• about me
  • menu
  • categories
  • Maeve Waite

    Maeve Waite

    24 year old work psychologist, mental health advocate and future dachshund owner. occasional writer, baker and photo taker. posts have been featured on time to change and mental movement magazine, and I sometimes like to write all lower case.
    London, UK

    This is one of those 10pm vents, so sorry if it comes out a bit unorganised. I've been open about my struggles with my mental health for a little while now, and I've always tried to be one of those people who listens and tries to understand without judgement when others are going through something too.

    I'm passionate about fighting stigma against mental health, and I'll always encourage people to talk about it and share their experiences if they want to.

    I never want anyone else to be in the same position I was when I first started struggling - alone, confused, and scared. It's a horrible feeling, and particularly if you struggle with depression and/or anxiety, your brain has probably convinced you of any/all of the following:

    • no one else cares
    • you'll only worry someone
    • people will judge/hate you for it
    • you'll be seen as 'ill' and treated differently

    It's isolating, and that's the way these illnesses work: to cut you off from all your resources - and that's one of the hardest parts of recovery; ignoring these thoughts and opening up.

    I've been lucky and even flattered that over the years, a lot of people have felt comfortable enough to open up to me and be able to talk about what's bothering them. I'm glad I can be a listening ear when they need it, particularly if they feel they can't talk to anyone else.

    Unfortunately, I've also had people over the years who have 100% taken advantage of my help, and perhaps to an extent, I've let them, whilst dealing with my own issues. I've had a lot of people want my advice or me to listen, but absolutely don't want to return the favour. I've had people shoot me when I'm down and then suddenly come back around when they want something. It feels like crap.

    I've felt used and hurt, and ultimately, like I couldn't really trust anyone. It's only then intensified those isolating thoughts my illness tells me - that people don't really give a damn. I know this isn't true for most of the people around me, but for the odd few, it is. I've worked hard on this, and so I've distanced myself or cut them out. It's draining and it's painful, but the negative effect on my own mental health is not worth it for someone who doesn't care, or who is actively using/making things harder for me.

    So, even if this goes against everything I've been taught, and even if my brain is telling me how selfish I am and how unkind this is, and what a bad person I am, I'm sticking to it - I cannot be anyone's therapist anymore.

    This does not mean I do not care. It just means I can't fix things for people. I can listen and try to understand and signpost, but I cannot take it away for good. Working in mental health has taught me a lot over the years and maybe this is why people feel more comfortable coming to me (?), but I am still not a trained therapist. All I can do is try to point people in the right direction, and then, it's up to them to work. I'll still support, and listen, but that's all I can do.

    The reason why I'm taking this new stance is because of the above. Because too many people have taken advantage of my help, and frankly, because I need to focus on my own recovery - particularly now, after some big changes in my life. Whilst I love what I do and I love that I'm involved in mental health, sometimes it all just gets too overwhelming.

    I don't think we should ever expect someone untrained to take on board all our issues because you still don't know what they're going through. I absolutely don't think you should unload on someone unless you'd be prepared to do the same if the situation was reversed. But that's just my opinion.

    I don't really know how to end this except to reiterate again - I do care, I just need to look after myself too. If I can't help myself, I can't help anyone with anything! We are allowed to be a little selfish sometimes!

    M x
    . Tuesday, 21 August 2018 .

    popular posts

    . Tuesday, 24 July 2018 .

    As part of our trip to Lisbon, we took a day out to the town of Sintra, which is about an hour out of capital, in the mountains. It's home to various palaces and historical sites, including the famous Pena Palace and Quinta da Regaleira. Despite the weather, it really was an amazing day up in the mountains...but bladdy freezing!

    We used the hop-on hop-off bus tours to get around - as it's pretty far to walk amongst each landmark, and we only had limited time! It wasn't too expensive, and it was so convenient whilst giving us control over what we could go and see.

    We wandered through the pebbled streets, stopped for a crepe, climbed big hills and walked around what felt like a very small rainforest, and it was amazing. The weather, not so much. We were told that Sintra has its own micro-climate, so be sure to pack waterproofs...

    If I have to recommend two places to visit, it'd be the Quinta da Regaleira and Pena Palace. Regaleira is a beautiful old estate, which has its own gardens, lake and is home to some of the most amazing plants! It's actually a UNESCO site, and what's basically the Portuguese version of an English country estate and one of the must-dos there is the incredible Initiation Well (below). As someone who's ok with heights, but not heights with edges, there was only so much time I could spend up here!

    Pena Palace is used for many state occasions in Portugal, and is known for its beautifully bright coloured walls...which unfortunately were mostly covered in cloud during our visit. Still, it made for an impressive atmosphere! I can imagine you get a pretty decent view from up here, but unfortunately we couldn't see a thing :( apparently you can see it from Lisbon too! Another UNESCO site, it looks like a colourful Hogwarts/something out of GOT and sometime I'd like to go back and see it in better weather!

    A very short but sweet trip to Sintra, but I'd like to go again and explore more - apparently the lighthouse by the beach is beautiful!

    If you've enjoyed this post, please give it a pin :)

    M x
    . Thursday, 19 July 2018 .

    I'm at the point in my life now where one thing I've realised that's so important to do, is to reassure people that whatever they feel is valid. It's ok to feel pissed off/angry/fed up/confused/happy/sad etc over whatever it is, even if someone else can't get their head around why.

    A lot of times when speaking out about my mental illness, I've been met with anger and annoyance, or even complete indifference. It's made me feel like my feelings didn't really matter, or that they only caused pain and annoyance, like a burden.

    After a while, this begins to seep into the rest of your life. I felt that if nobody really cared to listen to what I felt, why should they care about what I have to say? And so, I became known as a quiet girl, often with the word 'conscientious' written on my report cards at school. Being conscientious isn't a bad thing, but I came to resent it, because that seemed to be the only word to describe me. I knew there was more to me, but I didn't feel comfortable to be myself, or to be honest about my feelings.

    Things changed when I met my ex-boyfriend 7 years ago. While things didn't work out for us in the end, I'm still grateful that I could say at least for a short time, I had someone who paid attention to me without trying to offer advice or solutions that hadn't been asked for. I had someone who listened fully without judgement and sometimes, that's all you need. Therapy helped me for the exact same reason, and if I could afford to have a session every week, I would.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that now I realise how so many of us - those with mental illnesses and those without - probably underestimate our own feelings because we feel they'll be rejected or laughed at or brushed off like they don't matter. Any feeling you feel is valid because you felt it. It doesn't matter how much people will put you down, call you crazy, laugh at you, shut you out, or even just how quickly they'll change the subject - your feelings matter.

    This culture we have of brushing over everything - the British stiff upper lip especially - is rubbish. When we degrade feeling, we make it harder for those who can't cope with their feelings to reach out. We might even lose people for good.

    I don't ever want someone to feel as I have done because it's not true. It's easy to tell you to ignore what they say and 'you do you', but when you need help, that doesn't help. If you feel you can't talk to anyone about the most hidden of feelings - write it down. Journaling has become so helpful to me these last few months and I'm sure it's prevented so many anxiety attacks.

    One last time then: feelings matter, even yours.

    M x
    . Tuesday, 17 July 2018 .

    At the start of June, a couple of friends and I headed off to Lisbon for a weekend of sun and sightseeing. It was my first time ever to the capital, and also to Portugal - those I've somehow already managed to visit several Portuguese colonies...?

    Anyways, I'd heard good things about Lisbon, having heard it's quite a popular destination at the moment, and it didn't disappoint.
    From my other trips, I'd seen influences of Portuguese architecture and food which I loved, so to be right in the heart of it was amazing. Pastels, pasteis de nata, and so many hand-painted tiles and it was all beautiful.

    Staying at the Czar hotel in central Lisbon, we spent Saturday-Tuesday there, with an early flight out of Heathrow and an evening flight back into London City Airport. 
    Tip: If you're not great with flying, I'd avoid using City airport unless you have to - one of the most turbulent landings home!

    Over the weekend we explored the city - first we visited the pop-up Sweet Art Museum  which is basically every kid-who's-ever -seen-Willy-Wonka-and-the-Chocolate-Factory's wish come true. Free sweets as you go round, fun games to play and a massive marshmallow pit - you can't go wrong.
    N.B. this pop-up is coming to London soon...!

    The rest of Saturday was spent hitting up Parque das Naรงรตes - a beautiful chilled out part of town with cable cars, the marina and the university. We had lunch at a cafe overlooking the yachts on the water, feeling so peaceful so far away from the main city. I had no idea Lisbon was this big! 

    Sunday was spent up at Sintra, which is a town about an hour out of Lisbon in the mountains. I've done a separate post about our day there, which you can read more about here!

    Taken by my friend Jo!

    Monday took us to and around Alfama to visit the Time Out Market, the comercio plaza, Rossio, and Pink Street, a colourful street that used to be Lisbon's red light district; as well as Belem, where we got the famous egg tarts and where my friends surprised me with an early birthday sunset boat cruise (with wine)!

    I have never been sailing before so wasn't totally sure what to expect, but I completely loved it!

    We left Belem early evening and sailed up towards the main city, past Lisbon's version of the Golden Gate Bridge. I actually did a boat tour around the real version in San Francisco as part of my solo travel in 2015, so it was so nostalgic to be doing something similar in a completely different place! It was such a lovely present from the girls and totally unexpected - I honestly wouldn't have thought to do it - so thank you to them for one of the best presents ever.

    I totally recommend taking the boat tour if you want to get a different view of Lisbon - and their sunsets are stunning.

    Points from Lisbon:
    • for the love of god bring good shoes because it is HILLY
    • sometimes the metro only fits half the platform, so stand in the middle if you want a seat
    • the street art is everywhere and it's gorgeous
    • if you're a bit further out of the city you may end up walking on main roads
    • the egg tarts at Pasteis de Belem are second to none (but pricey).

    If you like this post, please give it a pin!

    M x