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.

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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.

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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

Guest Post: Five Ways to Keep Anxiety in Check When You are Travelling

Guest Post: Five Ways to Keep Anxiety in Check When You are Travelling

This week’s mental health related post is a guest blog from Sarah over at https://www.clinpsychsarah.com/blog

Five Ways to Keep Anxiety in Check When You are Travelling

Travelling is one of the most incredible ways you can spend your time and money, if you get the chance to. So many of the memories that I cherish are of times when I was out in the world, experiencing different cultures and seeing animals I can’t find in the UK: going on safari in Kenya and seeing elephants in the wild; swimming with sea turtles in Mexico; whale watching off the coast of Iceland. There’s also something to be said for food in other countries – my first taste of Dole Whip at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is one I will never forget!

I’m a clinical psychologist by trade, working with people with chronic physical health conditions. But I also have experience of my own mental health difficulties. I’ve struggled with anxiety from a young age and, whilst it never goes away, I’m very aware of the situations that make me feel anxious and have some strategies to manage them now as an adult. One of the things that makes me particularly anxious is travelling – even though I love it, the unpredictability of transportation, the language barrier, and the changes to my daily routine are things that can trigger worry and panic in me quite easily. So in this blog post, I wanted to share some of the things that help me to manage my anxiety when I’m away from home. I hope they’ll be useful to you as well.

Have a Plan

This is super useful if you struggle with anxiety in certain situations. Whilst it’s often important to put yourself in situations that make you feel anxious, so that you can get used to feeling anxious and learning that nothing bad happens, that’s probably not an experience you need to put yourself through on holiday! I’m not saying you need a minute-by-minute plan (although feel free to have one if it helps!), but having a rough itinerary for your time away can help you to feel more in control of the process, as well as helping you to budget for your trip and get to see all the things you want to without feeling rushed. If you know that there are particular things that will stress you out more than others, make sure you allow extra time for those things. For example, one of my particular panics is around getting to my hotel from whichever airport I find myself at. So, I make sure that I have a strategy for doing that, and plan in extra time so that if I’m getting a bus or train, it’s not the last one and I can have a contingency plan.

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Travel with Others

This comes with a few caveats! Whilst I love travelling with other people, and don’t think I would want to travel alone, make sure the people you are with understand your difficulties with anxiety. There’s nothing worse than going on holiday and feeling pressured into doing something because your friends/family haven’t realised how anxious it makes you – or worse, don’t care how anxious it makes you because they want to do it anyway. I’m lucky that I have people in my life who care about me and want to make things easier for me (I wouldn’t have been able to navigate New York in the freezing cold without my best friend, or Palma in the sweltering heat without my husband) but, if you don’t have those people, being alone might make it easier for you to manage your days.

  • Take things that remind you of home
    If you have a specific routine at home to manage your anxiety, work out how much of it is portable. Having things that remind you of feeling safe and calm can be really helpful when you’re stressing out in a foreign country. Look particularly for things that stimulate all the senses:
  • Sight – a picture of loved ones, or your pets, or maybe a letter written to yourself from when you were feeling less anxious to remind you of why you love travelling and why you’re doing it.
  • Touch – something soft and calming like a small blanket or scarf, or something that you can use to keep your hands busy, like a stress ball.
  • Taste – taking a small amount of something that you really like, such as a bar of your favourite chocolate, can be really helpful to ground you when you’re panicking. Just make sure that you’re allowed to take it into the country that you’re visiting, otherwise you might end up having other problems than anxiety!
    Smell – take your favourite scent, or something that reminds you of comfort and safety. Tiny bottles of perfume or essential oils like lavender and peppermint can be helpful for this.
  • Hearing – I never go anywhere without my iPod, as listening to music has a really calming effect on me. Make sure you have some of your favourite tunes on hand, to distract you for a little while and allow your body and mind to calm down.

Learn a Few Key Phrases

I’ve always been quite jealous of people who pick languages up naturally when they’re away – sadly, I am not one of them, and communication difficulties are something that are also likely to raise my anxiety quite a bit. When you’re going to a county that you know might be difficult to navigate due to language differences, learning a few phrases can be really helpful to make you feel more in control. As well as allowing you to learn a bit of a different language, people are often much more friendly when they feel that you’re making an effort to communicate with them, and are often really excited to teach you new things.

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Remember to Breathe!

Important but often over-looked, breathing and relaxation practices form the basis of most anxiety-management techniques. When you find one that you like, make sure that you practice every day – it’s a bit like playing the piano in that the more you do it, the better you’re likely to get. Start practicing somewhere quiet and calm, so that it’s not too difficult to notice when you’re starting to feel less anxious. When you’ve started to be able to regulate your breathing in order to calm yourself down, you’ll be able to do it in different situations, such as in a busy supermarket, or on an airplane. You don’t need to practice relaxation for hours at a time either – two or three minutes of diaphragmatic breathing, two or three times a day, is enough to start to feel the benefit after a few weeks.

I hope this blog has given you some ideas to manage your anxiety when travelling. Travel safely, and enjoy!

If you liked this blog, you can read more of my work at www.clinpsychsarah.com/blog

You can also find Sarah over on Twitter at @academiablues

 

Series Review: New Amsterdam

Series Review: New Amsterdam

I finished watching the Amazon Prime series, New Amsterdam last week and I loved it so much that I thought I would write down my thoughts!

What’s It About?

New Amsterdam is set in New York where new medical directer Max Goodwin sets new rules. It’s based on the book: Twelve Patients: Life and Death at Bellevue Hospital by Eric Manheimer. Max disrupts the status quo and wants to breathe new life into the underfunded hospital that doesn’t refuse any one. Max is determined to set things right, no matter what, even if that means going against the board. However, the staff are not sure whether to believe him when he says he can do anything for them.

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We learn in the very first episode that Max has cancer but his job is his life so he will stop at nothing to make sure the hospital runs smoothly. The series stars actors such as Ryan Eggold and Freema Agyeman (Dr Who) and shows what life is like every day in New Amsterdam, for both the patients and the staff.

My Thoughts

I wasn’t sure what to expect with this series but I’ve seen a few bloggers watching it so thought I would give it a go. I was not disappointed. I’m not a fan of blood and guts but I am a fan of Casualty and Holby City so I wasn’t too worried.

I thought it may take a while to get into but I warmed to the characters straight away. I especially liked Dr. Iggy (Tyler Labine) the psychiatrist and Miss Sharp (Freema Agyeman). I also enjoyed watching the relationship between Max and Sharp unravel so that they could support one another. Everyone was really like able (apart from Max’s wife, I don’t know why, I just can’t stand her.) And I loved the way the series shows the struggles of the doctors, from drug abuse to estranged family. It shows that everyone has problems, including doctors.

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I loved the story line, even if it’s too far fetched that a hospital would be able to do what ever they wanted. I absolutely loved how Max came in and changed everything around for the doctors and patients (including renting a homeless man a house). He has made such a big impact and I can’t wait to see season two.

The show deals with all sorts of important topics, from being transgender to infertility. From social and political issues to drug misuse. These are all vital topics that should be covered but aren’t always depicted in the right way.

I hope you enjoyed my review! Have you watched New Amsterdam yet? What did you think?

 

Why Having a Career is Overrated

Why Having a Career is Overrated

I know what you’re thinking, she’s lured me here with a click-baity article that I now have to skim read in order to find out what she means. Well, you are right, it is click-baity but also relevant. You’re probably thinking to yourself “oh what a hippy, she doesn’t work and believes we shouldn’t have to.” Well, you’re partly right, I don’t believe we should but that’s a subject for another time. What I mean by this title “Why having a career is overrated” is that we shouldn’t put pressure on ourselves – or our children – to pursue one type of career.

I was watching the Real Housewives of New York the other night where one of the wives was putting pressure on her 12 year old to go into acting, forget about her education and decide what she wants to do in life. At 12. She also wanted to get her into the family business so made her child go into the office on her day off school. It’s a no from me. Yes, teach your child a good work ethic but do not be pushing them into a career.

What I used to love when I was younger was when people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I used to say all the obvious answers, such as I wanted to be an actress or a vet. I could have done those things I suppose. But when I got to the lovely age of 15 and 16, the dreaded question would come up, but this time more serious. “What do you want to do with your life?” “You need to decide what you want to study at college in order to have a career.”

First of all, no, you don’t. You do not need to decide what you want right now, or ever, in fact. Having one set goal for a career is unrealistic. I’ve had so many ideas for what I want to do in life, from writing, editing and animal care. I have been in countless jobs. I’ve worked in retail, I’ve been a waitress, I’ve worked in an office and now I’m self employed as a social media manager.

I am perfectly happy right now and I don’t know what the future holds. I just know that I will only ever apply to jobs that I want. I will only ever do what I want. But you know what? All those jobs I hated got me to where I am now. I appreciate the people who work in retail because I could never do it again. Some people enjoy their jobs or have to do their jobs to live. But as long as you have that experience and you work a lot of different jobs, the right one will eventually come along. You’ll appreciate the hard times you had as a waitress under stress. You’ll appreciate the customers being snotty because now you have a backbone. You can learn so much from different roles so that’s why I think it’s important to experience everything. Don’t set goals because your path could end up anywhere. Go with the flow as they say and see where life takes you.

My Experience With OCD

My Experience With OCD

This is quite a sensitive subject to cover on my blog. But I think it’s important to make people more aware of OCD. I never really realized I had OCD until it started to get worse. First of all, I’m going to start off by explaining what OCD is and then move on to what my version of OCD feels like.

What is OCD?

Mind describes OCD as: “Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder. It has two main parts: obsessions and compulsions.

Obsessions are unwelcome thoughts, images, urges, worries or doubts that repeatedly appear in your mind. They can make you feel very anxious (although some people describe it as ‘mental discomfort’ rather than anxiety).

Compulsions are repetitive activities that you do to reduce the anxiety caused by the obsession. It could be something like repeatedly checking a door is locked, repeating a specific phrase in your head or checking how your body feels.”

My Experience

I’ve always had a bit of OCD. When I was 9 I went through a phase of having to drink lots of water – more than normal – so that I felt things could be alright. I have had those “I have to touch it otherwise a family member dies” type experiences. But predominately the one obsession I get over and over again is having to read the same sentence in a book three times over. If I’ve read the sentence twice because I wasn’t paying attention the first time around, I have to do it a third time otherwise something bad will happen. It changes every day, which person will die if I don’t do it, whether something else bad may happen. I know it won’t, but my mind always asks me “what if?” So to be on the safe side I do it anyway. I haven’t really told people that – and it’s partly why I’m such a slow reader.

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Another compulsion I have had since I was little is to have to say goodnight to everyone I love three times in my head. And to also repeat the same sentence three times if I think a bad thought and want it to go away.

I try to work on it every day, by dismissing it and telling myself over and over that nothing bad will happen if I don’t say the same thing three times in a row. But our minds work in mysterious ways. I know for a fact we will all die, something bad always happens no matter what. It’s just trying to overcome the urge to complete the compulsions that I find difficult. But I will get there.

I wanted to write this post mainly because I always feel very alone in this. But I know there are loads of people out there who feel the same things as I do. We aren’t alone in this. OCD has always been stereotyped as needing to be a clean “freak.” But that’s not at all what OCD is. It’s about obsessing and having to repeat yourself and battling with the thoughts in our heads every day. You are not alone.

How to Take Care of Yourself

OCD can be really scary sometimes but there are ways to take care of yourself. These include:

  • Getting enough sleep
  • Try some relaxation techniques
  • Try mindfulness
  • Create a support network of who you can trust
  • Try to get some exercise
  • Try to say affirmations every day
  • Manage your stress levels the best way you know how
  • Get online support (OCDAction and OCDUK have online communities)

I hope you found this post helpful. If you did, don’t forget to check out my other mental health posts.

 

Why I Didn’t Go To University

Why I Didn’t Go To University

This week’s post is slightly different. I’m going to talk about the reason I didn’t go to university, or college for that matter!

I was homeschooled up until the age of thirteen, when I decided to go into high school (I know, biggest mistake of my life). I went in and felt like I was in some sort of chick flick. It was full of bitchy girls, some of whom were supposed to be my “friends” who insisted on being nasty pieces of work.

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I had anxiety before going into school but it was nothing major. Then the panic attacks started in class. I needed to get out. I raised my hand in class and asked to leave the room, however, I couldn’t get up from my seat, I was too petrified with everyone looking at me.

This awful ginger headed girl who’s name escapes me (school bully) put her hand up and offered to take me to the nurse (so she could get out of class). So I was taken to the nurse who passed my anxiety attack off as needing something to eat so she basically watched me force feed myself. My mum was called and I was taken home. I never went back.

That’s when it all started. The panic attacks eventually led to me not being able to go out by myself. I was at college one day a week at the time studying a BTEC in animal care for teens aged 14-16. Something that I found exciting turned into a dreaded nightmare. I hated it. I couldn’t go anymore. I couldn’t see my friends or the animals I cared for. I was a shell of the person I used to be. I never really got back to who I was. I just reinvented myself.

I managed to get through my GCSEs on my own without any teachers, just myself. I had panic attacks in the exams but even with that I managed to get a B in the most important subject to me: English. I’m really proud of myself for getting through that year in my life.

I didn’t go to university partly because I didn’t have the qualifications, but I also wanted to just work. I wanted to start off a career straight away because I knew I wanted to save for a future with my partner.

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I managed to get a traineeship with a digital media agency and after three horrendous years in so many different jobs, I’m now a freelance social media manager. I’m living with my partner and we’re saving for our very own place. I’m excited about the future. I didn’t think I’d get this far.

I just want to say, if you’re struggling, let this be your sign to keep going. I did. Vee x

Review: After Life

Review: After Life

Oliver and I finished watching After Life the day it came out because we wanted a good laugh and I’d been looking forward to watching it ever since Netflix started promoting the series.

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Review

At first I thought it was going to be another one of his goofy films like The Invention of Lying. I had no idea this wonderful series was going to put a humorous spin on an otherwise dark topic.

From the very beginning to the very end, I loved every second of the series. It was quite clear from the start that Tony (Ricky) needed to get on with his life. I’ve seen a few people criticize the series saying that they didn’t like the way Tony’s grief disappeared. But it didn’t disappear, he just learnt that he needs to enjoy the time he has on this planet. We’re all going to die. Should we waste our time wallowing in self pity and misery when there’s a whole world to explore? A world that your loved one didn’t see but you know they’d want you to explore?

This series sheds a light on what grief really is but Ricky always manages to make us laugh in the darkest of times. I think my favourite parts were when he called the school boy a “tubby little ginger cunt” and when he’s laughing at the women’s tit puddings. If you have no idea what I’m on about then I suggest you go and watch it so you can have a right laugh.

The series is so witty that I found myself laughing about some of the scenes long after they had passed. I really enjoyed he fact that I knew all of the actors from Ricky’s other TV series and movies such as Kerry Godliman. They all had the right parts and didn’t overshadow Ricky’s character.

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Over all the episodes we can see Ricky soften up and we see what he truly cares about. We see him care about his nephew George – maybe not in the right way! – and his dad, his colleagues and dog. After all, the dog did save his life. He brings up some serious issues such as self harm and suicide which need to be talked about openly. Not only has Ricky blessed us with yet another hilarious series but he’s also brought a more serious side of mental health to our attention. Did you know that in the UK men remain three times as likely to take their own lives than women, and in the Republic of Ireland four times more likely? This is a shocking statistic that needs to be changed. We all know that men receive a lot of stick about talking about their feelings. This needs to change and the fact Ricky has brought this to our attention means we need to fight the stigma related to men talking about their feelings.

I also liked the fact that it wasn’t about Tony just moving on with his life and forgetting his late wife; it was about learning to live with the loss and grieving in the right, healthy way. I loved the series; it may not be for everyone but I enjoy dark humor and offensive swear words!

 

Book Review: What Nobody Knew

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 book lovers! I was recently asked to review What Nobody Knew by Amelia Hendrey. It’s a book about her life growing up in an abusive environment around her dad and step mum. It’s a story of abuse, violence, coming to terms with life and how to get by on your own. I recommend not reading this if you will be triggered by the abuse and violence.

Trigger Warning

This review contains sensitive content such as abuse, violence, rape and suicide. Please stop reading at any point if you feel triggered by these events.

Review

I have wanted to read Amelia’s book, What Nobody Knew, for a while now so when she messaged me asking if I would like to review a copy, I jumped at the chance. I knew it would be a hard read, having gone through abuse myself, but it was even more graphic than I expected.

However, I think that it’s important that Amelia went into so much detail of the violence, as it will open up people’s eyes to what really happens behind closed doors. Amelia’s story is an important one and lays out what it’s like to have to keep quiet when you know you’ll get hurt if you tell anyone what is really going on.

Domestic abuse is still a taboo topic. I know that there are organisations out there spreading the message – I even worked for a domestic abuse charity and heard the awful things that people were going through. But we need more coverage out there. 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men experience domestic abuse in their lifetime, and over 750,000 cases of child abuse are reported in the UK each year. We need books like Amelia’s to bring to light what happens behind closed doors.

As you can probably tell, I am very passionate about this subject, so receiving a copy of this book was really interesting to me. I’ve never read anything like it. The closest I’ve gotten to reading about abuse is in Jacqueline Wilson’s Lola Rose, which I adored.

Reading about how Amelia was abandoned by her mum as a child and brought up with an alcoholic, abusive father was scary. I can’t imagine how she must have felt. The book mentions suicide because sometimes that feels like the only way out of such a terrifying situation.

I remember reading it thinking, it can’t get worse than this, it just can’t. She described her dad beating her, punching her and throwing her down the stairs. I thought it would get better as she went to boarding school as they couldn’t hurt her anymore. But I was wrong. There are, of course, the holidays where you go back home. And that’s when it got worse. This part of the book goes into detail about rape and how Amelia had to go to court to take her father to prison. It’s such a devastating feeling knowing that rape happens, but when you’re reading about it and the repercussions that it has, it is truly heartbreaking and eye-opening.

This book is a must read and we need more books like this to help people speak up. You don’t have to go through it alone. Amelia thought she did. She had no one and then when she found people willing to help her, there was hope. It’s heartbreaking and tragic but there’s also a message of hope. Don’t give up the fight.

Until next time, love, Vee x

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.

Coping With Anxiety

Hi all, in this blog I’m going to be covering anxiety and how I cope with it. I will also be giving you some pointers and tips to help you personally.

So, first off let me explain what anxiety is for those of you who are unsure or curious. Anxiety is a condition where one feels nervous or scared. It feels different for everyone and there are lots of different variations of anxiety. I personally have anxiety when I’m in a situation that makes me uncomfortable. I have anxiety especially if I am alone and out of the house. I sometimes have symptoms such as dizziness where I feel I may faint or fall over uncontrollably and depersonalisation where I feel disconnected from myself, my situation and everything moves in slow motion. One of my biggest fears is fainting which naturally makes me anxious which makes it worse. Basically, it’s a vicious circle.

Some people describe anxiety like drowning; it feels like you’re sinking and you can’t save yourself. Some people are socially anxious where they feel nervous or uncomfortable in social situations. I also have social anxiety because I constantly think people are judging and criticizing me. Anxiety impacts my life by dictating what I should wear, how I walk and what I say. It’s also common to go over a conversation over and over again in your head because you think you said something silly or idiotic.

Some people, like me, experience panic attacks where you feel a fire in your chest and all logic melts away. I think the worst possible things I think could happen, even though they won’t. Symptoms can include dizziness, nausea, sweating and breathlessness. Your heart rate quickens because of the “fight or flight” instinct and you may feel overwhelmed with bad thoughts and situations.

I try some techniques to try to avoid panic attacks and they help to calm me down. I have listed them below:

1. Affirmation 

When I am on the brink of an anxiety attack I continually tell myself that I am okay; that I need to stay calm and try to say soothing things to myself. I sometimes even create stories in my head to think about something else. Whichever tactic or sentences you come up with to help soothe anxiety, it is an individual choice personal to you and what I say to myself might not work for you – try having conversations with yourself and see what choice of words calms you the most.

You also have to remember anxiety won’t hurt you and that you will always be okay – even if you panic, it will be over. You are giving anxiety a voice and letting it control you is something we all have to conquer in our own way.

2. Music

Make sure to have a playlist which you can sing along to which distracts you. Having music on helps me think deeply and distracts me from panicking. Find which songs soothe your anxiety and compile a playlist. You could even title it “Anxiety Relief” or something like that so you can quickly find it on your device.

3. Support

The most important thing is to have a support system of friends or/and family members who understand and want to help you. It can be hard for people to understand anxiety if they have not experienced it, or they have experienced a different type of anxiety. I always find it reassuring to be able to call someone I trust to talk to when I’m anxious. Having these people helps with my recovery and through the bad times.

If you don’t have someone who you can call, maybe try joining a local support group or finding friends on a Facebook page. I’ll put some links below to some Facebook groups:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/anxietysupport4u/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/letsfightanxietytogether/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/AnxietyDUnite/

4. Listen to other stories

Listening to other peoples’ stories and their experience with anxiety helps to know you aren’t alone. And sometimes you can even gain a few tips. Watching YouTube videos can be a good way to do this or reading blogs. I will probably blog my own story in the not too distant future. I’ll also put some anxiety related videos below for you to watch:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4O53tADdnEs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzpky0zQSOk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4QIa1kSG45A

5. You are your home

Ever since I began having anxiety and panic attacks, my family have always told me that wherever I am, I’m my own safety net, my own home and I can get through anything. If you have a safe place, like I do (my bed), then you need to try to realise that you are your own safe place and wherever you go, you are strong enough to get through it. It may seem impossible, but you will learn that you are your own safety net and that you carry your home in your heart. It can be scary to realise you’re the only person who can help you, but once you know how strong you are, you will be able to conquer the world.

6. Health and well-being

I know a lot of people who do meditation to help with anxiety – personally I don’t have the patience – but it’s incredibly good for your well-being.

Getting a therapist or a counselor or talking to a doctor is a good idea – don’t worry if they act like you’re crazy – don’t give up till they help you. Talking through how you feel and receiving tips is what to expect from a counselor or therapist. But discuss that more with your doctor.

Rescue Remedy is excellent too. I use Rescue Remedy which helps to calm my nerves. You can get it here:

http://www.hollandandbarrett.com/shop/vitamins-supplements/homeopathic-flower-remedies/rescue-remedy/

Eating healthy and drinking less caffeine can also help to boost your mood.

Helpful Links

I will put links to some websites which have more anxiety information down below:

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/a-to-z/a/anxiety

http://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/anxiety-and-panic-attacks/#.WLgxTm_yjIU

https://themighty.com/anxiety/

Overall, that is my list of what is hopefully helpful anxiety relief advice. I will be talking more about this subject in future blogs but for now I thought giving some tips would be a good start.

Remember that this is an account of my personal experience and if you have different ways of coping, please comment! Also, always feel free to message me if you ever need someone to talk to.

My social media:

Instagram:
@readycupcake
@pastel.swift