“However you do it, make a conversation about mental health”
So today is Time to Talk Day – and recently I have been really struggling with my anxiety so I wrote a poem:
So it’s not that long ago that I shared with you Tattoo Tales – which explains my reasons behind why I got the tattoos I have and every single one means something very important to me and I love them.
Now usually there are about two years between each time I’ve got a tattoo – this time it didn’t work out that way, it’s only been about 4 months since I got my phoenix!
But I this latest tattoo means so much to me and contains so much meaning, I am literally wearing my heart on my sleeve and every time I look at it I smile…
As the saying goes “Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be Kind. Always”
I am a face of anxiety.
But you can’t necessarily tell who is battling their inner demons because they conceal it all behind a smiley face, a bouncy bubbly personality, lots of what seems like boundless self-confidence or possibly they keep it all behind closed doors, keeping themselves to themselves, however they deal with it, they are still battling and doing their very best…
As I’ve shared before I have been diagnosed with Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) so what is anxiety to me?
It’s being my own worst enemy and personal critic.
It’s the constantly feeling tetchy and irritable.
It’s the most mundane things making you fly off the handle.
It’s everyday things making you feel overwhelmed.
It won’t stop, it’s absolutely relentless, I try everything in my power to make it halt, but it’s perpetually overwhelming – what is this terrifying thing I talk about? It’s my own mind and my own thoughts…
The only two things you have control of (supposedly);
– Your own thoughts
– Your own actions
But when it comes to anxiety, there is absolutely no controlling those thoughts, they are a neverending tidal wave – they knock you down, and you try to get up, but then another wave comes and knocks you off your feet again and they come again and again and again, ceaseless wave after wave, until you have no strength to get back up and they wash over you, suffocating you, all-encompassing, sapping you of energy and emotion, defeating you.
I touched on this a while back on an Instagram post – but that was more about accepting myself physically, this blog post is covering my issues with accepting or liking/loving myself mentally.
You’ll find the original Instagram post HERE – did try and embed it, but the video wouldn’t show!
I know it does seem strange to say this, considering how much of myself I put out there on Social Media, but I do find it really hard to like myself, let alone love myself. I don’t know if this is part of my anxiety disorder or whether it’s just a particularly annoying character flaw – which in turn makes me think “Well if I can’t like myself, how can I expect anyone else too?” I even question the poor Hubby now and then, “Do I annoy you?“, “Do you really love me?” I mean a lot of the time I irritate myself!
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We’ve all hit the metaphorical wall now and then when working out. Sometimes we can push on through, other times we need a day or two of recovery and then we’re back firing on all cylinders.
But have you found yourself hitting the wall time and time again, coming down with cold after cold for months on end and just generally feeling blurgh!?Read More »
Anxiety is always there.
It doesn’t solely define who you are,
but it will always be a part of who you are.
You learn to cope.
You learn to deal with it.
You realise you are not alone.
You connect with people.
You eat well.
You feel happy.
You feel joy.
You suddenly start to believe you won’t feel like THAT again.
Life seems so much better.
I’m not 100% sure what’s triggered me feeling like this today – I don’t know if I’m doing the right thing by sharing it on my blog, but if just one other person reads this and feels just the slightest relief that they’re not the only one who has flat days then I think it’s worth it!
That’s the best descriptive word to cover my mood today – just flat – it’s one of those days where doing anything takes an exorbitant amount of effort (including writing this), so considering how much I had to do today made it exhausting. Plastering a smile on your face and pretending you’re fine – when in fact colours look muted, nothing holds your interest, noisy crowds are overwhelming and in reality all you want to be is safely at home! Just ‘meh’, feeling sad and lonely, even with people around.
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I did something today that I found really scary – no I didn’t parachute out of an aeroplane or bungee jump off a bridge – I opened up about my anxiety and shared my deepest darkest fear publicly on social media!
Now in doing this I seriously suffered further anxiety, worried that people would think I was doing this to just get attention and have people say nice things about me and I can assure you this couldn’t be further from the truth!
Outwardly I am a confident and chatty person but I’ve always been a worrier – even as a kid I wondered if people liked me. When I saw the wonderful charity Mind doing their Take Off the Tape campaign today I knew I had to take part. We need to get people talking about their anxiety and not holding it in, it’s absolutely draining and exhausting (I speak from experience) – initially I thought I would put I get anxious about “Failing”, “Not being good enough” or “Affecting my kids with my anxiety” amongst about another 100 thoughts and then thought I do actually share that part of my anxiety with people, I am quite open that I am an anxious person, but what I rarely mention is that I am constantly thinking; “Do I annoy people?”, “What do people think about me?”, “Have I offended them by saying x, y and z” – boiling down to “Do people really like me?”.
It took me an hour to post the image – I was flushing and feeling so hot and terrified as I pressed post on Instagram and my true inner feelings were shared across Facebook (including my Blog page) and Twitter as well! What I couldn’t have foreseen is the generous outpouring of support and lovely comments from my wonderful friends – I cannot thank you all enough, really I can’t! It means more to me than you can ever realise!
Everyday is a constant battle with these negative thoughts – One example being, you send someone a message on Facebook and you can see that they’ve read it, but they don’t reply and hours and even maybe a couple of days have gone past – logically you know it’s probably a case of they’ve opened it, been busy and thought I’ll read that later and forgotten, or they’ve written a reply and just haven’t hit send (things I’ve done myself) but that small voice in your head says “you’ve offended them”, “you’re just being annoying”, “They don’t like you” and you know in your heart of hearts it’s silly (and to be honest, and not in a horrible way – they probably don’t give you that much thought) but that’s the issue with anxiety – it isn’t logical, it’s all consuming and tiring! This is just one example of the hundreds of thoughts I have all day everyday. Some days are better and you do wonder how you can get so bogged down by your own thoughts, but it creeps up on you and suddenly you’re in floods of tears and you have no clue what to do!
Which is why I am very lucky I have such a wonderful supportive family, who though don’t always understand why my mind does what it does they are always there for me especially my hubby. Also a network of great friends (who, yes I do worry whether they really like me or not!) some of them who are also anxiety sufferers.
Then there is Mind who’s work and support to people like me is just invaluable, I have used them, the counselling sessions were so good, and I would go back to them again and I want to thank them and back them so that they can continue to help more people.
Join in the conversation – here’s how..
Anxiety is shit! It really is! It makes you feel out of control, like you’re losing your mind, completely alone, like you can’t cope and that you’re a failure! It can make just stepping outside and talking with people the hardest thing. Let’s show our support for Mind and make a big noise on social media – Don’t be silenced – we can help each other know that we’re not alone and we can beat this!
What makes you anxious? – Feel free to share, comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org – I know how you feel and am very happy to listen! Don’t be alone and Don’t be silenced! #TakeOffTheTape – http://www.mind.org.uk/tape xxx