It’s on a downer…

When I say it I mean my life… In the most dramatic sense possible.

It’s not really that bad but I feel as though it is. I haven’t blogged in a while as a couple of weeks ago I decided to make a difficult decision and quit my job, the support wasn’t there and I felt as though I was putting myself in a dangerous situation by even going into work.

As a result for the past couple of weeks I have been sitting here wanting to throw my laptop against the wall and disappear to a remote island in a puff of smoke. It may not seem like the worst scenario in the world but the timing is. I’ve missed birthdays and will miss Christmas due to lack of funds which makes me feel like the worst person in the world. It is right now that I wish I could make a living out of blogging! Granted i’d need to actually blog for that to happen…..

Everyday feels like a drain, waking up and feeling like a failure. Days come and go and all you do is stare at the same screen, hoping something will pop up. Saying this there are also those days, albeit few and far between, where you feel like you will conquer anything and this is just a minor hiccup. This feeling quickly goes once you’ve spent a couple of hours job hunting…

To those of you out there in the same position, search and search, you will get there and it will get better in the end…

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A sense of Community…

Communities appear in everyday life and whether we want to be or not we are all part of one. Being in a tough work environment, community to me feels really important, whether its the long hours, difficult shifts you need that sense of community to be able to push through and help you develop.

Of course at points there are going to be times where people don’t get on, it’s part of life, we clash, we fight and we make up but whats really hard is when you don’t feel art of that community. In an already difficult environment not feeling part of that community, a ‘rota filler’ as I describe it, feels very isolating and degrading. It can leave you feeling like your’re worthless and it wouldn’t matter if you aren’t around. So how do you overcome that?

In all honesty sometimes you can’t but simply accepting that people will let you down and disappoint you makes it easier. Expecting too much of people doesn’t help the feeling of not belonging. Just accept that no people are going to let me down, its what you do with this that counts. I have to say I learnt this the hard way, getting wound up about the lack of support isn’t going to help how you feel. Accept it, man up and deal with it yourself, not only will this help you be prepared for the next let down it’ll give you a sense of achievement that you have managed to sort whatever it is through yourself no matter how annoyed you are!

So if you are one of those people who value that support, look at what support you already have, it may not be the support you want but its there…

Tell me what you do in this situation? How do you manage this?

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.

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.

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 ‘too sensitive’…

As I have spoken about before school life wasn’t exactly what I’d call fun. When I say this, I am aware that there are many people out there who have had it worse than me but speaking from my own experiences I will say that it is not something I would like to relive.

If I had the chance to go back ad do it all again one of the things, and perhaps the main thing I would change would be to have more of a backbone. Even I admit that when I was younger and started my senior school years, I wasn’t the most hardened and was overly sensitive to what people thought (or what I thought they thought) and how they acted towards and around me. This was always a sore point for me as I hated it, everyone used to say ‘stop being so sensitive’ or ‘you’re so sensitive’ if I ever got upset when anyone said something that I deemed, unnecessary or mean.

Surely though everyone’s different? So what if I was sensitive? Surely that should mean that people should respect my feelings more? I, personally always try to be more aware of what I am saying when around people who I know are more sensitive, or when I am talking about a sensitive topic.

I guess my point is that just because I was sensitive, does that mean I should have got picked on? It wasn’t just me either, those who were deemed unpopular and sensitive often got picked on more than those who weren’t.

I would like to say that those people didn’t have an effect on me, but, if I am being 100% honest they have. Along with my school experience and other experiences I got to a stage where I felt weak and unimportant, like nobody listens or cares, as a result I slowly became numb to my emotions and in order to stop myself getting hurt or upset by comments, I took on a persona. My persona became someone who I thought was the opposite to me, strong, brave, independent and most importantly at the time, someone who had a backbone. I kept building up my walls and defenses until I just felt nothing, instead it bothered me in a different way, I became so full of anger at the unfairness of these comments and angry at myself that I ended up becoming extremely anxious and depressed.

I don’t want to make this all about people who appear to be ‘sensitive’ as there are many who are strong because they have been through so much, however, maybe, just maybe, people will eventually think about what they are saying to others whether they appear strong or ‘sensitive’.

Everyone has their own story…

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.

The Body Confidence Edit…

We all have those days where we feel so rubbish and down about ourselves and the way we look, but what can we do to change it?

At the time of feeling rubbish probably not much! Well that is the honest reply anyway but that doesn’t mean you can’t try things. Whether you want to feel better or whether you are just stuck in a rut – stop and think. Is it really as bad as you think? No. It’s never as bad as we think. In our modern-day society both men and women have so much pressure on them to look a specific way and this doesn’t even include fashion, makeup and hair! Men feel the pressure to get a six-pack and somehow be able to lift ridiculous weights to appear ‘manly’. Forget about whether they have a good personality, can make you laugh and understand you, nope, that is out the window guys! As long as you have rippling muscle definition – then you are a man. Women, its similar just without the rippling six pack, we have to be toned, skinny with perfect skin. AS IF! In fact research has shown that men prefer women curvy and vice versa, with other research showing that physical appearance isn’t the most important thing to either sex. Yet despite this we still look at ourselves with disgust.

I am definitely one of those people. I am not afraid to say that I’m not happy with my appearance, i’m curvy and whilst i’m not big I am not toned and this bothers me. I look in the mirror and see a bit of podge on the bottom of my stomach and instantly remove the outfit i’m wearing. Whether I should feel like this or not, there is no denying that I could do something about it but don’t always have the motivation. I do prefer to wear baggier clothes as then you can’t see my ‘rolls’ and if it was socially acceptable I would live in pajamas for no other reason than the fact that they are comfy. Sometimes I just wear a baggy hoodie to feel better about myself that day; other days I’ll feel brave enough to wear something a little more figure hugging.

As a daily mantra I am trying to tell myself that I, a 22-year-old woman, am me. There is nothing wrong with me or anyone around me. Why should it matter to people if I have a bit of podge or that I’m not toned. If I looked at someone with a figure hugging dress and curves I would think they look beautiful and that everyone both men and women have different body shapes, sizes and types. The pressure put on us is ridiculous and unfair, we are all different and realistically, without surgery, it is impossible to look like we feel like we are expected to.

I guess my message from this is that everyone is different, embrace it. We are all going to have the days where we feel rubbish about ourselves but trying to be a size six model isn’t going to help anyone! Love yourself. Enjoy life, be healthy and do what makes you happy.

An Open Letter to my Granddad…

Dear Granddad,

I have loads to tell you in the past ten years you were taken from me. I think perhaps the most important thing is that I miss you… LOTS. I was always a granddads girl and always will be and one of my best friends has been taken from me. I know you wouldn’t want me to be sad in anyway as you would believe you have been reunited with nanny and others who you lost in your life. For you, I hope this is true, I hope that what you believed has come true and I hope you are happy. For me, i’d give anything to see you again, tell you what I have done since the last time I saw you, introduce you to my two little guinea pigs and my loving partner – who I think you would approve of! I’d give anything to hear you say ‘learn all those lessons’, it is only now that I have grown up that I realise two things: 1) this is probably the best piece of advice that I have ever been given and 2) that unbeknownst to me at the time not only did you mean educational lessons but most likely also meant life lessons. I know I have done things you wouldn’t approve of, such as getting piercings in my ears, but I know that even though you may not like it, you’d accept it, just like you accepted me for all my faults and flaws. I always knew that at the end of the day, you would be there to help make things better. It is thanks to you that I know how powerful love is and feels but also how painful it can be. How painful it is to write this post and how painful it is to know how sad you would be to know that this is part of the way I feel.

Deep down I know that you would still be proud of me, and are always there to comfort me even though I can’t see you, I know you are up there smiling down and I try to believe it with everything I have that one day, one day I will see you again and you will tell me that I learnt all those lessons.

For now I will have to make do with my memories of you, for them I will always love you.

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.