Update & I’m back!

Hello all!

If i’m honest I never left… Quite frankly my job doesn’t allow me a lot of time to write my blogs and in the evenings I’m often at my partners. If i’m honest this is a rubbish excuse as he definitley wouldn’t mind me writing up a blog round his!

Anyway following on from my pathetic excuses, allow me to update you on the Optimistic Diaries!

After my last update there was a week or two where things were really good, me and my partner were going out a lot and, dare I say it, work was good. The past couple of weeks however, have been pretty tricky. Work wise I won’t say much, just know that I am enjoying the work but the atmosphere has been difficult. Although I am hopeful that this will be sorted eventually.

In other news my partner and I are looking for a house together! A big step going forward but an exciting one also. Although I can tell you that house hunting is one of the most frustrating and stressful activites ever! We have found a few houses we really like but when you phone up to book a viewing they tell you that the house has already gone…like two months ago! Although its been tough its also been positive as we have been able to get a bigger mortgage than we thought we would, which is always a nice feeling! The next problem is is that there is not a lot on the market at the moment and is currently at its lowest for 43 years! Trust us to look for something at this point… but! Being optimistic, there will be somehting out there, we just need to keep looking for the right thing.

Something thats also a bit more positive is that I am restarting my driving lessons soon! Yes, after this frustratingly long amount of time from constant moving around I will finally be starting them back up. Thhis is one of the most frustrating things as I just want it over and done with but unfortunately my confidence has never been good and thid does affect my driving. However, I am with a driving instructor that I have been with before and like so this is a definite positive in the situation.

I have to say during my time away, initially I didn’t miss blogging as much as I thought I would, however, as time went on I kept looking at things or thinkg of things where I thought ‘that would be good for my blog’. I am so pleased to be back and hope you are all well.

Speak soon! x

Advertisements

The Optimistic Diaries | Week 16

Hi all, 

This week I had my – almost – full first week at work, it was both interesting and scary. Interesting because it’s something new, I set up my own computer for my desk space, got my computer login and managed to go through a few files. However, I’m not necessarily loving it ATM, the files have been started so everything is everywhere and everything feels all jumbled up and confusing. The work itself isn’t scary I just worry that I’ll muck up. 


Since being optimistic is my theme for the year and I havnt been sticking to it in my weekly blog, let me try again… 

Firstly setting up a computer I actually really enjoyed, I felt quite technical and had a sense of achievement. The only thing missing is a splitter so my dual screen can work! As for the work I do find it interesting I just want to get going on a pile of fresh files that are my own and I am excited for when I can eventually do that 🙂 as for worrying about mucking up, I feel as though everyone makes mistakes and is going to make mistakes at some point. The managers say as long as you don’t send something to the wrong person it can all be corrected! I know this is true and that you need to make mistakes to learn so I’m going to try and be more relaxed at work to try and enjoy it more. 

In other news I was sad this week that I am unable to get a tiny ten week old guinea pig I fell in love with. I know that I shouldn’t until I have my own place etc but he was so cute! It’s difficult to see the positives in this for me, however, deep down I know that it is Better that I do not get another one this minute! I guess that’s more optimistic? 


More recently this weekend has been lovely! On Friday my partner took me out for dinner. He wanted to take me to Bournemouth (aawwwwww) but by he time we got back it was a bit late! We ended up in Basingstoke in Pizza Express enjoying a lovely meal! Unfortunately there wasn’t anything on at the cinema, but I didn’t mind as I was really enjoying myself! I found the rest of the weekend to be very similar to this, my partner was so loving and caring and we just enjoyed each other’s company, walking round Basingstoke, sitting in the sun with my boys, reading in the garden etc. The only bit that was harder was leaving him. We had such a good time together this weekend that I just wanted it to continue! Again it’s a struggle to think of something optimistic in this situation, but I keep trying to remind myself that we have had a really good weekend, we will probably see each other later on this week AND it’s a bank holiday next week. Surely this counts for something?! 
I guess over the whole I am feeling more Ready for this week and we shall have to see what it brings 🙂 I am looking forward to my first proper payday in a while and seeing both my boys and partner 🙂 bring it on?

How are have you guys been? Are any of you doing a challenge or theme for the year? 

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…

World Mental Health Day!

Hello everyone!

It’s world Mental Health day so I thought I may as well do a post thats relevant!

Although Mental Health awareness has increased over the past few years it still isn’t where it needs to be. There are so many people who suffer with forms of mental illness, anxiety, depression, stress, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia just to name a few. Whether you suffer severely or minimally it shouldn’t make a difference, mental health is mental health and just because it can’t be seen, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be heard.

Having a mental health disorder can be such an isolating thing, feeling as though you can’t or have no one to talk to in the world around you has a negative effect. For all of you suffering out there. Stop. I don’t mean stop suffering, I mean stop listening to stigmas and people who’d rather ignore it because they haven’t experienced it or are scared of it. It’s NOT something,thing to be ashamed of.  Whatever you ‘suffer’ from, own it. Make it yours.  Find that person you can rely on and that solution you need. You are your own person and having a mental health disorder doesn’t change that.

Personally I think that it will only make you stronger. You will have more experience of highs and lows, more experience of overcoming hardships in life and experience of fighting through the low to come back out stronger the other end. It may not feel like an achievement going through a low, especially if you are currently in one. But think about it, you have been that low, had dark thoughts going round your head, potentially done dark things, but…you are still here. 

If you suffer from any mental illness, own it. Make it your own strength, your own super power. 

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.

Tips on how to Relax…

I am really bad at relaxing, but there are some activities that can make me feel more grounded and less stressed. I thought i’d share them with you, maybe they can help you too!

  1. Exercise – I hate it when people tell me that exercise helps, its meant to help for stress, anxiety, sleep and is meant to make you feel more awake….I have never found this! It usually just ends up making me feel hot, sweaty and gross. Don’t get me wrong I’m not against a bit of exercise but I do not claim to be a fitness buff. I have, however, recently bought two 2.5 kg weights and have been really enjoying using them. I have been doing squats, lifts and a mixture of the two. It may not sound like a lot but it has been really helping to make me feel more motivated when it comes to fitness as I can feel that they are working. I usually have a quick bath or shower afterwards to freshen up and I do tend to feel more chilled out.
  2. Reading – I am a big bookworm and getting lost in a good book is such a good feeling. It allows you those few moments to escape and it can help you to either fall asleep or feel more relaxed. 
  3. Colouring and Dot-to-Dot – Just before the hype came up around adult colouring books I discovered Millie Marotta and her illustrations. I like that they’re a mix of intricate and simple designs which is useful as somedays the more intricate designs wind you up instead of calming you down and vice versa. In addition to this I have recently discovered Dot-to-Dot and can really get stuck into it as some of them require more concentration. 
  4. Pamper – It may seem obvious but taking time out for yourself actually really helps to make you feel better both about yourself and make you feel more relaxed. A bit of bubble bath and your favourite bath and moisturising products can make you feel all clean and ready for bed! – Instant relaxation.
  5. Candles and Fairy Lights – I LOVE putting on my little lights, lighting a candle and just finding something chilling to do, either reading a book, listening to music or watching a tv programme (or YouTube!). 
  6. Make a ‘Cosy Corner’ – One of my favourite things to do before bed! I like setting up my pillows, gathering my duvet and snuggling down. It instantly makes me feel a little more peaceful and helps me to start unwinding.
  7. Mood Music – I can often find a playlist on Apple music that really sets the mood in the evening, I like something thats similar to what gets played in a spa! 
  8. Audio books – I love Audible and can often feel calmer if I focus on an audio book, however, I still always prefer to read the physical book so I usually get audio books that i’ve either read or ones that aren’t on the top of my list of books to buy.

So there we go! My top ways that I use to try and relax, I hope that some of you can use them to help. What do you do to relax?

My Top 5 Tips for Surviving Uni…

I am going to start off by saying that unlike the majority of people my University days weren’t my favourite but nevertheless I picked up a few tips here and there.

1.Be Bothered – This may seem like a strange one as the end game is to get your
self a degree, however, I think everyone who has experienced college or uni, at some point, would’ve thought ‘i’ll do that later’ when deep down you know you won’t. Yes, I thought so too. If you don’t finish notes in a lecture, finish them. Having a slow week in between assignments?  Start one. Whether its research, writing or even checking a fact, do it. I can guarantee you will end up doing it anyway!

2. Ask for help – I was always worried that my tutors would blacklist me for sending them       too many emails or turning up to their office hours too often and it wasn’t until I had a   rubbish dissertation tutor where  I thought ‘hang on a sec, I am paying full university fees, this is your job to support me is it not?’. Don’t be perturbed by grumpiness! If they aren’t answering your emails, go and find them! (Of course not all tutors are like this!).

3. Get Involved – Again, this seems like an important factor in uni life but if you’re like me and you let anxiety get the better of you then it does impact on the type of university experience you have. Towards the end of my degree I did wish that I would’ve actually gone to some of the clubs I signed up for as I had more time then!

4. Don’t get too excited when your money comes in – Sooooo many of my friends just went out and spent their loan/grant then had to live off baked beans till the next lot came in (seriously one of my flatmates ended up borrowing thousands from her parents!). I tried to save mine and found it more rewarding at the end of each year to treat myself to a big little something…It also feels much better when you go out with friends!

5. Know your limits – I found it so important not to cave into what everyone else was doing, ie: a lot of drinking and drugs! I’m not saying don’t do these things, I’m saying do them within your limits. Putting yourself in dangerous situations isn’t the best idea you will have so stay safe but have fun! If someone you are with is a hardened drinker and has already downed five pints of whatever, it’s ok you don’t have to race them! They will appreciate your company either way…they won’t notice when they’re drunk anyway!

 

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?