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My Story

This is something I wrote a while ago, but as it is Mental Health Awareness Week, I wanted to share it. Mental health has always been a hard topic to talk about, but it’s something that will affect 1 in 4 people in some form or another. I’m so pleased to see that it is slowly becoming something that people feel more comfortable talking about, so this is my story.

It’s easy to slip into a comfort zone. A routine where you feel safe and comfortable, no surprises, and you don’t think anything of it. It’s not until someone suggests something, maybe a night out somewhere new or an event with some people you don’t know all that well, and that’s when it hits. The feeling of your heart, that has suddenly started racing, sinking all the way down to your toes. The feeling of complete dread in the days, hours, minutes leading up to it. It hasn’t always been like this, but it wasn’t something that happened overnight either. I think it has always been there, but under the surface, because until recently I was able to make excuses – “I can’t come out, I have to work tomorrow” or “I don’t have enough money.“ It wasn’t until it started to be questioned, why I don’t go out too much or why I always leave early that I started to feel like there was a problem.

I didn’t like this feeling. I got defensive, I argued it – I don’t have a problem, I’m fine, so what if I don’t want to go out as much as you? It wasn’t until I realised it was affecting my relationships that I decided that maybe it was something I had to address.

The way I see it, anxiety is like a circle of fear, and more often than not it is the fear of doing something that is a million times worse than the thing itself. But the more I sit and over think and worry about something, the worse it becomes, and I’m sure this is something everyone can relate to. When it builds up in my mind, I find it hard to see the positives in a situation.

Here are some of the ways I try to make things seem less scary. Whether by breaking them down into smaller events or turning them around so I see the positives rather than the negatives, my anxiety is starting to become more manageable.

  • I’m good one-to-one, I can sit down and chat quite happily if there is just one other person. Add more people into the equation and I struggle. I feel like I have nothing to contribute, I worry that I’m boring, that people won’t like me, and the more I worry, the less I talk. It’s not a fun circle. So I made a plan to get to know one person better. Now, if there’s an occasion where I have to be out with a big group, I can go and talk to that person and know that I have a sort of safety blanket, that there is at least one person there I know I can hold a conversation with.
  • Set a timeframe. I mention that I’m going to get the last tube home, or that I have to leave by a certain point. Luckily I’ve always been a bit old before my time and most people understand if I say this and don’t push me to stay longer  This isn’t to say I will always leave then, if I am enjoying myself then of course I’ll stay. But if there is a time frame then I find it easier to relax.
  • It’s cliché but often talking is easiest. Believe me, it’s become much easier to deal with since I’ve opened up more about it, people do understand and most people will have experienced anxiety about something at some point.
  • Take some time out. It’s okay to have a little cry if you need to. I find that for me, writing, colouring or reading are great, and I love going for a long run or to the gym.
  • Make a plan for something for yourself. It can be something little, like treating yourself to that top you’ve wanted for ages, or something bigger – I do love a bit of holiday planning, or looking for weekend breaks 🙂

If any of you have any suggestions, anything that helps you then I’d love to hear them 🙂

There will be good days and bad days, but I want to write things out and document them so I can see the good in them, with the hope that working through the anxiety and the reasons behind it rather than just ignoring it and burying my head in the sand will mean the good days far outweigh the bad.

Writing this now, it seems so easy and straightforward, and I’m sat here thinking “What’s the problem? It’s not that bad.” I’m writing this sat on my sofa with my dog and my family wandering around the house and it’s safe and calm and I don’t have an event coming up filling me with dread. If I can hold onto this feeling, then I can just take baby steps, a day at a time.

 

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  • Lisa

    Much love from little Lisa.

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  • Keighley Smith

    You are amazing always remember this girl, I adore this post – Keighley xx

  • Its always great to see people talking about anxiety as its shun and frowned upon when talking about mental health as people think anxiety is “normal”. But its great to see what helps you and its always lovely to see your way of dealing with anxiety and showing the world what could help for them as well.

    Its much easier burying your head in the sand but its good you’re going at it head first <3

  • What a heartfelt account. Well done you for sharing your story and raising awareness.

  • Kate

    Oh Hels, what a GREAT post. I too found that opening up helped – not least because I was always pleasantly surprised by the amount other people could identify with it.

    Like you with writing, colouring, reading and gyming, I found that crafting (cross-stitch and sketching!) really helped take my mind off it. Ensuring ‘self-care’ time was a massive help too but getting to a place where I could be ‘kind’ enough to myself to do that is an ongoing work in progress! Lovely post and very well written, I’m sure it will help lots of people!

    Kate x
    http://www.findingkate.co

  • Chloe

    I read this the other day and I bloody loved it! It’s so inspiring to read about other people’s mental health experience, thanks for sharing gorgeous xx

  • It’s a great post. I am not really familiar with the topic and until I started blogging, I wasn’t reading anything on mental health but this is great that things are changing and I am learning a lot! It’s great that you’re raising awareness! xx corinne

  • Great post and well done for talking about it. Talking; whether in person to a friend, family member, therapist or writing it down in a journal or a blog post can be SO beneficial <3

  • Ellis Woolley

    These are some excellent points and thankyou so much for sharing them with all of us. It’s so hard opening up and this post is sure to help people with their mental health, especially anxiety. I can relate to it rearing it’s ugly head when I’m faced with something I’ve not done before or being around too many people at once. I also leave literally every event early and I’m glad I’m not the only one who gives myself a time frame. It really does help me feel more at ease and gives me a time to work towards! <3 Ellis x // http://www.elliswoolley.blogspot.com

  • I’ve suffered from depression in the past, being signed off from working, barely showering and functioning. I was in a toxic situation that I couldn’t leave. But those days are now behind me and things are looking pretty fantastic!! xx

  • So lovely of you to share your story with us all. Your advice and tips are really helpful so thankyou for this post xx

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