Charity Corner: Heads Above The Waves

Welcome back to Charity Corner. This is my new series where I will be using my blog as a platform to lend a voice to different charities and organisations of all sizes, backgrounds and causes. In today’s Charity Corner, I speak to director – Hannah Morgan – at Heads Above The Waves, which supports people dealing with mental health issues.

What is the mission of Heads Above The Waves?

We’re a Not For Profit Community Interest Company (bit of a mouthful!) that supports young people dealing with self-harm and other mental health issues. We encourage people to use creative coping techniques to replace their negative behaviors, and to speak to people about their problems and access help when they’re struggling. We tackle stigma through merchandise with positive designs on, we share stories, places of further support and coping techniques on our website and across our social media channels, and we speak at conferences and gigs/ music festivals, as well as delivering workshops, PSE days and training.

What is the story behind the creation of your charity?

Si struggled with self-harm as a teenager and had used drums and playing in bands as a coping technique. I had dealt with addiction and alcoholism after being bullied growing up and after the death of several family members and friends. We met with another friend, after Si voiced that he wanted to create some form of support for young people that spoke to them on their level, which he felt hadn’t been around when he was growing up. Thus Heads Above The Waves was born! Si got some funding through his work at the time to print a small run of t-shirts with a positive message on them. These were aimed to get people talking and break down the stigma around mental health. That’s grown into a website, various social media channels, school workshops, events and speaking at national conferences!

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Jazz is a Disney, tea and pop culture enthusiast with a passion for blogging. Also a proud introvert.

The Anxiety Files: Save Your Ablesplaining

You have no idea how long I’ve wanted to write a post about this. Before this blog even started. Back when I had a personal blog which was pretty gross and just full of 15-year-old me’s thoughts. But to find the words, to not just use the post to slam the people, one person in particular, who tried to explain my own conditions to me. To try and make a judgement of what I’m going through, despite being an abled person, or at least more able than me. They were ablesplaining.

For those who may be a bit confused what ‘ablesplaining’ means, ‘splaining’ is a contraction of ‘explaining’ and is a term which often sprouts up in the social justice sphere. ‘Splaining’ is an “explanation” used in a very patronizing way. The ‘splainer may feel passionate about an opinion and belief that outways the actual lived experience and chooses to inform everyone of this “fact”.

So, when I say “ablesplaining” it basically means that someone who is abled (or more abled than the person who has the lived experience they are discussing) is trying to put forward alleged facts about a condition, despite not actually experiencing it for themselves.

The amount of times people have tried to ablesplain my condition to me over the past 11 years is actually shocking, but there’s one particular incident which I can vividly remember and still, even after five years, gets to me.

I’ll set the scene. I was friends with a few people older than me. We ended up falling out for reasons I don’t need to get into, but this girl – Carrie – (fictitious name to save her identity) decided to attack me through text at around 3am one night. Bare in mind, Carrie was a university student and I was just 16 years old and in a very hard time of my life with my conditions of bipolar, anxiety and depression. I was also going through a very hard family issue, which I didn’t hide. Carrie was texting me about how much of an awful person I was.

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Jazz is a Disney, tea and pop culture enthusiast with a passion for blogging. Also a proud introvert.

Why the ‘TRIGGERED’ meme needs to stay in 2016

Memes can be fun and really be a great ‘inside joke’ to social media users, but sometimes the internet does take it a step too far, which is why I’ve decided to discuss one of 2016’s biggest meme trends; the ‘triggered meme’.

For those who don’t know what memes are, Google describes it as “an image, video, piece of text, etc., typically humorous in nature, that is copied and spread rapidly by Internet users, often with slight variations.” If you are a social media user, such as myself, there’s a very high chance you’ve seen one in your time online. There’s no harm in having a joke and a laugh, but when it comes at price of people being hurt, that’s when it needs to stop.

Here’s an example of the ‘triggered’ meme…

What participants of the joke telling (mostly millennials from what I have seen) have vastly ignored or overlooked the actual meaning of “trigger” and why it’s actually not funny at all.

‘Triggered’ is in fact a legitimate psychological term in which refers to emotions that surface in response to stimulation which brings up a traumatic past experience. Trigger warnings (also known as content warnings) are particularly placed on the internet ahead of content which may be of a explicit nature or that could contain potential triggers for people with past trauma.

Although not always, more often than not triggers happen to people who have PTSD. For some people, a trigger can be identified with past traumatic experiences and therefore they are able to pinpoint why they are triggered. For others, it’s a total mystery.  Despite the cause of triggers, those who experience them tend to recognise patterns within the kids of things which trigger them over time. I’ve definitely had (and still have) some things which can trigger me and cause a panic attack.

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Jazz is a Disney, tea and pop culture enthusiast with a passion for blogging. Also a proud introvert.
the anxiety files

The Anxiety Files: One thing you should know about mental health

As I write this blog post, I’m under the duvets, the dim light of my phone hitting my face, the night rather old. It’s another sleepless one for me, by the looks of things. The whole New Year period always gets me reflecting on life. The past 12 months and the 12 yet to come. It can often play on my mind about the state of my mental health.

I’m not one to shy away from the topic of mental health issues, because I was silenced and alone growing up. I know just how important it is for people to speak out and with a hell of a lot of experience, I try to put a silver lining on a dull and grey cloud by helping others.Over the past few months, I’ve spoken to numerous friends from different walks of life and tonight it really just made me realise; mental illness cares for no one. I have friends in highly respected jobs, which if you were to look from an outsider’s point of view, they seem to have the perfect life. But when they invite you into their little private bubble and let down their guard, you see the reality. The last couple of years has seen a rapid increase of diversity within my friendship groups. Young, old, rich, poor, religious, athiest… and there’s something quite distinct about what many of them have in common; mental health struggles.

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Jazz is a Disney, tea and pop culture enthusiast with a passion for blogging. Also a proud introvert.

Life update: Career change, mental health and more


Hello there,

It’s been a while since I’ve done an actual life update and a lot has changed, so I think it’s time we talk about it.

The last life update talked about my new job and how lots of positive things were happening. A few months ago I had a job change and went to writing for United By Pop, who are a fantastic lifestyle and pop culture blog for young adults. Unfortunately, my mental health has been deteriorating and has meant I’ve unfortunately had to leave the site as a lot of my self care means interrupting my time and efforts for the site. I still very much love the site and will always support it. I hope to be able to rejoin in the future when I’m feeling a lot better.

As for my deteriorating mental health, I’m not entirely sure what’s going on, but my bi-polar is getting more and more intense mood swings and making it difficult to cope with day to day activities. I’ve been trying to try and take control, but it’s been a fair few months now and so a trip to the doctors is on the cards. Since writing is something I like to use to escape on a good day and talking is proven to be a great way to deal with mental health, I decided to start a blog series called ‘The Anxiety Files’. When I was younger and first diagnosed, talking about mental health was such a taboo and it felt like a cold and lonely world away from ‘the norm’. Fast forward 11 years and everyone is encouraging one another to talk and help one another, so this was the perfect opportunity.

I do love writing, it’s a passion of mine. So to completely wipe it off the cards would be silly. On good days, I can write for hours and it’s like an escape for me, but to commit to a company who needs you on the ball on a regular time set is difficult because right now I literally have to play each day by ear because there’s no telling what will be a good or bad day until the day arrives. It’s stressful, but that’s why I’m so thankful I have a blog – I’m the boss here and I can work around my health needs, which is extremely useful.

Onto good things now – I turned 21 back in September which I spent in Brighton and met my internet friend of four years. Emi is from Arizona, United States, but is currently in Brighton studying for a few months. I’ve always wanted to visit Brighton and didn’t have any birthday plans, so it just happened and it was the best birthday ever. I definitely love the town and would visit again in a heartbeat. Emi also came to Cardiff earlier this month to visit the city and meet with Sarah and I where we had a sleepover in a hotel and vlogged it – it was a lot of fun.

The scenery of Brighton was aesthetically pleasing
The scenery of Brighton was aesthetically pleasing

Last month my friend, Camryn, was in town for the first time in three years and she invited me to interview her for United By Pop as well as chill on her tour bus and just talk. She was the support act for Fifth Harmony’s 727 Tour in Europe and it was incredible seeing how she’s evolved since she first came onto the scene at the tender age of 11. It was so much fun catching up and having a chat with her band and I really hope she’s back in the UK again soon.

Alysha, Camryn and I on the tour bus
Alysha, Camryn and I on the tour bus

There’s not too much else I can think of right now that I haven’t already mentioned in great detail on the blog. I’m looking forward to the Christmas season and writing lots of blog posts while trying very hard to get back on track with things. I hope to be in a better place by Christmas.

I hope you’re all doing great and are enjoying the hype for the festive season!


Jazz is a Disney, tea and pop culture enthusiast with a passion for blogging. Also a proud introvert.

The Anxiety Files: my experiences with mental health



I thought I’d start a new series on this blog in hopes that I can help other people or maybe spark a conversation amongst other people. There is a big stigma attached to mental health and for some reason, people think talking about your experiences publicly (or at all) means you’re “attention seeking”. I’ve experienced this with both strangers and friends alike and as much as it hurts and makes me feel like closing up, I’ve learnt that it’s important to push past that. It’s important to fight through the people who create the stigma and talk out because after all, 1 in 4 people are dealing with a mental health issue and there still isn’t enough being done about it.

I was first diagnosed with anxiety at 10 years old back in 2006, but have always been a person with a “nervous” personality and I suppose things first began getting worse around 2005. The past eleven years have been an absolute rollercoaster with experiences I’d never wish on even my enemies, but I feel like it’s important to take the good out of the bad and since more and more people are being diagnosed, that people talking about their experiences is so important because it’s a topic not nearly discussed enough. There’s also a lot of different ways people experience their mental health and while it’s simple to give out symptoms for a broken leg or asthma, it’s not so easy with something like anxiety or bi polar.

I wanted to create this first introductory post to give you an idea what my intentions are, but also ask if there’s anything you’d like to see me talk about. I know there are many people out there who don’t have people to talk to and I’m more than willing to share experiences if it means that someone somewhere is benefiting from it. Feel free to comment below or email me.

So, keep your eyes peeled on this blog as I’ll be doing what I can to be informative and helpful as possible, because at the end of the day, we are all in the same boat and it’s crucial we stick together.





Jazz is a Disney, tea and pop culture enthusiast with a passion for blogging. Also a proud introvert.

Panic Attacks and Anxiety: my tips & tricks on coping

panic attacks and anxiety
I may or may not have mentioned this before, but I suffer with anxiety, bi polar and have had battles with depression. I’ve suffered with anxiety since the age of 10 meaning it’s been about 11 years since my diagnosis and how long I’ve been coping with panic attacks and dealing with them.
For a long time I was totally oblivious to the fact that so many more people suffer with similar issues and the fact that 1 in 4 people suffer with a mental health issue. It was barely talked about and my peers during school made me out to be “the freak” and not normal. Times have changed and so many more people are admitting to the fact that they too have their own issues to deal with. There wasn’t much information for me to gain access to at a young age, unlike nowadays, but despite the fact that many people are speaking out about similar issues, I feel like instead of stepping back because there are many blogs like this one, that it’s important to still share my experiences and methods of coping because the more posts = the more chances of someone who needs help can get it, even if it’s just via a blog post.

I’ve had a lot of different methods suggested to me over the past decade but these are the ones that I tend to stick to most.

During a panic attack

During a panic attack it’s definitely not easy to think rational, but if you are familiar with your panic attacks (ie: how they feel, the triggers,etc.) then it’s easier to try and reach out to that tiny rational percentage of your brain to push yourself to do something to help yourself. I’m usually always with a member of my family or friend, so my first port of call would be to inform them of how I’m feeling. I then follow these steps to get myself to a somewhat calmer situation as quickly and hassle free as possible.

Take myself out of the situation – If I’m in public or a place I’m unfamiliar with, I try and take myself out of the situation. Whether it’s going to a public restroom or find a more spacious area. I find that having a panic attack in public / a crowded place makes the entire thing much more stressful and the addition of paranoia of people being able to see you. Back in school, I was given a pass by my head of year which excused me from lessons when I felt the verge of a panic attack so I could go to the toilets or just go outside and breathe and be myself. Some teachers were even kind enough to let me take a friend. If you’re in school then I would definitely recommend a parent/guardian-teacher meeting being arranged and discussing options such as this one. It helped me so much.

Water – I feel like water helps me a lot. My mouth dries and my hands clam up and even if I only have a sip of water, the cool sensation of the water against my hands somehow makes me feel that little bit calmer. I wouldn’t recommend any other form of drink because, for me personally, my senses are heightened during a panic attack and so I would be able to taste a flavour very strongly and with my stomach being in knots from the panic, it would make me feel sick. I try and make sure I have a bottle of water wherever I go not only for hydration reasons, but in case a panic attack is on the horizon,

Deep breathing – This can be difficult as I tend to hyperventilate and shake a lot but I will build up to a deep breath during hyperventilation by taking a slightly bigger breath each time until I feel I can take one big deep breath and then exhale. Once at that state, I try to mimic the breathing of CPR but instead of filling a casualty’s lungs, I fill my own to the brim and then slowly let it all out. This not only calms my breathing but lets my brain try and get back to more rational thoughts.

Letting myself panic – That may sound weird, but if I know I feel anxious and a panic attack is building up, I let it happen. To let all those intense emotions and feelings stay bottled up tends to make the situation worse. Of course, I try and avoid getting into the state altogether, but if I feel like I’m already at panic stage, I just let it happen. Panic attacks are not going to kill you so just let it happen and run its course as you try to handle it as best as you possibly can.

Post panic attack 

The whole feeling after a panic attack feels like you are a walking wounded after a great war between yourself and your mind. It can be exhausting and overwhelming and it’s 100% normal to not feel okay straight away. When I reach back to a somewhat rational state of mind, I try and make sure that the aftercare is something I can make priority to prevent myself feeling so anxious again.

Hydration – I keep drinking the water because normally my mouth gets so dry that it takes a while to wet my whistle again. I keep drinking the water as part of relaxation and not to feel like I’m going to pass out. If I feel a little better I may opt for a weak cup of tea.

Sleep – I personally get exhausted after a panic attack and try to keep myself in a relaxed situation and try and get sleep as soon as possible. If I’m at home or able to get home quickly, one of the first things I do is go to sleep or if I don’t need to go back out, I put my PJs on and then go for an hour’s nap. If I have to stay out/have work to do I try and make compromises so if there’s anything that needs my input that it’s minimum and made easy or postpone whatever it is I need to do. Sometimes I need to just sit down and just think or listen to music or just close my eyes for a few minutes to regain normality around me. Putting myself in a busy situation straight after the incident tends to make my anxiety thrive again so I try and do as minimum as possible.

Talking – I normally need to talk out my reasons for feeling anxious and usually with a person I trust which is normally my mother. If not, I’ll find someone who I’m with (ie: a friend, someone at a course I could be on, a receptionist when I was at school) and just talk through my feelings and try to rationalise with myself with someone’s opinions and inputs.


Preventing anxiety

There are various things that trigger my anxiety. Whether it’s public transportation, an appointment, going somewhere new, venturing out in a big location,etc. And I know that, especially on days where I don’t feel 100%, I need to have different things to keep myself in a calm situation.

Charged phone – Not because I’m crazily obsessed with technology (that’s another story) but if I need to get in contact with someone (ie: my mother or stepdad) to talk to me while I’m anxious or to get me out of the situation, then I need to have a charged phone. Sometimes I take my actual charger with me if I know there’s going to be a powerpoint at my destination. If not, I take a power bank which keeps my phone charged on the go.

Music –Especially on public transport, I feel like music is a must. Music I really like always makes me feel comfortable and at home and in a safe place. I don’t know why, but music is like a magical thing for many reasons. So I like to have a pair of earphones and my favourite artists lined up on my phone.

Medication – I have been prescribed medication by a psychiatrist and doctor, so I ensure to take this everyday. I know not everyone has anxiety to that level where it needs to be medicated by a professional, but there are over the counter medications such as Kalms which can help you feel more relaxed and not as anxious.  Sometimes anxiety can be so mild for some people that all they need is some herbals such as herbal tea,etc. so I definitely recommend that first before trying medication. If you are prescribed medication, I know some people tend not to take it as they feel like it dehumanises you. I highly recommend you take any prescribed medication. You are a human. Anxiety is a chemical imbalance. You are merely restoring the correct amount of the right chemicals to make yourself feel better again. A diabetic takes insulin or medication. A person in pain takes a pain killer. You take these medications to make yourself feel better, whether it’s physically or mentally. If your medication makes you feel ill, please notify your GP and they may be able to help find a different medication which doesn’t make you feel so poorly.

Talking – Sometimes, on down days, I need to talk about how I feel. Whether you have a member of your family, a friend, a co-worker or even a charity. @Hope4MentalHelp on Twitter has a list of various helplines and charities around the world and if you’re based in the UK I highly recommend Mind charity for any advice and leaflets for information.

I really hope I have been able to help some people with this blog. Do you have any methods you swear by? Leave a comment blow.



Jazz is a Disney, tea and pop culture enthusiast with a passion for blogging. Also a proud introvert.