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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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Birthday Blues

I’m not sure if I ever enjoy my birthdays. I stopped having birthday ‘parties’ at quite an early age due to not having much friends in primary school and as I grew up I’d stick to having small sleepovers with one or two friends and then finally in recent years either doing nothing or having meals with families. I feel blessed that last year I got to see two very close friends that are long distance and go and see a band live because I feel not much would have happened otherwise. Despite my small celebrations, I get really envious of other people who have big bashes or go out on big outings with lots of people because I do really like partying. I love dancing and drinking and celebrating with fun people but at the same time, as someone who is naturally quiet and introverted without alcohol, asking people and talking to friends is really anxiety building. I almost feel like I’m burdening people I care about by asking them to come out and have a good time, cause I mean that means they have to use their free time and money and I feel rather rude asking it. Is this strange of me? I feel like it is.

It also doesn’t help how far I live from a lot of my friends. The cheap alternative to these worries would to just be like ‘hey come to my house – small party!’, because there’s no worry of walking through the cold city tipsy and trying to save money. But alas, I can’t invite people all the way to my house if they have to get an hour train. It’s a ridiculous first world problem almost.

Does anybody else have this struggle when it comes to arranging outings? Or is it just me? I’d love to hear if anybody else has this kind of worry.

Thanks for reading!

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You do not decide the world that lives inside my brain

Sometimes in my life my anxiety causes me to not feel that I am really inside my head. Sometimes I feel like something that is watching a human walk around and I try to help it make decisions but sometimes it just zones out and isn’t completely present. This is called dissociation and it is an experience where you feel separate from your body and your sense of identity and thoughts, as well as the way you view the world and yourself change quite drastically. Sometimes when I get into these weird states where I don’t feel 100% there I find it harder to remember memories or even mix up memories that are other peoples or sometimes I’ve noticed recently when I have realistic dreams I sometimes believe these are actual things that happened way in the past. For example I had a dream one of my friends had a tooth growing out of their gum, as if they were having their final adult tooth growing through or something along that lines and I feel like I can remember avidly them telling me they had toothache and pulling up their upper lip to show me it. However a few weeks later when I asked them about their tooth apparently that never happened and their gums were normal.

In these states my anxiety can be a real struggle as well, you don’t feel right about your identity, you worry that people think different of you than what you want to believe, you are worried that your interests and what you like might come across as fake or false or even in really  bad  states I even feel that I don’t have a personality at all. But at the end of the day my anxiety and struggles make me. They help me grow as a person and coming to terms with them and being able to sit back and go ‘no your worries don’t define you, you have these personality traits that make you lovable’.

Growing up it was definitely not that easy to accept how sensitive I was to comments about my personality, choices, thought processes or dreams. When I got to the age of picking my GCSEs, I excitedly dragged my mum to the GCSE Art stall to discuss what doing the GCSE was like and the head of art turned around and said that I shouldn’t do it. That I wouldn’t be able to handle it and I would not pass it. Yet here I am, I passed GCSE Art and passed my college course of Art and Design with a DMM Grade (D being Distinctions, M’s being Merits. These are almost like A’s and B’s in A Level Terms).  I am proud of my younger self for not letting the teacher’s words cut me to the core although the amount of times I’d sit at home over my work and cry cause I didn’t think art was right for me. I will continue being strong like my younger self was during that time and not let people tell me what and what I shouldn’t do with my dreams and ambitions.

People who do not know you and the world set out in your mind cannot dictate what you are here on earth for. This post is a reminder for everyone struggling with identity struggles, personality struggles or anxiety. This is for anyone who is trying to decide what to study in University and their peers are telling them to go towards other areas of study yet something else feels right in your head. If you feel drawn towards Science, you go for that Science course – you know yourself better than anyone else knows you.

Today I was having a really bad case of anxiety attacks and symptoms whilst I was at work and whilst putting back some baskets a customer approached me and asked me for some help. She asked if I could recommend a product to cover a hole in her garden. I was hired for the job of working on checkouts at my current job so I advised this lady that I did not have training in homeware or gardenware and that I would go and get someone to help. After running all the way to customer service, unable to find anyone that wasn’t busy and ran back to her. When I told her she turned around and went “No. No. You people are supposed to know this stuff, you are hired to help me.”.

So to this customer and anybody else who thinks I am supposed to know certain things to aid them.
I have a name.
I am a person.
I am not ‘you people’.
I am hired to help as much as I possibly can and to help the store make money.
I am not here for you. I am here for myself.
I am here to learn and gain experience so I can go to University.
I will not let your rude attitude define me and define why I was put here in this store.

I am Helena and I am here on earth to make my dreams happen. I am here to gain happiness and education. I am here in this job because I want to work and earn experience and income so I can go to University and travel.

 

Thanks for reading,
Helena