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Naomi Barrow

Student, Daughter, Volunteer

Naomi is a student at the University of York who’s passionate about volunteering and getting young people involved in their communities. She believes that it’s played a major part in helping her discover who she is as a person and what she wants to do with her life. It’s allowed her to meet new people and has given her opportunities that she would have never otherwise had.

Her Mum had terminal cancer and died in October 2015, and she feels that a society, we don't talk enough about the effects of cancer on others in the family, or what cancer is really like, particularly for young people. So, she's decided to blog about it.

To see her full blog, please go here.

Grief... Two Years On

I've always believed that you don't get over grief, you get along with it. You rub along with it as best you can. Two years on and I still hold this belief. I'm not over grief, I haven't come through it, but I'm learning to live life alongside it.
23/10/2017 16:55 BST

I Shouldn't Be Suprised By Lack Of Stigma

The optician was absolutely fantastic. He was kind. He didn't treat me any differently at all. He even disclosed a little about his own mental health experiences. He took my medication history into consideration and really listened to me. I left the appointment and began to think about it. I was just so surprised by his reaction - or rather lack of reaction. I was pleasantly surprised.
26/07/2017 17:36 BST

You Are Succeeding By Surviving

To all of you who are feeling pretty rubbish at the moment because everyone seems to be succeeding and progressing, and you feel like a sad, stuck, blob... I want to remind you how wonderful you are. Continuing to wake up every day despite all the setbacks you encounter is so brave. It's so admirable.
26/06/2017 12:37 BST

It's Not All In Our Head: Physical Symptoms Of Depression

Depression may impact other parts of our bodies, too - including our blood glucose levels, bone density, menstrual cycle, sex drive, and sleep. Additionally, any medication we take for depression can also have physical side effects.
01/06/2017 16:36 BST

To Those Of You Who've Lost All Hope

Eventually, in time, we will find glimmers of hope again. We will find cracks of light. We will begin find things to believe in, and our little pile of good things will grow. We might find them in the most unexpected of places - a podcast that speaks to us, the ability to read a page of text, or the joy of being able to taste a cup of tea again. It might take weeks, it might take months, it might even take years, but it will happen.
24/05/2017 16:47 BST

Grief Is Not A Mental Illness

It's important to go to your GP if we feel as though you're struggling with mental illness. But it's also important to remember that feeling is normal, feeling is okay. It's normal to feel sad, upset or low at times, especially if someone close to use has died.
03/05/2017 17:12 BST

Can We Please Talk About Death?

The only way we can start to break down the walls that death puts up, is to talk about it. The only way we can begin to 'trial and error' our way through the language surrounding death, is to begin to try, experience a few errors, and slowly work out the best way for these conversations to happen. Death and grief aren't a big black hole that needs to be avoided at all costs. Talking to someone about it won't make you fall in the hole and keep falling until you can't get up.
16/04/2017 16:33 BST

What Does Stigma Feel Like?

Imagine feeling scared. Imagine feeling alone. Imagine feeling completely worn out by a medical condition which is doing it's very best to kill you. Imagine feeling guilty for visiting the doctors, but doing your best to go to all of your appointments nevertheless. Imagine being passed from one professional to another - none of them wanting to take responsibility for your care.
19/03/2017 20:42 GMT

The Sound Of Grief

Mum was a bundle of energy. As I frequently say to people - I'm not sure I remember her ever really sitting down until she became ill. She was always moving, always on-the-go, always running from one place to another doing various activities.
08/03/2017 12:31 GMT

Toast Didn't Kill My Mum

Until there is solid evidence that burning your toast, cleaning your teeth, and having some gravy-drowned roast potatoes with your Sunday dinner causes cancer, I suggest you take these articles (and any others with equally tenuous links) with a pinch of salt and carry on living your life. Life is short - make sure you live it, don't just survive it.
27/01/2017 15:44 GMT

Dear Mum, It's Been A Year Since You Died

The world is a little darker without you in it. A little duller. Your laugh no longer bounces off the walls of the house. Your arms no longer gather me into a hug when I walk through the door. Your smile doesn't greet me as I come up the drive.
23/10/2016 16:32 BST

Dear Friend Whose Mum Is Terminally Ill

Your faith will be shaken. Whether it is faith in a higher power, in nature, in science, in people, or simply in good, it will be shaken because there is no rhyme or reason as to why this is happening. Eventually you will find faith in the little things again.
07/10/2016 16:02 BST

How Do You Celebrate A Dead Person's Birthday?

24th September, Mum's 54th birthday (or do you stop counting when someone dies?) passed, just as every other day has. People often say that they hope their loved ones are celebrating wherever they are but I'm not sure I believe in heaven, or an afterlife. I'm not sure I believe that Mum is alive in another world, space or time. I think she's probably just dead. But her spirit and everything she's taught us will live on in us.
27/09/2016 16:49 BST

Children Can Bring Light To The Darkest Of Days

Cycling home today, I saw a lot of Mums pulling various uniform-clad little ones across traffic lights, book bags trailing behind them. I also saw a couple of late-teens-early-twenties-aged-child-looker-after-ers laughing and giggling with their rabble, jumping and skipping along the road.
12/09/2016 12:39 BST

There Was A Life Before Cancer

Some of losing these things is just growing up. It's a natural part of life. But it's almost as though cancer came into my life and slowly took my interests, and what made me 'me', erasing them from my life one by one.
31/08/2016 17:32 BST

I've Lost My Anchor

I'm floating around. Bouncing backwards and forwards like a ball stuck in a pinball machine. I feel like I'm flying away and losing control and there is nobody to catch me and bring me back. I try to communicate things, but my words get stuck and lost and float away, unheard.
08/08/2016 15:52 BST

A Letter to Parents Who Have a Child With Depression

<img alt="thriving families.jpg" src="" width="300" height="35" /> You do not need to be perfect. You don't need a degree in counselling to support your child. You just need to listen; listening to them can mean the world, and a hug can be very welcome. It might be tricky to talk in person; it might be easier to text or email, that's absolutely okay.
08/08/2016 09:20 BST

Here's to Those of Us Who Aren't Graduating This Week

Here's to those of us whose lives got blown off course. Those who are continuing to get up and face the world every single day, despite seeing how far life will go to try and make sure we can't. Who are in new jobs, making new friends, creating a different life from the one we had always planned.
18/07/2016 17:03 BST

I Don't Want to Become 'Hardened', I Just Want to be Me.

Lots of things have happened in the news this week. Lots of things have happened in other people's lives this week. There is a lot of stress, upset and anger in the air. Facebook is a melting pot of unkind exchanges, arguments, and blame. It's not a nice environment to be in and I find myself shrinking away from it and burying myself in other things.
30/06/2016 16:01 BST

Dad: Picking Up Where We Left Off?

Working out how we all relate to each other as a family is just one more difficulty in the mountain of change that occurs when someone dies. I know that we will get there and I'm really glad we're close enough to work through these things together.
20/06/2016 15:31 BST