Anxiety Battles

Anxiety has consumed a lot of my life in the past year or the past week or past month, maybe, honestly at this point – I can’t tell or remember the difference. It often feels like the same miserable, self-pitying feeling you get when you have a cold. When you’re full of the flu and your nose is blocked, you lie there in bed surrounded by tissues with the stark realization you didn’t damn well appreciate what it was like when you didn’t have a blocked nose and sore throat. Except at the moment I feel like I’m stuck in an occasional limbo of nostalgically looking back to whenever I felt full of confidence, hope and positivity. I earn some days and nights for the last time I went outside and didn’t have intense paranoia about random possible scenarios that had a 1 to 1000 chance of happening or harrowing discomfort whenever a stranger looked slightly in my direction. The nauseating bubbles in my stomach or the tension headaches from staying up with my mind buzzing of ‘what ifs’ and ‘hey what if this happens?’ or ‘what if this thing you think negatively of yourself is true?’ is so draining and not in the way where maybe I’ll get a good nights sleep when I finally hit the pillow because lately it’s been at least an hour or two sometimes before my mind will calm down enough to let me sleep.

Now you’re probably thinking, hey Helena where are you going with this? Is this meant to be a story of anxiety struggles but something marvelous has happened and it has a happy ending? Is this a set up for a post to give advice about anxiety where you act as if you know how to handle it when really you’re probably the least tactful person when dealing with your own anxiety? Is this really a sneaky review for something? Honestly, this is just a chat. From me to computer screen to whoever may feel like reading. If you’ve made it this far, I commend you. The past few nights and especially after watching a video on Youtube, which I’ll mention in a bit, I’ve considered expressing my struggles, my aspirations, my ideas and my hopes and goals a lot more through my blog. It’s almost egotistical in some senses but maybe this will benefit me, maybe this’ll benefit someone else, maybe there’ll be one word or phrase in something that I word-vomit onto this blog that could speak to someone. Two of my current goals in life that I feel that I, honestly, need to do better at is – a) Looking after myself more and b) Looking out for others and helping others more.

Kindness and empathy are two traits I think are so important in day-to-day life and in the world we live in at the moment. I absolutely adore reading stories of people doing random acts of kindness, people setting up charities and movements that they personally run to help others, people creating art and media to inspire others and reflect a positive mental attitude. It’s something that gives me hope and lately I’ve needed hope really badly. On some nights it feels like I’ve been housing a nocturnal, pessimistic demon in my brain who likes to send my brain into a spiral as I’m trying to sleep and the funny thing is, is how I don’t feel I’ve ‘given in’ to this demon at all because deep down I want so much good for the world, I want to be an activist, I want to create things, I want to actively work towards helping others even if its small things like smiling at someone or being there for them when they feel a bit down, or making people baked goods just to see them smile – I want to do better, I want to be the ‘change you wish to see in the world’ and all that cliché, but the catch is my anxiety is almost weighing me down with opposing negative thoughts. Because of my anxiety I feel so much fear, distrust and fatigue. I feel so nervous around other people, I feel so nervous about doing new things, I feel so nervous that going out of my comfort zone will end up with me hurt, people I love hurt or embarrassment or a bigger knock in confidence. Sometimes I feel like I do not trust anyone and my anxiety makes me think everyone is out to get me or doesn’t like me unless proven otherwise.

The video I watched that randomly stirred a new feeling of being absolutely sick and done with this anxiety was weirdly a Markiplier video. Now if you don’t recognise that name, he’s a big youtube name who does gaming videos mostly but has also done quite a lot of charity work and I believe is working on an interactive project? I’m not engrossed enough to know completely but essentially the video I watched is Mark discussing ‘pain’, what some of the worst ‘pain’ he’s been in his life has been and how it’s changed him and changed his perspective. What stuck out to me is how he talked about after having quite a horrible doctor during painful recovery after surgery how a lot of his family were telling him to sue but he talks about how he never wants to be a ‘revengeful’ person even if he feels like he can be quite spiteful. He talks about how if you only ever use anger as a release for stuff, it’s going to be very toxic and damaging to yourself and it spoke to me because lately, especially during at university, I’ve had so many occasions when either things have gone wrong, people have upset me or taken advantage of me and all I’ve felt is anger and stress. Both at other people and then after trying to teach myself to understand other people’s perspectives and take responsibility, I’ve been angry at myself and when you get to that point, there’s never really any letting go of that completely. So now, yes I’m pissed off at my anxiety for how much it’s drained me and taken over my life, my perspectives and my attitudes towards things, but I want to teach myself how to not get so stressed about things, especially when they go wrong.

Being angry is completely valid. Being upset is completely valid. When people hurt you or let you down, you have every right to be upset. What I wish to learn though is how to make that passage or journey after something like that so less stressful and draining. I want to learn how to not let stuff like that be extra building blocks for the walls my anxiety puts up. I want to learn how to feel something, feel the feelings I am allowed to feel as a human, but then communicate with people who care about me and take the steps and responsibility to not let it break my confidence down but instead learn from it, distance myself from the pain and carry on. I don’t want anxiety to be my definition or control parts of my life.

So I don’t really have any happy ending or resolution for all this but that’s kind of how living with anxiety can be, isn’t it? Some times you will actually feel a release or something will happen and you’ll be told by others how much ‘better you’re doing’ and you think ‘Wow, I’ve done it, I’ve beaten anxiety’. But the reality is sometimes it’ll come back and come back hard and honestly that’s what I’m going through right now. I hope maybe as time goes by, I’ll be able to figure out how to live with it and accept it.

 

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Small ideas to kick start productivity when you suffer from depression

This could be similar for people suffering with depression or people who have quite normal brain chemistry alike but a lot of days you just don’t have the energy to do anything. To me it makes me feel like my body is ill but there’s no symptoms I just feel drowsy and ready to nod off and you want to avoid everything. Sometimes on worst days, literally everything. Grossly enough, you might even avoid showering and feel content to just staying in pyjamas for a couple of days on end, making excuses not to see friends because you just don’t feel it’ll do you any good. You feel like your body is not up to it for some reason.

Anybody else feel this? It’s a bit of a pants feeling, but I promise you, some very small steps can help you boost your motivation and get you back on track.

  1. Wash your face – This is such a small step I know, but it will refresh you. There’s a good reason why it’s one of the first things you do to wake yourself up in the day. Doesn’t matter if it’s mid afternoon, evening or 2am, go cleanse your face with some water and exfoliate and then splash cool water on it. Your skin will feel clean and awake.
  2. Select a part of your room and clean it – Cleaning your room is a huge drain of energy when you feel like this, I understand. So pick a small part, this could be your desk, your bed, your bookshelf, wardrobe. Give it a good clean, for example your bed area: take your duvet off, sprinkle/spray a bit of essence or your favourite perfume on the sheets, make your bed again and then vacuum around it! Maybe even take it up a notch and budge your bed over if you can and vacuum underneath the bed! I’ll be proud of you even if you just make your bed!
  3. Shower – This speaks for itself. Take a lovely warm shower and use a nice smelling shower gel. If you have to go out and are in reach of a Superdrug you could pick up one of their shower gels for only 99p! Cruelty free and they will lighten up your mood with the delicious scents. The shea butter one will leave a sweet linger that will comfort you and make you smell as sweet as you are.
  4. Get dressed and take a walk – Taking even a small 15 minute walk burns around 60 calories and gives your body a good pump of blood circulation. You get some fresh air as well and if you take a walk in the day which is the best time for this productive walk – you’ll get some vitamin D from the sun which will improve your mood balance. Put on your comfiest, cutest jumper and take your music out with you and enjoy the scenery. Take a few photos of scenery you like for yourself. No need to put them on Instagram or get sad if they’re not good images. This is all for you.

So you’ve done all that? That is incredibly productive and you should feel proud. You should never force yourself to do too many things in a day if you don’t want to. Taking a walk, showering and cleaning is productive enough! I hope these small tasks make you feel a bit more motivated to do other stuff. Maybe invite a friend on your walk, maybe do some small exercises in your room or even clean more of your room!

Is there any small things you do to motivate yourself?

Thanks for reading,

Helena x

#TimeToTalk Day

Mental Health (n): In regard to an individual’s psychological and emotional well-being.

Mental health problems can affect anybody. Sometimes it can be triggered by something or develop at any given moment. Nobody has a choice in how their well-being is affected and it is nobody’s fault if they develop a mental health problem. People with mental health issues can be as strong and kind as people without any.

If you suffer from mental health problems you should never sit alone and blame yourself. You are not alone and there is nothing wrong with you. However I know when your mental state takes a turn, the world can feel completely different.

It is actually a myth that depression is highly uncommon. According to statistics recorded in 2014, there was around 1.6 million people got in contact with mental health specialists. Obviously all of these cases won’t always be depression. They can be related to bereavement depression, post-natal depression, anxiety, OCD, schizophrenia, a range of personality disorders, PTSD, sleeping disorders, eating disorders, stress, addiction, body dysmorphic disorder, bipolar or even trichotillomania. A lot of these can even interchange with each other and that is highly common. Some of these disorders can even be symptoms of another thing.

So as today is Time to Talk day, I’ve decided to write this post to encourage people to speak up and talk to others. Whenever I suffer from symptoms that affect my well-being and mental health I do find it helpful to talk to someone I trust and have a discussion. Bottling things up is never healthy and can even cause more anxiety or stress. Even if it’s not you personally who is struggling, if you believe someone else is, the best thing you  can do is try and encourage them to talk about it or even speak to their GP if they have continuous symptoms. A lot of excellent organisations including Rethink Mental Illness, BEAT, Mind and Time to Change talk about symptoms and different disorders on their websites.

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Illustration by Stephen Collins

I am someone who suffers from mental health disorders and struggles with my mental well-being. Some symptoms I have never been able to pinpoint the name for them or get a diagnosis but I know I am not the only one who suffers with these battles.

So this is my personal message on Time to Talk day to make anyone feel less alone and know they have someone like them. I know what it’s like to feel so extremely low you feel like there is no point in getting up to the day, I know the effort there is to get yourself out of bed to college or work and not let yourself get overwhelmed by other people and their attitudes, I know what it’s like to look at yourself in the mirror and not like what you see, no matter what exercise you do or food you eat. I know what it’s like to binge eat without even realising what you’re doing and then suddenly crash and feel guilty and sick. It feels like your stomach is filled with toxic material that you just want to release. I know what it’s like to want to scream but know nobody will hear you. I know what it’s like to feel alone.

But I promise you, you are not alone. There will always be somebody out there to talk to. Whether it’s family, friends, your doctor or a counselor. There is so much in the world for you to explore.

You are a warrior and you can do it.

So try and find someone to chat to, in person or online and have a brew. Have a conversation.

It’s time to talk.

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Helena x