Dealing With Anxiety Attacks

Dealing with Anxiety Attacks

You know the drill, your heart is pounding, thoughts racing and breathing suddenly becomes a little harder. It could have been the tiniest thing, something that most people wouldn’t even register but you have and your brain is in overdrive. A good old Anxiety Attack.

I’ve been living with these beauties since I was around 15 years old, I think. I’ve always been a worrier but Anxiety is a whole different thing. I’ve had an anxiety attack in the supermarket. Why? No idea. Just found myself feeling like I was going to pass out while in the pastry bit. And I love pastry.

So, how do you actually deal with them? Because that’s what has to be done. I can’t go and crawl into bed and let it pass, that would be great but it’s not what real life is. I’m a big fan of using your senses, you might have heard of this method before. When I feel like I’m falling into an attack I try to do the following

What can I see?  Focus on that and only that for a few seconds.

What can I touch? Think about it, what’s the texture, what is it?

What can I hear? Zone in on a particular sound or the silence if there is some and hold on to it.

What can I smell? Take a deep breath, can I smell anything? What is it? Where does it come from?

The only one that isn’t on here is taste…because it doesn’t really work.

 

That’s one method I use if I’m in a better place I’ll also talk to myself in my head, it’s like I have two sides to my brain. There’s a calm and collected side and the anxious side, sometimes the calm side wins, sometimes the anxious one does, they both put up a fight. Basically, I try to talk myself into being logical because anxiety makes your heart feel like there’s a lion in front of you when there’s not. I ask myself questions and try to think through things carefully.

So, these are some of my ways of dealing with Anxiety. They might not be perfect and I know that I’m not a professional but this is just how I’ve been dealing with them. Is there anything you would add? I’m always up for learning more! Let me know in the comments below!

carrying on surviving the past year

Carrying On: Surviving the Past Year

Hello, hello, hello

I know, why am I talking about the past year when it’s April? You see the past year has been tough, really damn tough. It was unexpected and difficult and at times I didn’t really know how I was going to get through it all. I wish that was me being dramatic, I really do.

Career Changes

Aaaaaand this is where it kicked off. In April 2017 I was let go from a Marketing job. To be fair I wasn’t happy in it and now I know it was a good thing, a really good thing. So I did some temp work, some more work which turned out to be temp work before I found my current job. Now I do what I wanted to do when I graduated, I work in Social Media. I love doing extra research, looking at stats and people listen to what I have to say! That said my confidence took a really bad hit for a chunk of the year but I’m back guys!

 

Relationships!

So, Ali is a Sound Engineer and back in April 2017 he hadn’t done much travelling for work. We also hadn’t spent more than 2 weeks apart since we were 13 and 14. Everything changed in that regard this year. Now we’re used to spending time apart from a few nights to two months after a busy summer and his first tour. When it first came around I panicked, I cried and I was petrified of sleeping alone. Now? I miss him but hello, double bed for one? Yes, please.

Personal Challenges

Only a few days after losing my job, I lost my second Dwarf Hamster, Hamski. That was heartbreaking, we knew she was old but the timing just seemed cruel. Because of everything that was going on my mental health took a hit, I became very anxious and depressed, I thought that everything was destined to fail in my life. I was in a lot of pain which, I found out was going to continue to be a constant in my life. I really had to work hard to overcome my personal issues to succeed.

But it wasn’t all bad…

Of course, I’m going to throw in a cliche. It has to rain for flowers to grow. I believe that everything happens for a reason in your life, this year reminded me how resilient I am. I’ve been knocked on my arse and got up again. I’ve got a job that I love, that I feel so passionate about. I have my little Hamster, Wickett. Ali and I are actually closer since he started working away and then coming back. I started to get comfortable with how ‘boring’ I am. I know I can be fully independent if I need to be.

Long story short, it was shit but I got through it and I bet you could too.

 

Book Review: My Lovely Wife – Mark Lukach

Book Review My Lovely Wife Mark Lukach

Mark and Giulia have a wonderful life, a strong relationship and a future to look forward to. What they didn’t know was that their lives and relationships were going to be tested by Giulia developing a severe mental illness. This lead to her being hospitalised, suicidal and unable to trust anyone around her. Later, after the birth of their son, Giulia is again hospitalised but how does Mark care for his child and support his wife.

For anyone who has been in the grips of mental illness or knows someone who has been affected this is a challenging read because it is so real. Mark talks about the lack of movement from medical professionals, the lack of beds and the lack of information. I know that for me, personally, this was a tough read because it’s one of the things that scares me most about mental ill health.

That said, what I celebrated most about this book is that Mark does not shy away from how hard it is to cope with a partner with a mental health condition because it’s true. He shares his pain, bewilderment and anger at the situation and his feeling of wanting to run and escape, not because he doesn’t love his wife, but because it’s hard.

This isn’t all doom and gloom, there is a lot of love in this book and most importantly hope. This chronicles finding a new way to love and a new way to move forward in a relationship when the unexpected is thrown at you, which happens more than people would like to admit. They have still found a way to laugh and love, which is important.

I’ve never read a book like this before and while I was nervous going in, I now recommend it to everyone. This is what long-term love is. This is fighting through together and doing what needs to be done for the other person, even if they may not thank you in the moment. I gave this five stars. Not only was it brilliantly written it meant a lot to me to see the other side. I’d love to read more from Mark about his life with Giulia and their future.

What’s Up With Me?

I’ve been a little bit quieter recently on the blog, on my Twitter and in my general life. Now, I don’t feel that I have to explain everything to everyone but it’s been bothering me slightly. I haven’t written about mental health in a while now, partly because I didn’t know what to say, partly because I’ve been mixing with new people and I didn’t want the first thing for them to know about me was my history rather than the person I am now.

So what is up with me? It’s been a really weird month. My Great Nan died at the beginning of the month, so there was also a funeral. I’ve had some hospital appointments and a week off. So it’s been a mixed bag but even with that, something felt off. Something within me felt strange and I just blamed it on things in my life and feeling tired. Standard stuff.

That was until last night, I’d just had enough of feeling crappy and exhausted when there wasn’t anything that I could pinpoint anymore that was making me feel this way. I’ve been going through areas of my life and couldn’t understand what was going on and I was worried. Then something clicked. Something had changed.

About 2 months ago I changed some of my medication and I was told it would be a straight swap, one for the other but it would help with my back pain as well as serving as an antidepressant that I was already on. There was a catch though…nobody told me the dosage would change to be a lot lower and therefore offset the chemical imbalance again. Not fun.

And that’s the thing, I have a chemical imbalance, that’s all this is. It’s just like a Diabetic I can’t help my illness any more than they can. So I spoke to my doctor, we’re trying out some other options and it was a huge weight off of my shoulders to understand. Living with Depression is all about ups and downs.

I’ve been doing this long enough to know when something is up and trying to work around it. I haven’t been crying every day or the typical Hollywood version of depressed but everything just felt a lot heavier and like it was more effort, that’s when I knew something wasn’t right.

So, that’s what’s been up! I’m pretty proud of myself for clocking it and then doing something about it.

 

Have any of you ever experienced this? Let me know in the comments below!

Snowmageddon 2018!

Snowmageddon 2018

If you live in the UK you may have noticed that there’s been a slight disruption in the last few days and by that I mean everyone’s royally screwed. Yep the snow has hit and I have not seen snow like this in my life and that is no exaggeration. It’s been pretty weird.

So I’ve spent the past two days stuck in my flat unable to use my car or get to work. Yesterday a friend who lives in the same town as me  works in the same office was stuck in her car trying to do our 40-minute journey for just under 6 hours. So I’ve spent two days working, watching snow, going on small walks to our local park and supermarket and throwing food out for the birds that come to my garden.

Our town has pretty much come to a standstill, if you manage to get about 20 minutes up the M3 it’s like a different world, I’ve been told. Going out on the roads though is horrible, I’ve watched cars just spin all over the place, almost crash and of course, there have been some horrendous accidents, including a death nearby.

I think, no matter how beautiful, this kind of weather can be quite isolating for a lot of people. Winter (even though we’re supposed to nearly be done with it) is a tough season for mental health and add in isolation because you can’t get anywhere that’s also difficult. There are some wonderful chats going on on Twitter so if you are feeling a little lonely, they may help or call a friend, a family member.

On that note seeing as I’m stuck I plan on spending some quality time with Ali and doing A LOT of reading. I have a ridiculous amount of books that are on my TBR pile so that’s going to be my weekend I think!

How’re you finding the snow and what are you doing? Let me know in the comments!

My Mental Health Goals For This Year

It’s been a while since I’ve posted about mental health, and that’s mainly because I haven’t known what to write. I’ve had so many ideas for other type of content that I’ve kind of tried ot focus on all the positives. That’s not to say that mental health posts can’t be positive, which leads me on to this one…

Last year was incredibly tough for me mentally, my confidence took a few beatings and my self esteem got smashed. I had to build myself back up quite a few times in the space of 12 months (my 2017 in review is here), so I’m proud of myself but want to take better care of my mental health in 2018.

So, here are my goals…

To be able to celebrate everyday achievements 

I’m way too hard on myself. That’s a fact. I want to try and celebrate everyday achievements and be pleased about the small things to try and get a more positive way of thinking.

To work on managing my anxiety in a healthy way 

I get anxious, I’ve had anxiety for years and I want to focus on healthy ways of tackling it. Whether that be through writing, listening to music or simply talking about it rather than letting myself get so stressed and worried that everything seems 100 times worse.

To look after my body better 

Ok, ok, I’ll admit last year I wasn’t great at looking after my body. I know that when I get a bit of exercise I feel better. I’ve also been making steps to drink more water and having a skin care routine too! Fingers crossed!

To accept rough patches as part of life, rather than defining life

I need to stop panicking when I hit a rough patch and thinking this is where it’s all going to go wrong. It’s a known fact anxiety can do this, but I’m stronger than my anxiety.

To make time for self care every week 

A bath, a good book, getting away from a screen, whatever I need to do! It’s really easy to burn yourself out so I’m trying to give myself a little bit of time each week to keep myself in good shape!

What are your mental health goals for this year? Let me know in the comments below!

Blogmas Day 15: How to stay mentally healthy during the holidays!

Christmas is fun but it can also be really stressful! At Christmas time we want to go, go, go. We feel we need to go shopping for gifts, see friends and family, go to events, look our best and prepare for the big day.  In short, it can be a lot of pressure on anyone, so when you have a mental illness can be very overwhelming and it’s so easy to struggle during the holidays, here are my tips to stay healthy.

Take time for yourself

It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the festivities and everything that ‘needs’ to be done that we often forget to take some time to ourselves! It’s important to be able to wind down and switch off no matter what time of year it is.

Get enough rest

It can be absolutely exhausting to live with a mental illness on a day to day basis, add to that seeing friends and family, going out to join in with events, trying to match the excitement of others. It’s important that no matter what you still get enough rest. It’s so important to prioritise you rest and sleeping habits.

Decide what is a priority for you 

Expectations can be really high at Christmas and if,  like me, you’re a bit of a people pleaser it can be hard to say no. I’ve needed to tell myself, firmly, that I can say no and I need to look at my priorities. My priority is seeing my family, close friends and making sure I use the time I have to recharge my batteries. That’s the priority.

Take the pressure off! 

Banish the ‘should’, you do you over the holidays. I’m not going out on New Years Eve to any pubs or parties. I’m going to spend the night in my own home and go and see my family are a good sleep. I’m going to not have something on every single day and try to go with the flow.

See the day how you need to

For some people they want Christmas to be a day filled with family and that’s what’s important. For others, it’s just another day. Do what’s right for you.

Feeling S.A.D

It’s dark, it’s raining and let’s be honest, pretty miserable outside. Since the clocks went back a few weeks ago I’ll be honest, it’s been a little bit more of a struggle. For many of us, it’s normal to feel a little bit blue in these months, but there are times when this goes deeper. During the winter months, there are many people who have to deal with Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as SAD.  But what is the difference between feeling down and having SAD.

 

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern.

SAD is sometimes known as “winter depression” because the symptoms are more apparent and tend to be more severe during the winter.

The symptoms often begin in the autumn as the days start getting shorter. They’re typically most severe during December, January and February.

SAD often improves and disappears in the spring and summer, although it may return each autumn and winter in a repetitive pattern. (NHS Website)

In my personal experience of living with depression since I was a teenager, the winter months can make depression worse in itself, particularly after the excitement of Christmas is over.

While some will just call it the ‘winter blues’ regardless of whether your depression is seasonal or throughout the year it is still depression and something that people need help with. I don’t agree that having SAD is any lesser a pain or struggle than other types of depression, hence why I wanted to start the conversation and talk more about this.

Mental health issues impact so many lives and it’s important to talk about different types and their causes to get help and beat stigma at the same time. If you feel like you are struggling, maybe it is sadness or perhaps you just don’t feel like yourself talk to someone.

If you see a doctor and feel like they aren’t listening go back and see another, write down how you are feeling and why you think that is. Our minds are both brilliant and confusing things but together we can make the world a little brighter and a little easier.

What are your experiences of SAD? Let me know in the comments below.

 

7 ways to Help Your Mental Health Day to Day

As the days have gotten shorter and it’s a lot darker, anyone’s mental health can take a hit. Recently, while having a medication review, I spoke to a doctor about medication and dosages. He told me that he does not unless he has to for the patient, lower or bring anyone off of antidepressants in the winter months.

I completely understand why he does this. A lot of people feel good at the end of the summer, it’s been warm, there might have been holidays or romance and a lot of time outside the house. In the Autumn & Winter, however, it can get harder.

So, how can we help ourselves, well…

Recognise when you’re not feeling great

Remember that it’s ok not to be ok, it’s like a giant light has gone off for the world, it’s going to knock you! That and it’s cold, not exactly the best conditions to be happy. Know that it’s ok to feel that way and you’re certainly not the only one.

Try and leave the house 

Despite the temperature drop try and go outside. Throw on a big jumper and a coat and go somewhere. It can be as simple as popping to the shop or going for a 10 minute walk.

Practice self-care 

Self-care is really important in whichever way you chose to do it. I’m trying to be healthier and not rely on food  so, recently, I’ve found a nice bath and some poetry makes me feel a lot better.

Make a list of things to look forward to 

I used to really struggle with my day to day because I wasn’t happy with my personal situation. I needed a reason to look forward so I started making notes and writing on calendars at least one thing I was looking forward to. I didn’t need to be anything big but I had a focus point.

Take your time

Take your time with building yourself up. There’s no rush to be the happiest person or to shake off feelings. We’re all different and we all have our own challenges.

Get enough sleep! 

I cannot stress this enough. Sleep is so important to our lives, make sure you get the amount of sleep you need. I know that I can deal with 6 hours a night but to be fully functioning I need 8 hours.

Make sure you eat 

I’m awful at this, I’ll admit that I’m awful at this. When I’m absorbed in something, or when I’m sad food is something I forget about. Don’t be me! Make sure you’re eating and fuelling your body.

My Health Mission

IMG_5466

Hello, hello, hello!

It feels like ages since I’ve written a post about health and how I’ve been getting on. Now I’ll be honest, my whole gym fitness has been awful for the past few months, truly, truly awful. I’ve neglected it and just didn’t have the energy, which I now know had a reason and after some medication, I have a lot more energy and can actually focus on getting back into it.

What’s spurred this on? I hear you ask well I had a checkup and wanted to know what I should be aiming for in terms of weight loss. I’ve known that my weight has gone up and down a lot since I broke my spine, but didn’t know what I should be aiming for. She confirmed what I knew, I was overweight.

My doctor was lovely, she knows that I struggle with exercise because of my spine and told me that under no circumstances I was to stress and beat myself up. That is was going to take me a little longer and I had to take it easy with my exercise, but that I would get there.

So I’m on a mission, not to punish my body but to try to help it and lose the weight in a way that doesn’t make me feel rubbish. I know I can do it, it just might take a little more time and a little bit of restraint.