“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…
In recent years I have become genuinely fascinated by tattoos, a lot of my friends have them which made me realise how stunning they could be, but I have been known to stare at complete strangers tattoos, which isn’t always the best thing to be caught doing. Though every so often it has resulted in an unexpected and interesting conversation. Finding out why they had it done, was it just teenage rebelliousness or was it a more considered decision with a story behind it?
Chatting with people I would probably never have spoken to, and it’s all been sparked by their body art.
So just before my 30th birthday, I decided I really wanted to get a tattoo, but for me, this was a massive decision and not one made easily, mainly due to my anxiety. Now you may wonder what my anxiety had got to do with it, but one of my triggers is a big fear of having an allergic reaction to things, such as foods, hair dye and therefore not surprisingly tattoo ink!
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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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.
Being that I have a diagnosed General Anxiety Disorder to say I have fears is an understatement – I have way too many to count!!! It’s exhausting I can tell you.
Due to Janathon, and being bitten by the exercise bug with my running, boxercise class and I have even bought weights, I got into my head to face one of those fears and that would be swimming!
My friend who is a swimming teacher kindly said she’d go with me and help me.
I was so nervous, you see I am ok in the water as long as I can touch the bottom. Having watched my two children flourish at their swimming lessons, and we made sure that they were deep water lessons, I thought I needed to be as brave as my children – which is what I am trying to do!
It was tough, my stomach was in knots the night before. I am not sure you can truly understand the affect of anxiety unless you are a sufferer – but my anxiety levels were very high, but I was excited too. My dream is to be able to swim lengths is something I would love to crack in 2016.
My friend was very patient and encouraging, she even managed to persuade me to the deep end, which did take lots of deep breaths and trying to find an inner strength – whilst I clung to the edge like a limpet. Eventually getting me to let go and touch the bottom with my feet and come back up and also do a star float on my front for a few seconds, still not quite brave enough to try and float on my back.
Really working on my breaststroke – need to improve my technique, trying to alternate arm strokes and kicking my legs, whilst also working out my breathing. I can swim 15 metres and then it’s at that point I can no longer touch the bottom and panic sets in, I tense every muscle in my body (I seriously ache this evening)! It’s really tough, but I have taken the first steps and I feel rather proud even if I do say so myself.
The fact I managed to get myself running, which when I first started I could barely run for a minute after which it felt like I couldn’t catch my breath and now I regularly run 5 to 6km makes me realise that with perseverance and practice I can do this…
Thank you Janathon for getting me doing this and my wonderful friend putting up with me and my nervous energy! Hopefully I’ll carry on and succeed and one day feel confident in the water, all being well going back next week! 🙂 xxx