As I turn 30, I reflect back on my 20s. A decade of highs and lows, mistakes made and lessons learnt. A huge lesson was in terms of career, and finding my path.I spent the majority in office work, mainly Medical Secretary with a very brief spell dipping into the legal secretary world. I had a well-established job, I was working my way up through the ‘ranks’ and I was earning a good wage. It was where I thought I should be. It was accepted, a nod of approval when those asked what I did.Did it make me happy?Read More
As I stand opposite my wardrobe deciding what to wear, I suddenly thought – I really can’t remember the last time I bought an item of clothing.
Sustainability is such a hot topic at the moment, with many of us watching Stacey Dooley’s eye-opening documentary Fashion’s Dirty Secrets. I used to be so influenced by bloggers/instagrammers and those around me to keep refilling my wardrobe, to the point where I would open the doors and an avalanche of jumpers and jeans would threaten to smother me.Read More
Over the last year I have been seeing a therapist for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for an acute anxiety disorder.This therapy has changed my life (without sounding overly dramatic here). And I have come to look forward to my sessions, after initially dreading them for fear of getting upset, of triggering those anxious feelings, instead wanting to hide away and carry on avoiding situations and facing real life.I wanted to write an open letter to my therapist, as I draw closer to my therapy coming to a close. Even writing that sentence, I felt a shudder – does this mean I shouldn’t be suffering from anxious thoughts now, that I am ‘fixed’, but what if I still feel scared, I still feel those anxious thoughts and want to hide away at times?Read More
The majority of the time when you come to visit, I hate you. My heart drops. Harsh, but true.But then at other times, I can see your only looking out for me. And actually, against all my immediate feelings, I wanted to thank you.You grounded me to a halt when I didn't recognise I needed to stop. to reflect. You put me in, what felt like, a cage.Read More
I had been meaning to write an update to managing my anxiety, but had put it off and hadn’t quite known why. But today, waking with the worst anxiety I have experienced in a while – I realise I didn’t want to revisit ‘anxiety’ when I was feeling at my best.
Lately I have been ‘on a roll’ in some ways, I’ve made new friends, been asked to photograph various things, progressed in my yoga, booked my space for Yoga Teacher Training, generally socialising and feeling happy. I almost felt unstoppable, free and ready for life’s challenges. One of those challenges was to get a job, after being off with ill health for around a year. I applied for a part time position and was shocked to be offered the position. I had two weeks until I started, which I had floated through, happy I felt calm and ‘top of my game’, and then today. It hit me. I was going back to work.Read More
This year has been a year of challenges, but also one of personal growth and discovery. I have been tested again and again, but I am ending the year thankful for so many things and seeing it as an important year in understanding my mental health and appreciating my wellbeing.I thought I would reflect on some of the things I have learnt over the past twelve months…Read More
Today I had a setback, and it left me feeling as though it’s one step forward and five steps back. But I need to remember that there will always be bumps in the road when it comes to the long journey of mental health and we need to accept the setbacks and allow ourselves to reset.Setbacks feel so overwhelmingly disappointing, especially when making such progress – it’s as though you forget how exactly that level of anxiety feels and that explosion of unexpected anxiety can knock you for six. It’s disheartening.Read More
I thought I would do a bit of an anxiety update since I feel I have come some way since my first post. With a lot of hard work through my Cognitive Behavioural Therapy sessions and my wonderful support network around me, I am finally beginning to learn how to handle my anxieties and beginning to feel I can handle certain aspects which I had struggled with previously.I have been attending weekly sessions through the wellbeing service with my therapist and my goodness she is wonderful. I feel I am beginning to recognise the way my mind works and explore the triggers that result in the anxious predictions I make and how that impacts on my decisions and my general day to day. It involves a lot of work and commitment which I am fully embracing and feel it is really beginning to show and pay off.Read More
Self-care can be misinterpreted, it’s not all about bubble baths and having a pamper (though that is obviously a wonderful thing to do!). It is in actual fact “any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health” (PsychCentral). My favourite time of day is golden hour , when the sun rises or sets, shining an orange glow around us and making us stop and stare. I think of self care like this, find your golden hour each day - make time for you to find your glow.I thought I would note a few tips to understand self-care and how to make time for it.Read More
As we roll into October and Autumn/Winter is upon us, some of us feel a sense of dread – me included.I am normally on countdown until Christmas day, excited for everything Christmas brings – socialising, cosy nights in, hibernating indoors and all of the food. But this year feels different. It makes me feel uneasy going into these months of colder weather, darker mornings and shorter days.I think it stems from me linking my start of my ‘anxiety journey’ with winter, it was when I first started to feel the weight of it following a bout of flu and then struggling undiagnosed through numerous tests and a high dose of beta blockers.I started to feel I was improving when spring arrived and with it, my diagnosis and beginning to understand what my mind and body needs. I found gardening and was able to be outdoors, morning jogs in the warmth, yoga in my garden, feeling the sun on my skin and generally feeling the ease that summer seems to bring to our mood and mind. When I think of winter, I think of being trapped in my bed, trapped in my mind and in my anxiety.I know I am not the only one who feels the winter blues, and whilst I was thinking of ways I can combat my own worries – I thought I would jot down some ways that I am going to try and fight the blues.Read More
As we head into the colder seasons, I thought back to Spring and Summer this year and how I had fallen in love with gardening.When I was feeling lost, useless and terrified of what the future holds, I found gardening and through that – mindfulness.Whilst my world was feeling rocky and dark, the garden was blooming. I saw new life popping up all over, I could smell fresh grass, herbs and floral scents. I saw and heard the buzzing bees, the rustle of leaves in the wind and the whistle of birds. I felt calm and collected for the period of time I spent pruning, weeding and planting.I hadn’t thought of it as mindfulness, until a recent therapy session where I was encouraged to practise the mental state of mindfulness. I realised I had been subconsciously practising it through gardening.Read More
Social Media, it's a wonderful tool which we have in our millennial lives, but this year I have had something of a love/hate relationship with it.I have found it helpful, as mentioned in my Anxiety Tips post, regarding Instagram, to document the happy moments this year, the places I have visited, the things I have achieved, the plants I have grown. That this year hasn’t felt a complete failure. But on the flip side, we are only sharing the best versions of ourselves and the good times. It’s not human nature to pull out a camera when we are crying, when we are feeling anxious and life feels a struggle. We want to only remember the fond times so that’s exactly what we document. I see Instagram as an escapism sometimes,Read More
I went through a time where I literally felt I couldn’t do anything alone, this was due to my anxiety and the feeling I would have a panic attack and wouldn’t have anybody around to help me and get me out of the situation. I began to constantly rely on having somebody with me, wherever I went, whether it was to the shops, whilst driving, I needed the safety net of somebody else to be able to go anywhere. It gave me pause for thought, I had taken being able to do things alone and making time for myself for granted previously.Read More
I thought it might be helpful to write down the things that I find help my anxiety currently, things to reset your mind on those days which are particularly a struggle.
When the adrenaline is pumping away, I seem to find burning some of that energy a good way to calm down, whether that be a power walk or a run. Put on a playlist or podcast, go alone, and try and switch off your thoughts. I always start my day this way now and it seems to reset my mind and calm down that unwelcome adrenaline.Yoga is my other way of calming too and allows me to completely switch off and concentrate on the moves and my breathing. I have done a post solely on my yoga journey. If you’re not the most flexible, there are all sorts of different levels of yoga on Youtube, ones that concentrate more on breathing and relaxation than the more physical side.Read More
I’m not sure if I am going to post this, but I wanted to start writing it, and fresh from my first CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) session, I felt I could so here goes.
I am now almost 9 months from when this unexpected, unknown and unwelcome 'journey' started and know it’s still a long road ahead. If you suffer from anxiety and/or panic, you will know the suffocating feeling of utter dread, the need to escape, the isolation, the sick feeling at the pit of your stomach, the room shrinking, the tingling fingers and numbing sensations, the overwhelming tiredness, the feeling of failure, of letting people down, the all-encompassing feeling of helplessness, of struggling to do those things you once did so easily and to enjoy the things you once loved. You feel a constant sense of guilt, constantly battling your mind and feeling you are losing every day.Read More