I believe in you!

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Enough of this serious chat for one week! Lets have a lighthearted day! Foxtatoes for everyone!

It’s a bit cheesy for me, but I am sure whatever struggles you are going through at the moment, you will do amazing. Just keep your head up high. As one of my friends always says to me, ‘Keep your head up, or your crown will fall off’.

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Making the journey.

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Sorry I haven’t posted in a few days, I’ve had quite a lot going on. Currently I have the stress of a new job, an exam next week and 2 lab reports due for the next few days. So, as you can imagine, my brain is currently the consistency of putty.

So yesterday was my first proper class at college in a very long time. I was really excited for going to college, not specifically for the lecture, but for seeing my friends. One of my close friends from college suffers from anxiety, so she completely understands what I am going through and that sometimes I physically can’t attend college. It makes a really big difference having someone who understands as much as she does.

I always find the journey to college the hardest part of the day – as I have previously mentioned. I’m not sure what it is about it, it’s a toss-up between the stress of making sure I am there on time, then rushing to my second train once in Glasgow, all the people rushing about and shouting and also the stress of a stranger sitting beside me on the train. It’s stupid to be scared that someone may want to start a conversation with me, but social anxiety says otherwise. Yesterday wasn’t too bad, it seemed to be a quiet morning, I sat at a table so I could have a bit more space, a nice elderly woman sat opposite me and just smiled, I’m thankful she didn’t want to chat though. As I get closer to Glasgow on the train we go through several towns, hoards of people getting on at once, usually the train gets so packed there is people standing down the aisles and right up to the doors. So you are essentially packed in like sardines. As I got into Glasgow and got swept into the river of people rushing to work I started to hyperventilate slightly, that part always gets me. But I turned my music up – Ed Sheeran, because he is amazing – and tried to zone everyone out. I made it to my second train without completely freaking out and luckily one of my college friends was there ready to meet me. The rest of the day raced in although I left college a bit early because I was exhausted. That’s one thing about my anxiety, when I work up about something, I definitely don’t sleep the night before. I managed a solid hours sleep.

It helps to look back on the journey, maybe one day I will be able to determine the exact cause of the anxiety attacks.

As a side note I should say – I HATE proformas.

Breathe.

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This picture always makes me smile, it is always tough to think logically when you have an attack, or even when you are feeling anxious. But you need to remember you are stronger than anxiety, stronger than fear, stronger than anything scary and stronger than those demons in your mind saying you can’t do this. You can.

 You will be fine.

How do you perceive my illness?

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Today I was out by myself for the first time in a while. Daniel did offer to join me as I know he is worried about the possibility of me having another attack, which I appreciate more than you would understand. But I felt I needed to do this myself this time. I was only out the flat 15 minutes, just a quick trip to Morrisons, surely that’s really easy and it isn’t likely to raise my anxiety? Wrong. I find such a simple task very hard, being by myself makes me feel like it is far more likely that I will embarrass myself in public and not have someone to hide behind when people start looking at me and judging me.

As I walked around Morrisons, with my list (so there wasn’t a chance I would be there longer than needed), I began to panic slightly. My heart rate was raised and I felt pretty upset, I often cry when I feel stressed. This was because it was fairly busy: families sorting food for the week, staff restocking shelves, children shouting and screaming etc. But I kept my cool. One thing I did notice when I felt panicked was that people were looking at me strange. I know I was breathing a bit heavily and perhaps looking pretty uncomfortable, but these strangers were looking at me like I had a serious problem. This upset me far more than the fact my anxiety was playing up. It also made me think about what people really think anxiety is.

I have had a few friends in the past claim to have anxiety or depression, and having had both I can confirm they didn’t. It isn’t just feeling a tad upset or nervous about life, it’s when your feelings and worries completely consume you. It’s not that you struggle to get out of bed, it’s that you physically can’t, your body won’t let you. As someone who struggles with these issues I can truthfully say that if you come up to me and say you ‘felt a  bit sad last week, but just got over it by going to the movies’, then I won’t hesitate in telling you that you are uneducated and shouldn’t act like you understand these issues.

Sorry if my post today is a little less lighthearted, I just felt like I needed to raise these issues, I need people to know it isn’t okay to claim that they have something as serious as anxiety or depression. It isn’t fun, and it isn’t fashionable.

 

 

 

 

 

What is anxiety?

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Today I thought I would discuss what anxiety actually is, what forms it comes in and how people identify with it. It’s a touchy subject for many people, including myself in some situations, but one of my aims it to make it seem less scary and get people who don’t experience it to understand it a bit better. When I first started having these scary feelings I began to research what was going on – as any millennial would do. Google knows best. So after writing out my symptoms it gave me the usual list: Life threatening disease, pregnant, etc. But then this word ‘anxiety’ popped up. It seemed more plausible than any of the other options so I looked into it, it is far more complicated than we are lead to believe.

So firstly,  it comes in loads of different forms, it isn’t just not being able to leave the house, or being scared of weird things. It rears its ugly head in many ways, such as being extremely talkative and happy all the time to hide how you really feel, or keeping yourself busy constantly so you don’t have to focus on anything for long. I see some of these types of anxiety within my own family, maybe not to the degree I have it, but some show signs of different types and it is nothing to be afraid of.

In reality anxiety comes in 6 forms –

  • Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) – this is where you are just anxious constantly, always over thinking and over-analysing situations. This is the most common type of anxiety.
  • Social phobia – this is where you are scared of being called out, criticised, or even spoken to. Be it at work or in any social area, you are afraid of making conversation or even being noticed. Say you need to ask someone on the train to move over so you can get past and you are scared incase they get angry, this is a social phobia.
  • Panic disorder – this is where you have attacks, but not just normal anxiety attacks – panic attacks. These are a lot more severe. A panic attack is a sudden feeling of not being safe, you feel like something is going to hurt you and you may end up dying. I know it sounds far-fetched, and I am sure you think I am exaggerating, but I’m not. It can cause chest pain, shortness of breath, a dizzy feeling and even in some cases, a loss of consciousness.
  • Specific phobias – this is one of the types of anxiety that people recognise more, this could be something as simple as being scared to get on a bus, or have an injection. Some people go to great lengths to avoid these situations.
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) – almost everyone knows about OCD, it’s the crazy guy that has to turn on and off the lights 18 times before he leaves a room because he’s a bit loopy, isn’t it? Not always. It is anxiety. A specific way of relieving anxiety, it may seem a bit weird but to some it may work. It can be as simple as ironing your top twice to ensure it won’t be messy enough for someone to comment on, making you feel threatened. Or washing your hands several times because you are scared you are going to get ill and have to go to hospital, which is terrifying.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – this isn’t as common as the other forms. This type of anxiety is brought on by a big scary life event, such as being in the war, or a bad accident. In this type of anxiety the symptoms are more specific – having flashbacks to the event or not being able to go to places that bring back memories.

Although there are several types, none are less scary than the others. Usually when someone suffers from anxiety they have 2 or more of the types listed above. Personally I suffer from the first 3, I get extremely embarrassed when I can’t do things, or go places with friends or family, just because I am so scared of having an attack. But for each type of anxiety there is suggested ways to work through it, not all of them will work but they are worth a try.

NEVER be embarrassed of having anxiety, it’s not something that you can control. It is true that it is perceived as a terrible disease you have brought on yourself, and if you have it you can’t discuss it at all or you will be shamed. Don’t let people get to you, if they don’t understand, then it is them that are in the wrong. Anxiety affects everyone, be it personally or a friend/family member suffering. Not being interested or bothered in something as serious and widely spread as anxiety makes you a complete Neanderthal, in my opinion. This is 2017, 1 in 4 people in the UK suffer with mental health disorders. Learn about them, because you never know, one day it could be you.

Meditation with a tag-a-long.

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So today I did some meditation, I do this pretty often to try calm myself down and refocus. It definitely helps after an anxiety attack, but I am not so sure of its effect when I’m not panting like a dog and thinking my life is ending. But, oh well! I think it keeps me a tad more grounded, and probably a bit more pleasant to be around when I’m having a bad day! Most the time it works, but I take zero responsibility if you catch me on a day where I haven’t had my morning coffee or a bar of chocolate! Be warned!

Anyway, today something weird happened. I told Daniel, my boyfriend, that I was going to do my guided meditation and he decided he would join me. Now Daniel isn’t usually the most ‘open-minded’ of people so this took me by surprise. He has never offered to join in with one of my meditation sessions before, so I wasn’t quite sure what to do. Instead of my normal ‘Guided meditation for anxiety’, I chose a simple ‘Meditation for beginners’ video, it was only 15 minutes long, I had a feeling that if it were longer he would have got bored. So we lay side-by-side on our bed with the lights off listening to this video, I follow all the instructions and enjoy being able to switch off from the world. As it came to the end of the video I stretched out my legs, wriggled my fingers and toes and opened my eyes – as instructed. I turn to look at Dan and he is basically asleep, obviously the video relaxed him quite a fair amount. On recollection of the experience he explained to me that it wasn’t for him, he doesn’t get how listening to someone telling you to relax and find you inner peace actually works, his method of relaxing is going a long walk and tuning out from everything, which I understand.

From this experience of letting Daniel join in with me, I found it very interesting how he reacted. Also, this highlights that things as simple as meditation can be harder for some people than others, and maybe doesn’t relax them in the same way.  If you aren’t in the right place to lay down and do some meditating there are loads of relaxing playlists on Spotify or YouTube just with music designed to have the same effect. This is good for stressful situations – for me it’s a busy train up to Glasgow. I learned from my anxiety that people terrify me!

I definitely suggest attempting meditation if you have anxiety, it’s a great way to calm down and bring yourself back to centre. You may feel silly doing it at first but believe me, give it several tries and you may be shocked at the results.

Get to know me and my mad life!

Hi. I’m Rebekah, I’m a 20-year-old girl who loves marine life, tea, my little cat, Mia, and I’m a bit of a Zelda enthusiast. I have basically just started this blog so I have a place to rant, sounds daft, huh? Well it’s been proven to help with anxiety, which I have bags of. That’s a good thing to know about me, I have anxiety, and I have it bad.

It’s one of those things that really does knock you backwards, and as you can’t physically see it, a lot of people think it isn’t real. You often get told “it’s all in your head” or “just forget about it, power through”. Sorry guys, hate to be the bearer of bad news, but that DOES NOT work. Well, at least it doesn’t work for me.

In this blog I will discuss how I try to deal with my anxiety, different coping mechanisms I have tried and if they work or not. So. Here goes nothing, let’s get started!

Oh, you are wondering about the ‘Perfect Eyebrows’ bit? Well yeah, it’s also a known fact I have perfect eyebrows, it’s not up for discussion – it is a fact.