Shyness is nice, and shyness can stop you from doing all the things in life you’d like to – The smiths

I’ve been meaning to write about mental health issues that I’ve suffered from for a while, but well, I’ve been too anxious to. What will people think? Do they think i’m making it up? Will there be any point? If you don’t suffer with mental health issues then you understand? Of course there is a point. The point I’ve been trying to create a blog based on is that you can pick yourself up when you feel low, with or without mental health issues. If I could just help one person or some random piece of advice like “go for a walk – it really does work” and it works then I guess I’ve done myself proud and maybe the people who don’t understand it will understand.

I’m only going to talk about anxiety in this post; I was going to do it all in one but don’t think all my “problems” can or should be condensed as sometimes the smaller things might be what we have in common and maybe I have found a way of dealing and I can offer some help to others. i’d really love some feedback on this blog as i will post anything that is helpful to others as well. Whether its a book, music, exercise etc

I am not a show off. I don’t like being the centre of attention. The thought of having a wedding petrifies me having so many people stare at me. Not that i’m particularly worried about that one as I’m not a strong believer in marriage but you get my drift. Writing this is making me all shaky and worried about so many different things. Mainly about how people will judge me. Some of this might bore you, I can only give personal experiences so apologise in advance if i sound like i’m being self-centered I am just giving my advice on what I know.

Push yourself and do something terrifying. To most people this would mean freebasing off the Eiffel tower or whatever… To me this is asking a stranger for a lighter; having to speak out with an idea during training. or even asking my boyfriend for a cigarette. The fear of rejection is bigger than my fear of catching pneumonia when I forget to wear a coat out and I’m in wales and it rains. One thing I’ve learned is, the worst they can say is no or so what if you stutter or slur its one step closer and they are probably as insecure as you they have just handled it like the way i just have by shouting out my answer. It sounds so simple and basic but all these small and little things can be battled you just have to make yourself. It’s hard but it does get easier. After an hour of training at Mind, I finally shouted out my input and my contribution ended up be a focus for the day.

Talk about your feelings. All the time. Even if your friends get sick of it, actually your real friends wont so don’t worry. I’ve gone from ice queen to soppy mare in the matter of weeks because I talk about my feelings. Doesn’t need to be with the person you have the feelings for (good or bad). You just need to talk about them. You talk about them because the more you talk about something the clearer the subject becomes. The more confident you become with these feelings. This has happened to me so many times where I just over think and eventually just stop thinking about how I feel about a situation because its driving me mad and end up not caring about a situation, then regretting not showing my feelings because the situation may have ended differently had I talked about the situation. Talking about feelings can be so hard but honestly, you will save yourself so much stress and sleep if you do.

Listen to others and let others know you have anxiety . Sometimes when I have a panic attack it is really difficult to bring me out of them, once I have in my mind that only one thing (varies on situation) will make it go away, without that one thing i can’t calm down. With me its usually leave me the hell alone or I will scream shout swear and slam doors at you because I don’t like being told what to do especially under those circumstances. However sometimes people really are trying to help. If like me you need “breathers” simply explain to your friends that you suffer from panic attacks/ anxiety and explain what things can trigger them and how they can help. If they aren’t helping you need to tell them and find a way to bring yourself out of it.

Deep breaths. When I cant sleep at night which realistically is most nights, I tried this and it really did help:

Sama Vritti or “Equal Breathing”

How it’s done: Balance can do a body good, beginning with the breath. To start, inhale for a count of four, then exhale for a count of four — all through the nose, which adds a natural resistance to the breath. Got the basic pranayama down? More advanced yogis can aim for six to eight counts per breath with the same goal in mind: calm the nervous system, increase focus and reduce stress, Pacheco says.

When it works best: Anytime, anyplace — but this is one technique that’s especially effective before bed. “Similar to counting sheep,” Pacheco says, “if you’re having trouble falling asleep, this breath can help take your mind off the racing thoughts, or whatever might be distracting you from sleep.”

Cut out toxins. I’m not saying you can’t have a laugh or party but if a comedown or hangover makes you on edge, I can promise you it wouldn’t be as bad without it. Talk about positive things more often, you don’t need to talk about how anxiety can make you feel ill all the time. To Everyone, anxiety can actually make you feel ill. After a panic attack I’m normally wiped for the day and have to go to bed and reset myself. Thank goodness they don’t happen very often. The more you talk about what makes you happy, people will understand that these things make you happy and hopefully remember when you’re feeling down.

Time outs. If things are getting too much have a time out. The last mental breakdown I had my mum was on the receiving end and congratulated me for not screaming or crying and said “go for a walk, have a cigarette and re-assess the situation”. I felt so proud of myself that she was right and I had come a long way. But seriously, don’t let it all build up and don’t sit there shaking like a leaf not saying a word. Do whatever it is you need to do to make yourself feel better. I find going for a walk helps a lot as exercising releases endorphin’s, and its free! a hot bath? Whatever it is make sure you can take enough time out to think about your thoughts and clear them up with yourself or someone else before you try and deal with the situation again. I’ve just got myself a few of those art therapy books. its something I’d do normally but now its available so widely why not give that a go?

tell yourself you can do it. tell yourself you’re beautiful. all the time. i started a #lovethewayyoulook Instagram photo series to show my in how i feel comfortable with how i look. be who you want to be, not who you aspire to or dream to be, be them. the best confidence you can get is from yourself. and i know i felt so much better getting my newspaper column knowing i tried really hard to get my blog out. and how well it paid off!

Let people know you dont feel like being social if you simply let your friends know you dont feel great you dont feel like going out – they will understand. Just don’t ignore them. Nearly all of my friends have some form of communicational downfall but luckily we all tell each other about the issue and so we don’t take it personally if you don’t get a reply. I hate answering the phone, I struggle to reply to text messages, starting conversations when you’re with someone (omg someone please put a bag over my head). Just let people know you feel uncomfortable or awkward otherwise you may loose them as a misunderstanding backlash. By the way Jess, Vicki, I’ve had so much going on in my head am in the process of writing you a card back😉 love you

I still get freaked out around kitchen knifes and sharp objects. That insecurity will pass with time I suppose. I still find it hard to talk about my feelings but the most important thing i have done to help with my anxiety is to let people know that I have issues with it. So that is the key because how can someone help if they don’t know somethings wrong? I wish that the outcomes were better in some situations, it would almost appear that some people couldn’t care less. And you know what? they couldnt, why should you or anyone waste time with anyone who can’t be bothered to show you their support? Support is anywhere and everywhere. Now go out there, find that support, get yourself brain healthy and be who you want to be!

I lost a best friend because he didn’t speak out enough about his mental health. I think about you every day. rest in peace Greg I hope to make you proud.



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