The Pain In My Eyes Can Tell You A Whole New Story…

I often ask myself how she got here, from that little girl who first sat up on a sledge at five years old. To the little girl who was front row in nativities even as a sheep, to the little girl who was full of confidence and loved her for who she was. Now though, what has happened?

At eighteen years old that same girl will sit in front of the mirror and cut off her body, even by putting my arm around herself. She took a picture with her best friend of seven years, who is actually like her little brother, she smiled in the mirror and to begin with her reaction was like “aw thats cute”. But after that, she looked back and I thought to herself, “I look beyond disgusting!”. So where has that girl gone?

Let me tell you, I know that girl… That girl now lies awake every night and fights everyday. She fights against an invisible demon, whenever she is surrounded by food that demon takes control and she physically can not eat because, even though everyone else around her is allowed to eat, she is not because the fear of what she will feel after from this demon is just too much to handle. So this girl won’t eat food but then in the real world gets told that not eating is not allowed to happen at all, why? Because this girl will apparently end up having kidney failure and anything else… Resulting in eventual DEATH! 

‘Death’ is a scary word don’t you think? Well, I can now tell you that this girl is no longer scared of it. Because to her, the anxiety she faced by just walking out her front door was just as scary. The past this girl had growing up from the age of nine until she was sixteen was crippling her over in fear. She got told to “let go of the past and live life in the present and the future”. But this girl couldn’t do that, because almost like a CD stuck on a song, it constantly replayed in her head, so I know that she can’t just let go of it. I also know that it scares this girl to pick up the phone, it scares this girl to sit in a classroom but then when she does, the teachers pushed her one step closer and tried to get her to talk in a presentation. Well, I can also tell you thats not the worst part, because in that same presentation it is based on nutrients and calorie intake… Resulting in one huge breakdown, but then those popular girls think that its just for attention.

That exact same girl, dreaded summer  whilst everyone was beyond excited for it, again, you want to know why? Well I will tell you, this girl has to wear hoodies all year round, or bracelets or elastic bands. This is because, unless it is around people who really knew this girl she was ashamed of letting people see the scars of her past! So, to this girl the word ‘Death’ isn’t scary at all, as some days it was comforting to her….

I guess you’re wondering who this girl is, or you might’ve already guessed the ending. Before I tell you who it is, this girl wants you to remember that so much can hide behind a smile. She can smile and tell you she is happy and most of you would believe her, because you didn’t see the pain in her eyes. She would be quiet and overrun by thoughts, but most of you would believe that she was simply tired. This girl could look anxious and she would still manage to reassure everyone she was okay. Finally, people really need to stop saying that the pain someone is going through is for attention, because the stigma is horrible! 

So I will now tell you how I know this one girl… This girl who I am writing about is ME!! But no, I am not doing this for attention I am doing this because if I achieve one thing in life it is to stop the stigma around mental health. Just please always remember, looks can be deceiving! 

Stay Safe everyone, my inbox is always open if you need me💜

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“I Guess that is the point of it all, no one knows the impact they have on the lives of other people” ~Hannah Baker~💔 

24th February 2014… A Life Changing Week!

It’s been three years, three long challenging years but I remember it like it was yesterday. So many people that mean so much to me know exactly what I mean when they see this date, but I have never shared my story in detail from my point of view. So please, sit back and relax whilst I finally share the major and sometimes minor details of my hip reconstruction…A year and a half of being in constant agony and sitting the beginning of my GCSE years with a dislocated hip, I had such a picture built up in my head as to how this journey would be! After getting a sickness bug a couple of weeks before, on my original operation date, it broke my heart but made me more determined than ever to finally live the pain free life I’d dreamt of as soon as the 24th arrived. 

I remember arriving in Southampton hospital car park and taking one look before fear took hold of me. It finally hit me, this was my home for the next week and that in a few hours I’d be under anaesthetic having a hip reconstruction. The only way I was going to get through the next week (by the way no one knows I did this!) was to imagine being admitted to a five stat hotel, pretending to be some celebrity and thinking that no needle would come anywhere near me… it sounds silly but it worked, until I saw one of the first things to calm me down and bring me back to reality. There it was, right in front of me the incredible multi coloured corridor! At 15 years old I was more fascinated than most five year olds, but just round that corner was my ward and perminant base that I’d call home, ward G3 for children’s orthopaedics! 

Then it started, my wrist bands went on, the forms were signed and just because I was allergic to one thing? That was known as ‘high risk’ and I had a red clip attached to my bands. My first set of observations were then done, my magic cream got put on every part of my arms possible, which was followed quickly by a blood test. My fear of needles were soon found out after tear drops flooded out of my eyes like a fountain! Wow, now the waiting began. I waited five long hours until the porters came and got me, trust me those five hours felt like a longer wait than the whole year and a half! No matter how many games of uno that was played I had never been so bored… but the little children that looked petrified did distract me, because I realised that it could be me to cheer them up a bit, even if it meant hearing the Peppa Pig theme tune on repeat! Finally my time for my operation had come around, this time it was me that was petrified, but my life was about to change forever. Going down the normal hospital like corridors on a hospital bed on the way to anaesthetic, which is my worst nightmare and this time my mind wouldn’t let me be a celebrity, this time my mind knew what was about to happen! We reach the corridor and I was waiting to get put to sleep, I can remember watching Ice Age on a massive robot looking TV an then, I was going to sleep that was it, I was gone at 4:00pm. 
The next thing I knew it was 8:00pm, I was awake and hearing my nurse and mum and dad telling me to keep my oxygen tube up my nose, but I am Iesha Manns and everyone knew that’d never happen! I was in and out of sleep, I can remember my dad telling me that my little sister wanted to start ballet, but I can’t remember him leaving. The next time I woke up, everyone was asleep and I was having my drips and cold spray checked on to make sure my epidural was working! It was the same as this for the next few days, I remember my auntie Serena coming up on around the second day and doing a fishtail plait in my hair, whilst I was off my face on my morphine drip, but it’s the littlest things I can remember so clearly, just like that! 
I finally started to feel more alive on the third night/fourth day, that’s when my Physio started and I had the most amazing physiotherapist ever! But, the epidural had been stopped then and I was finally allowed back in my chair… me being me, I went to the bathroom and did my makeup! I had the most incredible visitors, my Nans and grandads, my mum was just the definition of my saviour that week and stayed by my side until the very last night when my godmother took over. My dad and sister, who knew I was poorly even at such a young age and just sat with me, playing Peppa Pig on my iPad laying next to me. My auntie Camilla who by the Friday night realised I was in need of getting back to being me so started throwing Daim Bar Minis at me… that’s love! But the biggest thing I remember, is having my cousin Matilda who is my inspiration by me all weekend, feeding me pasta and chicken and stuffing sandwiches and watching bridesmaids to that guy nurses disgust… all whilst being my rock and my nurse until late at night on the Sunday! She left an I was sad, but then I realised something… IT WAS DISCHARGE DAY TOMORROW!!! I had my last hair wash and hospital bed bath, had some time with the play therapists then went to sleep for the last night in G3! 

Finally we’ve reached the end… it was discharge day! I had spent the days at the beginning of the week wishing the days away to get out of hospital, but now it was here I was feeling a bit emotional. I wrote all the nurses a card, filled in the feedback forms and started packing my bags. I said goodbye to all the children that I’d made smile over the last week, mum had become friends with all the parents and I felt like a big sister to all the kids, we’d become family in the last week and it was so hard to leave! I left the ward, went down the hallway to say goodbye to the most fantastic nurses and therapists for the last time, gave them there card and with tears in my eyes we shut the coded door behind us for the last time. Got down the multicoloured corridor that had been my safe place throughout the last week and I kept looking down until the end. The lift was next and for the very last time I’d hear “ground floor, doors closing” it sounds silly but it was breaking my heart! By now? I was a mess, but I was that celebrity again as we walked out the main doors and I was free to go. Got in the car anxiously trying to do transfers to the car the way I’d been told to, to be comfortable. Drove away, wiped the tears from my eyes and started the next challenge of a six week recovery I knew lay ahead of me! I’m a new person, I had the strength when we drove away and I will be forever thankful of the support from everyone!

Iesha Manns, mission reconstructed hip complete!

Not On The Job Hunt This Time… I’m On A Personal Assistant Hunt!

Many of you know my name, but this time I’m writing this for a friend that I’ve known and grown up with since I was in nursery. Her name is Maxine Moore and I have been asked to help her out, so here goes…

Maxine (but better known as Max) is a 24 year old lady and she has Cerebral Palsy, I grew up with her and always looked up to her, still now she’s one of my closest friends. She has recently started her latest journey by starting University in Southampton studying Web design. But, just like me she needs support of a PA/carer to help her.

When you live with a disability like Cerebral Palsy and you can’t do what everyone else can it can be a very lonely and isolating place, but the support of having a personal assistant takes that all away. They learn all about you and they know exactly what you need, but being able have a laugh with someone whilst they are caring for you is just as important. Max has never let her disability stop her and with the help of PA’s this is even more possible.

Just like myself Max just wants to be treated like anyone else her age, being a PA is not all about the personal care side of things like most people think it is. Being a PA is all about being a friend as well, going out and doing all the social side of things is what it is all about as well. All of my PA’s have always said to me, “It’s just like helping out a friend, but you get paid for it and it is the best job ever!” and I’m sure it will be the same for her too. The main things are that you need to be a female between 20-35 years old and you need to be able to drive.

This bog will be shared by Max on social media, so if you or someone you know is interested in a rewarding job like this please contact her, or contact me and I will pass you on to her. She will be able to give you lots more details about the job and see if it will work. Also, please feel free to share this blog between you, the more people that know the better it will be!

Thank you,

Iesha

Starting The Recovery Journey…

First off, I hope all my readers had an amazing Christmas and New Year! For now though, sit back and relax whilst you read my first post of 2017…

I have decided that last year was the storm and that this year I am determined to make that storm pass. You read all these inspiring mental health recovery stories, they say that “recovery is easy” well, no it really isn’t and I’m not going to lie at all. Recovery is just as hard because the reality is you are still ill whilst recovering. So here is my opinion on how draining recovery really is.

I started trying to start my recovery journey and I am still at the very beginning of it now. There is days where you feel like you have the tools to be able to conquer the world of recovery and there is other days where you just need to shut your eyes as soon as you open them. Let me tell you now, both of them are okay and there isn’t a right or wrong way to recover. There is no instruction guide on the “Iesha Manns Recovery Journey” that has already been written, thats because no one can see into the future, although some days that’d be so much easier! So, what I’m just starting to learn is that you have to write this so called instruction guide as you go.

Bad days should be just as valued as good days, because. otherwise how would you know what a good day really feels like? On the days where. all you can do is open your eyes, but you have to stay in bed, that’s fine because you’re still trying and thats all anyone can ask of you. If you need to relapse, then always remember that relapsing is part 0f recovery. On the days where you need to light a cigarette to calm your mind down, then in a way count that as a positive step because you are learning how to take control. At the end of the day, yes smoking kills but when you are feeling that low, nothing can kill you like your own mind!

Never listen to those mental illnesses voices, you are worth so much more than what they are saying to you. I still get confused daily between who I am and what I need to do versus what my voices are telling me. All of you who are reading this and suffering, knowing exactly what I am talking about, I want you to know that you are never alone, what you are feeling I am too. This doesn’t mean our recovery or how we’re feeling will be exactly the same, because it won’t, but if any of you ever need to message me then please feel free… the world can be an isolating place, but you are never alone!

“Every bad day is another step towards a good one, never forget that”<3

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Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year…

I can’t believe another year is almost over, I can’t believe that in two days we will be celebrating Christmas 2016! 

This year for me has been a whirlwind, but one of the hardest years of my life. My mental health has got the better of me and in all honesty, I’m just proud I’ve survived it. It’s seen me hit my lowest, it’s seen me cry over food, it’s seen me lay awake at 3am with my phone on airplane mode so that I don’t have to have contact with the world. I’ve gained my eating disorder voice that claims to be my friend, the friend who talks to me when anyone mentions food and makes me shout at the real person who’s talking to me, I’ve reached breaking point.

But, this year has also brought me laughs and smiles, some of the best opportunities of my life. I’ve started college and left college, I started weekend work and left weekend work, but I have started my apprenticeship and I’m loving every second. I’m determined to get my level two qualification in childcare this time next year to be able to start my level three! I’ve turned eighteen and celebrated three weekends in a row throughout November, apart from being allowed to do all he things an eighteen year old can do, the novelty wore off quiet quickly. I’ve lost people that I called my friends once upon a time, I’ve gained friends that are amazing and have shown me the true meaning of friendship and I’ve had all the amazing people stay in my life and by my side for yet another year, I am able to wish all those people an amazing Christmas and New Year for another year running and without them I’d be nowhere.

All in all, I look back on 2016 as a bit of a blur, but I am proud that I’ve survived it! Here’s hoping 2017 will be the start of my proper recovery and the beginning of the well and happy Iesha. The last thing I can say is a very merry Christmas and a very happy New Year to you all, my followers on this blog, my friends and my family. Thank you all for the support and courage you have given me to get through this year, without you all I have no clue where I’d be right now! 

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL, I HOPE 2017 GIVES YOU ALL THE HAPPINESS IN THE WORLD! I’ll look forward to blogging to you all next year, for more of my journey and adventures. 
Lots of love, 

Iesha 

❤️💚❤️💚

Dear Eating Disorder…

 *Don’t read if you’re easily triggered* 
Dear eating disorder, this letter is for you..
 Dear eating disorder, can I have a break yet? Can I just have one day where you leave me alone, where I can have a normal life. I’m bored of constantly having to please you, or to do every order you tell me. I’m me, I’m Iesha I’m an 18 year old who should be enjoying her life but instead I’m being completely controlled by everything you’re telling me to do, you make me feel exactly how you think I should and I can’t change that, do I not deserve a break yet?
Dear eating disorder, can I have some energy yet? I’d love a day where I can get up in the morning and actually have the energy to complete just a simple task, like brushing my teeth without having to feel like I’ve got the weight of the world on my shoulders. But instead, I can only just manage to sit up or press the controls on my chair to make myself move, even that you tell me I should be crying because it’s using too much energy. I have an apprenticeship to start next week, I just pray you won’t mess that up for me too. 
Dear eating disorder, can I make my friends and family proud yet? To them I’m just being “rude” or “lazy” when I say I can’t face a family dinner, but you know yourself that isn’t the case. It’s you controlling me so much that I can’t face sitting around a table and eating dinner, you’ve made me think that’s my worst nightmare, so now it is! I wish they could see how you’ve taken over me, so to “think positive” or “be proud of myself” is just out of the question. You’ve made me look like I don’t want to try or like I enjoy being sad, which I really don’t… they just can’t understand any of this!
Dear eating disorder, can I tell someone how I really feel? All you let me say is “I don’t like eating” and then when I get asked why you make me reply “I don’t know”. But the truth is me and you both know why, you just won’t let me say. We both know that we don’t like having food inside my body, because it’s a failure and the sad thing is I’ve learnt to believe you. I want my calorie intake to have gone up a bit so that my weight goes up, but you make me believe it’s better if it’s lower and it’s bad if I eat more so I can’t maintain a weight and at 18 years old I’m the weight a 10 year old should be, please just let me be myself?
So yes, eating disorder this is for you. You’re not my friend at all, you already have done and will continue to ruin my life. I want to be me, but you’ve convinced me that my life is better with you in it. I know you won’t give me anything that I have just asked you for in this letter but I wanted to try. I guess you won’t stop until you’ve won, but trust me you already have and soon we’ll end up in hospital together if you don’t stop, but I guess that’s what you want. Everyone tells me to beat your voice in my head, but they don’t know it is constant battle I have with you. In a sad sort of way you’re the only one who will ever understand this battle, but that’s because you made the rules up yourself… I just wish you could make everyone else understand them too, so that they can help me a bit more! But hey, eating disorder this is me and you on this battle. For now it’s you in control, but trust me one day it’ll be me in control, just you wait… Dear eating disorder.
Not so much love,
Iesha

Constantly Feeling Like A Faliure…

* DO NOT READ IF YOU ARE EASILY TRIGGERED BY MENTAL ILLNESS*

First of all, I need to apologise for not blogging in ages. My life went from what most people would consider normal, to very abnormal very quickly. But, I’m back and I’m here to share more of my story, so sit back and relax, it’s time to read again!
The last time I wrote to you guys was when I had just got myself a job, well after months of campaignning for my job launch that all went a bit wrong. I only managed about a month with working every weekend and I couldn’t understand why all of a sudden I couldn’t cope, then it all became very clear. All of you who follow my blog will know that I have Cerebral Palsy, but I’ve never let that change who I am, I thought that without a doubt that would be my worst card dealt in life and I would be able to cope with anything else life decides to throw at me… but I was wrong! 

I have struggled with Depression and Anxiety since early last year and it’s got me down but I’ve always been able to stay in control, until now. I have been diagnosed with an Eating Disorder and it’s changed my life forever, I’ve never really been a big eater, but it’s never really been an issue until earlier this year, but especially the last few months. An Eating Disorder is more than just not wanting to eat now and again, an Eating Disorder is a battle and a battle with your own mind. It’s not wanting to eat food because you feel bad for eating, it’s being petrified anytime the idea of getting weighed comes up, it’s feeling like rubbish every single time you do eat, because you feel like you’ve lost control or a few more calories change your next weigh in. 

Everyone knows that when you don’t eat enough during the day, you have no energy to even do a simple task like hold a pen or take notes. So my eating disorder resulted in me having to leave college, because I didn’t have the energy and it also has had a really knock one effect with my depression and anxiety. The thought of leaving the house to go to college got too much to handle because I can’t let people see me like this, then I left work because I felt the same and answering the phone got too much to handle and I couldn’t cope. Still now to this day I can’t cope, someday I feel like I can conquer the world whereas other days I need to stay in bed and sleep the day away, because the world is too much of a scary place! 

I feel like a constant let down to my family, because to them mental illness is like a cold, so you should just “get over it”. I’m the family member who left college twice, I’m the family member who couldn’t keep a job. I know it’s not their fault though, mental illnesses are a nightmare to understand and I’m really appreciative of everything they have done for me through this so far and still are doing. Also, apologies to all my friends that I’ve shut out, I’m just trying to fix myself and not drag you all down with me.

I’m determined to get to a better place though, I’m determined to win this on going battle. Thank you to everyone reading this who have supported me so far, it means so much! If it’s not okay then it’s not the end❤️

Childhood Cancer Awarness Month🎗

I don’t think many of you who actually follow my blog on my website knows this, but I know so many of you who follow me on social media know about the support I give to Cancer Research Relay For Life Bournemouth and East Dorset. I never normally blog twice in one month, but this is something close to my heart after being part of the Relay Family, especially this year onwards. Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, here’s my view…

Until I joined the Relay For Life Family I never really understood how much work goes into finding cures, celebrating, remembering and fighting back. Cancer is petrifying for the adults that have to face it, how do children fight back too? The only thing children should be thinking of is if Peppa Pig is going to be on TV when they wake up in the morning, or how their first day at school is going to go, or even in their adolescent years the biggest stress for these young people should be getting the best grades they can in their GCSE’s… Having to fight cancer shouldn’t have to come into this! 

So how can these incredible children stay so strong and start beating cancer? All those treatments, the needles and injections, the Chemo, all the anaesthetic they need for the endless operations they need, the endless overnight stays in hospital and so much more. It can all change overnight, from going to bed healthy and well to wake up feeling the worst they ever have, it’s a whirlwind. But, they are able to understand more than we think, they know what’s going to happen  and they Physically, Intellectually, Emotionally and Socially teach themselves to battle through each day with Cancer. 

Then there’s the parents, they sit in every appointment, are in that anaesthetic room watching their child get put to sleep, they sleep on a tiny camp bed or sometimes even an upright chair whilst their own flesh and blood lay in a hospital bed attached to beeping machines and IV lines. They have to stay strong for their children and act like they’re not worried even when they lay awake and  even when they finally let their guards down without their children having a clue. Let’s face it, they’re heros in themselves and give their children hope to fight the next day. 

So, that’s why at Relay our Survivours are a huge part of the event, we recognise childhood Cancer specifically being as part of our opening ceremony when they walk with a character  like Elsa to give them they congratulations for staying strong. One of our laps is childhood Cancer based, we show this by carrying a teddy bear round a lap with us. Then of course there is our Candle Of Hope ceremony in which we Celebrate, Remember and Fight back to Cancer!

By Relaying for 24 Hours we show that Cancer never sleeps, so thank you to everyone involved in Relay for helping to beat Cancer sooner. Because of you, one day there will be a cure to all of this, if you would like to get involved next year go on our website or remember you can donate as well!

*A HUGE WELL DONE TO ALL OUR CHILDHOOD CANCER SURVIVORS, WE SALUTE YOU!*💛💛💛 

Celebrations Are In Order… I HAVE A JOB!

Firstly, I apologise that I haven’t blogged in ages. But, I’m back and I have an exciting new story to share with you all…

Following the success with my campaign launch on social media, Mags4Dorset, the Daily Echo and BBC Radio Solent… I HAVE A JOB! The new chapter in my life has started at the Norfolk Royale Hotel in Bournemouth, it’s amazing and I couldn’t be happier!

As most of you would’ve read on my previous blog, I am a whizz at computers. So following this, I am now part of the admin team and I’m currently learning how to book people rooms in the hotel on the computer system. The more I learn the more I realise that for this time in my life, this is the perfect job for me! I enjoy helping people, so by booking people in for their stay it really links in well with that. You would’ve also read that I have grown up in the hotel industry, so apart from the different ways of doing things this is all quite second nature to me anyway!

I finally got the chance to go further than an application form and I got the chance to show what I’m capable of. This time round, people didn’t run away at the first idea of my chair, I got seen for what I could do instead of what I couldn’t do and  that was such a nice feeling. I’m now excited to see what the future brings and I know that people now see me as a person instead of a piece of equipment!

Lastly, I’d just like to take this opportunity to thank every single one of you. Thank you to the people who made my campaign go viral, thank you to the people who contacted me moments after they all found out what was happening. Thank you to the people who wrote the words like “inspirational”, because every little thing meant a lot! Again though, thank you to Mags4dorset, Daily Echo and BBC Radio Solent because without this I’d still be jobless. Last but certainly not least, a massive thank you to the Hotel for employing me and letting me have the normality feeling of having a job as well!

P.S, keep a look out because follow up stories most likely will be out very soon! 

Thank you,

Iesha Manns

Job Hunting Hard Enough As it is? Try Having Added Extras, Transport Not a Problem….

Every teenager wants a job right? Every day any of us try application forms and write an impressive CV. For me though, this is even harder, so sit back, relax and read it from my point of view…
I am 17 years old and I have Spastic Diplegic Cerebral palsy, but what does that mean employment wise? It means like everyone else my age, I’ll sit here just like my peers and apply for jobs. I’ll think to myself ‘this time I’m actually going to get a job’, as I get to the end of an application. I’ll get an email saying I’m being considered, then I’ll get the dreaded question in the next questionnaire… “Do you consider yourself to have a disability?” And of course, as soon as I tick the ‘yes’ box it’s game over, that’s the end of that.
The worst part is I don’t even get a chance to give them an impression of me, you know why? Because my chair scares people away, it’s too much hassle and a health and safety overload! My friends get jobs in shops and as waitresses, but I can’t do that. There’s not space behind the counters in a shop to serve customers and, me and my chair are a risk to work colleagues. Oh, and I obviously can’t be a waitress because people’s food would be all over me, the floor and of course my chair. But we all know there’s so many jobs I can do!                                                                     
Please excuse the unorthodox approach, but I need a job.
I am great with computers.
A natural with people.
I am plucky, hard working and I won’t let you down.
Plus I am used to bussing between Bournemouth, Poole and even Christchurch for College.
And I’ll even bring my own chair!
Stairs are a problem of course.
But I am surprisingly speedy and open to all offers😊
Please email me on Iesha.manns@outlook.com
I’ll be happy to send you my CV and pop along to see you.
Iesha.