New Year: Put 2014 Behind You

 

So here’s the honest truth. Somehow in the spider web of the unimaginable Internet universe you have landed on this blog. Looking for something. Searching for something.

If you want some pre-wrapped article with all the leftover Christmas paper and all, I’m sure there’s plenty of them that will tell you weird facts on New Year or an article to make you green with envy with some celeb glitzy party. But, today I’m thirsty for the truth, earnestness. Aren’t we all?

Everyone expects a philosophical answer on New Year’s New Year’s day. For whatever reason New Year’s has us feeling stripped bare. Taken away from the blurry distractions of droll routine. We feel forced to assess our success. It’s this weird emotion.

It’s like when you learnt about magnets at school and kept playing with the same poles that couldn’t attract. Between the repelling forces was an invisible orb that defended the truth. And in a way that’s what the feelings like.

You heard the saying two negatives don’t make a positive. You still with me? In my own mind of whirring cogs, I have decided just now on the notion. During this time when we strip search our minds from the last day of December to January. Walk through the electronic doorway thingy. Pulled aside with a beckoning finger and a tray of all last year’s crap.

Back to the magnet simile. The poles repel because they are the same – opposite attract. Because we have a double negative aka the labeling of a failure. Searched ourselves for the bad. We decide to take the tray of crappiness with us. Somehow fearing what it would be like if we just left it.

Soon we have a list of everything we haven’t done. Soon the thoughts feel written on our skin and wriggle under. Regret flashes through our veins. Or bad events come back to your brain like a rerun of a bad sit-com. But, instead you can feel those emotions again.

May be this is just me? Who when the numbers begin to role from 10 all the way down to one, has the urge to pull it back. That when the TV rolls the fireworks on the London eye. When I stay awake till 12, always under the illusion that, that one minute into the New Year something big is going to happen. I don’t know the presenters jump out the TV. For me to feel whole and glad. There is that always want for something.

I don’t know. May be it’s all just hype. More money in others’ pockets. Think about it. Supposed New Years traditions (I never have done this by the way) are to get drunk and kiss someone at 12 o’clock. Whether you did one or the other both. Or perhaps if you are like me neither. Both show a need to feel complete and whole in some way. An aversion to these feelings.

In some ways it feels we are back to square one after having climbed and scrambled through the year. So, what is the truth. New Year merely hides the truth of everyday. Most of us are overwhelmed with this sense of change as the minute passes. But, we forget about the days and weeks. Perhaps we should not just be really thinking in years, but living for the days!

Wherever you are now reading this. Don’t miss out on the good of last year. And don’t let the bad cast a shadow. You may have made mistakes. I sure did. But, good. Now we know at least this year our decision making might improve!

You can do anything. After all as scared as I was to write this blog. Went and procrastinated, I did it. So, here is to not letting the past stop you!

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We are the last leaves to fall

Where I am in the world the seasons are stuck between autumn and winter. So, Wutumn. An awkward transition where the weather seems just as confused as we are. It seems even trees experience the same fashion dilemma as to what to wear at this time or rather what leaves to drop. Even TV adverts have got their months muddled up with new Instagram filtered Christmas ads coming too early that for me the truth of it all seems hidden under a pile of Frozen wrapping paper and M&S food.

I have been thinking a lot. Yeh over-thinking is my thing. Of what to write. I have everything and nothing to write about but, I was getting anxious (spoiler there). And as they do all those mean bean thoughts bunched together and formed a mob against me in my mind. Alone I hosted a pity party where I just drowned in these thoughts. Let the guilt build and build to the point when it too became fuel for the nasty negatives.

 So, today I went for a walk. The same usual walk I take. Nothing too adventurous. To what all we humans seek to do: which is to find inspiration. So, as I took my jumpy jumpy dog around a small path, I saw a golden leaf (one of the few left) rocking like a cradle side to side before it hit the ground. You say it’s just a leaf. I know and I will get to that in a minute. Something struck me about it but, before I could tap it into my iPhone notes my dog decided it needed the loo. Not the best timing, but still I remembered it. Not that you really wanted to know the whole loo situation of course, sorry!

Well as I looked at this blank screen I began to think. Again with the thinking. We are the last leaves to fall – off the tree. Fall in this metaphor does not mean death, but that does not mean that we can’t believe it to be. See it as this instead. We are the leaves on the tree. Use your imagination here (imagining bugs life) – it can be any tree you want as long as it has leaves. Instead of the fall being death think of it as an opportunity. But, with all opportunities there is the unknown. So, we wait watch the other leaves fall before us time and time again. We cling on and on until the tree finally forces us off. What is the moral here? 

Well for me it is this. We who get anxious more than others like not just to wait, but sometimes to hide until it is the inevitable. Where there is no longer a dark corner to sneak into or a door to run out of. We are scared of falling. Likely have visualised all the horrible things, every eventuality other than happy ones like a dramatic film trailer in our heads.  But, what if we didn’t consider it as falling but flying. Floating through the air has got to be a metaphor for happiness, right? For that leaf I saw  had a gentle landing.

Perhaps we need to fall in order to pursue are dreams. Although to us fear can mean different things if not an overgeneralised everything. We fear change the most. That is natural. But, we can’t control it. Just like how the tree or the leaf has to change with the seasons or adapt with the climate. Like the protagonist in a story there is always a realisation of something. It is time for us to float in the air, after all no-one likes being the last one to fall. It’s pretty lonely. Trust me I know.

If you liked today’s post or think it might help someone else please give it a sharey. I have a new instagram account which is _hello_anxiety. I will be posting frequent inspirational quotes to get us all in the mood and changing those anxiety driven minds of ours.

Hope your day has been swell and anxiety free. If not so great here is a virtual hug (   ) and well done for getting through it!


Take a step into the unknown

How did I get here? Why am I lost while others have found their way?

I see no road ahead. Just darkness I’m afraid to walk into. The sea of unknowns I rather not cross. My mind bubbles with terrible imaginations. The what-if-I-took the step. So, I mark a line of chalk between me and everything else that is a wall of darkness.

I don’t know about you but, this is where I have been. These days blurred with a constant guilt. Mixed in with a BAM of anxiety. And no, I’m not just talking about hiding in from the trick or treaters which is a pretty hard job in itself – with all the lights off apart from the TV. In fact this week – the scary thing was not the amount of painted skeleton faces or Frozen costumes, but just how far my anxiety went. It took over me. Overwhelmed me.

You know just how horrible, confusing and all scary this can be. Especially when it is like your whole body is control of you and no thinking can change it. Well, I mean in the short term. I had become scared of myself in a way. This overshadowing doom that kept on creeping up on me. It was the constant thought of something bad was going to happen – something to be feared. Lets face it – it isn’t nice. And although, I was taking steps forward it was like I was also taking steps back.

I will tell you one thing. I don’t want to bore you with my many weeks events. This story involves handing in my first CV ( a job – an experience that I am petrified of) into a shop. When I first walked in a sudden and almighty dread eclipsed me. Suddenly, I wanted to run away. To escape. So, when I had gone around the store – up and down the stairs figuring out who to ask because I was so nervous. I finally did it. To then be stumped with ‘we now only take CVs online’. I was gutted. I had worked hard on my CV. I made something also that they wouldn’t be able to see online. So, you could guess I was frustrated.

However, my dad encouraged me to ask someone else. Again after I had fidgeted – hummed and harred and basically got some balls I went to ask someone else. Thankfully they went to give it to the manager. Although, this may seem not so hard – it was for me. I did do it. But, I still felt tormented with anxiety.

My anxiety at the moment has become a bit of the unknown. I can’t reach out and grab it. Tear it up and put it in the bin. But, I have gotten somewhere. Writing down my thoughts. Yes, it sounds so patronising. Although it does feel a bit cringey at first it demonstrates all those thoughts you didn’t really take notice of. How they cascade and gain momentum i.e. I didn’t write today so therefore I am a failure becomes that means I am always a failure. Then ecalates to I am worthless – I can’t write anyway and on and on.

Writing it down allows us to see if we are telling the truth. And honestly some thoughts when written down seem silly and not as bad as you think. So, try to write thoughts down and see what you think? Are they really true – probably not? Are you exaggerating? You know you are thinking a yes.

We can see the road when we have become less clouded with these false anxieties or depressions. But, the main reality is – is that sometimes we have got to take that step into the unknown. You might just end up somewhere truly amazing.

On the waiting list for the NHS


You know the feeling. It’s the I have waited so long in this queue and then sent to the back feeling. The labelled feeling like the sell-by-date on food.

That’s what ‘it’ makes us feel like. And what is this ‘it’ exactly? One word NHS. If you have dared to ask the NHS for help – like moi by now you should know how le crape it is. The acronym may as well stand for ‘Not Happening Soon’, because of the crazy amount of time it takes to be referred. Now I’m not disregarding the good work NHS people do – but seriously the waiting times *Cough government? (By the way I’m on round #2)

Calling the clinic was hard. Why? Because, I got so nervous (as per) that I had to write down what it was I needed to say. Nervous that I could feel my heart picking up and my palms begin to sweat. But, I did it. The reason. I had been screened. Unfortunately not a ticket to the cinema – but of those of you who have gone through the system before will know it is when you lardeedar about ‘what’s wrong’ and fill in the same questionnaire, 1-10s and all that. Which is fine and well and good. But, that must have been over 3 weeks ago and I hadn’t heard a peep out of them since. So what were they planning to do with me? They had left me out to dry.

So, I had to call. I want help. So, I did – to then be told to ring another number (which is the worse news for someone with social anxiety!). Eventually I made myself do it. Not only was it annoying to hear clear gossiping in the background (I could hear every word), but that I would have to wait 4 months till I can get therapy. I am on a waiting list, among other people and would have to wait until I get to the top – which let’s face it could take longer. It was like I was another body slung onto the heap.

This is not good enough! Not just for me, but for everybody. People can have downward spirals in a matter of hours, days – not months. You will know this. They need help. We need help. When we decide we need help or can get help (which lets face it can be a pretty daunting set of steps) – we do it because we feel as if we need help now. For a lot of people getting help feels like the last resort.

The harsh reality is that people are not getting help quick enough. Like I said it is not necessarily a matter of months, but more hours, days, weeks. I will be able to wait that long. However, I can’t say the same for others. What happens if its too long and someone commits sucide, hurts themselves badly or gets themselves in a heap of trouble? Not only does this potentially cost the NHS more? And also the legal system due to consequence – gosh even social services. It has a domino effect. Not to mention the distress of loved ones who may not have even have known someone suffered mentally.

So, even the idea of saving ‘money’ hasn’t fazed the government – the very heart of politics. There needs to be change. Suicide, self-destruction, panic, the feeling of doom can all be prevented with help. It doesn’t have to get that far. People shouldn’t have to hurt themselves to get attention or to be prioritized (in some cases). You and me shouldn’t have to feel insignificant by being added to a ‘list’ of people and made to feel as if you are competing. Everyone deserves help. You do.

The real ‘trew’ is that there should be nothing last minute about the mental health system. Everybody should be allowed access if needed. If people were educated about it earlier or if people were offered help earlier it could prevent a lot of occurrences (crime, injuries, loss, waste of money). People should be allowed help on the day no matter how big or small the problem feels like. We all need support at some point.

Together we must take a stand!

Stop Bullying

You are a school kid. Alone. Headed for home.

Yours hands are clutched over the folder you carry everywhere. By now you are quite away from your first year (high school) and the second, but perhaps not much further. The little company you have our your own thoughts and the memory of the day. The school is now a bit behind you.

Two boys head towards you. Your age. The same shabby uniform, perhaps they are in one of your classes. Maybe you hardly know them at all. They begin to awkwardly whisper at you, close and in the side of your ear. You don’t and can’t look at them. Their words are cruel.

Like sharks they preyed on you. Circled you then tested you out. At best you ignore them. You know they want to see your hairs on your arms prick, streaks down your face. Will they ever leave you? What can you do?

This is what I saw today. Bullying.

I had been where he had been. Gosh, I had practically danced around in his shoes. Maybe you have too? So, what do you do when you see this? Tell them to leave them alone or if they are being violent seek help. If you have been in that position then you know how horrible it can feel! So, speak up. It’s can be hard especially when we ourselves are anxious, but if you see it do it. I was surprised at how startled the bully’s looked before leaving him alone.

This also goes for ourselves. If you haven’t been bullied then you are wrong. If you get anxious a lot then anxiety is your bully. So feel that adrenaline and speak up as loud as you can. Tell it once and for all to leave you alone!

Feel the fear and do it anyway

Hello Anxiety,

Today I was… anxious (as if that wasn’t obvious). Why? Because for once I didn’t say no.

Now usually in my anxietyac ways I would neither say yes or no, sound familiar? I normally can’t say no because I feel obligated to say yes. However, I don’t say yes either because I want to say no. Do you get me? So, I normally end up beating around the bush and coming out with the same tentative if not repetitive lines like: I can do or perhaps. 

So a few days a go I finally said yes. My dad had booked me onto a soup course (because I’ve been cookin’ up a storm recently), to go to on my billybob. For once I said yes to make myself have to meet and talk to people. But, that wasn’t enough to stop the hit of regret or the depression seep under my skin. What had I done?

I couldn’t back out now. I had to do it (again I always feel obligated to do things -part of the whole judgement thing I have going on). When I got there. Sat on my own. I honestly felt stupid. Shaky. Judged. I got my mental crystal ball out and started to predict they saw me as this too quiet – awkward girl and I was embarrassed of myself.

Not only this, though today I felt particularly introverted. I had a weird chest which my mind kept on telling me that I was going to get a panic attack and humiliate myself.

Well I survived. Even on small social events an instinct tells us that we won’t survive, that we won’t be able to cope. Perhaps that is just our fight and flight on overdrive. I stuck at it.

In the end I settled down. I even managed to hold several conversations and became more relaxed as the rest of the course went on. So, what are the two things I have learnt from the experience. One is that you don’t have to keep pleasing everyone. For whatever reason with my social anxiety I expect others to expect how you should behave. I have made decisions based on what other people think i.e. holding on when you desperately need the loo (you don’t want to be rude) or feeling as if you have to eat everything offered to you even if you don’t want it. And the second is that we fear the anticipation more than anything else.

So, that is my anxious story of the day. Hopefully by taking these steps together and challenging ourselves even though our bodies tell us not to – we can get closer to saying goodbye to anxiety once and for all. So my next tip is the quote to feel the fear and do it anyway (all within good reason).

Labels

Hello Anxiety,

Whether they are sellotaped onto a gift, one of those annoying stickers you can’t get off a DVD or a pinned name badge, the word label has seemed to have adopted a far more metaphorical meaning. Now you’ve got people saying I don’t want to be labelled as… such and such or talking about how ‘labels’ are another form of stereotypes.

So, why am I chatting on about labels? Well, I have been thinking (as one often does) about the words or labels people put on anxiety. When you really think about it, and I mean really think about it. The amount of labels it gets are confusing. For once I’m not talking about ‘ignorant’ views or people who don’t have anxiety. Really it is how all of us choose to describe it differently. 

Some will call it an illness. Perhaps a disorder. Maybe even a disease. While others will explain it as something conditioned. An overly anxious person. A trouble. A problem. Generalised anxiety. Social anxiety. Agoraphobia. Depression. Introverted. The thing is we’ve probably used all if not most of these words to define this nerve jingling thing. But, really what is it? 

It’s all a bit mind boggling. If I say is an illness, does it mean I can be ‘cured’. Or perhaps I labelled it as a disease, does that mean I believe that there is no hope of getting better that it is simply something I have ‘got’. But, somehow being labelled ‘overly anxious’ doesn’t give us that medical jargon that seems to justify us. So, how do we define ourselves?

That just it. Today I can’t seem to get my head around it. However, what I can say is this. We weren’t born with this extra anxiety. Anxiety has come from experiences and events that have impacted our life in some way. Then they become bigger and bigger until perhaps we can no longer remember the original reason. So, today I don’t forgot my book of answers. However, it is definitely something to think about? How do you define or label anxiety?

#Tip 4 To find a path we first must climb a tree and see the view

Hello Anxiety,

“Hmm decisions…decisions?”

Life is often made out to be a list of decisions, stacked high and ready to be ticked off. Even the word itself “decision” has become as monstrously daunting and heavy as trying to go to sleep after watching a horror movie (which you told yourself not to watch) or hopelessly attempting to carry all your groceries (which you know you can’t) by running madly to the door before the weight keels you over.

As a teen, ‘decision making’ has been thrown, stuffed and flung down my throat **cough university. Not only that, but now there feels as if there is more pressure to make snap (couldn’t resist to click my fingers) decisions. It’s hard. And lets face it social expectations for not just us bubbled up teens, but for kiddies and the grownie ups too, seems to be coming to a boil.

Here is where you get your violin out… no I’m joking. What makes my decision making so hard for me personally is my anxiety. Which I hold my hands up and don’t doubt has affected everyone at some point. Whether that be trying to avoid that certain someone that has awkwardly blocked your path. Knowing whether to go for it and just ‘smile and wave’ or to quickly shuffle your butt out of there before they have a chance to see your face.

For me throughout my life so far there has been a clear line between my ‘aspirational decisions’ and my ‘anxious decisions’. How I see it is that you have the things that you would ‘in theory’ like to do if it were not for that tedious anxiety. And then pretty much all those anxious decisions that build a wall of avoidance we hide behind.

For sure anxiety has clouded my path. Now I can’t see the sign that should point me in the right direction. Perhaps others have passed me on this path, but I have been too scared to ask for their help so I am left here.

Feeling anxious of being judged has left my brain “confuzzled” (yes I like to blend words). It is mainly the bad narrator of my mind that makes me procrastinate, make excuses, literally doing anything, but come face to face with that decision.

It is like I’m or we are lost in an endless wood. We are tired, confused. We are all scared. What should we do?  The answer is this… to find a path we first must climb a tree and see the view.

#Tip4

#Tip 3 Be Harry Potter. Defeat those dementors with positivity.

Hello Anxiety,

Yep that little cloud has caught up with me again. I’m pretty sure that if I let it I would receive a proper drenching. It’s days like this when all you want to do is stay in your misery coma (at least that is what it’s telling me). There is nothing else my body seems to want to do, but drown in it – bask in array of the poor-me’s in the hope that guilt which stirs in my veins will go away.

Here’s a metaphor for Harry Potter fans! The lowness is like a dementor which feeds off sadness. In a way it’s like the dementor has a grasp of our soul or rather our true selves. And although, Harry was cured by some sweet tasting chocolate which most of the time can help with the blues. A square or two too many can leave us with a guilty food baby or rather ironically back to square one which was feeling low to begin with. That is what JK was getting at. I have heard many a time that dementors were symbolic of depression, and you can definitely see why.

But, chocolate was only a temporary cure like comfort eating or the bad habits we end up in. Bare with I’m not a Potter buff but have watched the movies. How does JK have Harry overcome these demons? With positivity, of course. Now, I know such a word has been used many a patronising time, but it is true. We like the character Harry have to make a decision to either let ourselves be leeched by anxiety and depression or we can realise the power that we have and give them a shove off. At the end of the day Voldemort was really defeated by love. A love that he didn’t have. All he had was fear. A power run by fear is know true power at all!

So, how do we stop those dementors or cloaking darkness from attacking us? Well this tip is simple. Though perhaps harder to follow. The sooner you realise that you hold all the cards in your life. No one else. When you look at what you have rather than what you don’t (it doesn’t matter how big or small it is – as long as it is important to you), be thankful. You are loved. If you don’t feel that way then here is a virtual hug (   ) we love you! Remember all those times where you did something you never thought you could. Look back and hold on to that proud feeling. You can do anything. You can achieve anything. Don’t think, I am not like that person so I can’t become a famous painter or whatever it is you aspire to be. They had their troubles too. You just didn’t see it. I’m struggling with writing my book. I can feel crippled with self-doubt. But, I got to keep telling myself I can do it! Keep going. Aspire for what you want to do. 

Those people that you want to be like or have been jealous of or simply inspire you. They were people who felt the fear and did it anyway. Simply they were the ones that didn’t give up.

So neither should you. And although, I wasn’t expecting to do such a long Harry Potter metaphor. Here it is #Tip 3 Be Harry Potter. Defeat those dementors with positivity.

If this post gave you a smile or a little tug please share it! If you liked it please remember to click the likey button on Google plus. Or if you fancy sharing your coping tips please comment below (however only nice things!). Thank you 🙂 xx

Tip#2 Fight back

When I was little I came up with a crazy-not-so-crazy notion. Something which kiddies with their daring and sometimes giggly imaginations often do. As a 4 year old, I thought that people saw a different me than the one I saw in the mirror. Of course, I told myself that clearly all the other small people would see a far prettier version from what I saw. That thought has stuck with me (I mean that thought that I thought – gosh if only I believed this could be true! Could you imagine, I would practically be floating on a cloud).

Yes, this thought might have been fanciful. Perhaps you could even say that it was more fantasy than reality. STOP. Let the thought sink in for a minute. Then ask yourself, is it really all those things?

If you described yourself and then someone else did (whether that be your chums or your families), would you say the same things? Err no, not likely. In fact you will probably find that you have either done one of the following or more:

1.     1. Made an array of umm and err’s to make it sound as if you are coming up with something… buuut you can’t really think of how to ‘start’.
2.   Spotted features – I have a nose
3.      Frowned at yourself in an attempted Harry Potter move to become (waves wand) Invisiblo.
4.      Labelled yourself as something or other i.e. tall – lanky – short – stubby and the list goes on and on.

But, something that we know we all have done is pick out the negatives first or perhaps just dumped them all on ourselves. Like how it is easier to draw the negative line than the crossed plus sign. We take the easier way out. May be we don’t even want to say nice things about ourselves, because we feels it crosses that barrier between confident and just plain obsessed with yourself. But, you are not.

For whatever reason the way the world works is that good things always seem to be much harder. Whether that be trying to attempt a non-chocolate diet and pile on the veg or trying to push out a few positive words. It just seems that the bad thoughts seem to come more easily to us. However what you need to remember is that the good is always more rewarding.

 The great thing is this. I wouldn’t see you the same way as you would and vice versa. Think of it this way. Those nasty nipping thoughts you told yourself are still just thoughts. Like I have realised, just because you think something doesn’t make it true.

It’s like today when the cooking didn’t go my way. I’m a failure. Just as black and white as that. I can’t cook. I can’t do this. And suddenly your mind is not yours anymore. Why do I do this? Because I always feel as if I have to do things perfectly. If I don’t, I have failed.

I know. I know. This is not true. And that is my point. It also leads to my next tip which is to fight back. Slap that one crappy thought with a better one. I’m not a failure, because I still managed to cook a nice meal…

Now is the time to get in the ring with your thoughts. Stop taking the blows on your face, learn how to block, dodge and thought punch your way to the winning bell.