Life as a Graduate Part Two.

Around 5/6 months ago, I posted a blog about being a graduate, trying to find a job as a newly graduated arts/fashion student, the changes of living away to living at home etc. Now this time has passed, I just thought I’d update you all on what is going on now that I’ve well and truly graduated and so far away from what I knew, uni life.

I still, every single day, miss the independence of living away from home but I’m very much loving all the food, internet and alone/quiet time I get. I’m loving being closer to family and not waiting up to months or when I could afford to get home to see them. I miss the uni lifestyle more than ever. I’m missing the routine. Even if I only got up to sit in a computer room for hours with my uni friends and headed home for dinner and an evening of Greys Anatomy on the box, it was still something. I miss being pushed beyond what I thought I could be creatively. I miss being inspired by class friends and tutors. I just miss uni. If you had asked me this time last year, if I was looking forward to being out of education I wouldn’t of hesitated to answer… hell yes. It’s only now, I would do anything to go back.

Sadly, all in all, not too much has changed. However, I have realised and learnt a lot from the interviewing world. I’m not sure if I should put the number on here or not, but why the hell not? It’s real life isn’t it. Since July, I have applied for 238 jobs/internships. That number is a total from only two job sites I have used. There are at least 4 other job sites I have used, where I haven’t added the number to the total. 238 times I have been rejected. 238 times I have had my hopes up when either applying or interviews. Some I have even had trial days for. 

I understand that when you graduate, it’s probably advisable for you to go into an internship. Especially if your degree is in creative subjects. Internships, from what I understand are designed for you to gain industry experience, the company can help you learn and gain the skills for industry, whilst working in industry and prepare you for working in the big wide worldwhatever that is. So, when I’ve gone for design internship interviews to just get an email back to say they have chosen someone with  more experience than me, doesn’t that just defeat the purpose of an internship? I try so hard not to be mad at that… but I just can’t help it.

 

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(Image from Pinterest, love this type!)

We all know the world of employment is difficult to get into, whatever career path you take… but for a graduate, this is really and truly tough. Getting turned down every single day, no matter how hard you try for the job is so emotionally and mentally destroying. I know people are trying to help by saying there’s a job out there for everyone, keep going, don’t give up etc… however, sadly it just doesn’t take the emotional and mental side of being declined away. You still have to read the email you’re not good enough because of experience. You still have to deal with the thoughts of; am I good enough? Why did I do a degree just to get this constantly? Will I ever be able to be a girlboss in the career I’ve always dreamt of being part of? I think it’s just as important to address this side of job declines as it is to say keep going.

I do, however have some good news, or news that I hope will be good news in the end. I went to a job interview last week where I thought I had done the best interview I’ve done to date. Despite having a panic attack in the middle of the street in London, I went in and thought I had bossed it. I had created a whole campaign for the brand that I took additionally to my interview with my portfolio and the brand loved it. I was then told at the end to wait until the end of this week. That was one of the longest weeks of my life. The wait to hear back from job interviews literally turns me into such an anxious mess. From the experience I’ve already had… is there any surprise?

I finally got an email this morning to say I am through to the second interview with their creative partners and I am so BEYOND excited. However, I am so nervous… I am so nervous because standard interviews I’ve done a lot now. But have never done a second interview and I just want to do the best I possibly can for the role.

I need this job more than ever now. It would be the most perfect Christmas present. Please keep your fingers crossed. 

I’m looking forward to updating part three in another 5/6 months from now to see how much things have changed, if at all? 

 

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Online friends, role models, bullying and a little bit of news. 

So, on the 29th October 2010 it was the first time I met one of my role models growing up, Dannii Minogue. Exactly, seven years ago today and I can remember the lead up to it so very very well. That feeling of not being able to sleep the night before out of pure excitement. Creating a card from scratch, which I had an argument with the card shop man about getting the perfect card… to then being able to give it to Dannii. I remember, watching Dannii on X Factor for years, walking into newsagents and seeing Dannii on magazine covers and buying them and collecting them (not ashamed to say I still have them). I never thought, that I’d ever meet the real lady herself.

Funny story about the actual day, whilst we were waiting in line to meet, Dannii walked down to where she would be signing her new book and it was literally the first time I had ever seen her, in flesh. I remember turning to my friends and saying ‘omg she’s real’ – how cute! 

As I was growing up I was teased a lot and made fun out of supporting Dannii and the other people I looked up to.

But what people didn’t know, was… watching Dannii on X Factor every weekend and the fact that she tweeted back took me away from the real life problems that was going on… for example – BULLYING.  I’ve touched on bullying on my blog before. It’s such a part of my life, although it is such a sad, horrible part, yet a big part… that I only really talk about it in context.

I was bullied right from year one at school to when I left in year 11. I would be wary and on my toes, every single day at school. A few times, during school, I was left on my own in break times and lunch times. I’d go into lessons and have the words ‘spongebob squarepants’ or just the plain and simple words ‘SQUARE HEAD!’ shouted at me, continuously until I believed it. I believed I had a square head, especially with the amount of people who used to remind me of it, every single day.

Even now, today… it has knocked my confidence so much. I’m away from the people who used to call me names, but their words have scarred me. I find it incredibly difficult to speak up about ideas in a work/education situation. I never did it whilst at school, because I didn’t think the class would be worthy of my answer. To them, I just thought I was a square head and that was it. To this day, I still don’t know how I put up with it for years and years. How did I let people degrade me and make me feel like that? 

I wasn’t scared as such to go to lessons, they didn’t scare me… it was just, the thought of being called it continuously, even when I was minding my own business and stayed out of people’s way..  sadly it didn’t make them stop. I remember, so many lunch times and break times you would never see me on the school playground or field. I felt more safe and secure being inside the school, even if I did annoy the teachers. 

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(Seeing Dannii seven years ago to this day – 29/10/2010) 

But, becoming a supporter (I detest the word fan) of Dannii and Kylie and all the other people I’m a fan of, I felt validated. Something I didn’t feel from my own age group in real life. I had Twitter before everyone else caught on at school, and through Twitter and Dannii/Kylie I was able to make friends. Friends I still have to this day. Friends, I will always, always be grateful for. I didn’t talk about being bullied online at school because I was scared. But these people made me feel like I had friends outside the few I had at school. Even if they weren’t right there with me. 

Through the friends I had made on Twitter and online, I felt listened to. People would reply to my tweets and made me feel like people cared as well as making me feel people wanted to talk to me.

And guess what? Not once on the internet or since school have I been called a square head. Not once. 

People may of teased me back then about looking up to a celebrity(ies) but what they didn’t know is, they helped me feel me again. They helped me make friends that I still see to this day. They have made me feel validated. 

I still struggle every day with self confidence issues and just confidence in general. 

In fact, I have my dream job trial day tomorrow (30th October) and because of my confidence issue of speaking out ideas, and believing in myself, if I am good enough… I’m terrified. But I’m gonna try my absolute best. 

I hope this post helps people out there. In one way or another. It was incredibly hard to type but I’m so glad I have.

Most of all, thank you to all the role models that I have looked up to, who have helped me make friends for life and for making me the happiest when I was the saddest. 

Dear Trich – Part Three, A year on.

It’s been a year, one whole year since I wrote my first dear trich blogpost. It was one of the most liberating feeling talking directly to trich through the means of the internet, for some weird unknown reason. I then wrote a part two shortly after and both posts got a very good reaction. A year on I’ve decided to write to the beast that will always live with me.

Here we are again, Trich. Hi. A year ago I was angry, so angry with you. You were controlling my life. You were making me stay up hours and hours at night, making me not forget you were there and forced me to keep pulling my hair. I will never forget these times, never. 

No matter HOW hard I tried to stop, you would not let me. 

Fast forward a year and you are still here. To be honest, you’ll always be here. You still creep up on me day to day. I have now began to accept you will always be a part of me. 

A year ago, you were still my little secret, that only very few people knew about and now every one knows about you. Even to the point that I have now got myself a digital marketing and social media intern to help other people with hair loss, due to talking about you at the interview. I am not ashamed now, when I’m sat on the train, sat in the living room watching TV or even laying in bed to say, don’t mind me… it’s just trich reminding me, it’s still here. 

I have learnt that there are ways to help control it, although not all the time these work. I have learnt that now, if I put coconut oil on the ends of my hair, not only will it give my hair a conditioning treatment, it will help my fingers to slide down.  I also have to thank you actually, trich, for allowing me to have acrylics every month. My nails look sassy because of you. 

I recently went to my hair dressers to get it cut. Both you and I know that hairdressers are not the place to be. Especially when you are trying to explain those bald patches throughout your hair when they lift your hair up or that there are shorter parts at the side where I’ve snapped it off. I was so so nervous before. To the point I made myself late because I just couldn’t face going in. But… I went in. I gave myself right at that last moment after friends had insisted it would be OK before, that it will be OK. This was the time I decided not to hide you behind the excessive bleach use (that I don’t do no more, but only said it because it was easier) and instead spoke about what trichotillomania was. How it effects me and what triggers you and I came out feeling so much better and proud of myself for going in – something I would not of done a year ago. 

This past year you have made me a stronger person. It takes a lot of strength to deal with you everyday. Not only does it drain the life and soul out of you pulling your hair out every single day, but it does get you incredibly down. I feel so alone when I’m pulling my hair as it does make you zone out. But when I get the chance to talk about you, i.e. my interview before, it makes me feel less alone. Even though  my arm to have unbelievable aches every single day, to the point sometimes it feels like I have a dead arm. 

A year ago, I thought I’d never of got this far, a year later I have. You won’t beat me completely. I will keep fighting you day in day out. Maybe if one day you’re kind on me, I’ll be kind on you? 

Maybe see you in a year? Who knows. 

Charlotte.

 

Illustration by me:
ILLO

 

 

Final Major Project VS Mental Health #MHAW17

It’s been a while, a really long while. In fact, five months since I last wrote a blog post on here and it was the beginning of my last ever university project. It was all about confidence VS creativity and how I have a lack of confidence with creative work. If you want to read it, you can click here. 

We’re half way through #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek2017 #MHAW17 and I have finally completed my degree.

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As it is #MHAW17 I thought I would share you my struggles with my FMP, incase someone else is going through the same thing and to let them know, they’re not alone.

All three years are over and done with and I’m confused to how I’m feeling. I’m glad the pressure of third year has been lifted. However, there is still pressure of what grades I get at graduation, or even if I do graduate. As well as whether I get a job in graphic design and where it’ll be, or even if I’m good enough to go into industry. To be honest, I don’t think I am ready to leave education. But when will I ever be ready if I’m not now? I just kind of wish we had just one more project to do.

My final major project at university was a ride and a half. To start, I did a FMP (final major project) proposal in first semester of third year and it was for a sub brand for Lamoda of creating stationery for them. I had it all planned out, researched and was more than ready to go. When I got my grade back for the proposal I got my highest I ever got whilst at uni and this made me so excited. It wasn’t until after Christmas and we got going with the actual final major project I found, it really wasn’t for me. Nothing inside me wanted to open my computer and design for stationery. In fact, I couldn’t of thought of anything worse.

If you’ve read my blog before, you will know I suffer with a mental health condition called Trichotillomania. If you are new here, I’ll explain briefly. It is an impulse control disorder that makes you pull your hair out. No matter how hard you try, you just cannot stop. It is incurable and you just need to focus on ways to get through each and every day.  It is, however, personally for me triggered by stress, anxiety and depression.

With my ideas changing and people in my class getting things done, I felt behind. I felt like the more I saw them, the more shit I felt about my own work. This was down to their work being incredible and mine wasn’t even started yet. The question of was I good enough to even complete my third year, was all that was going through my mind. Every night I would wake up and brainstorm what I would do instead of a stationery brand.

It was around seven weeks into my thirteen week term, that I finally started to get ideas come together. The final idea was to create a zine which focussed on beauty standards of society focusing on women. I had recently done my dissertation in the first semester on this and researched a lot, so I knew about the topic. I went to class for lots of weeks running up to this idea and I kind of just got through each meeting – how? I don’t know.

It wasn’t until when I was sat with my friends and they started getting really into their projects and I hadn’t even started mine yet I panicked. I didn’t want to start because, I genuinely didn’t think my work was good enough. I was seeing my class produce work week by week and I adored all of their work, but there was something in me telling me – nope! You’ll never reach that standard of work. That’s when I called a meeting and I was given three solutions.

  1. I could terminate the term. I could do it at a later date, but it would mean I wouldn’t graduate with my course friends.
  2. I could get extenuating circumstances. My mind just wasn’t with the course due to one thing or another.
  3. Or, I could just get my head down, ignore what other people were doing and just focus on my own project.

I don’t know if any of you have anxiety or suffer from any MH issues, but the thought of going home and telling my family that I wouldn’t graduate until November or even later scared me. Genuinely, all I’ve ever wanted to do is graduate with the people I spent my last three years with. I wouldn’t want anything more than that. Anxiety did not let me forget those options throughout the whole course.

I can safely say, that chat really kicked me up the arse. I had 8 weeks to do enough photoshoots to cover a zine and a website with different content for each, illustrations to draw, editing of skills to show, film to be written, filmed and edited as well as create a website solely from scratch.

I had panic attacks after panic attacks, but they wouldn’t effect me in the day they effected me at night. Night time was when it really got serious. Nine nights in a row I had a panic attacks. To accompany them I had the most terrifying nightmares. They were SO bad. Not only was the panic attacks and nightmares the worst of it all, but when it did come to morning I was so exhausted from having to deal with that half way through a sleep, that I had no energy in the morning. I didn’t have time to go for a doctors appointment so looked in the local Boots and picked up the tablets ‘Kalms’ especially for night time. I was a bit sceptical at first using them, because I didn’t want to rely on them, but they literally saved my last few weeks at uni. They didn’t help me get to sleep, they help me not wake up in the night having panic attacks and helped me sleep through. If I could I would make a special acknowledgement to them in FMP.

Towards the end, people were producing more work than they needed to and to be up to that level I felt I had to do the same. At one point I had four days to complete a website, edit my video and do other extra work on top to build my CAT credits up.

In the end, my FMP consisted of:

  • A 32 page zine, all creatively directed photo shooted/edited by me. Illustrations drawn by me and the writing, written by me.
  • Five interview conducted for both the zine and the website.
  • A 20 something page website, with every single page developed and designed by me using Adobe Muse.
  • GIF’s made by me.
  • A video filmed, edited and styled by me.
  • Flyers/posters for campaign reasons created by me
  • A second 12 page preview zine for the next issue designed by me
  • A 64 page development book, completed.

Zine pages:

Website examples:

Sketchbook examples.

I’m not going to lie, I feel so proud that I created all of that in practically 8 weeks. Even though, my mental health really challenged me, as well as life, I did it. I completed the whole three years, with the people I had studied throughout the whole course with and handed together as a tag team.

If you are going through a similar circumstance and you need someone to talk to, to help get you going and a kick up the ass without being TOO harsh, message me. I will always be here to help you through.

YOU CAN DO IT. If I could do it, so can you. Believe in yourself and get your head down.

Remember, diamonds are made under pressure.

A special thank you to my friends, tutor and family for being a massive support throughout the completion of this whirl wind adventure.

Trich and 2017 plans

I haven’t blogged in a long, long time. This is because I thought, I was maybe taking it a little too seriously. I only started to write a blog to help people I know as well as people I didn’t know, understand what it is to live with such a debilitating illness that takes over your every little piece of being. I began to write to help people who are in the same shoes, know they are not alone. I started this blog to get people to understand, whether they have trich or not that it is an impulsive control disorder and even if you try and stop, it’s like an itch and you can’t… until that feeling has ‘passed’. Yet most times, the feeling never passes. I had a saying that if one person was to read this blog I would be happy. Suddenly, I was looking at numbers daily and seeing the drop in how many people was reading it, sadly got me down. I realised then, I needed a break. I was also wondering if what I was writing, pouring my heart and soul into and writing very very personally was a little… too much? I’m still not sure if I write too much into the personal side and if I’m comfortable sharing this with the whole world.

Since my last post, Trich has not been kind to me. Due to other things happening in my life and trying to deal with them day by day, trich has decided now is the time to show its presence. Maybe it’s because I’m feeling pretty weak mentally as well as getting every other cold under the sun at this time and it likes to take advantage. I have had numerous nights and days recently where I’ve just sat there and been SO angry that I could come right back to what feels like the beginning, again. This isn’t just something that I’ve just started dealing with either, 2017 marks around the 15 year mark of dealing with this. FIFTEEN YEARS out of twenty three I’ve lived.

It’s so sad to say, but it all feels way too familiar. The round and round in a circle feeling of the highs and most definite lows. The days and nights I sit there and think, can I even do this again? Can I even look in the mirror and think… my oh my why and how have you done this to yourself, which then changes my thoughts to I can’t go out to enjoy myself because of the way my hair looks. Can I even deal with the thought of people thinking (even though I’m sure they don’t, this is trich being irrational) that they can see a decline in the length of my hair and maybe even notice the very obvious to me, bald patches. Can I really and truly do this again?

That’s when I need to stop them thoughts, as hard as it is. In 2017 I’m going to try, again my hardest not to let the negative dwell on me and turn them into positives. Of course there will be times where I sit there and I will be in that zone of pulling and nothing or no one can get me out of it. Then five minutes later, I’ve managed to snap off yet another big chunk of hair. These times I won’t be able to turn them into positives. There are no positives. It’s just shame. The feeling of being ashamed and letting those people down who have been cheerleading me on. With these thoughts I need to let them be, then move on.

This then requires me to look back to the most positive time in 2016. In June/July 2016 my hair was ALMOST the same length and every time I looked in the mirror I felt HAPPY. I felt pretty and I felt like I could rock trich and show it where to stick it. I felt like I had so very closely BEAT it. Even if my hair stayed like that for a couple of months, I cherished it and still do. I still think back to them moments and cannot wait to get to that stage of looking in the mirror and feeling the best feeling there is.

I am, however, very very nervous for 2017 and I’m nervous for how my hair looks like this time next year BUT even on my bad days, I’m still as determined as that little girl who was dreaming for that all one length hair, to get there. Just now, I have a little help from my friends and family which I didn’t have this time last year, as it was still my own little secret.

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We can do this together, right? I promise I’ll make you (who cares) proud… even if it is a journey getting there.

Update on Trich

It’s not a good one guys. I think it’s always good to keep a balance of how much a rollercoaster mental health truly is whilst writing about it, especially on my own blog. I feel so sad writing this. I had come so far with my hair. I had got to a point where I felt so much more confident, a point where I thought YES. Oh hell YES I feel fabulous. I had got to a point where I had been taking selfies and comparing them to my hair from a few years ago and noticing change then thinking, oh girl – I’m so proud of you.

It wasn’t until recently, I have been noticing I am pulling a lot more than in the last seven months. I know that trich thinks it is OK for me to pull as it thinks it helps me deal with anxiety and to a certain extent it does that. It takes my mind off the matter but it is also SO self destructive and definitely not something I see as coping, except my brain seems to think it is. Whilst I may not be panicking on the outside because of anxiety and it’s crippling effects I am panicking on the inside. Saying to myself over and over and over again that I cannot allow my hair to get in the state it was a few years ago. I have this self conscious feeling that not only will I let myself down BIG time but I will let everyone else down who has given me the confidence and help that I needed. That I let the people down who have been proud of the way my hair has grown and not been broken off for a long time and I can’t let that happen.

I’m not 100% certain that my hair has declined completely down to trich. If you have seen my hair recently you would know that back in August I had dyed my hair blonde. I’ve dyed my hair blonde before and I had always had to go back to brown, not because of the growth and having to keep up but because my hair is so brittle from how much I pull it that there was no other way which I could have healthy hair. Whereas now I have decided that my hair was at the most amount of strength it had ever been and I would be able to keep blonde. After all, blonde makes me feel SO sassy. I’m very very pale and I feel like although dark brown is my natural colour is washes me out. Blonde just makes me feel SO good about myself. At least I think it does, despite the shear amount of hair that comes out with a hairbrush and on the floor when it breaks off. But then I do think that has GOT to be the mix of Trich and my hair colour. Usually people I know get frustrated their roots are growing through, especially when it is so dark whereas I am so glad they’re there. It means that my hair has actually began to grow back despite the torture I put it through. Trich will not stop me from being blonde and feeling sassy. I have to try and keep it’s thoughts about going brown away. Trich, you do enough damage as it is to my confidence.

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(My thoughts to Trich – damn you)

I’m working so hard not to punish myself for it happening. I’ve been through this whole journey, round and round in circles for years and years. I know there are highs and there are the most awful lows that comes with having this mental health illness but somehow that high I did have recently with my hair is making me want to get back to that stage, at least I’m trying to.

If you are going through a similar thing and can feel yourself slipping back to the way you were before, please just remember the highs you have experienced. Remember those little or big things you may have done, towards your recovery which made you so proud. Remember that feeling as much as you can and YOU CAN DO IT AGAIN. I will be doing the same journey around in the circle I have done all too many times and so familiar of, but I’m going to try my absolute hardest to keep them moments clear in my mind, you’ve got to.

I hope I can make those people that were proud of me and maybe have let down by going back to this way for the however many time, I will make proud again. I will also make myself proud, most importantly. I may not be ready for this journey again, but I feel like I’m way more equipped. Trich, you tried to defeat my self confidence SO many times, I’m ready to defeat you again.

Bring it on.

Busting Anxiety 💪🏻

Ever had an awful feeling something so simple as a conversation you haven’t had yet, take over your every thought and action? Last week was a big week for me reguarding beating one part of mental health I battle against every day – anxiety. I haven’t discussed anxiety in itself on my blog before but it’s time I did. I’m so proud of myself. So so SO proud of myself.


Here’s some feelings I have put into questions that I experienced:

How many times and how many conversations can you really make up that could potentially happen but then to just think constantly about the answers and how you could perhaps change the way you respond to them can one person make?

How many nights will I lack sleep or have disturbed sleep?

How many of them nights will I wake up in a sweat/panic?

How much hair will I have pulled out due to Trich thinking it is a great time to play up? (Oh Trich just never lets me live, it has me under its thumb… grrrrr)

To finish, how many times will my dreams incorporate this meeting and make me think of every single thing that could go wrong and resulting in waking up with my heart going so fast it makes me shake? All over one meeting, that my mind over thought and over thought and would not let me rest.

It was like this whilst outside the room where I had this meeting, let alone the lead up to it. My anxiety was literally shouting at me whilst on my way and outside, telling me to go back home and I wasn’t worthy of talking to someone. That the person I was about to talk to didn’t care and that no one cares. That what I was feeling, I deserved. Anxiety is a nasty, nasty thing to live with. It makes it so hard to get on with your daily life without having these potential set-backs. The reality of anxiety is, it is not cute. Anxiety isn’t trendy. It is awful to feel this way over things that would be so normal to do for every other person. It frustrates me no end the stigma surrounding anxiety.

The day before I had one of the most incredible books delivered* to me. The book is called “We’re All Mad Around Here” and is a guide on how to cope and survive social anxiety. It’s written by a fab lady called Claire Eastham and I have a lot to thank this woman. When she asked me if I’d like a proof copy of this book I couldn’t turn it down. I read the entire book in one night and she made me feel less alone. The way the book is written is like she is talking to you. There is the perfect mix between the science of why these feelings happen and her own experiences. The addition of Claire’s own experiences makes you feel like you’re not alone, especially when you can relate. I learnt an awful, awful lot about social anxiety from this book. I learnt ways that I can help myself and I learnt ways I can help others.

I was able to take what I learnt from this book to before my meeting to make me feel less anxious and nervous. I will be reading this book again, especially if I’m ever in that situation.


I’m proud of myself, that although all the signals in my mind told me to turn around and go home, I was able to overcome them and go into the meeting. Even if the lady told me to put my laptop down because I was shaking too much and was making her feel giddy. I did it. I didn’t let anxiety and it’s overpowering thoughts take over. I’m so glad I did too, it helped me a lot.

If you have something important coming up and you’re in the same situation I believe you can do it. If I was in the state I was and did it, you can as well. You’ve got totally got this. Bust anxiety in the floor and show it, you’re the boss… not anxiety.
** I was sent this as a little gift not as a sponser! Thank you so much to the lovely Claire 😘