A Look Into REAL FRIENDS fourth album, COMPOSURE.

American pop-punk band, Real Friends released their highly-anticipated and long-awaited fourth studio album, Composure this week on Friday 13th. What could be considered an insight into the personal journey undergone by lead vocalist, Dan Lambton who has openly suffered from anxiety along with bipolar disorder, Composure is a representative and advocate of mental health in it’s entirety. Releasing tracks such as ‘From The Outside’, ‘Smiling On The Surface’ and ‘Get By’ prior to release, since its earliest announcement, Composure is an album moving forward from their previously intense melancholic sounds.

While still raw in emotion, Composure focuses more on the individual experience coming to realisations of worth. It’s a notion of moving forward, understanding the past and learning to live with our own struggles. The contrast between Composure‘s attitude and its predecessors is monumental. Real Friends have completely taken their pop-punk label and mastered it, using melodies to drive tracks fluently and catchy choruses to drive their point home. A major track from the album is their previously released ‘From The Outside’ with it’s infectious lyrical and instrumental tones. It’s a track that really brings home the personal journey aspect of mental health, and particularly into the bands.

Dan Lambton has bravely and openly cancelled live performances, with this years UK Slam Dunk being one of them, due to his struggles with mental health. Composure is an album that really makes its listeners understand his views and struggles, and in turn, breaking the stigma of mental health as a whole. The exhaustion of acting happy is a common issue of mental health that can make it worse, bringing bigger downs, and Composure is a stepping stone in the right direction saying “it’s okay to talk about how you feel.”

A striking and emotional statement, Composure consists of different elements, such as intrusive thought processes, the effects that others can have, but ultimately the promotion and importance of self-care. If there’s one thing that Real Friends have achieved during their quick rise to one of the most popular bands within the scene, is to look after yourself, and Composure is the album that drives that point home.

All in all, Composure is more than just an album, but its an educational look into the effects that mental health can really affect victims. Using their growing platform for the greater good, Real Friends are making more than just headway on their career within the industry, but also on their largely relevant view that leads to conversation.

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pop punk

The benefits of writing ‘morning pages.’

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I bought a journal from my favourite little store in Cardiff, Tiger for £2. It fits in my handbag quite easily, and being the type of person that’s equipped with a pen at all times, I can write where ever and whenever I want when I’m out and about. I originally bought the journal just to keep track of things. To-do lists for the day, numbers and emails that I needed to get in touch with. I just like to write things down rather than using my phone. But, as I found myself heading to work with nothing but dread filling my head, on my 8am morning commute I started writing what I was feeling, and trying to analyse why I was feeling that way. I wrote for the whole journey, my handwriting at times messy and difficult to read. But despite my cramping fingers, my head felt lighter as I got off the bus and walked to my place of work.

Since that morning, I’ve started writing religiously in my journal. Not so much diary entries – at times they’re fictional. There’s been times of boredom where I’ll make up a character inside my head and make them come to life in the pages of my book. Illustrations of what goes on inside my head. Sometimes they’re filled with personal feelings, and sometimes just a line of what someone has said to me. It’s relaxing to have a place my head can vent, instead of inside itself.

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Journal pages are filling up 📝

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In the writing world, people have spoken highly about the practise of morning pages. The idea is to write three pages before you get on with your day, and write whatever it is that’s on your mind. It could be an idea, it could be an emotion or even an insecurity. Write it down, even if your mind feels empty. There’s always something going on. This practise came to light whilst I was studying in university – my lecturer spoke highly of it, telling us that most of her ideas are developed in those morning pages. I promised to do it, but I never did. I finished university earlier this year, and I’m finally doing it. Hand on heart, that £2 journal is the best thing I’ve purchased.

I can’t say that it’s a cure to every issue, but it does make you lighter. It empties your head of your morning anxiety – and if you don’t do it in the morning, but instead write it at night, it clears you of your day and leave you refreshed. It’s something you’ve got to stick to. I have always found writing to be rather therapeutic, even when I delved into places that I didn’t want to go. The whole practise of ink staining white lined paper, for some reason, gives you a sense of validation. There are some things that I have written in my journal that I wouldn’t whisper in secret, like some of my own insecurities, but this black and white knitted journal knows them all. And I can see the progression in my writing, the positivity I’m placing in myself as I clear my head every morning. It’s actually rather empowering, and even more so to think that this positivity is coming from me.

I urge anyone to try it for a month, or even a week, and feel the benefits of a lighter, clearer and empowered mind.

Relax

Talk. About. Mental. Health.

LP

Yesterday, the news of Chester Bennington’s suicide stormed social media, taking the breath of all rock and metal fans. Chester Bennington was the face of a band that influenced so many people, in many ways. Musical interests were formed from Linkin Park; thousands of people playing music together inspired by their music. Chester Bennington’s voice was heard all over the world, and for many, was the voice of reason and rationale. He was a creator, a motivator and damn hell of a person. Reading about suicides always sends a chill up my spine, but the news of Bennington really hit me.

A lot of the conversations I had yesterday about his death was met with disbelief. People telling me to stop joking, people telling me I was sick. If that doesn’t say how unexpected Chester’s death was, then I don’t know what will.

CBCC

Where ever it came from; whether it was a lurking thought in the back of his head all these years, or something in recent weeks triggered him, Chester battled with a lot of lifetime trauma. He was previously a very open man about his troubles, revealing a history of sexual abuse and substance abuse. In his lyrics, there were deep emotion, passion, angst and struggle. Linkin Park headed in different directions, experimenting with their music like a hobby. The whole band deserved respect for that, and with their ever-growing fan base since their 2000 release of Hybrid Theory, Linkin Park showed no signs of stopping.

That’s what makes this whole thing unexpected.

That’s what makes the news of Bennington so hard swallow.

Mental health is an ongoing battle, and those who have suffered can tell you how easy it is to slip back in to old habits. Chester Bennington may have opened up about his past troubles, but we didn’t hear about how low he was feeling now. We knew that the death of his close friend, Chris Cornell of Soundgarden, hit Chester hard. We just didn’t know how hard. Dealing with mental health is in no way easy, and I guess it might just be even harder when the spotlight is shining upon you. Fighting to be the person that the media portray you to be. It’s okay not to be okay – who ever you are. There are systems; real people there to support you and help you through your times of trouble. No problem is too big or too small. Sometimes all you need to hear is a voice that isn’t whispering in your ears, but talking to you. There are people who have dealt, and continue to deal with the haunting cloud of depression. I guess what I’m trying to say, and as cliche as it may be, you are not alone. You are never alone. It’s scary to put yourself out there, I understand. It’s scary to make the first move, I get it. It’s scary to put all your feelings, all your emotions on the line with only the slightest bit of hope that someone’s there to read them. I get that. We all get that. And that’s why we’re here. I don’t know who “we” are, but I know there’s a million people in this world willing to take time out of their day to make sure there’s ears for someone to speak into. You will not suffer alone – and I urge you, in every way I possibly can, to reach out.

samaritans

Please, please, please, if you’re feeling down and alone, take a look at these sites and reach out:

SANE | Gofal Cymru | CALM

There’s a list of mental health helplines listed on the NHS site that you can find here.

Alternatively, I’m always available to be contacted, and I’ll always be here.

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

 

Stay safe, and strive for the happiness you deserve. Peacexo

 

real life

“I take back every word that I said,”

Months have gone by and this platform of tangled and contradictory text posts has gone completely untouched. While my hiatus was unannounced, the break was needed. The endless hours I placed into what I thought was therapeutic writing was only my further decline. Instead of overcoming my Depression, I came to terms with it. I accepted it as part of my day-to-day life instead of trying to recover from it. I gave it a name; I gave it a home rent-free. I fed it until it swelled up like a tumour and took over my body like a puppet.

Here’s to a new mindset. Here’s to a new life.

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Snapping back.

The road to recovery was never going to be easy and it will always have it’s drawbacks. One of those drawbacks is the eventual downfall that you’ve put off for so long; the dip in happiness that takes you by surprise. In the words of John Green, it came over me like reading a book, “suddenly and then all at once.” It was bound to catch up to me after I’d spent so long forcing myself to feel the happiness that I’d be craving; and it was real and I felt the warmth inside my chest expanding at a rate faster than the breeding of house flies, only to dissipate into a toxic cloud of smoke that poisons everything around it. It’s confusing when everything seems to be going right, but your tornado thoughts scream that it’s wrong. The feeling of an upcoming round 2 when you’ve hardly recovered from the first; the terror that it’ll knock you down in one hit.

The constant ringing in my ears to stay positive; the inability of those around me to fully understand whats going on inside my head. The genuine confusion at my own incapability to comprehend my thoughts. The anxiety that everything thats fallen into place nicely over the last couple of weeks are only going to crumble away and slip through my fingers. It’s overwhelming to wake up with the worry about the next thing to go wrong. The need to be detached from everything, to enjoy things without getting too involved. To put yourself into a situation physically, but not mentally.

The road to recovery cannot be achieved without your rollercoaster taking a dip and the experience of pushing your cart back onto the ascending rails. That way, the next time you take a dip, you’ll be able to have confidence knowing you can pull yourself out of this.

Stay strong, the destination to happiness is still achievable.

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Adventures.

Jess Blog

This is the view of Swansea from the top of a random mountain a friend dragged me up. I knew I would be climbing a mountain, but I didn’t expect to be walking up a hill that felt like a 90 degree vertical angle. It was painful on the calves, rough on the lungs but definitely worth it for the experience. Through chattering lips as the bitter cold stung us (even through blankets and coats), we sat on top of this mountain, overlooking the city and watched life go by while our time stood completely still. While the picture doesn’t do it much justice, I encourage everyone to go out and experience something similar to what I did yesterday. It’s only something small, but it makes you appreciate things a whole lot more.

You look down and you can see the cars driving up and down the roads, stopping and starting at traffic lights or at their destination. It’s like imagining how many people are listening to what, how many people are in complete silence. How many people are having the best time of their lives at that precise moment, laughing until their faces ache and stomach stings? Or how many people are having the worst time of their life, arguing with their better halves as I was sat there on top of this mountain experiencing something entirely new to me? It’s strange to think of all these different lives going on in one area, and that’s just a city. There’s a whole world out there. Filled with people and their lives, filled with lights just like this, filled with love and compassion, hate and regret. There’s  millions of different emotions being felt in just one second, and while you’re watching this tiny city go about it’s business, you truly realise that this world is huge and right now you could be anywhere, but you’re here. You’re feeling, breathing, living, just like every one else is. You’re not alone and even when things aren’t going your way, just remember that there’s a million different people feeling somewhat similar. Life isn’t going to stop for you just like it doesn’t stop for anyone else, but you can shape your life into what you want it to be.

That’s not the only spectacular thing that I came to realise while shivering and cupping numb hands. Not only is there a whole world going on below you but if you take a look up, you’re staring out into the unknown. Into a galaxy; a universe unexplored and unidentified. There’s planets spinning, volcanos blowing, stars dying and in turn a life of a new star. Not only is the inhabitents of this world doing completely different things and living in all these different ways, but there’s a whole unexplored universe out there and who knows what goes on out there.

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Negativity can turn into Positivity with enough persistance.

It’s not often I get to say that I’m happy. Even less often I get to say that I’m in some sort of happiness spell where things generally seem to be going okay. Currently, I feel like I’m in that spell and it’s refreshing after spending months of battling everything and everyone – for what seemed like no reason. The best part of it, is that I can say I’m currently comfortable in my own little private world, and yeah, there might be stress induced by work and looming deadlines, sleepless nights and exhausting days but I’m okay with that, finally. It’s nice knowing that things might be taking a 180 degree turn and heading uphill. Or at least staying maintained while I gear myself up for the climb.

It’s time like this that positivity generally hits me. People suffering from the decreasing moods over months knows that it’s too easy to fall into a state of negativity. Constantly battling your own voices inside your head that tells you it will never get better. It’s easy to believe those voices too and you’ll probably end up in a deeper ditch than you started off by listening to them. But here’s the kicker, with enough persistence to carry on, it can and will get better. I tell you this with confidence. As a person who dips up and down quite frequently, I can tell you that no matter what you’re going through – whether seemingly insignificant (although I’ve mentioned this before, never ever ever think your problems are insignificant, even if you’re crying over spilt milk) or whether it’s life altering – it will get better. Never give up, because giving up means giving in, and giving in means it’s over and you’ve succumbed to the voices that plagued you.

In the next couple of days, I intend to write a little step-by-step guide that helped me, and will hopefully help you, dear reader, into finding out yourself. Into finding out what you can do to improve your current situation. I never want you to feel alone, and I promise you, for as long as I’m around, you never will be. My email and my twitter are there for a reason – I’m here to listen. I’m frequently told that people are too scared to email or tweet me about things in case I don’t reply or that I’m too busy, but I promise you, I’ll never be too busy. You all mean the world to me, and for the amount of times you lovely people have helped me, I want to be here to help you.

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