Thursday, 3 October 2019

BBC Jesy Nelson: Odd One Out | Review

Jesy Nelson: 'Odd One Out' was initially aired on BBC One on the 12th September 2019 and takes the viewers on Jesy's journey of rehabilitation and recovery "as she opens up about abuse she has suffered at the hands of cyberbullies and its effects on her mental health".

It is always so inspiring to see individuals who live in the public eye speak up about their own experience with mental illness, I know that Demi Lovato has made a few documentaries throughout the years and I am always eager to watch a new one when it comes out. Having said that, I felt that Jesy's was different because she wasn't just sitting down and telling her story, we went on her journey with her, we saw her at her worst and at her best and it really opened my eyes into the online world and the effects of cyberbullying. 

Upon the programme beginning, Jesy explains why she is making the documentary and what she hopes to get out of it and amongst this she explains how her mum is terrified of her making it. Initially, I thought that her mum was ashamed of her daughter speaking up about her experiences with mental health conditions but I was so wrong, her mum didn't want her to make the documentary because she was worried it would fuel the bullies and make the bullying worse which can be a terrifying concept and probably stops a lot of people from opening up about their problems. Despite this, Jesy was determined to get her story out there to try and help other people who may be in her situation and I am sure that there has been hundreds of people who have benefited from seeing this hour long programme.

Jesy explains how her problems began when the singing group that she is part of, Little Mix, won the X Factor in 2011 and she was told that she had to have social media, something that she says completely changed her life. Every time she would post online, she would get messages upon messages of hate from trolls who would call her things like a "fat singing whale" and who would tell her to go and kill herself; words that can damage anyone's confidence and mental health. She got into the mindset of believing what would be said about her and she commented that "the whole world had an opinion of me, I was known as the fat, ugly one" and as this continued to happen she hit such a low point that she just stopped turning up to work as she couldn't bare to go out. 

One thing that I loved about this documentary was that Jesy didn't stay quiet about things that she believed in and she stated multiple times throughout the programme that "you cannot get away from social media and it is ruining a lot of peoples lives" which I couldn't agree with more; social media can be an incredible platform however, it can turn very negative, very quickly. It can be full of positivity one minute and then overflowing with negativity the next.. everyone has an opinion and nobody seems to be afraid to hide it behind a screen. 

Jesy explains how her brain started believing everything that everyone was saying about her and how somebody at work said to her that they thought she needed to go on antidepressants and she remembers thinking 'why should I go on antidepressants because of what other people are saying about me?' She adds that she doesn't think people realise the effects of what bullying and trolling can do to somebody. 

It is obvious that the bullying and trolling has had a massive impact on her life because throughout the entire documentary, she is constantly putting herself down and is always shutting people down when they try to give her a compliment which is so frustrating as a viewer because you just want to remind her that she is more important than somebody else's opinion. At one point in the programme she says how "I look like a witch" and when recording with the rest of the group she states that "I feel like I can do my bit better" despite reassurance from the rest of the girls that she did amazingly. In another part of the programme she said how she just looks shit and uncomfortable and then said how she just feels like a 'fat, ugly rat'.

The breaking point for Jesy was when Katie Hopkins called her fat and after this, Jesy got severely depressed and it spiralled out of control. It makes me so angry that somebody like Katie Hopkins, who has a following still has the audacity to constantly share her unwanted, invalid and offensive opinions which she knows is going to hurt other people. Jesy describes how she remembers thinking that she needed to make this go away and that she wanted to end her life and she attempted to take her own life, "when you're in that state of mind, all you care about is taking the pain away." She also added that she is so glad that she is still here.

Throughout the programme she also spoke about what social media platforms are doing about cyberbullying and trolling and some of them don't seem to be doing anything, at all. She said how she had tried to contact Facebook numerous times and they don't even respond to messages about hate.

"We live in a social media obsessed world now and it's scary because now kids growing up don't know any different".

Jesy also spoke about how the bullying has changed what she feels like she can put onto social media and how "I can't just post a photo where I don't look perfect". She also said how after losing weight that the thought of going back to the 'fat and ugly' one in the group scares her.

In addition to telling her story, throughout the documentary Jesy decided to try and get some closure on her issues and make changes to enable her to move past her trauma. Before the documentary, she couldn't even look at an old photo of herself from when she was on X factor and she explains how she has shut away the 'old Jesy' for such a long time because she just felt that she needed to be the new Jesy that everyone likes because everyone hated the old Jesy. She went to see a body image expert and explained to her that "I loved that Jesy and I've got to love every part of me".

Her boyfriend also appeared in the documentary and explained how he realised that Jesy had a lot of insecurities. There were times where she wouldn't physically let him see her without make up on and when he stayed over, she would get up at the crack of dawn to put on make up and then would get back into bed with the make up on. He added how she still won't wash her hair when he stays round because it naturally goes frizzy and that she is very self critical. 

"My trauma does really run deep and I may never really recovery properly", she explains how she needs to start looking at old videos and clips again to try and reconnect with her old self to truly be happy again. She hadn't looked at old clips because it was such a negative time for her, that she just wanted to get rid of it completely.

Towards the end of the programme, Jesy explained that eventually, she started to believe in herself which gave her the hope to continue and carry on, "I don't think that I will ever be the same again but what I do know is that I'm getting better".

"If I could give my younger self some advice it'd be that I promise you will feel happy again".

Overall, I loved this documentary, I felt that it really felt real and raw which is quite rare to see on TV, I loved how honest she was and how there was no holding back on anything that she had been through. I think that there needs to be more programmes like this one and I would highly recommend watching this documentary, even if you haven't struggled from mental illness yourself because it can really open your eyes to some aspects of the scary world that we seem to be living in.

"7 in young people have experienced cyberbullying and 26% of young people who have been cyberbullies reported feeling suicidal" (Ditch the label survey, 2019).

Thank-you for reading, Tay x

Wednesday, 2 October 2019

Adapting to University Life with Mental Illness

Hello and welcome back to my blog. I thought that I would start this post with a little introduction about myself because it has been a hefty while since I last mentioned much at all about myself apart from the fact that I have struggled with mental illness for the last few years. 

My name is Taylor, I am 21 years old and I live in Norwich. I am currently a First Year Mental Health Nursing Student after spending the past year studying an Access to higher education course. I decided to study an access course because I had previously withdrawn from further education due to my mental health and I felt that I wanted to do something more with my life, I didn't want to be a waitress, earning rubbish money for the rest of my life.

When deciding to go to University, I knew that I wanted to study Mental Health Nursing but as I started my Access course and heard about courses that other students were applying for, I did debate changing to Midwifery or Paramedic Science but I had had my heart set on Mental Health for the past couple of years and decided to stick with what I knew.. I am already so glad that I did. I also knew that I didn't want to move away from home, my family are in Norwich, my boyfriend is in Norwich and I am one to get massively homesick so if I could get into my local University, that was where I was going and that is where I am currently studying. 

Considering that I am not living in student accommodation, my experience isn't the same as most students because I still live at home, I still have my own bed, my cat, my family close by and my job but as far as academics go, I have experienced the whole range of emotions within my first two weeks, as I am sure the majority of first year students have. I also am not one to go out and drink much but after the first day of University, I decided to impulsively go to a freshers event and it was such a good night, but I am so bad with hangovers that I doubt I'll be going out in a rush again.

The first week was strange, it was mostly all about introductions to the course, the campus and meeting a lot of new people. On the first day, we just had a tour of campus, on the second day we spent four hours straight in lectures with five minute breaks every hours and it really made me debate if university was even for me because everything that we were 'learning' about, I am sure 90% of the people within the lecture had previously been taught, multiple times. However, on the third day we moved over to the hospital site and did practical work of basic life support which was much more interesting than the day before.

Overall, week one was a bit all over the place and I wasn't really as pleased as I had hoped I'd be with what is going to be my life for the next three years. I think what didn't help is that I am on a new course because whenever new regulations come out within subjects like nursing, the course has to be reworked to meet new standards so even the lecturers didn't really seem to know what they were doing.

However, week two came around and we dived a bit deeper into the learning side of things. I am getting used to the ideas of lectures where you're just being spoken to for hours on end and expected to make notes on what you think will be relevant  Seminars also began this week which are field specific instead of including all nursing students, no matter their field. 

The main issue that I am having is the fact that almost all the studying that you need to complete, is so independent to the point that we're not given clear instructions on what to do, we have to find out for ourselves and they definitely haven't gone easy on us for the first couple of weeks, I have been assigned over 20 NHS online training courses, training courses from the University, independent learning, directed learning, group assignments and formative assignments. My brain currently feels completely fried but I am hoping that I will be able to start checking things off before I get another bulk of work to complete. At this point, if it wasn't for 'to-do lists', I would not have a clue what needs completing because in reality, I barely know even with endless lists.

Everyone on my course is really lovely and I have to keep reminding myself that we are all in the same boat, we are all getting used to unfamiliar situations and we are all probably wondering if we have made the right decision.

Lastly.. University with mental illness is difficult. I would class my mental health as currently being stable but there have been many tears, swear words, frustration and anxiety in just the first week; the stress is real but one thing that I have learnt is that the university has so much support available should it be needed (which hopefully it won't) which is good and a bit of a safety blanket that I have to remember every time I want to drop out, which has happened about 20 times already, but I will stick it out, at least until Christmas.

As I did with my access course, I will try to keep you updated with my progress as much as I can and I will speak to you soon.

Thank-you for reading, Tay x
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