Book Review: Depression in a Digital Age

Book Review: Depression in a Digital Age

I feel like I haven’t written a book review in a while so to start the year off on the right foot I’ll be reviewing Fiona Thomas’ book, Depression in a Digital Age.

This book has everything you need from Spice Girl references to Fiona’s rambling thoughts that help ground you and make you feel a little less alone.

Depression digital age
Taken from Fiona’s Instagram

I really felt like I was taking a journey with Fiona while reading this. I felt sympathy for her when she went through her mental health breakdown and couldn’t work.

I myself have left countless jobs for mental health related reasons which has led me to a life of freelance work.

I completely emphasized with how she felt so overwhelmed with her workload and there’s a chapter in the book that really spoke to me.

Fiona talks about taking a break from work because it’s making her so stressed. However, she also stresses out when she takes a much needed break, worrying that people will miss her and need her.

I really resonated with this when I took a week’s holiday from freelance work to go to Morocco in November. Although I was so glad to get away I was worrying about money, about whether my clients had sent me thousands of emails, etc. Turns out when I got back and switched my work phone on, I had one email, and it was a promotional one. I felt a little disappointed no one had needed me and I’d wasted precious time on holiday worrying about my workload.

I think a good lesson to take away from Fiona’s book is that you can stress as much as you like but it won’t change the outcome or how quickly you can complete a task. Take a step back, breathe and relax. Everything will get done in the end.

Overall, Fiona’s book taught me it’s okay to let others help you. It’s okay to speak out about your mental health and not everyone wants the same thing.

Depression digital age
Taken from Fiona’s Instagram

While some people are perfectly happy working 9-5 and getting home to get ready for the next day, not everyone feels the same. Sometimes our mental health stops us from doing the mundane tasks. Sometimes it prevents us from working on ourselves.

Not everyone’s journey is the same and that’s what I’ve learnt from Fiona. While our paths may be different, we share one thing in common. We just want to be happy. We want a life full of adventures. We don’t want to be bound by our mental illnesses. And that’s why Fiona’s story is so inspiring; she used her mental illness to help others.

In the book Fiona also talks about feeling like an imposter. That she isn’t qualified to do her job. The thing is, as a child I always thought I would grow up to feel so big and confident, like I could do anything. But I’m still little old anxious me. That won’t go away. We grow up to think adults have their shit together, when really we are all in the same boat, trying to paddle upstream to get to where we want to be.

Have you read Fiona’s book yet? She is currently writing another book all about being freelance which comes out later this year and I can’t wait to read it.

You can follow Fiona on her socials:

Instagram: @fionalikestoblog

Book: Depression in a Digital Age

Twitter: @fionalikes

6 Coping Techniques To Use For Panic Attacks

6 Coping Techniques To Use For Panic Attacks

We’ve all been in that situation where we suddenly experience a panic attack, whether you’re expecting it or not, it’s always a shock to the system. Everyone’s panic attacks are different. Mine usually consist of vertigo, a lump in the throat, sweaty, breathless, palpitations and more, depending on the situation I’m in.

I’ve noticed over the past few years that I tend to experience more panic attacks while travelling. When visiting my boyfriend in London he would have to meet me just outside the barriers and come with me on the tube. I was terrified of being alone without anyone to grab onto for support. An incident happened where my partner was ill and I needed to see him. However, he obviously couldn’t come with me on the tube and take me back to his parent’s house. I had to make the journey alone. This seemed impossible. But I think it’s one of the best things I have done for my mental health.

I managed to get on the tube by myself, albeit having a few wobbles. I got to his house by myself and it was such an accomplishment. From then on, my partner told me I would be making the journey by myself. I was angry with him. I wanted my security back. After two years of travelling on the train and meeting him on the other end, that would disappear and I would have to make the journey alone. But I did it. For over a year until I moved in with him.

I still get panic attacks when travelling alone but my anxiety has improved so much; I’m a completely different person to who I was before meeting Oliver.

So now that I’ve rambled on – and if you managed to read all of that – let me give you some tips on how to cope with panic attacks. These are a few techniques and remedies I’ve used but please be aware that not everything that worked for me will necessarily work for others.

Use the Tapping Technique

I read a while ago about a tapping technique, also called EFT tapping which is used for people with anxiety and PTSD to help relieve tension and trauma from negative events that have happened. You can read more on the technique and how to practice it here. This technique can help ground you but also take your mind off the situation by giving you something else to think about.

6 Coping Anxiety

Use Rescue Remedy

When I remember to bring it with me, I use Rescue Remedy to help relieve my anxiety. I have the liquid but I’ve also used the pastilles which I find better. I tend to eat a lot and like something to chew so chewing gum or pastilles really help. You can purchase Rescue Remedy here. Please be aware this is an affiliate link and any purchases you make through this link will benefit me and my blog! You won’t pay any extra, it just allows me to make money from the sale!

Scroll Through Your Phone

When I’m nervous I tend to want to do something with my hands so grabbing my phone is an instant relief for me. Try downloading some games onto your phone. When I travel, to take my mind off what I’m doing I hop onto Bubble Shooter.

6 coping anxiety

Take Yourself to a Safe Place

If you’re really struggling to keep it together and need somewhere quiet to go, you should try and find somewhere that makes you comfortable. Whether that’s going to a public bathroom and shutting yourself in a stall like I do, or grabbing a coffee and sitting down in a quiet corner, there’s always somewhere to calm down and collect your thoughts.

Call Someone to Distract You

I have a few friends I feel I can call upon when I’m anxious or having a panic attack. I usually call my friends or my partner who are able to calm me down. It really helps to distract me from my surroundings and grounds me. If you have someone who can be that person for you, that’s great! If you don’t, try texting someone or writing your worries down on paper or your notes app. It helps to write down your feelings so you can calm down.

6 coping anxiety attack

Get Yourself a Fidget Cube

Fidget cubes are a great way to distract yourself because you can fiddle around with buttons, switches etc. Even a Rubix cube or something small you can put in your bag may help you calm down and think about the task at hand.

I hope these were somewhat helpful tools for you to use in stressful and anxiety inducing situations! Let me know your techniques and what works for you in the comments.

5 New Year Goals to Improve Your Mental Health

5 New Year Goals to Improve Your Mental Health

This time of year is always a weird one for me and a lot of people I know. As someone with anxiety, it’s even worse. Not only do I not know what day it is but I also feel an overwhelming amount of dread about the New Year and what it will bring.

5 New Year Goals to Improve Your Mental Health

When you think about it, it seems so stupid to worry because time is a concept we’ve created and really it’s just another day. However, with everyone making New Year resolutions, I feel even worse.

A lot of people I follow on Twitter and Instagram have been sharing what they’ve accomplished this year. Compared to them I feel I have accomplished very little. Some have bought a house, had a baby, got married, traveled the world. I feel like my achievements are small compared to theirs. However, deep down I know that’s not true and I’ve had an extremely lovely year living with my partner, going on holiday and working hard to save for a home.

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One thing I want you to take away from this post is that you should not compare your journey to others. Your achievements matter, you matter. Everyone has a different version of what success means to them and it doesn’t always have to mean having a house, baby and marriage.

So without further ado, I’ll get on with my list of New Year goals you could set yourself and your mental health.

Cut Out Toxic People

One thing that happened to me a couple of years ago that involved a falling out in my family was actually a small blessing in disguise. Although I’m deeply hurt by what has happened, I feel like I can be my own person now. I haven’t cut my family or friends out of my life but I do limit what I say and how long I talk to them for so I don’t feel anxious or depressed. 

If you feel like you have toxic friends or a family member in your life that is affecting your mental health, speak up. It may be hard if it’s your immediate family but talking it through with them and voicing your concerns is the first step to a better relationship for everyone.

Limit Time On Social Media

Now this may seem like a difficult one to do. It definitely is for me considering I’m a social media manager and blogger. However, I do think it’s important to limit your time staring at screens because it tends to keep you up at night and whenever I’m on my phone at midnight my head is whirring with ideas and worries.

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Set yourself a timer; there are plenty of apps which allow you to set a limit for social media time. Some phones even have this in their settings.

What I usually do is set myself a goal if I’m desperate to grab my phone. I’ll read three chapters of my book, spend ten minutes on my phone and then go back to reading a further three chapters and so on.

Take Up A New Hobby

Taking up a new hobby or skill is a great way to channel your anxiety into a new project. You could attend a weekly group, pay for a college course such as a photography course or take up a hobby at home such as crafting or writing a short story.

Keep A Journal

Your journal could be like a diary or it can be a bullet journal where you can let your creativity run wild. There are loads of bloggers and YouTubers that create blog posts and videos for inspiration. It’s a great way to release some anxiety while getting creative.

5 Mental Health New Year Goals

Create A Self Care Box

I’ve seen a lot of bloggers and YouTubers create self care boxes for times when they feel really low. They can have anything from practical things such as nail clippers and bath bombs to trivial things such as magazines. There are so many things you can put in a self care box. You just have to find out what makes you happy when you’re feeling down. It may contain your favourite book, an emergency chocolate stash or some candles and face masks.

I hope these were helpful! Let me know what your mental health goals are for the year!

Guest Post: Surviving Winter

Guest Post: Surviving Winter

This week’s guest poster is Jo who writes at her own blog, My Anxious Life. All her links will be put down below. Happy reading!

The weather has turned, Autumn is upon is. It gets lighter later, darker earlier, everything is a dreadful shade of worn concrete – and let’s not even mention the rain. Even if you don’t suffer with SAD, there’s no doubting that the Autumn and Winter months can have a negative affect on our mental health.

Personally, this time of year leaves me in a near constant state of exhaustion. I struggle to get out of bed at the best of times but in winter, when it’s still so dark in the mornings, it feels like a crime to leave the warmth and safety of my bed – and once I’m up, I begin the bedtime countdown almost immediately. I strongly believe that I’m some kind of evolutionary throwback with my intense desire to hibernate come winter!

I become sluggish, start comfort eating and claiming that red wine is medicinal. I get grumpy and, because I do like to get out and about, being cooped up indoors means I start to ruminate and overthink (even more than usual). If you’re like me and aren’t careful, these are all things that can lead you right into the hungry jaws of depression.

So I’ve put together some ideas to help you avoid the winter mental health slump and stay sane until spring.

Don’t Let Your House Be a Prison

If you’re going to be spending a lot more time indoors because of bad weather, cancelled activities or general winter malaise, avoid feeling anxious and trapped by making sure your home is a lovely place to be. You could do a bit of spring (winter?!) cleaning but personally, I’d rather stick to the fun stuff. Try experimenting with some seasonal accessories to liven up the place or buying extra blankets and cushions to make your pad super snuggly. If you have children, you could even invest in a teepee so nestling inside on a rainy day can be a fun game instead of a depressing bore.

Take Up a Hobby

Keep your mind active and avoid letting it wander by taking up a hobby – preferably an indoor one! It doesn’t have to be anything expensive or complicated, it could be as simple as experimenting with pencil sketching or trying crochet (you can now buy starter kits with everything you need in one box and it’s supposed to be an excellent pursuit to aid mental health).

There are loads of great YouTube channels to help guide you in activities like yoga or meditation – you could even do an online course.

Or, if you’re like my husband and have a garage full of equipment from a variety of abandoned hobbies, try getting back into something you already started. Your other half will thank you for finally getting some use out of that glue gun.

Get Out When You Can!

When the crisp, sunny winter days do make an appearance, get out and enjoy them! Walking in the forest is one of my absolute favourite things to do at any time of year – it’s great for grounding, which can help reduce stress, improve circulation and inspire calm and tranquility. And the fresh air, Vitamin D and feeling of being surrounded by nature works wonders.

They might end up being a washout, but also look out for local outdoor events like apple harvests, scarecrow festivals, guided foraging or star gazing. Sometimes getting out with a group can do you the world of good and help you make it through the particularly dreary days.

winter self care anxiety

Create a Self-care Box

Through the winter months, the chances are there will be fewer social engagements and trips out, so it’s the perfect opportunity to take care of yourself and get into good habits so that your self-care routine continues to stay on point well into the new year. Get a nice box or basket and fill it with everything that makes a special evening for you. It doesn’t matter what it is, and it’s not for anyone else to judge. All that matters is that when you come in from work, soaking wet, after a particularly bad day, your personalised kit is ready to take the edge off. Just make sure you have a Do Not Disturb sign for your door…

Self care

Experiment with Some of Those Wellness Techniques You’ve Been Reading About

You’ve spent most of the year reading blogs and magazine articles about all these things you should be doing to aid your mental health and overall well-being, but you’ve been so busy you’ve barely had a chance to scratch the surface with any of them. Well now’s the time.

Get stuck in with anything that might have caught your fancy. Try creating your own personal affirmations, starting a diary, or practicing meditation. Do some research into any holistic therapies that you’ve found interesting, like essential oils, crystals or CBD. Start a gratitude journal, set personal goals or just explore the benefits of taking a nap.

By using this time to experiment, you’ll figure out exactly what works for you – and what doesn’t – by the time spring starts to bloom.

Get into Reading

I love a Netflix binge as much as the next person, but it’s probably not the best thing for our mental health to just take shelter in a box set until next April. Reading can help reduce stress, improve our memory and inspire relaxation. But perhaps most importantly, it gets us away from the pull of our phones and TV’s and the blue light they emit, which can have a negative effect on our sleep and circadian rhythms.

If you’re not sure you can commit to a novel, you could always try magazines like Happiful, In the Moment or The Happy Newspaper to bring some much-needed sunshine and mindfulness into those dark winter days.

Get Creative in the Kitchen

If you’re anything like me, the onset of Autumn leads to insatiable hunger and major carb loading. But whilst it might be comforting, acting like we’re storing nuts for the winter isn’t good for our mental (or physical) health.

winter food surviving self care anxiety

You might associate all the most colourful and delicious foods with spring and summer, but loads of gorgeous and nutritionally rich fruit and veg come into season September-December. And because of the season, they tend to be nice and hefty..! So whether it’s apples and pears, or beetroot, cabbage, kale and swede, you’ll be able to create a variety of soups, stews and pies that will fill you up and warm the cockles without the junk food comedown afterwards. Whether you’re a seasoned cook or struggle not to burn cereal, the winter months are a perfect time to start experimenting.

What are your top tips to surviving the winter slump?

Jo writes the blog My Anxious Life, where she talks with honesty and humour about her personal experiences with mental ill health, and her journey towards self-development, wellness and happiness.

Her Links:

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Facebook

Instagram

What is SAD?

What is SAD?

Trigger warning. This post contains talk of suicide and depression.

SAD is short for Seasonal Affective Disorder. 29% of adults will experience SAD during the Winter months, especially when the clocks go back – 1 in 3 adults now experience and suffer from SAD.

Have you felt that your depression worsens in the colder months? Or that you have no energy whatsoever and no motivation to get up and do anything? This is how I’ve been feeling for the past few weeks. I asked my Twitter followers whether they experience Seasonal Affective Disorder and I was surprised at the amount of people who responded with yes or offered to collab on a blog post. Therefore I took them up on the offer and I asked them to write a short paragraph on what SAD means to them.

@chloemetzger at Chloemetzgear.com

 

@chloemetzger at Chloemetzgear.com (2)

 

Symptoms of SAD

Here are just some of the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder. Have you experienced any of these?

  • Low energy
  • Feeling depressed most of the day
  • Losing sleep
  • Feeling sluggish or irritated
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling worthless or guilty
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
  • Changes in appetite or weight

Do you have any symptoms that aren’t listed on here?

Did you know there is such a thing as Winter and Summer depression? There are different symptoms for each one. Such as Winter, you may experience oversleeping, weight gain, tiredness or appetite changes. Whereas in the Summer you may find yourself experiencing these symptoms: insomnia, loss of appetite, weight loss and anxiety.

Causes of SAD

If you have sudden onset SAD, you may wonder why this is. Sometimes to relieve anxiety, it can help to know what the cause is. SAD can be brought on from a range of things such as:

  • Your biological clock. Because of how dark it gets in the evenings in Winter, this can mess with your internal body clock, therefore making you have depressive thoughts/episodes.
  • Your serotonin levels. Serotonin is responsible for your feelings such as happiness. Reduced sunlight can cause a drop in your serotonin levels which could trigger depression.
  • Melatonin levels. Melatonin plays a vital part in your sleep patterns and mood, therefore a change in season can make these levels unbalanced.

How to Beat SAD

If you experience SAD you won’t be looking forward to Winter. Which is why I have come up with a list of things to help you combat SAD and live your best life (as much as you can). Here are just some of the things you could do to relieve the stress of SAD:

  • As much as we all hate it –  exercise. I go swimming every week which helps release serotonin in the brain which essentially makes us happy. Even a walk in nature will do!
  • Wear warm clothes. It’s proven that being cold can make you feel more depressed, so wrap up warm, drink plenty of hot drinks and cosy up by the fire if you have one.
  • Eating healthy. As much as I love my chocolate it makes me feel depressed after I’ve eaten it. You don’t have to go around eating salads five days a week for lunch, but switch up your meals, do meal prep with your partner or friends and try something new.
  • It’s proven that having a light box or dawn simulator (can be bought on Amazon for under £30) can help improve your mood.
  • Take up a new hobby. It will help distract you from your SAD thoughts (get it? No okay) and help you concentrate.
  • Socializing is a great way of warding off SAD (all my fellow introverts out there, I feel you)
  • Join a support group, or any group for that matter!
  • Make sure to take your Vitamin D.
  • As hard as it is to sleep with SAD, going to bed and switching off your phone at the same time each night and waking up at the same time each morning will help your sleep schedule and make you feel less tired, which in turn will help your mood swings.

I hope this post has helped at least some of you! If you have SAD, what are some ways you combat it?

Sources:

https://getridofthings.com/get-rid-of-seasonal-affective-disorder/ 

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder-sad/

Review: Seeing Ricky Gervais Live

Review: Seeing Ricky Gervais Live

So yesterday Oliver and I saw Ricky Gervais live in Guildford for his warm up show.

We got last minute tickets with only two seats left but we managed to get aisel seats so win win. The warm up act was Sean McLoughlin, a London based comedian. He was quite funny, telling jokes about his fiance and millennials. I really enjoyed some of his stuff and hopefully he may be at the comedy store at some point.

Ricky, as always, was hilarious. Of course there’s the usual jokes that will part the audience but most of them I find funny because, like Ricky says, what you don’t find funny, someone else will. There’s always a demand for comedy. And for lots of different types.

This is one of Ricky’s first warm up shows for his new tour, SuperNature. As we know, Ricky is passionate about animal welfare so expect a lot of hysterical animal jokes!

It was nice to see Ricky laugh at his own jokes and be real, not just scripted like he seems to be with the odd laugh here and there. I’d much rather go and see a warm up show rather than the real thing because of how genuine he was.

I enjoy Ricky’s comedy because he’s so honest about everything and he lays it all out on the table. He doesn’t believe in God, he believes we are worm food. I agree with him and while death scares me, for a moment Ricky made it funny. That’s what life’s about: seeing the humour in every day.

I can’t wait to watch the SuperNature show on Netflix when it comes out and I was so privileged to go and see him on stage before his big tour! I hope everyone has an amazing time going to see him perform.

The Effect Idols Have On Mental Health

h1 {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 20pt;} h2 {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 18pt;} body {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 15pt;} Hey guys. In this week’s blog I’m going to be talking about the effect idols have on mental health, both in negative and positive ways. I’ll be discussing my idol and how she helped me get through tough times but I will also be talking about the negative effect idols can have on fans.

Mental Health and Magazines

As a lot of campaigns and people have brought up the issue of models in magazines and unhealthy expectations due to airbrushing, I thought I would talk about this as well. I don’t read magazines – mainly because I can’t stand the amount of ads but also because of the unhealthy diets and “summer body goals” you read in them.

These set negative expectations for young girls and boys and even I have been affected by the airbrushing in magazines – they make you feel like you aren’t good enough. These are clever marketing ploys to try to get you to buy a certain product or motivate you to become an unhealthy weight so you can buy that great dress you’ve been eyeing up in Vogue for months.

These models and magazine editors can cause – if not intentional – teens to feel inadequate and can contribute to mental health issues such as eating disorders, depression or even anxiety. It may be easy to say to someone “Oh, well don’t look if it upsets you” but in this world these airbrushed  models and unhealthy diets are everywhere you turn – bus stop ads, online ads, shopping sites, magazines or even posters. These things are everywhere and although some fashion sites show the true bodies of women and men (like Missguided), there are still loads out there airbrushing and making teens and even adults feel guilty about their bodies.

I doubt there will be a time when these ads and body goals disappear, but I hope that you can be strong enough to realize that your body is unique to you and it’s capable of amazing things; you don’t have to be a size 8 to be “accepted” in society’s eyes and you certainly don’t need to prove anything to anyone. Be the amazing you you are!

My Role Model

Since I was around 7/8 years old I’ve been a fan (die hard fan) of Taylor Swift for a number of reasons. I first heard her song “Love Story” in the car park of a local Sainsbury’s and when I came home I googled the lyrics to try to find it. Ever since, I’ve bought all of her albums, had merch bought for me at Christmas and even made my own Instagram fan page (pastel.swift if anyone is interested…).

It wasn’t just her lyrics that reeled me in (although they are amazing. Seriously, go listen to All Too Well right now) but her story; she had grown up on a Christmas tree farm and had been bullied at school. She was different from the other kids and came to realize with age that this was a good thing that made her who she is today.

Through the years I’ve endured depression and severe anxiety where I couldn’t even leave the house at one point. If someone had hurt me or I was upset or severely depressed, I’d listen to her music, sing along, let my anger out at the high pitched notes and cried along with the sad love songs. I knew she was always there for me even if she couldn’t physically be. Her words stopped me from harming myself and when I wasn’t strong enough she would pull me back to reality or sometimes let me live in her fantasies.

There are good role models out there, whether it’s your parents, a celebrity or a public figure. I know I will always look up to Taylor because of her words, the way she acts with fans and the way she owns who she is and doesn’t care what others think.

After years of crying over missed concert, I’ve finally bought myself tickets and by the time this is published I will be getting ready for the tour I’ve always wanted to go on. I can’t wait to see my idol live and I hope one day I can thank her for everything she has done for me.

Until next time, love Vee x

Book Review: Since You Lost Your Brother by Daniel Yetman

I was recently asked by Daniel Yetman if I would read his book, Since You Lost Your Brother and I delightfully agreed (especially when I get asked to review paperbacks instead of kindle stories!).

Review of Since You Lost Your Brother by Daniel Yetman
I received the book in the mail – it’s a short story (120 pages) so it doesn’t take too long to read. As soon as I read it I could tell this was real love Yetman was talking about – not the bookish kind that some authors create. The book had so many twists and turns that by the end I had no idea what would happen – which added to the effect the book was trying to make.

The story is about a man and a woman who’ve been in a long term relationship and the woman loses her brother. After that the couple falls apart from her depression and sadness. He leaves, not being able to cope anymore and moves to Seoul. He continues to write and tries to get over her but writes about her every day. He meets other women but can’t get over the idea of them making it work again.

I believe the moral of the story is that we don’t know what’s going to happen in life so let’s live for the moment and make the most out of it. It’s a true story about love and heartbreak and the hold someone can have on you long after it’s over. This story is definitely a must read for anyone who’s going through or has gone through a traumatic break up.


I won’t give you any spoilers for obvious reasons but I will say that you need to read it! It’s a collection of short chapters that Daniel was writing each day on the subway. I will admit I was emotional by the end but it was worth it. I even want to recommend it to my friends because it was so moving.

I would say that the only down side was proofreading. There were misspelled words and sentences but all books have at least one mistake. I think it’s safe to say if that’s the only downside, then I really enjoyed this book.

This book really does have it all – love, grief, heartbreak and how to survive and live a life after it all.

If you’re interested in buying Daniel’s book you can find it here.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s blog and tune it for next week’s, where I’ll be interviewing Daniel and asking some questions about his writing.

Don’t forget to follow my Instagram: neurotic.writer.ramblings

Living with Anxiety and Depression

I wrote a post quite a while ago about coping with anxiety but I would like to also share a post about what I’m currently going through and maybe, just maybe, someone else is going through the same situation and feelings and this can help you feel less alone.

I have a wonderful partner, a job that’s going to further my career and a supportive family. But all these things don’t stop the anxiety and depression that goes through me on a day to day basis. I don’t always experience it – but it can be a constant feeling throughout the day or a niggling feeling I can’t explain which only makes me MORE anxious.

Anxiety can occur in many different ways in lots of different situations. It could be anything from walking down the street to being in a busy shopping centre.

Going out of the house a few years ago was almost impossible until my partner encouraged me and soon I was visiting him in London and going out alone again. Since then I’m able to walk to work most days (some days I become anxious about walking in case I feel anxious – I know, anxious about being anxious) to work and I’m able to get a train and tube on my own to my partner’s house.

I still can’t set foot in a mall on my own and I become anxious about the smallest things such as calling someone, letting someone down or admitting how I feel.

Some days I struggle to get out of bed because I don’t want to face a stressful day at work or I don’t want to get up out of the safeness of my bed. Having anxiety and depression is like having two people yelling at each other. Anxious me: “Get out of bed! You can’t be late! You are going to feel ill. You’ll never feel better.” Depressive me: “I don’t want to get out of bed. It’s unsafe outside. No one cares anyway.”

The difference now is that I’m able to push myself further than I have before. I’ve just completed a journey through London I didn’t think I would ever be able to do and little accomplishments such as that mean a great deal to someone like me with anxiety.

My advice to you would be to celebrate these little things – in the end they will be the start of you taking big steps. Not every day will be easy, but it’s better to know there are other people going through the same thing as you.

At the moment I struggle to see when I will feel better, more confident in myself again. But it’s there, in the not too distant future. Whether it’s counselling that I need or just encouraging myself in general, I will get there and so will you. This journey may be hard but it’s not impossible. Lots of people think anxiety is something you can’t overcome, that it will be with you for the rest of your life. But that’s not true; we are able to overcome great obstacles in life, including anxiety.

Believing in yourself will be a great resource to you. I know this can be hard when you have anxiety coupled with depression, but I hope one day you see you will be happy, you will overcome these obstacles. And if you can’t see that yet, I can see it for you.

Top Ten Poems from Milk and Honey

Hey guys!

So this week I have been reading Rupi Kaur’s Milk and Honey, a poetry book of how to survive and heal. To me, this poetry is raw and emotional. It isn’t sugarcoated or punctuated because it doesn’t need to be for the very real reason that Rupi has poured her heart into her work. Here is a list of my top ten favourite poems from Milk and Honey, and why they are my favourites.

Poem One

love is not cruel
we are cruel
love is not a game
we have made a game
out of love

I think this is beautifully sad because it’s true; we have made a game out of tearing others down and sometimes things don’t work out because of it.

Poem Two 

other women’s bodies
are not our battlegrounds

We need to learn to respect women and stop tearing each other down; we are all going through this thing called life and having people bully us is not going to get them anywhere. It just shows how miserable those people are to have to tear others down for their own enjoyment.

Poem Three

sex takes the consent of two
if one person is lying there not doing anything
cause they are not ready
or not in the mood
or simply don’t want to
yet the other is having sex
with their body it’s not love
it is rape

This is so important. Rupi talks openly about rape in her poetry and she pours her heart into her work. If someone doesn’t want to have sex, and the other does, it is rape. It’s that simple. It is rape.


Poem Four

i do not want to have you
to fill the empty parts of me
i want to be full on my own
i want to be so complete
i could light a whole city
and then
i want to have you
cause the two of us combined
could set it on fire

This is one of the most beautiful poems in my opinion. Rupi is saying that we should all learn to love ourselves and be able to be on our own, but it’s even better to have someone by your side.

Poem Five

i need someone
who knows struggle
as well as i do
someone
willing to hold my feet in their lap
on days it is too difficult to stand
the type of person who gives
exactly what i need
before i even know i need it
the type of lover who hears me
even when i do not speak
is the type of understanding
i demand
                    – the type of lover i need

This poem is saying what every person wants in a relationship and what we need. We need someone to understand us and be with us even on the worst days of our lives. We need someone who will know we’re upset before we even speak; someone who will always be there no matter how hard the road gets.

Poem Six

every time you
tell your daughter
you yell at her
out of love
you teach her to confuse
anger with kindness
which seems like a good idea
till she grows up to
trust men who hurt her
cause they look so much
like you
              – to fathers with daughters

This one really hits home for me. I’ve had bad relationships because of my relationship with men and not having any male role models to look up to. I didn’t have a fatherly figure. This is true – when you yell at your child “out of love” you are damaging her future relationships and giving her trust issues – especially with men.

Poem Seven

the thing
worth holding on to
would not have let go

This poem is so simple yet it touches a nerve. If someone doesn’t make the effort to be in your life, to fight for you, then they are not worth your time, energy or tears.

Poem Eight

when you are broken
and he has left you
do not question
whether you were
enough
the problem was
you were so enough
he was not able to carry it

He couldn’t handle you at your worst, so don’t let him see you at your best. You deserve someone who is going to be able to be there on your bad days and who will have a blast with you on the good.

Poem Nine

i had to leave
i was tired of
allowing you to
make me feel
anything less
than whole

Have enough self respect and dignity to walk away when you deserve to be treated better.

Poem Ten

it takes grace
to remain kind
in cruel situations

Such a simple yet effective message. Rise above those who are cruel and learn to counteract that cruelty with kindness.

So there you have it! Some of my favourite inspirational poems from Rupi Kaur’s Milk and Honey. I can’t wait for the release of her latest poetry book, The Sun and her Flowers!

Tell me in the comments some of your favourite poems!

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