Anxiety vs Logic | The ongoing debate

Hello all!

Yesterday I saw a Thomas Sanders video which featured him personifying the debate between ‘logic’ and ‘anxiety’ and thought that this is what happens to me on a daily basis and recently I’d like to think that my ‘logic’ side has been consistently winning…for how long I don’t know, but so far it has been a useful tool when dealing with anxious thoughts so I thought I would share it.

When you are anxious, or if you suffer from anxiety, you will instantly assume the worst and overthink/play the situation at hand whether it be a simple decision such as what earrings to wear or a much more difficult decision like what car to buy. Now, I am going to try and keep this post more light hearted rather than enter into a deep conversation, hence why I chose those examples. However, this does not detract from my point that logic can help anxious thoughts.

There have been many a time…many, many, many a time over the past years where my anxious thoughts have overridden my brain and ruined either the situation I am in and/or made me feel even worse. Recently I have been trying to out argue this side of myself with logic and, so far, I would say it has really helped. For example, when choosing a pair of earrings sometimes the sheer quantity of the amount you may have could make you anxious, the event, people around you, what you are wearing, whether they will be comfortable all come into play and just fuel the anxious part of your mind. Often such a  small decision such as earrings becomes a mammoth task you have to overcome and, if you are anything like me, often a vote from those around me is what forms my decision. For me personally, this decision would be heavily affected by those around me. For example, if my parents had bought me one set of earrings and my sister another I would feel bad for that person if I didn’t wear them. This may sound stupid but that is what happens and this would then become a fight in my mind over who’s I had worn recently etc.

*breathe breathe breathe*

Queue LOGIC. Both of these sets of earrings are ones which I really love and realistically the people who I love know that I love both pairs of earrings regardless of what earrings I decide to wear on that day. Also I think its safe to say that, unless you have two lobe piercings, you can only wear one pair which is logic in itself. You see?

I have found that breaking these decisions down and constantly going over the process helps to quieten the anxious part of me and help me actually make a decision. Constantly repeating this process every time I become anxious has really helped me to control it more. Whilst this may not be the most useful example I hope you can see where I am coming from. Anxiety can have a point in itself, it just doesn’t put them across reasonably. Logic, and eventually reality, help to simplify the point that anxiety is trying to make and tone it down, that way you feel less anxious and have dealt with the thought/situation effectively.

Managing the Physical symptoms | Anxiety

I have spoken about anxiety a few times on this blog yet I don’t think I have ever spoken about the physical symptoms of having anxiety. Anxiety overlaps with a lot of other conditions (and vice versa) such as depression and stress so symptoms may extend to these too. I am going to mention some of the symptoms I get and how I cope with/help improve them.

  • Tight Chest – This is definitely not a nice feeling and you usually feel as though there is not enough Oxygen in the air or there’s a weight pressing down on you. It can be really hard to get rid of but taking deep consistent breaths and getting into a position where your chest is more open can help. Not panicking is essential as it will make you feel worse! Probably easier said than done but reminding yourself as to why you are experiencing this can help. I also find that Lavender can help to make you feel more relaxed and it becomes a bit easier to help. Alternatively if have something on your mind talking it through with someone calm and logical can help you to break down your thoughts and help you feel less overwhelmed – Cue my dad!
  • Tummy troubles – Anxiety is something that triggers my IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) which can really make me feel all jumbled. Various pains and funny feelings happen which can make you feel like you want to do nothing but cuddle up on the sofa! On these days I find that having basic foods can help, nothing elaborate, nothing creamy or rich. Something as simple as toast, crackers with added fibre or yoghurt can help to feel less fragile and messy. Drinks wise I find that mint teas and possibly a glass of milk can also help to make me feel more settled.
  • Headaches/Body aches – Often anxiety sufferers get pain in a certain area, this is usually a place where you suffer with tension in your body. Quite often this is the head/neck region. I personally suffer with a bad back and shoulders which then inflames nerves affecting my neck and head. This can be super painful and unfortunately not a lot helps! Having someone who has knowledge of pressure points (Hi mum!) is useful, however, when they aren’t with you, you could try painkillers or heat packs. Painkillers don’t tend to do much for me but I have recently purchased a lavender heat pack which you heat up in the microwave and wrap around your neck/shoulders. A lavender gel applied to pressure points could also help as could a relaxing bath!


These are just some of the things I find can help to relieve some symptoms. Do you have anything you can recommend?

Being in a Relationship with Anxiety | 2.0 | Forgiveness…

From my previous post on being in a relationship with anxiety (link here) I got many positive responses so I wanted to do a second post on a different topic which is really important in my relationship. Forgiveness.

When I say forgiveness I don’t just mean of your partner, I mean of yourself also. If you are like me and are lucky enough to have a partner who understands then this is such an important thing as more often than not my anxieties come out at him. He is more than well adapted now at being able to deal with these little outbursts but its the aftermath of these that can be the most important time.

During the mini arguments that I end up creating, I am in the moment, I am in full rant mode, I sound angry, I’m sometimes rude and sound like I’m blaming my partner for everything under the sun but no matter how long these last I have learnt that what I do afterwards is the thing that counts. The other day is a prime example. I got very frustrated with something and it all came out towards him, when in reality all he was doing was trying to fix the issue! Afterwards I sat on the sofa turned away from him and all I could think was F*ck, I’ve done it again! I felt so guilty about it I couldn’t bring myself to look at him I was so worried if I did the expression he’d have was anger. In the end I forced myself to look at him because I wanted to repair what I’d just caused and he just looked at me and held out his arm for a hug.

I was so grateful to him for doing this that I soon realised after that if he can forgive me every single time I need to forgive myself…..slightly…..thinking back the times we have had arguments caused by moi have mostly evolved around me being frustrated with a situation and therefore being frustrated at myself which makes me more angry and frustrated and can case bigger arguments. I have found that simply telling myself that yes, you feel guilty but getting angry at yourself makes the situation worse. You have caused this argument, now it’s time to repair it so you can move on and enjoy your day.

If you do this in your relationships try forgiving yourself and let me know what happens…

Mental Health | The Good the Bad and the Ugly…

This post is actually going to be based on a BBC News link that my mum sent me and if I’m honest I was pretty frustrated when I read it.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-37504679

The Good side to this article is that there are ways in which you can receive help and with thanks to the NHS (if you live in the UK that is), help is more accessible than ever. So WHY have things not improved???

It makes me frustrated that people still feel as though they can’t talk or seek help. Maybe some don’t want it or aren’t ready to seek it yet but for those who do there is a huge waiting list for counselling/therapies when applying or being referred through the NHS. This may not be their fault directly due to budget cuts etc but I feel as though there are things that could help. The media for example could help to prevent depression/anxiety over body image etc by promoting a healthy figure instead of models who look like skeletons. Yes there has been progress with plus sized models etc but companies are so reluctant to support a ‘normal’ size model in their campaign. Of course the recent Calvin Klein ad featuring a ‘plus size’ model who was a size 10 caused uproar….I wonder why! Unrealistic expectations of body image can kick-start the amount of young people suffering from depression/anxiety and I’m not just talking about females!

The stigma of having a Mental Health disorder, common or not, is still present which in this day and age makes it worse considering how prevalent the topic is. There are those which don’t understand the feeling of having anxiety or depression who think that its something which will just ‘go away’ and don’t want to think about the problems that come along with it. I have to be honest and admit that although I am, or try to be, an advocate for mental health and increasing awareness there have been times where I’ve been embarrassed to admit that I suffer from anxiety. This shouldn’t be the case for ANYONE, no matter what age, gender or beliefs. I feel as though sometimes people view it as an excuse and there have been times where, personally, I have felt judged and have received that ‘this girl is crazy’ look. Not a nice feeling.

So as not to end this post on a sour note those who do and don’t have mental illness can still be supportive which really does make you feel like you’re not alone and crazy! Since writing about anxiety and my own experiences on here the support that I have felt and comments I have had made me feel so much better and so more normal than I actually feel. I only hope that my blog can do the same for some of you out there as having a mental illness, no matter how big or small is not something you should feel ashamed of.

Keeping Anxiety Positive…

 

A blog post about anxiety, the worry that you’re not good enough and trying regardless.:

Probably the hardest thing to do with Anxiety or Depression or indeed anything similar. Recently I have been thinking about what I would like to do in the next few months and have realised that I need to keep moving forward to try to be better for myself.

Having any Mental Health ‘issue’ is thought of as negative, surely there are some aspects that can be turned into a positive?

One of my thoughts was that although the fact that I over think everything to ridiculous proportions and hate it, it can also be a positive. How? Well surely thinking about a situation or thing from all angles can be a positive? You know what to expect, you are prepared and quite often I’m stuck in the middle of two side which can enable me to have the best of both the sides i’m stuck between. Not a bad outcome right?

Another thing is that I over empathize with people and whilst this again can be frustrating it can also be really useful to try to help and support them. Some people can find this helpful too as they feel understood. This makes me happy as I like being able to support and help people to overcome whatever it is that is bothering them.

Thinking on from this I get to stubbornness and determination. I have bags of these and whilst it can annoy most people there is no reason that these can’t be put to good use right? Right. So I have decided that I am going to use my stubbornness and determination to make myself do some things that I want to do which will hopefully make me feel happier and more confident with my life and myself.

The things I want to accomplish are:

  1. Keep up with my weekly blog posts on both of my blogs – I have really been enjoying doing my blogs, more so now that I have a schedule that I have been sticking too. I have also enjoyed speaking to more people so pop me a message! 🙂
  2. Upload a YouTube video – I know this seems to be a typical thing to do nowadays but I really enjoy the world or beauty and talking about my experiences with people so talking to a wider audience really appeals to me. It has taken me a while to get to this point but I’ve decided to ignore everything I’m anxious about and go for it!
  3. Read more books – I am such a big bookworm but, until recently, I don’t get through many. I have enjoyed changing this recently and have read about five books in the past three months! Woo!
  4. Pass my driving exam – I have failed it once and one of the reasons I am unhappy is because I have to rely on other people and can’t get myself to places. I am hoping to pass my test at some point this year!
  5. Get my own place – I have wanted to do this for aaggeesssss! I am hoping to save up enough money to afford to rent my own place and hopefully find somewhere that will take me and my two gorgeous guinea pigs.
  6. Try and do things that I have been scared to do – This includes using and learning to use my roller skates and ice skating! These two things terrify me! I have such a mental block when I go to do these things because of my anxiety and it is something that I would like to work towards overcoming.

I know that it won’t be possible to stay positive everyday but I am going to try to achieve these things as quickly as I can and keep pushing myself forward.

Quote on anxiety: I will breathe. I will think of solutions, I will not let my worry control me. I will not let my stress level break me. I will simply breathe. And it will be okay. Because I don't quit. -Shayne McClendon.:

Do you have anything you really want to achieve?

The shame of having Anxiety…

Have you ever been in that situation where you won’t do something and you can’t explain your reasons for not doing it? This is what I mean by the ‘shame of anxiety’. Not necessarily this example but the feelings that come along with it. The frustration you have to suppress because others don’t understand why you really don’t want to do something and are looking at you like you have just grown antlers and a beak! (a winning combination may I add.) The embarrassment because deep down you know it sounds stupid but you can’t and won’t and you really don’t have a reason why. The ‘feeling like a failure’ feeling because something that seems so simple is so daunting? I hear you.

I can honestly say that being in this situation is hard and no matter how many times you experience it, it doesn’t get easier, you simply become more adept to dealing with it. I am not saying that everyone who doesn’t suffer from anxiety will make you feel like this but in that moment where something seems so simple, like walking outside for example, it can be easy to forget that actually something so mundane can be so scary for others.

It feels so degrading knowing that this simple task in front of you is just that, but to you it feels like you are about to climb Mount Everest. You feel stupid, embarrassed and frustrated, I bet those people who have climbed Mount Everest didn’t feel those things! It’s hard to remember that those little things are actually big steps forward and although they may not feel like it, these things will be building you up for the future, its one thing more that you can now do.

Having the right people around you makes such a big difference! They may not completely understand themselves but they will sit there and give you patience, time and try to understand. Use these people to help get you out of your comfort zone, lean on them and take the support they are offering. They won’t tear you down they will help to build you up with all these little things that you will and can overcome.

I guess what I’m saying is that no matter how rubbish you may feel there are always those around you who will help you to get out of the rut you are stuck in over these seemingly simple tasks, which are in all reality, big things to you. Don’t feel stupid or embarrassed just use the right people around you to overcome it.

How to: help prevent anxiety attacks…

Easier said than done I hear you say! And yes you would be right, once you’re in that state its soooo hard to stop yourself but it can be possible. It won’t happen every time you have one, I can’t even guarantee it will help you at all as everyone’s different but from my experience I’d like to share some of the stuff that helps me. 

Anxiety is something that changes the way you think so stopping this is of course going to be hard so here’s some tips: 

1) Calm yourself down – yes yes, ‘how the hell am I meant to do that?’ I hear you yell, there is no short way but what I try and do is slip into ‘logical mode’. This mode I question myself, why are you getting annoyed/stressed at this? What is the worst that can happen? If you are annoyed at a person, is it really them you’re annoyed at?  I question myself because eventually it makes me really think about why I’m annoyed and whether there is reason to be which calms me down because I realise how ridiculous I am usually being, it also enables me to think more clearly. 

2) Breathe – as simple and basic as this may sound it can help to deal with the physical sides, sweating, irratic breathing and heartbeats and that heavy feeling in your chest to name just a few. Also dealing with the physical side can help to calm down the mental side also. As awful as it may feel, relax your stomach so you aren’t sucking it in to make yourself look skinny! Breathe in through your stomach and out slowly. Really focus on deep breathing, focus on your breath and stomach going in and out, count five slow seconds in and out and repeat until you feel a bit calmer. 

3) Distract yourself – if you have reached your limit and nothing will help a simple distraction could be your last resort. If you’re struggling with where to eat when you’re out, for example, think about and go into some of the nearby shops. Give yourself a few minutes to chill and clear your mind. Or ideally if someone else is there ask them to decide! 

4) Talk to someone – I personally hate this one as it’s something that I hate doing it there are times when I need someone to help me think logically and unscramble my brain. If you’re with someone close to you and someone who you trust tell them how you’re feeling and what you need. Or if you’re on your own give someone a ring and talk it through, choosing the right person can really help in that situation where you feel all haywire! 

I hope that some of these can help any of you suffering with anxiety or other related mental health disorders that are similar.

Being just ‘ok’…

The premise of being ‘ok’ has caused an ongoing debate between me and my partner. Whenever anyone asks me how I am the answer is always, by default, ‘I’m ok thanks, you?’. Standard response no? According to my partner this is not an acceptable response from me…he knows me too well…. but as I explain to him having anxiety generally makes me not good but not bad either, so surely I am ok?

Whether you have anxiety or not being ‘ok’, in my opinion, is one of the most mysterious replies you can give. Why? because there could be so many meanings behind it. You could genuinely be ok, nothing spectacular has happened but you aren’t feeling rubbish, you are simply ‘ok’. You could also be spectacular but want to hide it for some reason or another, on the other hand you could be hiding the fact that you are feeling spectacularly shit and don’t want anyone to know or talk about it. Or you just can’t be bothered to talk to someone…

For me I use the term ‘ok’ because normally I genuinely have no idea how I’m feeling and it’s easier than having to explain what numb, lost and confused means or put so much energy into feigning that I’m the most joyous person in the world! Surely ‘ok’ is a better response than pretending to be happy? It takes a lot less energy I can tell you that. 

However…coming from my partners point of view it must be so hard and frustrating when all I say is ‘I’m ok’. For someone who genuinely cares about you surely more effort should go into answering how you really are not just the answer you would give a stranger in the street? 

In summary I think you should give people whatever response you would like, however, for those who truly care putting that little bit extra into the answer of the dreaded ‘how are you?’ question might just help both sides out, yourself for being able to explore how you are feeling more (a scary and impossible thing I know) and allowing them to feel respected and needed. 

Being in a Relationship with Anxiety…

Those of you who have anxiety will already know how hard it is to live with it and yourself on a daily basis, but what happens when you combine that with a relationship?

As someone with high anxiety I can tell you it is pretty hard! I am fortunate enough to have a partner who understands me, the way I think and how I feel. Yet still, it is a struggle. You constantly feel like everything’s your fault yet you still continue to act the way you do and constantly question why? Why do I keep doing this. For this there is no clear answer or solution. I know I come across as being annoyed at my partner if every single moment of spare time isn’t spent with me, yet the rational side of me appreciates the fact that a lot of time is actually spent with me and with me being around more at the moment he rarely gets anytime for himself.

The rational side of me can really appreciate the fact that he doesn’t complain once and constantly stays loyal by my side, dealing with whatever I may throw at him, calming me down when I’m getting stressed – which can I just say is my state 98% of the time! I feel horrible when I get on at him and cause an argument because he doesn’t deserve it in any way, shape or form.

Yet I still carry on at him, all the time. The problem with having such an understanding partner is that they then become an outlet for how you are feeling and because most of the time this is stressed and frustrated that’s what they get, because at the end of the day they stick around and they stay there, don’t they?

I am becoming increasingly worried that at some point in the near future, something will snap and with that so will my relationship. I’m petrified that he will leave me because he’s had enough of the way I am. Although he says he isn’t going anywhere the anxiety in my head is saying, won’t he? Constantly convincing me otherwise.

I have made a promise to both him and myself that I am going to try harder to give him the space he needs and to stop constantly taking the way I feel out on him. I need him to know that he and everything he does is appreciated, he is my best friend and the person I love and I need to start trying to help myself for him.

Social Anxiety 101…

Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god…people…people…what do I do?!

Generally a common thought that goes through my mind. Although I have anxiety towards pretty much everything, I’ve decided this post should be dedicated towards the social aspect in time for the holidays!

That feeling of sheer panic, covering the panic up (or trying to!), wondering who is going to be the next person to kidnap you, attack you or rob you. There are so many scenarios I know I struggle with, walking down the street, travel and even from the safety of my bed wondering about the day and who thought what of me even though realistically they are strangers and I will most likely never see them again.

Whatever situation I’m in when I feel that sheer panic, I try and reassure myself, crime wise my mind goes into overdrive, possibly from the years ive spent studying serial killers etc, but in reality the chances of someone stalking, kidnapping or murdering a stranger are slim, although being reassured by this is hard it is rare.

When I was thinking about travel situations, personally, I realized that what i’m worrying about is what I look like and what people will think of me, so, I pose this question to you, who the hell cares?! The thing with anxiety is that you always over think, reality check, the people around you won’t be thinking about you at the end of the day. Scenario: you fall asleep on the train or you get the wrong one, there are so many people, even if you feel as though they are laughing at you that have done it before.

I am aware that this type of social anxiety won’t be the same for everyone as it’s all different but who says that acting like a badass bitch that doesn’t care what others think to cope with taking a train or walking down that street is a bad way of dealing with things???

Just remember as a general rule of anxiety, it’s always worse in your head.