This Ones For You

Have you heard? I don’t know if you will have heard, I’ve kept it pretty quiet, you see. I’ve mentioned it once to my friends and I had a bit of a moment with my mum, but other than that, unless you delved deep you might not have known what I was about to tell you. I am completely joking, by the way – I haven’t stopped talking about this. But I promise, this is the last time I will really concentrate on the subject…Last Friday, I only went and won a blooming blog award!

Back in November, I was sat in the back of a huge conference room in Birmingham. On one side of me was my mum, and the other was some lovely Twitter friends I have made over the last year. We were all there for one reason – the Adoption UK Conference. I had finished a night shift at 7:00am and met my mum on the train at 8:22, coffee in hand and bags under my eyes, we travelled across the country so I could sit alongside some pretty incredible kids on the panel of the conference. As I was introduced to the room, it was mentioned that I was recently nominated for an award in the mental health category in the UK Blog Awards. I hadn’t really thought about it in the time leading up to the conference, instead I had been focusing on making sure I was equipped with the knowledge to answer any question that came my way.

A couple of days after the conference, the voting opened and slowly I began to see people old and new taking to Twitter to inform me that they had voted. I really wasn’t expecting anything to come of it – after all, I’m just a kid who sometimes talks about being the sad kid. The voting closed and so did that chapter of my life. Then I was announced as a finalist. Me. A finalist. 

To me, reaching a finalist status was a huge win in my book. In 2017 I had been nominated for the same award and had probably received 20 – 30 votes max. Again, to even be nominated was recognition for me, but to make it to the finals earlier this year was an incredible achievement. 

And then, last Friday, I won. 

It’s been 6 days between my win and the writing of this, and I still cannot find the words to tell you how strange this is. It’s a good strange, don’t get me wrong. But over the last week, I’ve been on a bit of a journey. As you might have seen from the weekly, I had a ‘I am so happy and I don’t know what to do about it’ moment when I found out I had won. Me and my parents celebrated by sitting down together (a rare occasion in our house) and sharing two mini easter eggs. It was perfect. On Saturday, me and my favourite humans got together for a belated birthday / blog award win celebration. Two of my pals decorated the apartment we were staying in, turning it into a mermaid nightclub. I got to introduce my new favourite human – a boy (more on that another day) – to my group and it was incredible. But twenty-four hours after my win, my happiness was replaced by gin-induced guilt.

You see, I do what I do because it helps. It helps me to understand what is going on in my head. It helps you understand what is going on in your head. Finally, it seems to help the wider mental health community, as we push into our fourth year of discussing mental health, we increase its awareness and we have truly begun to unravel the stigma. But from day one, guilt has etched its way into all of this. I feel guilty because the reason I am in a position to talk about mental health is a terrible reason. It comes from a place of deep regret for not being able to save the person I loved. Then there is the guilt to all of the people between then and now who have had to witness the fallout of grief that has taken over my life at times. Then there are the things I was too scared to tell those closest to me, and so I let it flow out online, because for some weird and widely unknown reason, that was the easier option. 

But then, mid-gin induced rant with the boy I really like and my two closest pals, I realised something. And for this, I am going to need you to cast your mind back to January, when I was in London for a series of meetings. I stood in front of my camera, completely unsure of what I was doing with my life, and I had a little cry about how I was scared that all I would become known for was being the Mental Health Boy. Whilst that video is terribly edited, rewatching it makes me incredibly uncomfortable, because something finally registered in me. 


I am the mental health boy, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. 

In fact, in recent months, I have become quite proud to be the mental health boy. 

If it means that by taking that title, it saves you from your head sometimes because you no longer feel alone then I will take that title and I will prove to you a thousand times over that you are worthy. You, the reader, have become more like a friend to me over the years. We share a special bond you and me, and whilst that shared ground might be a bit hard to comprehend sometimes, we get each other through it every single time. 


With that in mind, this is not my award, it is our award. It is for you and me. Us who sometimes struggle to get out of bed in the morning and we that just need to hide from time to time. It’s for all of us who can’t understand why we are sometimes the sad kids who don’t always enjoy life. For those of us who have been to the most troubling of places, only to bounce back hours later.

Thank you so much for trusting me with this. Thank you for voting for me. Thank you for coming back time and time again. I promise you that I will do you proud. 

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DANCOOLEDAILY

hello@dancooledaily.co.uk

The Four Year Itch.

A little over four years ago, I phoned my mum with an idea I had been sitting on for a while. In my head it was genius, it was my way of allowing my creativity to continue now that my undergraduate degree was beginning to wrap up. I was going to start a blog. I had dabbled with blogs in the past, but this time I was going to make a real go of it. Soon after, I bought some bath bombs from Lush and I registered a new domain under EveryDayDan. I was excited for my new venture and so I decided to launch in some super romantic way; on my birthday. 

Continue reading “The Four Year Itch.”

Realising My Self-Worth.

As I write this, I am waiting for my bath to fill. I’ve had a long week and up until yesterday, was running on roughly 7 hours sleep in total. I have had deadlines and work and university, and I just got it into my head that if I survived until the weekend, then I could sleep and bath and laze around without a care in the world. I seem to be very good at looking after myself when I’m tired, and I seem to be very capable of acknowledging when I need a physical break. But why am I terrible at reading when I need to give my heart and my mental self a rest?

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Listening.

Two weeks ago, I ventured to London for some work things and along the way I lost myself. Well, I lost my lost self – I actually found my old self. It’s complicated, right? I wrote about how I had become grounded and how I felt like I was discovering who I once was whilst walking the streets and riding the tube. I got lost in a Brexit rally and I ate late night sausage rolls. I vlogged in public and I followed through my tradition of a frozen yogurt on the benches in Covent Gardens.

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The Fear.

Its 3:00am and I can’t sleep. I have a trip to London in the morning where I will spend three days having some important meetings. I always get a little bit anxious before a trip, whether it’s recreational or business, something about change of scenery always strikes me with a little bit of fear.

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The Rollercoaster of 2018.

Every time I think I am done with this post, I swiftly delete it and begin the process of rewriting. There is no way to sum up how the last year has gone apart from one word; unpredictable. Last year, I summarised 2017 as a year of learning and growth. I started therapy and I moved back home, two events which at the time, I was resisting with all that I could – but didn’t realise that I needed so crucially to save my life. There is no way of sugarcoating it, if I had kept on living my life the way I was living it, I don’t think I’d be here today.

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Christmas for Adoptees.

Christmas is one of the most incredible times of year. It’s a time for us to allow our inner child to come out and play. Where we can eat what we like because calories don’t count during the festive period – trust me, it’s scientifically true. It’s the part of the year where families all return home, ready to come together and share a lot of love. But what if your family history is fractured? What is Christmas like when you’re adopted?

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Are Dating Apps Ruining Our Mental Health?

Last week, I ceremoniously quit dating apps and well, dating in general. I haven never truly done the single thing, I have never spent time finding myself worthy before handing over my heart to somebody else. For years, my already vulnerable mind has taken blow after blow from the infamous apps. They have become less about finding true love and more about competing against those within 200ft of your location, all of you fighting like vultures for the prey with a sculpted body and strong beard. The Apps are great if all you want is a one night thing, but as a true romantic, all I’ve ever wanted is to find someone who loves me as much as I do them. Instead, all I’ve found is insecurity. It’s never been any sort of secret in my world that I don’t think I am good enough for anybody, not even myself. So for me to put myself out there in this Hunger Games style competition was always going to end in disaster. That disaster came to a head two weeks ago when for the first time in six months, I felt like I wanted to self-harm. I wanted to punish myself for being ugly. 

Continue reading “Are Dating Apps Ruining Our Mental Health?”