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Admitting something’s wrong

So I’ll never declare I’m good with helping people, or talking about problems, or dealing with mental health – I’m DEFINITELY terrible at that. But sometimes I do find it therapeutic to write about what’s on my mind, especially on my blog. Of course, writing on my blog could be a temporary solution or not a good solution for someone else. I think that’s a key understanding whenever you want to help someone with something – is realising not everyone’s the same.

My initial idea for this blogpost was to write up a few short ideas to help people who struggle with talking about their problems or asking for help but I don’t want to generalize. I know how tiring it is to seek help or advice and think ‘been there, done that’. So instead I thought I’d just try and talk about how important it is to realise there’s nothing wrong with admitting you’re not ok.

  1. Get rid of the idea that your problem or struggle ‘is overreacting’.

I do this all the time and sometimes keeping up this habit can be a problem in the long run. I’ve had things I’ve kept to myself before because I thought I was worrying over nothing and then when I’ve told a friend months after it’s happened, they’ve showed concern and told me I should of told them. Of course, you will get times where you confide in someone you trust and they might tell you something along the lines of ‘you’re working yourself up’ and honestly I’ve come to realise in my many years of struggling with anxiety, people say that because it can come to be true. Anxiety and similar mental health can make you feel like a problem is way  scarier than it actually is. Don’t let this stop you from confiding in people though. It’s better to talk about what’s worrying you and figure out later that you worried too much, than to bottle it up and find out later you could of done something to help your feelings at the time.

2. Remember you’re not weak for struggling.

This one is super important. Sometimes I want to shout it to the world to get people to remember. 1 in 6 people will experience a mental health problem this week. You are not alone at all. I know it can feel that way and sometimes the world won’t help – you’ll go on social media and see everyone having fun, looking attractive and having a good time and it can feel like you’re the only one struggling but that’s not true at all. People won’t admit the amount of times they’ve put up old photos on instagram alluding that they’re having the best time but they’re actually lying in bed watching TV and eating junk food – neither of these behaviours are bad. You are not weak if you need time alone or to rest. You are not alone if you have struggles. Struggling does not make you a weak person.

3. Any attempt at getting the problem off your chest will do more good than nothing.

Even if you write it down on paper, or write on a blog post, tell your friend, tell your mum, tell your dog – these are all beneficial to relieving stress. You don’t realise it when you do it and sometimes the feeling of relief won’t be there instantly but it does help. Imagine it as taking the problem/struggle from a book in a bookshelf, ripping up each part of the ‘book’ bit by bit and tossing them away into the wind.

4. People do slip up.

Sometimes people suck. Sometimes you’ll confide in someone and it’ll seem like they don’t give a crap. It’s absolutely rubbish – but sometimes even we do it without realising. Try and think of a time you basically mugged off a friend. They may have reached out to you in passing and you didn’t even realise. You may have been sat chatting and they’ve slipped in that things aren’t so good and you may have chuckled back and gone ‘same’. It’s so easy to focus on ourselves and our own problems, that we don’t see when someone is occupied because they’re worrying about something themselves. They’ll be focusing on their problem, we’ll try and talk to them and they’ll seem like they’re not listening and we’ll take it personally when we don’t see the bigger picture of it. I do it all the time and it’s useful to remember that people can’t be perfect listeners all the time. Of course, if a ‘friend”s behaviour or response to you confiding in them is hurtful or plain demeaning – then you can question it. But if someone doesn’t reply to your message right away or admits they don’t know how to help and apologises – do try to not take it personally. It’s still good that you tried to confide with them.

5. Admitting you’re not ok is a step in a good direction.

I’ll repeat – you’re not weak for struggling. Despite what some shoddy instagram post or that idiot on your Facebook feed who ‘doesn’t believe in mental health problems’ may tell you. Relapsing doesn’t make you weak. Having to take medicine doesn’t make you weak. Having to see a therapist doesn’t make you weak. Having a mental health problem doesn’t make you weak. Admitting something is up and asking for help never means you are weak. It is a step in a good direction to ask for help. You may find what you need to overcome your problem or feel better emotionally. Don’t be afraid to ask for help on things you may think are small because there will always be ways that you can get help.

You’re not a bad person if you’re struggling. Please don’t let anyone tell you different.

Thanks for reading,

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Bee Talks About Anxiety: Part 1 (?)

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Invisible illnesses and disorders are very hard to notice and can be really well concealed. A lot of which are spoken about more now but they’re not things you can tell when first meeting someone. To some people with invisible illnesses, it doesn’t feel well hidden. You don’t trust yourself to hide your anxiety and it feels like your body has been painted with sweat and blush that truly expose the anxiety; when really that’s not how it seems to the person you’ve just met. It’s really bizarre but even when you know truly that it works like that, it’s still the same nervousness and adrenaline that peaks inside you when meeting a stranger.

Anxiety is a broad term as well. People will describe their emotions as anxious, generally when something goes wrong or might go wrong, when they feel scared or unsure of what could happen. It’s the emotion you tend to feel before an exam or before telling someone a big secret or before going on stage. However this is normally quite a human emotion that people only feel for a small amount of time. An anxiety disorder however is much different. Psychologists normally separate anxiety-based disorders into 6 common types – Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety/Phobia, Specific Anxiety/Phobia, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder/OCD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder/PTSD and Panic Disorder. I also believe that a lot of other anxiety, panic and stress related disorders can fall onto the spectrum or that symptoms in other ‘mental health disorders’ can be anxiety-related. For example, it’s extremely common for people to suffer from both generalized anxiety disorder and moderate-severe depression. It is the most common mental disorder in Great Britain with 9% of people meeting symptoms and criteria.

I cannot talk for all of these disorders, all of the symptoms or all of the emotions that are involved with all of these. I have never had PTSD as far as I am aware, much like some people can have OCD or panic disorder but never really feel the effects of a social anxiety disorder. But I can share the perceptions of generalized anxiety disorder. Most websites, including the NHS, will list generalized anxiety disorder symptoms as:

  • Restlessness
  • Feeling ‘On Edge’
  • A Constant Sense of Dread
  • Concentration Problems
  • Irritability
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Feeling Like Everyone’s ‘Against You’
  • Trouble Sleeping/Insomnia
  • Easily Fatigued/Feeling ‘Drained’ After Big Tasks
  • Muscle Tension

All of these can be very overwhelming and almost emotionally painful to someone who deals with generalized anxiety on a day to day basis. Of course there are some people diagnosed who will only have some of these symptoms in certain scenarios or once in a blue moon. But a lot of these symptoms can be stressful and since anxiety is hardly an obvious illness; I’d like to shed a light on what it can be like. Like most mental disorders, you don’t get the obvious, ‘oh-no-something-is-wrong!’ symptoms like a physical disorder or illness. It can be aggravating when your anxiety is giving you a rough time and people respond to your symptoms like you do them on purpose.

“You only got 2 hours sleep?! That’s your own fault.”

“I’m not mad at you!! Stop apologizing, you’re getting on my nerves!”

“Your head hurts? Just take a paracetamol, you’re overreacting”

It can feel like a heavy weight on your shoulders throughout the day because sometimes the anxiety becomes more and more prominent as you do stuff throughout your day. My main example is when I have anxiety at work. I can go to work feeling like a Disney princess ready to sing with nature and smile at everyone, and come home feeling like everyone hates me, that I’m going to get fired because I missed a spot cleaning up, feeling on the verge of tears and feeling like I haven’t slept for at least a day. Sometimes you don’t even see it coming, sometimes it’s there when you wake up. Like I mentioned in my previous post, it’s like a little monster that follows you around. I am definitely trying to learn to love my little anxiety monster because it’s a part of me, and I am happy when I go through days with it being calm and content. I am proud of myself on those days. I feel in control and feel like I have made progress.

I try to avoid calling myself strong when my anxiety doesn’t hit me, because lately I have learnt that it’s not a switch I can turn off at my demand. When I wake up on a random day with the dizziness and shakey hands and the feeling that everybody’s staring at me. I definitely can’t just switch it off, although I’d like to. But that shouldn’t make me weak.

I hope this sheds some ideas and light onto emotions you may be feeling, if you haven’t been diagnosed with anxiety, you think you may have it or you’ve just been diagnosed. I remember when I first got diagnosed I thought it was me being a massive baby, but it was very heart-warming to realise it was a thing other people my age deal with. My anxiety monster doesn’t make me weak, if anything I am strong for carrying my anxiety monster around with me everywhere, trying to get it used to life. Those times I’ve taken it with me into shops I’ve never been in before, or the first time I went to a gym alone, or the first time I phoned someone important/of authority before instead of getting my mum to do it, my first tattoo, applying for university etc., I’ve had to literally drag the monster as it grips to the floor screaming to go back to my comfort zone and I’m glad I did it. It’s calmed the monster down little by little and I think even the smallest achievements with anxiety monsters are things to be proud of.

How do you picture your anxiety? Do you have any memories of being proud of something you’ve done that you wouldn’t expect your anxiety monster to let you do?

Let’s start a conversation

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