassment that I’ve experienced or mental problems that I’ve been suffering from with a positive message. And don’t get me wrong, putting a positive spin on things comes very naturally to me and I can definitely see the light in the midst of trepidation, but I’m going through a hard time and I don’t want to sugar coat that.

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I’ve Learned When To Shut Up.

It might be somewhat ironic for me to write an essay entitled “I’ve learned when to shut up” when I never actually seem to shut up but stick with me. I don’t make comments on people’s appearances, or at least I try really, really hard not to. That’s it. I’m not trying to convince you to copy me or to suggest that this makes me any happier or better or more easy-going than you. In fact I don’t really feel the need to broadcast this fact very often. I don’t take some moral high ground when it comes to personal comments, I just try not to make them.

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I’m Strong Even if I Breakdown.

This event occurred last week, but I wrote about it straight away. Hence when I refer to these occurrences as yesterday, last night etc. I’m actually referring to a week ago.

In the past I wouldn’t have spoken about stuff like this, believing that it makes me seem somehow weak if I confide my darkest moments in such a public way, but I’m learning not to think this way. Because to be honest, I don’t think I could really be weak if I tried to be. It’s time to own my darkest moments as just what they are, mere moments in this array of experiences that is my life.

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Nice Things That Have Happened to me Recently.

I’m an awful moan aren’t I? Recently I’ve noticed that my writing has become a bit more serious, and that’s been a very necessary thing. I’m becoming more and more honest about negative experiences and that’s probably been very beneficial for certain people. But let’s take a little break from that so I can share some of the positive experiences I’ve had in recent times.

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