Trying To Move Forward With No Direction Is Tough!

So, I was just attempting my new daily 10 minute mindfulness exercise and today, more than usual, my mind was plain blank refusing to shut off.

What came up for me was that in my most-recent attempt to overcome this damned anxiety, to get out of this non-existence I seem to be living in, to make something of myself, to do something actually worthwhile I have been trying a million different things but in the process doing not much at all.

I remember playing a computer game years ago, called something along the lines of ‘Goldmine’, some of you may remember it, it was quite popular. At the bottom of the screen would be a grabbing device that would extend out to the top of the screen and the aim of the game was to try and direct the device in order to collect gold nuggets. My current approach to life, to finding the magic cure, feels exactly like this. As I look out from this tired mind I can see numerous things I can try and I am just reaching out to them all in the hope that one of them will be the magic cure. But there is no structure. No plan. No clear vision of what that end goal looks like. It feels like I am running away rather than moving forward towards something. All I know is that how I am feeling right now is not how I want to be feeling. And I am tired.

These are just some of the things that are hanging in the pipeline at the moment:

I have signed up to some community creative classes, the first is on Thursday. They are free for individuals suffering with mental health and my thinking is that this will be good exposure therapy. I have signed up to one of these classes before but I was so anxious I didn’t make it through the door.

I had some blood tests at the doctor’s surgery to investigate whether my extreme lethargy is a symptom of something else going on other than anxiety – the results were clear but I am yet to contact the doctor to follow this up.

Last night I took 2 diazepam, something I have put off for about 14 years, a path I really did not want to go down but decided to explore as a possible tool during exposure therapy so that I make sure I always do make it through that damn door. Funnily enough I felt a bit useless on them, I think they would be helpful, if for example, I was going to the dentist and needed to relax but not have to use my brain but I was finding it impossible to even memorise a 5 digit number so the idea of using them when I actually need to function doesn’t seem like something worth a possible future drug-dependency.

I also got prescribed Sertraline a few weeks ago, a medication used for anxiety, again something I have always resisted but perhaps an avenue I should explore, they are still waiting in the pharmacy for me to collect. I had opened myself up to the idea that they may be something, despite my resistance, that could help in the short-term. But then I went back on the internet and read lots of negative experiences and now I’m scared of taking them all over again.

I contacted a local youth club to offer some hours helping out. At the point of them saying “Yeah sure, complete this application, come in for an interview and we’ll go from there” I froze. The self-doubt kicked in – “Is this something I really want to do anyway?”, “What if I get really anxious?”, “What if i hate it?”, “I’ve been getting really faint recently, there could be something wrong, I shouldn’t go”, “I have enough on my plate anyway” etc etc. A month later they contacted me to see if I was still interested, it took me 2 days to reply that I was, I was supposed to send in my application 2 days ago, I have made up some excuse about my printer running out of ink and I’ll get back to them as soon as possible…. Urgh. Already unreliable and anxious.

I have also signed up for a mindfulness course. The taster session is being held about 40 minutes away in 3 weeks and then the full course will take place in the new year. Going will be a challenge and I am scared.

I have also been told about a local lady who does psychic readings, I plan to have a session with her in the hope she can offer some insight, direction, guidance. I haven’t got the answers but perhaps her and the spirits have.

I am reading about the work of a lady called Gretchen Rubin, she has come up with 4 personality tendencies, turns out I am a rebel and that means (I think) that I only tend to do things as and when I feel like it – This explains a lot. So now I need to continue reading her work to find out the best ways for Rebels to move forward in life.

There are numerous books I want to read to help me move forward, The Big Leap, The Path, Overcoming the Fear of Fear, Mind Over Mood to name just a few.

I started (but haven’t continued) working on some cognitive behavioural worksheets.

I am trying to remember to take daily vitamins to boost mental health.

I contacted a local Life Coach this morning who had posted an advert on Facebook about helping people with anxiety. Maybe she has the answers.

The problem is, and I know this is a problem, is I don’t have any direction, I don’t know what it is that I want to do, I never have done. When I was a child I wanted to be a fashion designer, then a TV presenter, then a counsellor, my dreams would change weekly if not daily or quicker. And to be completely honest, not much has changed as an adult. I often think about life and all it’s possibilities as a catalogue, I tell myself to look through that catalogue and pick out everything I want but I just don’t know. I haven’t found ‘my thing’. I am a Jack of All Trades, Master of Nothing. That makes it difficult to move forward because I don’t have anything motivating me. I have no end goal. No light at the end of my tunnel. Nothing to work towards. I just know that in the past opportunities have arisen and passed by because I have been too anxious to take them.

The problem with having an anxiety disorder is that going out and finding ‘my thing’ becomes hard. Ideally, I would love to go and try out lots of different things until I find something that makes me happy but living in a rural location those opportunities are limited anyway, and even if they weren’t, I don’t feel able to to do so because I become so riddled with anxiety. Joy is taken away and everything becomes a chore.

Oh what to do… Any ideas, thoughts and advice would kindly be welcome. As you can tell I currently feel like I haven’t got the answers and am searching for them in anything and anyone other than myself.

 

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Hospital Wards… Ponderings From the Bedside

Hospital wards: A funny place to be
Look around and there’s lots to see
But looking beyond the surface and it’s clear to me
The over-riding energy in here, is uncertainty

A man so healthy and yet now so vulnerable
The life he has led until now, glaringly unrefundable

Questions run deep
Straight from the heart
Death and morality: oh where do i start?

A question I ponder is regarding the quality of life:
Different answers keep coming up for him, his family and his wife
Is it best to die young and happy until the end?
Or better to fight to stick around for those who depend?
A gamble for the patient
Whose quality of life may consequently descend
Thankfully this is not yet my decision, but his, to defend

Conversations of death so often quickly shut down
Our selfish refusal of acknowledgement puts the patient in quick lockdown

I listen with my heart to all that needs to be said
And I hope that I can offer support in a way that’s not misread
God knows I would miss you and yes I would cry
But if it is what you want then I will say my good-bye

Is prolonging the pain our ultimate sin?
Some of the folks ‘round here look really done’in!

Whose choice is it anyway? Not the patients that’s for sure
“You are not in your right mind, here take this pill, I’ve been told it’s a cure”

However…
Perhaps after they recover
Gratitude of the pills is something they will later discover

The apparent truth of the pharmaceutical system
The heavy compression of spiritual suppression
“Swallow your pill and swallow it whole
What’s that? You have a fever? Don’t worry about that
Profit is our end goal”

Making your choices is a matter of will
Don’t be seen to be a nuisance or refuse the pill

Yet despite the downfalls of the industry, the profit and the corruption
Lies a mass of staff with hearts of devotion
They are doing their best
And they are doing it well
Please help this man
I want him to go home and say his farewell

Along comes the surgeon, an immigrant from afar
His family home front door is always ajar
Children at home waiting for his return
But another shift requires his expertise and concern
Working hours long in to the night
Saving the lives of those who have had a fright

Second chances given out
Of a life that our ancestors would have missed out

Moving forward we each have grown
For those bedside ponderings for me, a lot they have shown

 

 

Behind The Smile

I have just booked tickets for a gig on the 13th of October. Then another on the 14th of October.

So this is my run-down of going to events like this…

1. Forget I have social anxiety
2. Book tickets
3. Slightly freak out at the commitment I’ve just made
4. Not think about it until a couple of days before
5. Then REALLY start to freak out
6. Wonder why the hell I keep putting myself through this crap. Staying at home is much less painful.
7. Lie awake the night before thinking about how awful it will be if I don’t get to sleep
8. On the day become convinced that every ache and pain means I am actually dying!!! and that means i really definitely absolutely certainly shouldn’t go to said event!!! Afterall, who wants to die in public? Not me, that’s for sure! Apparently!
9. Change outfit about 10 times – don’t want to dress up – don’t want to draw attention to myself – not too much boob – settle for as dressed down as i can possibly be without looking out of place. Always opt for jeans and tshirt.
10. Really freak out about the fact I’m about to be around thousands of people. Cry. A lot. Reapply makeup. Cry again.
11. Queue up. Feel like I am going to die.
12. Bag gets searched at entrance. Make inappropriate joke about hiding my drugs somewhere else. WTF is wrong with me?!
13. Get in and head straight to the toilet
14. Stand awkwardly on the side of the crowd. Right next to the exit. Get annoyed because I’m in the way.
15. Go to the toilet
16. Manage rising anxiety every 15 mins
17. Awesome tune comes on, dance and forget I have anxiety for 5 minutes
18. Remember I have anxiety
19. Count down the time before I can leave
20. Post photo on social media about what a great night I’m having
21. Go to the toilet
22. Leave and realise that whole experience was about 20% enjoyment and 80% endurance
23. Start to relax. Finally. I am out. Yay. What was all the anxiety about? I survived. Yay. Without dying in public. Double Yay.
24. Forget I have social anxiety
25. Repeat

Attention and Obsession

So a post of mine on Facebook went viral a couple of days ago, it ended up with over 20k shares. I saw a picture with a political message on Instagram and I shared it on to my Facebook, when the post reached around 1.5k shares I went back to the original post on Instagram and informed the lady who originally posted it, she was lovely and super excited she had 5 minutes of social media fame as a result but a friend of hers was initially annoyed with me. She believed it had been my intention to steal her post and claim it as my own (this was absolutely not the case and later she realised this). This is what I learnt about myself as a result.

One – I am extremely obsessive! I constantly wanted to know how it was doing: how many comments it had, how many shares it had and what people were thinking about it. This obsession quickly led to adrenaline and anxiety and I lost concentration and focus on anything else. I was unable to turn off from it. Scrutinising myself in that way over the past 48 hours has made me appreciate how much of the anxiety and difficulty I face is a result of this single character trait. Surely if I can find a way to overcome this then it would make a lot of situations in my life far easier for myself.

It’s funny because I feel utterly embarrassed and ashamed to admit my own self-focused obsession because I am FULLY aware that the fact this post has gone viral has EVERYTHING to do with the post and NOTHING to do with me. Even my own response to my anxious/obsessive response is “Oh for God’s sake, get over yourself”. Yet, so much of my anxiety feels like it is there because I have my head stuck up my arse, thinking the world revolves around me! Which I don’t really think! But that’s how it feels when I am anxious! Which moves me on to…

Two – I say I don’t, but I must actually really care what people think about me! And this conclusion has taken me time to reach because it’s a complex one. I really don’t care what someone thinks about me if they are an idiot but if someone comes across as a genuinely nice person and they think negatively about me in any way then I really don’t know what  to to do with myself. The thought that people thought I had shared that post with the intention of taking credit for it drove me to send private messages defending myself. I so desperately felt the need to justify both myself and my actions. I needed that person to know I am a good person. Why? Is my ego really that huge? God, It obviously is. I hate that about myself.

Three – Something which has been completely reinforced, is the fact that I have terrible coping mechanisms to feeling anxious! Avoidance is my natural instinctive reaction. I try hard to push through this in my life and I do things that I find difficult to keep pushing myself but when things get too much I draw back and want to hide. I stopped the notifications for the post, I instantly deleted all the hundreds of friend requests that came in without even looking at the names, I removed the post from my wall so that I couldn’t see it and when post was out of date (it related to registering to vote which needed to be done by a particular date) then I deleted the post all together.

The strange thing is, the thing that I don’t understand, is that ‘over-obsession’ and ‘avoidance’ seem to be the complete opposites of each other. The obsessing part of me wants to move toward the situation and scrutinise every aspect of it, I feel like I am a caged animal exploring a new object, looking at every corner, every side, every crevice with fascination and intrigue. But the avoidance part of me is backing away saying “No, no, this is too much, I don’t want to be exposed to this”. I just don’t understand how I can be so much of a contradiction.

So. I Went and Got a Job. FUCK!

So… I was made redundant and haven’t worked for 14 months, but, I just got a job. Yay! Amazing news! Well done me! I should be so proud… So why is it that all I can think is FUCK FUCK FUCK?!

You see, I’m the one who wanted a job, prayed for one, wished for the right job to come along, applied for it, but now that it’s here I am so not ready – I don’t even want to try and be ready.

 

Is it because I’m lazy? Because I have the life of riley? Because it’s just easier being financially looked after by my fella? Because I’m not ready to give up my days of relaxing and leisurely pottering all day? No! Well okay, maybe a little bit but not entirely. Let’s take a step back in time to the actual interview and you might begin to understand…

 

I had applied for about 10 jobs. I had worked tirelessly to reduce my fear about working just enough to build up enough courage to dream about the advantages of working: taking some pressure off my fella, the chance to meet new people, get out of the house, do something to end the daily boredom, earn money, increase my confidence. I was actually starting to look forward to it. A little bit. And then I received an email inviting me to an interview the following week.

 

The following 5 days were tough – I spent hours upon hours listening to positive affirmations on Youtube, I did numerous tapping exercises on a number of issues I was facing: resistance to change, anxiety, lack of confidence, self-doubt, interview nerves – the list goes on. The only person I told was my sister (and I almost didn’t even tell her), I didn’t want the pressure, the expectation. And I definitely didn’t want the guilt that would come afterwards if I didn’t actually make it there. The less people who knew the less I had to lose. So I spent 5 days in a daze, my fella constantly asking what was wrong and me replying with “Oh, nothing, I’m just anxious”.

 

The morning of the interview arrived and surprisingly I didn’t feel too bad. I was nervous but to be honest I think I was in denial, a big part of me was still playing the ‘Oh if I don’t go it doesn’t matter – just one step at a time’ card. I was just going through the motions, get showered, get dressed, put on make-up, etc etc. Anyway, I arrived about 20 minutes early so sat in the van and did some last minute tapping. I was terrified and every 30 seconds that anxious voice inside my head tried to convince me to just drive home. God, I almost did quite a few times.

 

Eventually I decided to go into the shop, still thinking that I didn’t have to go through with it if I didn’t want to – there was still time to change my mind. I got into the shop and the anxiety heightened, my vision went blurry and I decided to pretend to be a customer and that I would leave without telling them who I really was. As I wandered through from the entrance towards the exit, pretending to look at Christmas napkins, table fans and window blinds I managed to persuade myself to go for it.

Fuck it – just do it.

I went to the tills and announced that I was here for an interview. The shop assistant told me to go upstairs and wait in the coffe shop. “Okay, thank you”.

FUCKKKKK!!  Now they know I’m here!

I started walking upstairs but by the time I got to the top I felt faint, I was trembling, I was hot and the fight or flight response had well and truly kicked in.

Fuckkkkk, I need to get out of here – I can’t do this.

I ran for the exit.

What will I tell them? I’ll just say I’m ill and I’ve got to go, say anything, just get out! Quickly!

By this point I was freaking out, a full on anxiety attack had kicked in. I almost got to the door, my escape was within reaching distance and a member of staff approached me, a young lady, and said “if you just take a seat upstairs, someone will be with you soon”. “Thank-you” I replied, embarrassed to say “actually, see you later, I’m off”. I turned back around and headed towards the coffee shop like a good little girl.

Fuck – I’m actually doing this – I can’t actually leave – maybe that was some divine intervention – maybe she was supposed to stop me from leaving maybe she was an angel – maybe it’ll be okay – yes Cara, just think that – everything will be okay – everything will be okay – you will be okay.

As I approach the coffee shop there is another girl “are you here for the interview too” I ask. She was.

She was calm and relaxed, like you’re supposed to be when you’re at an interview for a part time sales assistant job. There’s no pressure. That’s why I applied for the job. There is no need to panic. Everything will be okay. You will be okay.

I sat with her. We talked. I was still shaking. I still wanted to run away but eventually I started to relax. Okay, I can do this! 20 minutes later the manager arrived and says “Sorry, they have booked you both in at the same time. I don’t know why. So if I see Keira first then I will come back for you afterwards Cara. We won’t be long”. He seemed nice. So I had 30 minutes to sit down. I started to relax, I got my sketchbook out of my bag and started to draw. I took in my surroundings, started to feel comfortable. Started to think I could actually work here.

Okay, I’ve got this!

capture

The interview went well, lasted double the time of Keira’s, but it was filled with positive feedback and lots of laughter. I left excited – it was everything I needed/wanted from my first step back into the workplace, it was part-time, short shifts, nice boss, no pressure, not stuck at a desk, free parking outside the premises (always good if I ever need to run away 😉 ) – it was good.

I expected a call later that day – it didn’t arrive.

6 days later, after chasing it up, I was told I got the job – the same day I woke up full of cold – great! I don’t do illness very well – being ill makes me anxious. Getting a job makes me anxious. I am anxious.

3 days later, which just so happens to be today, was supposed to be my induction, but it has been postponed until I feel better! I don’t know if I’ll ever feel better enough! Oh god, I’ve got to be a proper adult again – fuckkkk!

 

I know it’s great really, I know that. But… Well, now I’ve got to go through that experience 5 days a week. So yes, there is a part of me that wishes I could be looked after by my fella forever. The princess inside wishes she didn’t have to work. But mostly, more than anything I am just scared. I am scared to commit. I am scared I won’t be able to cope. I am scared of feeling that anxious. It is horrible. Why would any sane person choose to put themselves through feeling like that? … But deep down, (and I really don’t want to admit this.. but) I know as unready as I am now, I also know that this is as ready as I will ever be. This first step is NEVER going to be easy. Ever. So do I do it now? Or do I wait another 10 years and do it later? Maybe that lady was an angel after all, maybe this is all meant to be. Maybe someone up there is looking out for me. All I have to do now, as my step-dad says, is “ride the wave, keep looking forwards and don’t look back”

 

It may be the perfect metaphor but I’ve always hated the water!

A Letter From the Heart To a Dear Friend

There is something I would like to share with you.

But first I would like to say…

I have been thinking A LOT today about you, about me, about people, about life, about all the fucking issues that people have (because that’s what they are – “FUCKING ISSUES”). I have been wondering why some people seem to glide through life while others seem to struggle so much. I wondered how it is possible that 2 people can experience the exact same situation and both react in two very different ways? Why is that? Is it just down to ‘who they are?’ Something they cannot change? Or is it a choice?

When you are feeling at your worst, there are things I want to say to you but I don’t because I know that ‘in that moment’ what I want to say will make the situation worse. Because when you (and every other person in the world) are in a particular headspace I know that you will perceive what I’m saying in a particular way, perhaps in a way that I don’t intend. So I don’t say it. While I was thinking today, I wondered why I don’t say those things!? Because really we all know that I love you, you love me, neither of us would ever do anything intentionally to hurt the other and we would both put ourselves on the line for the other person. Of course when you are hurting all I want to do is make you feel better and vice versa. That PROVES that anything we ever say or do for/to each other is from a place of love. But, as human beings, it is so easy for us to instantly get SO defensive (because of our ‘FUCKING ISSUES’) that we forget that what the other person is saying is from a place of love.

So, moving on from that exact point, today I have been thinking about something I want to say to you. But I was finding it difficult to find the words – because I know, that your reaction to what I want to say will be for you to put your guard up, you will take it personally and you will think I’m having a go at you. You’ll think that I just don’t understand. But please believe that all I ever want is for you to be happy.

Then I found something (the thing I’m going to share with you – eventually) which I thought might help you to believe that actually I do understand. And because of that I thought “fuck it, I’m just going to say it”. What I want to say to you is (please know this is from a place of love)…

You need to take responsibility of your own happiness.

if you want to be happy, be

I’m not saying “YOU need to take responsibility for your happiness”

I’m saying “you NEED to take responsibility for your happiness”

I’m not implying that you are responsible for how you are feeling RIGHT NOW. I’m not implying that you’re not doing a good enough job at ‘being happy’. I can hear your voice right now saying

“I’m trying”….“I don’t know how”.…“It’s who I am”….“You don’t understand”

But what I AM saying is that if you don’t change something then your life isn’t going to change. Now is the time.

You can’t stop the suffering in your life. You can’t stop the horrible people. You can’t stop your insecurities overnight. You will probably always be prone to feeling the way you are right now when things get tough.

BUT what you CAN do is change how you react to all of those things. Don’t see yourself as a victim to all the things that have ‘happened to you’.  Instead of being a victim of those things, RECOGNISE that those things make you feel shit, and do what YOU can to stop yourself feeling shit when they happen to you again in the future. It won’t come over night but life goes so goddamn quickly, the work you do on yourself now will make your life so much better in the future.

she belived she could so she did

I was thinking about this earlier and something quite funny was happening at the same time. I have one of those stupid standy-upy hoovers and you can take the nozzley bit off to hoover in corners. So I took the nozzley bit off and started hoovering the skirting board (living the high-life I am) and the whole hoover tipped over and hit me on the head. It fucking hurt. 2 minutes later the same thing happened again. 2 minutes later, it smacked me in the back. The 4th time I picked up the nozzley thing I even said to myself “I wonder when I’m going to change the way I do this, I’m probably gonna get hurt” and guess what – yes 4 times  that hoover smacked me on the head… I couldn’t change the fact that the hoover kept hitting me on the head. It is something that ‘happened to me’. The hoover is what it is. If I let it, it would probably carry on hitting me on the head; it is designed in a particular way so that when I use it, it falls over. So, the only option left for me to stop hurting was to take responsibility for my part in the situation and to change the way I hoover.

To me, this is the perfect metaphor of life… You can’t stop feeling the way you are feeling right now (I’m frustrated that the hoover keeps hitting me). You can’t change what ‘happens to you’ (the hoover keeps falling on me). To a certain extent you can’t even change how you react to situations (it blimming hurts) BUT what you CAN change is how you react to it. You can look very carefully at the situations in your life that cause you to feel shit and see for yourself the things that you are doing that are making your situation worse for yourself. You can’t change situations but you can change the part that you play in them.

And finally, to the thing that I wanted to share with you. I want to share this because I know at the moment, you are finding it hard to understand that you can take control of your happiness. I know you think it’s “just the way you are”. And that no-one else ‘understands’…. But hopefully what I am about to share will show you that actually I really do understand; because sometimes I feel the same as you (we all have FUCKING ISSUES). But, I know that I CAN TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR MY HAPPINESS. So, the following is something I wrote down about 6 months ago. I’d basically walked out of uni just before I was supposed to give an assessed presentation because I had a massive panic/anxiety attack. My lecturers were understanding and had allowed me to do it on a different day instead rather than losing marks because of it. I wrote this when I was in the middle of a panic attack and I was an emotional wreck.

*** I’m so thankful to my lecturers for being lenient – This is so hard to deal with – it is so frustrating – I want to be the person I know I have the potential to be but this fucking thing comes along and takes over – it tells me I can’t do things – it fills me with fear and takes away every ounce of confidence I have in myself – it’s a little voice with a BIG impact telling me I can’t do it and that I’m not strong enough.

Even though I don’t want to believe it, it fills my body with so much fear that I can’t possibly ignore it – I don’t stand a chance – No-one would – Not against that strength.

And yet the majority of people I come into contact with probably have no idea – no clue – no-one can see when I’m sat in a lecture and all of a sudden this wave goes over me – this wave of terror, of fear, like nothing rational I have ever experienced before – suddenly, out of no-where I am terrified – as though I am a tiny girl standing all alone in the middle of a war-zone – literally – I don’t stand a chance – all I want to do is run away and leave and yet I haven’t even got the confidence in my ability to do that – the voice is telling me I’m not even strong enough to run! What do you do in that moment? I tell you what you do, you hang on for dear life – you hope and you prey you’ll get through it – that these feelings will subside. They do of course! They always do – eventually! And no-one is any the wiser! Everyone is still sat listening to the lecturer as if nothing has happened. Because nothing has happened – not really – only in my head!!!

Anxiety

This happens on a daily basis – A constant battle – hoping – preying – managing the constant anxiety so it doesn’t get to that point – it is sooooo exhausting – and yet, you keep on going – no-one the wiser…

Then you get a day – a day when all the hoping, and the preying and the managing just  isn’t enough – and whatever you do, it is just not enough – for that one day it becomes so strong that it stops you from being you – you run! (I’m talking about the fact I just walked out of uni when I was supposed to be doing a presentation) you can’t do what you are ‘supposed’ to do – what you ‘need’ to do  – which inevitably, in some way impacts on someone else – so that is where the guilt and the embarrassment comes in  – you have to admit the truth – at least to yourself – and then shortly afterwards comes the dilemma : do you tell people how you are REALLY feeling or do you make up some elaborate lie as to why you couldn’t do the ‘thing’ you ‘needed’ to do.

Some days nothing can be done to help it – to manage it – SOME DAYS IT JUST IS!!! My god, those days are scary – they are lonely – they become filled with such dark emotions – so difficult to ‘manage’.

“what’s wrong?” they ask

“You’ll be fine” they say

But the problem is I don’t know what is wrong – it just is!

And actually, for your information, I’m not fine! I’m really scared – really really scared!

And so very alone in this moment! L

*************

So, as you can see, when I say to you, you need to take responsibility for your own happiness, I’m not saying it because I don’t understand. I do understand. I really fucking understand. We can’t change how we feel. We can’t change the situations we find ourselves in. BUT WE CAN CHANGE HOW WE DECIDE TO REACT TO THESE FUCKING SITUATIONS – WE ARE NOT VICTIMS!! I have awful anxiety but I will not allow myself to become a victim because of it.

What I do when I have a bad day:

  • I allow myself to feel shit and tell myself over and over again that it will not last forever
  • I try and be as healthy as possible – I make myself have fresh air – I eat healthily and I spend money on iron supplements/vitamin C etc. – this is my priority
  • Every time I start worrying about the future I tell myself over and over again “worrying is only preparing for a negative future – I don’t want a negative future – I want a positive future – therefore I need to stop thinking negatively”
  • I go on YouTube and look for a 10 minute guided meditation to help me relax and ‘be in the moment’
  • I read books/websites etc. about ways to make myself feel better
  • I go on YouTube and look at videos from ‘Byron Katie’ – the one called ‘’my wife worries too much’’ is amazing – you should watch it
  • I make myself aware of the fact that I’m not feeling my best and recognise that that might impact on the way I view my relationships – so I don’t take things personally
  • I practise gratitude – every time I feel shit about a person or a situation – no matter now negative I feel I make a list (even if it’s only in my head) of all the good things about that person or situation that I am grateful for – this is really difficult when I’m feeling really shit – and it takes practise but fuck me, when you get the hang of it – it can really change your life because it gets you into the habit of questioning your thoughts and turning them around so you end up turning a negative into a positive
  • I try and not push away the people I love – no matter how shit I’m feeling they still deserve my respect and they don’t deserve me making them feel shit just because I’m feeling shit
  • Tell myself over and over again that no matter how bad things get it’ll never be so bad that I won’t have the love of my friends and family

Different things work for different people – you need to find the things that work for you – but don’t give in – only you can find out what works for you. Make it your priority. Because YOU DO HAVE A CHOICE!

I'll choose happiness

Little Miss Unreliable

Yep, that’s me today… sigh… The thing with living with an anxiety disorder, I have found, is that sometimes it is there and sometimes it is not. Sometimes I am ‘me’ and sometimes I am not. Anxiety has affected my life in many ways, but one of the biggest challenges I am currently facing is its irregular nature and its role in making me unreliable. I often avoid planning things that involve other people because I just don’t know how well I will be coping on any given day. On the rare occasions I do plan things I more often than not end up cancelling them last minute or at the very least I will fantasise for days on end leading up to the event about cancelling and not having to go because social occasions are so often exhausting rather than liberating. Don’t get me wrong, I do ‘do things’, I just tend to do them spontaneously rather than having to think about them for weeks on end beforehand.

This is an aspect of my anxiety that I have become exceptionally aware of this past year – and if I’m honest, it kind of sucks! During the last few months of my degree, I remember my anxiety was sky-high! I felt like I was on a treadmill – a treadmill that was getting faster and faster as I was getting more and more exhausted! But, the end was in sight and all I had to do was reach the finish line! I had been so looking forward to finishing, to doing nothing, to being able to relax, at least for a little while before ‘real-life’ had to start again. I had planned a couple of days away to London with my fella: a posh hotel, a brilliant night out and full of fun – that was the least I deserved right? Yeah Right more like – no matter how much you try to organise fun you soon realise that with an anxiety disorder it can become an almost impossible task! If you’re lucky enough to be having a good day you’ll have a great time but if that murky monster decided to rear its little head you’ve got no chance. I had been so looking forward to a bit of ‘Us’ time, a celebration of getting through my degree with a first but the reality was I was riddled with anxiety the whole time. I, well, ‘hated’ might be slightly strong, but I certainly ‘struggled’ through every minute.

So anyway, here I am a little over 6 months later realising that there are some things in life you can’t be spontaneous with. That you actually need to plan and you need to attend, no matter how bad you are feeling on that particular day, and one of those things is work. Yes, I’m working 4 days a week, come rain or shine… Mostly… Unless I’m feeling really really bad, in which case I just run!

Today I left work an hour after arriving. I suddenly felt very sick and ill. Around about the same point my anxiety went through the roof. To be honest, I’m still not sure if my anxiety triggered the sickness or the sickness triggered the anxiety but at the time, I figured my bosses would be far more lenient if it was a sickness bug so I went with that.

The truth is I have been working for this particular company for around 6 months, and I have had about 4 days off sick. OK, so I’m not going to be breaking any records with the amount of leave I have taken but I wonder if it is starting to become a bit of an issue. Thankfully, my wonderful employers are also my wonderful friends and so are far more lenient than any other employers would likely be, but as time goes on and my anxiety continues I wonder for how much longer they are able to compassionately accept my anxiety-riddled absences from work – they are running a business after all. As an employer, I would want my staff to be reliable. As an employee, I want to be reliable. It’s a trait I have always highly regarded, but this damn anxiety is making it difficult for me to be the employee I know I can be, reliable and hard working. Instead, I worry I’m coming across as an unreliable slacker around for an easy ride!

You see, today has been a particularly bad day because I did leave, I gave into the voices telling me to go home and I packed up my bag and went home. But this is just the tip of the iceberg because what people don’t realise is that nearly every other day that I manage to stick around until 5pm the same voice tells me the exact same thing about 50 times a day. And it’s not just the voice, the voice alone would be bearable, but it comes accompanied with feelings of utter terror, hot flushes, trips to the bathroom, shaking, lack of concentration, fear, sickness and faintness. Mostly all symptoms unrecognisable to a bystander. Today however, I was quickly tipped over the edge with the prospect of having to spend the afternoon throwing up in the work bathroom rather than my own. Although I’m aware that every day I spend in work is a triumph, a big ‘fuck you’ to anxiety, a new day where I have won the battle and earnt myself that little bit of extra self-respect and a damn good pat on the back I’m still aware that my wonderful friends, my wonderful employers don’t see that. They see someone who make 3-4 trips to the bathroom a day, someone who sometimes needs to take 10 minutes for a bit of fresh air because ‘the anxiety’ is getting ‘a bit much’, someone who will run home at the slightest sign of illness. And I don’t want them to think badly of me. To be annoyed by the amount of time I spend away from my desk.

You see, an anxiety disorder can be terrifying, relentless, exhausting and lonely but coming with it are many opportunities to grow, to adapt, to evolve, in whichever ways the individual feels necessary – personally, psychologically, spiritually. I’ve needed to learn to give myself what I need when I need it regardless of all the if’s and but’s. It’s a lesson we all need to learn at some point in our lives but for an anxiety sufferer it is forever in the forefront. I think it was one of my tallest hurdles to overcoming anxiety – the lesson to love yourself enough to give yourself what you need. Only then could I be in the best possible place to move on to the next lessons. In the most part I believe I am successful at this, but every now and again, like today, that flexible approach to life, the ‘if it really is that hard and I need to go home I will go home’ attitude means that I sacrifice an element of myself that I don’t feel happy about. Today my reliability as an employee was jeopardised because I ran away from my anxiety and I don’t like that.

So what am I going to do about it? Well tomorrow, I will go to work and try again to get through the day, and the day after that I will try again, and so on until I get it right. Because what will be will be. I may have had a crap day but I refuse to prolong my own suffering by making myself a victim.  I am not going to hinder my present moment about worrying about the possibility of losing my job over it. But, what I will do is recognise the patterns in my life, the fears behind my actions, I will respect those fears because they are a part of me but I will challenge them, daily. If the opportunity arises, I will speak to my employers about how I am feeling and discuss with them any concerns they may have as an employer. If the universe provides that opportunity then I will have faith that discussing it is the best option. If the opportunity does not arise then I will take comfort in the fact that the conversation is not needed. I will have faith that everything will be ok.

Who Am I?

So… Who Am I?
Ahh, the one question I imagine I will be trying to answer until my dying day. But for now, I will try to answer it as best I can so that you, the lovely reader, has an idea of the person who will be periodically controlling the voice inside your head with my random words of non-wisdom.
Honestly, this first post is the reason it has taken me so long to get this blog off the ground! I have a lot to say but as they say, the first step is always the hardest. Plus, ‘Who am I?’ is a difficult question to answer at the best of times and yet, I feel the need to validate this blog by explaining to you who I am – who am I to write a blog? To share my thoughts? My experiences?
I have thought about how to go about this for a long time and I have concluded it is best just to keep it simple. And so, I have decided to adopt Kuhn and McPartland’s (1954) Twenty Statement Test as a means of concise expression. Here Goes…
  • I am a twenty-something (nearly thirty) female
  • I suffer from daily anxiety – social anxiety, health anxiety, life anxiety 😉
…and yet…
  • I am a philosophical optimist – and a constant believer that it’ll ‘be alright in the end’
  • I am honest – I dream of an honest, fair and transparent society in which we could all live
  • I am creative and especially enjoy expressing myself through writing and drawing – neither I am very good at
  • I am an introvert – I need my alone time to recharge my batteries and I could never see myself as a city-girl – Give me the welsh coastline any day!
  • I am a lover of all things chocolaty and cake-like
  • I am a lover of nature – woods, beaches, cliff-tops, rivers, lakes, sunsets, sunrises -Love it all!
  • I am the girlfriend of a wonderful man, and have been for the past 9 years
  • I am a sister to the most wonderful siblings a girl could ask for – God, I love those guys!
  • I am a daydreamer
  • I am self-competitive – Always striving to be better than the person I was yesterday
  • I have a first honours degree in Psychology – People, beliefs and behaviours fascinate me!
 … and yet….
  • I am a Company Administrator working in an office
  • I am a spiritual girl
  • I am a respecter of opinions – no matter what they might be
  • I am a true believer in what will be will be – there is no need to push for anything because everything that happens to us is for our highest good
  • I am grateful – and if I’m not then I consciously change my views so that I am – gratitude makes everything better
  • I am an INFJ personality type (http://www.16personalities.com/infj-personality)
  • I am not so much concerned about materialistic possessions but instead by happiness, quality of life, good health, good relationships and happy memories
So there it is – I am most certainly not claiming to be a writer and I’m especially not qualified to become a blogger… but, I am honest, I struggle almost daily with anxiety, but I get through, I love expressing ideas and challenging both mine and others preconceptions and beliefs and I truly believe open discussion is the best way to achieve this. This blog will be about everything ‘Me’. I’m sure, over time, it will cover all aspects of the 20 statements above. It will be, a public diary if you will.
I am starting this adventure with no expectations – no plans – what will be will be – but I do hope that it will become a fulfilling exercise for myself whilst simultaneously, somehow, in some way, also be a positive addition to someone else’s life.