Get To Know Me Questions
How would you describe yourself to a stranger?
I can be very introverted when you first meet me but as you get to know me you’ll see that I am more outgoing and really chatty. I’m really creative and adventurous when my health allows it. I am extremely empathetic and supportive of the people in my life but it takes me a while to trust people. And I’m constantly capturing memories through photography, film or writing.
What are some of your long and short term goals?
My long term goals are to become a successful young entrepreneur, travel the world, do public speaking events and help as many people as possible in any way I can. My short term goals are to run events for the InvisiYouth Charity, to create a supportive community for those with chronic illness and disabilities in Australia and in my home town. And finally to create a meaningful product that will make a difference in people’s lives.
Why did you decide to start blogging?
My mum actually suggested I start a blog when my health severely declined, as at the time I was stuck at home in bed and wanted a way I could express my creativity in a way I could manage. JustSoElina started as a beauty and lifestyle blog but quickly grew into a wellbeing and lifestyle blog as I started opening up about my life with chronic illness as I never wanted anyone else to feel as alone and scared as I did when I first got sick.
What’s your word/phrase for this year?
My phrase for this year is “everything happens for a reason”. I’m learning to look for the lessons and gifts that come out of every situation thrown at me and the ways I can use that for the future.
Who’s your current role model?
My current role model is Emma Carey, because she used a traumatic and life changing experience to make a difference. Whether it’s through Instagram (especially her captions), her public/Inspirational speaking or the beautiful products she creates.
What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?
I was a published co-author at 11 in a book called the Inspiration Bible where I wrote about using horsemanship to help with my anxiety and my connection with horses. I will also be in a second book coming out later this year called Our Infinite Power To Heal. Where I share about my vision issues/brain injury from my horse accident and the turning point in my vision healing journey.
General Mental Health Questions
How do you stay positive during hard times?
Creating positive moments and memories throughout the hard times really helps me. Whether it’s an impromptu movie night at the cinemas or at home. Or taking a picnic down to the beach, anything that will put a smile on my face and help me relax for a bit.
What’s one piece of advice you’ve been given about your mental health you wish everyone knew?
I get so overwhelmed easily and am either so far in the past or future that I forget to live in the present. The best advice I have ever been given was from my amazing Mum which is to take things one day at a time, one step at a time.
How do you cope with stress?
I haven’t figured out fully how to cope with stress as it has been constant in my life for the past 8 years. But each day I am working on using my creativity, whether it be writing or taking photos to calm my mind and block out the situations that are out of my control. Which definitely isn’t always easy for me as my way to manage things is to be a massive control freak.
How does organisation help you mentally?
Growing up I was the most disorganized person known to man, my room was a bomb and I never got anything done on time. By writing detailed lists and taking the extra time to keep my bedroom tidy it helps me to relax and not get overwhelmed by everything.
How do you handle the physical effects of stress?
Stress is a massive trigger for my chronic pain and illness. Because my autonomic nervous system misfires, causing the nerves in my body to feel pain when I get stressed, it sets it off even more and adds even more nausea then I already feel. So as soon as I start to feel a little bit off I take it as an indicator that I need to step back and rest/recoup. If possible I will remove the stress, but usually I just find new tools to manage it. My go to is to give myself a period of time to sleep, watch movies and do small activities like going to the beach where I am not allowed to feel guilty for doing so (still working on that bit though).
What advice do you have for someone whose family refuses to accept that they’re struggling with their mental health?
This is a tricky one, as hard as it is unfortunately they may never accept it. You can’t make someone else understand they have to be willing to. It’s about finding the strength in yourself so that you don’t need them to, that their opinions are just that THEIRS and find other options for getting help and support.
Let’s talk pros and cons, in what ways has having a broken family affected you both negatively and positively?
The positives of growing up in a broken family are that it has made me a much stronger person and it’s also given me a deeper connection with others in the same situation. The negatives are my lack of trust, it can take me years to fully trust someone and open up. I take things personally with friendships and relationships and am terrified of saying the wrong thing because I don’t want to lose any more people in my life. And finally I’m a MASSIVE control freak; so much of my life has been out of control, especially the actions of family members that really hurt me. So now I try to control everything and when I can’t I break down.
How has your relationship with your family affected your ability to form relationships?
My relationship with my family has majorly affected my ability to form relationships. I struggle to open up and trust my friends because I am always just waiting for them to leave like my family did. And with guys as soon as I start to catch feelings or things start getting sort of serious I tend to push them away and convince myself I don’t have feelings for them. I also struggle with affection, like hugging people etc. always feels awkward and foreign to me.
What advice do you have for someone who feels like their family is falling apart? The most important thing to know is that it’s absolutely not your fault! What is happening with your family may have a huge effect on you, but the actual cause of it is not your fault. Therefore not your responsibility to try and fix (trust me on this, I’ve been down this road many times before). Talk to someone you trust about how your feeling or write it down, do not bottle it up. It may seem like a good idea at the time but will just cause you to breakdown even more in the future. And just to know that you and a strong and beautiful person and you will get through this, just take it one day at a time.
How do you know when it’s time to cut family off? And how much harder is it to do that as a teen when you’re constantly surrounded by these people and don’t have a say in it?
This is such a tough situation; I’ve been in it in the past. For everyone it will be different but for me I knew it was time to cut my family off when I was constantly in tears because of them and the way they treated me and when even the thought of seeing them sent me into panic. It was hard though because I didn’t have a choice in it because I’m only a teenager. I did refuse to see them but unfortunately for me that wasn’t possible. I learnt that you don’t have much of a choice in the situation but you do have a choice in how you manage it. Writing down how you feel and what you want to say to them but can’t in a journal really helps as well as figuring out a technique like pretending you’re in a bubble and what they are saying is bouncing back at them. Or my personal favourite thinking about something happy or my dreams for life so when they were talking I was zoned out and couldn’t hear what they were saying to me that was hurtful.
How have you learnt to accept your family for what it is? ‘
It took me a really long time to learn to accept my family for what it is. Since I was little I had this fairy tale image in my mind of how my family should be and I clung to it for dear life, just hoping that one day it would come true. If I’m being honest there will probably always be that part of me that hopes that my family will change. But as harsh as it may sound I had to grow out of the fairy tale and learn to be ok with things being just me and my mum, because we have an awesome relationship and a life that I love as just the two of us. And realise that most families aren’t like the ones on TV; I don’t have the power to change someone. I can only chose love them as they are, as much as the situation allows.
How do you let the person being affected know that the other person is toxic for them?
Be aware that this is a sensitive situation to be in and that you can only tell the person your view of the situation. You can’t force them to see things your way, so there is a chance they will be in denial about it. If you do want to say something you have to be mature, understanding and non-judgemental. Either have a face to face conversation. But again you have to be mature and stay calm, it may be frustrating or upsetting seeing someone you love being in a toxic situation but getting angry at them will only alienate them. Or if you feel too emotional write the person a letter stating why you are concerned and that you are only saying something because you care about them. If they chose to ignore what you said you have done everything you possibly can.
If the person does know that the relationship they’re in is toxic, how do you let them know that it’s okay to leave if they are concerned about hurting the people involved?
The only thing you can do is remind them that everyone will be ok and that they need to look after themselves because they can’t help anyone else if they are in a toxic relationship themselves. That you want them to be happy and that its ok to leave the relationship.
I started blogging because I needed a space where I didn’t feel restricted when it came to voicing my opinions and sharing my emotions and I found that, I found this amazing community of people who’ve changed my perspective about and opened my eyes to a lot of things.
I’m a better person because of those people.
From the very beginning, mental health was always something I wanted to talk about because it’s something very close to my heart and something I’ve struggled with for a very long time. Right from the get go I told myself that someday I would talk about my own issues, that, I would do it regardless… Continue reading FRIDAY 6PM