Don’t Meet Your Heroes… Unless They’re Wonderful.

You know how almost all of us have people we want to meet? Usually it’s celebrities. Sports stars, musicians, scientists, you know the type. But when was the last time you had someone “regular” that you wanted to meet? A regular Joe/Jane. A person who you’ve seen around or maybe spoken to once or twice online?

It doesn’t happen often does it? But for me, it happened! It all started with one of my favourite people [A] in the world who’s always supported this blog, my videos, my life in general including supporting me through break ups, awkward encounters, my lowest most depressed and anxious moments.

She knew someone who had been struggling with their mental health [B] and she put us in touch. She also shared my posts on here, Facebook and Instagram. We started chatting nearly 2 years ago on and off and she is fantastic. Life has dealt her a bit of a shit hand but she has always powered through. Despite everything that she’s gone through, she is still going. And one thing I really, wholeheartedly, absolutely respect her for is sharing. We’ve had a fair few conversations about mental health. About her own and about mine. She spoke really openly and honestly with me very early on in our friendship and she knows exactly how much strength that takes. How much energy it takes to do that. How terrifying it can be. But she did it. And I’m so glad she opened up to me because I am so proud and honoured to consider her a friend.

Anyone who knows me or has read this blog is fully aware how much I value the sharing of all of our mental health struggles. It’s something that I think we all need to do more to help remove that stigma. It helps us all feel much more comfortable sharing our struggles. It doesn’t have to be public like what I’m doing. It can just be sharing with one person you trust, but please do share. It will lighten the load.

Anyway, back to the point. Yesterday I got to meet Miss B and she is just as amazing and inspiring as I knew she would be. Everyone always says “don’t meet your heroes, you’ll only be disappointed”. But you know what? Sometimes you can and should meet your heroes. Miss A is one of my heroes and she introduced me to Miss B who is now one of my latest heroes and I’m very grateful for it. A little extra joy was brought into my life today and I am very glad I met one of my heroes.

My Australian Adventure: Part 2

So I was just in Melbourne staying with one of my best buds and man have I been learning a lot about Australia. For example, despite it’s name the Huntsman spider isn’t poisonous and it builds some pretty spectacular webs. Gum tree sap is explosive so if there’s a bushfire near the a lot of gum trees, run as far as you can, as fast as you can.

Melbourne is a beautiful city which is full of culture, art, food and fun. I’ve had the chance to go to the Moomba Festival and watch some people jump off a pier into a notoriously stinky river to raise money for charities of their choice, visit a cracking museum/gallery which currently has a spectacular installation which consists of dozens of giant skulls piled up and scattered across a room. I’ve eaten amazing vegan food at Serotonin (which is now one of my favourite places on earth) and some great dumplings which remind me of home and climbed 1000 steps to get some incredible views of a stunning forest (I am very very unfit and now my butt muscles hurt so much I can barely walk…). I’ve also been hosted by one of the most wonderful friends and her incredible, kind and welcoming family who I’m incredibly grateful to have finally met after all these years!

This post though is going to be about a very specific thing I got up to with my friend, her boyfriend and a bunch of his friends. They organised a huge city wide scavenger hunt. 30+ people turned up to win prizes that were both pretty bad and absolutely brilliant at the same time. A toy watch, a smiley face plastic ball, a set of maracas and more. The scavenger hunt had us recreating famous images, paintings, photos, movies, solving riddles, finding hidden bottles of gin and doing some other wacky things. It was physically and mentally exhausting competing in a new city half way across the world while also meeting dozens of new people and trying not to fuck things up for my team but holy crap was it fun.

And that’s the thing. It was fun to play a game with people with no goal other than to have a bloody great time. We all have to get old but does that always mean we have to grow up? So many people complain about having to “adult” and how boring it is being an adult. I have made the same comments and I’m guilty of being a total buzzkill sometimes too. But I think the reason we end up bitter, jaded and whiny adults is because we forget how to play. One thing that I always used to love as a kid that would help me to destress was play. Whether that was with my Pokémon toys, my PS1 or football in the garden with a tennis ball. Now I often have to remind myself to play more especially when I’m working a full time job.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying plan an elaborate scavenger hunt for 30 of your friends every week (although if you do, I’d be up for taking part). I’m saying to try to go back to playing when you get the opportunity. Use your lunch breaks to play some games on your phone (or if you’re like me, on your 3DS or PS Vita) or go outside with your colleagues and play a game of football using your jackets as the goalposts. At the weekends don’t just go to the pub every weekend. I love the pub but this week has reminded me how much fun actually playing is rather than just sitting and drinking. You can still catch up with your friends but you just get to do it while recapturing some of your youthful energy. That’ll only disappear if we let it. We all say that we’re “too busy” and we can’t take a break but there is always something that can wait.

A couple friends and I have a semi regular Friends marathon, KFC/vegan kebab, alcohol and Uno. And you know what? The food and the booze is great but the Uno really brings us together the most through competition and smack talk. The scavenger hunt let me see the city of Melbourne in a totally new way and allowed me to meet a bunch of new people while having silly, wacky fun.

This scavenger hunt reminded me to play more and it’s a damn shame that it took a trip half way across to reinforce that to me. Hopefully this post will help you play more and stress less! Trust me, it’ll be worth it.

Post 1000 steps. Tip for future steppers, don’t take a back pack full of camera gear.


Hard Times

Sorry for going AWOL the last month. It’s been a little bit of a stressful time!

In the last month or so I’ve been hit with two pretty tough pieces of news. The first was that a friend of mine passed away. He was the friendliest, most caring guy you could meet and although we hadn’t spoken in quite a while, I was absolutely devastated to hear about it all. He was from a volunteering programme I took part in a few years ago and he made such a huge impact on so many people. He was volunteering for my best friends project and was regularly reassuring her, supporting her and delivering care packages to parents who had children in hospitals.

Then last week, I found out that my gran has cancer. My gran is 83(ish) years old and has lived 5 doors away from me for as long as I remember. She would always look after me, my brother and my cousins when our parents were out working one of their many jobs when we were young and she has always been kind, loving and cheerful (unless she had to miss out on playing mahjong). Hearing her news and hearing that she’s ready to give up is really tough.

As a result, my social life has suffered, my work life is a little bit mad and my mental health has plummeted pretty drastically. My usual techniques of music, video games, video making and comic books just aren’t cutting it and I’m finding that I’m beginning to struggle to do basic tasks. Sleep has been eluding me for the last few weeks and I’m physically and mentally exhausted. I’m constantly feeling guilty for not being able to do everything I usually do to the quality that I usually do it to.

I’m trying constantly to remind myself that I shouldn’t feel guilty and why should I? Okay so these things aren’t happening to me, but that doesn’t mean they don’t affect me greatly. People that I love and respect are going through some really hard times and that’s going to have an impact on me. Right now, it feels like life is a little bit shit and for me right now, it is. I’m going to try to not feel guilty about depression hitting hard at this point in my life because even someone without depression would feel like shit with all of this.

Bad news affects most people with depression more than it would healthy people. That’s just a given. And getting out of a depression slump is one of the hardest things to do but it is doable. With the help of my friends, my family I will get through this as I have done every single other breakdown and panic attack.

In the meantime though, I’m going to feel like shit and that’s okay.