Life lessons

World Mental Health Day x

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Give me a pen and paper and I’ll write.

Give me a keyboard and I’ll type.

Give me a subject to write about that I have no passion for or belief in and it will be a piece not worth reading. When I started my blog a few weeks ago, there were days when I felt like I should be writing and uploading posts but I simply can’t force myself to write about something if I’m not in the moment. I think in order to make something half worth reading, you have to write it with passion! Coincidentally, today is ‘World Mental Health Day’ so what better time to touch upon a subject that I feel so strongly about. Us Brits can be alot more introvert when it comes to these kind of topics. It doesn’t always come naturally and can be perceived as ‘attention seeking’ but this is where it needs to change.

I am a sufferer and I feel comfortable enough sharing this because I know that the chances are, you are too and this is nothing to be ashamed of!

I’ve been thinking how I can approach this subject without it coming across as attention seeking or too self indulgent.  I have also been asking myself ‘What do I want to get out of writing this‘ – I want people to be able to relate, because I know there are so many that will be able to and everyone has an element of it. If I can help ONE PERSON then how amazing is that.

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Anxiety has become so normal to me, it just slots in with my other emotions. Happy, sad, angry, tired, hungry, anxious. I think it is normal to me now because I am managing it, rather than being scared of it.. or feeling like a I am ‘damaged’ It is a normal human experience but it is knowing when it is becoming a ‘problem’ for you and knowing how to handle it.

For me it has reared its head in all different forms over the years. Panic attacks, pins and needles, shortness of breath, chest tightening. It can be a pretty scary experience but with the right help and aids, you can really learn how to manage it. I’m not there just yet, but I am trying to learn. I battle constantly with my energy. My mind is a million miles an hour and it is mentally wearing. When nervous, some people may go shy and sink into their shell, I still can go a million miles an hour from nervous energy – it drives me insane and I feel myself doing it. I avoid certain situations at all costs because I simply do not know how to deal with them and my anxiety gets brought on full force.

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For me, the way I am dealing with it is learning how I can deal with and approach certain situations. Confrontation of any form for me doesn’t bare thinking about. Some people enjoy it, some people thrive off it –  it literally makes me lose my breath and want to hide in a corner. In my head I seem to think that if I confront someone or have to deal with confrontation it means I will lose that friendship or be disliked and end up alone which is just ridiculous because if it’s a real Friendship or Relationship then that wouldn’t even be an option. Rejection is the core of my Anxiety and it is only recently that I have learned that. Interviews, arguments, anything that could give the possible chance of rejection sends me into a panic, because I simply don’t know how to do deal with it without taking it so personally.   So that is a prime example of how I am trying to learn and teach myself other ways to deal with situations, to lessen that feeling of anxiety!

I want to stress to people that there is no shame in anxiety! We all have it, some worse than others but I think it shows how in tune you are with your emotions. Our lives are always changing, and that alone can bring anxiety to you. You get older, you lose friends, you gain friends, you may change careers – it can all set it off but learning to manage it can make a hell of a difference.

Another thing I want to stress is Anxiety disorders and Depression disorders ARE NOT THE SAME! With depression you can experience symptoms of Anxiety but both disorders have very different emotions and behavioural symptoms. Just because you have Anxiety, it doesn’t mean you are depressed. I have never been depressed. I get scared, I get down, I worry – but being ‘down’ is a million miles away from being Depressed.  I think some can confuse the two and self diagnose with the latter. I went to the Doctors a few years ago, quite clearly with just the symptoms of Anxiety and he gave me the option of ‘Anti depressants’? When I quite clearly was not depressed – so keep an eye out for that too.

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I have tried a few things over the years and am always experimenting with different methods. Here are a few of my tips and recommendations that have really helped me;

Bachs Rescue Remedy

Honestly, I don’t think I could have passed my driving test without this stuff. Ok, so it took me 4 times to pass but I swear I didn’t use this stuff until the last 2! On my third test the woman I had was eviiiiiiiiiil. I have used Rescue Remedy for the tests, interviews, flying, skydive – it’s an all rounder and it works a treat! My personal preference is the drops. I was heavily pregnant on my last driving test and this stuff was the closest I had tasted to alcohol in a while so I was lovinggggg it.. drop drop dropppppppppp. You can pick it up in your local pharmacy, Boots and most proably Savers, Wilko etc although I don’t know that for sure. It’s a bit dear, but it lasts and you cant put a price on sanity 😉

http://www.boots.com/en/Bach-Rescue-Remedy-Dropper-20ml_2217/

Meditation

So originally when I thought of ‘Meditation’ I thought it was just sitting on the floor going ‘hummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm’ I’m not knocking it but for me I would feel a bit silly doing that, so it isn’t something that I had really looked into. When I was pregnant I was introduced to ‘Hypnobirthing’ (post to come soon) and it is basically practicing a form of hypnotism, breathing exercises etc and I loved it. The breathing exercises alone helped to ease my anxiety and control my breathing. I really think it did help because apart from the natural nerves and worries, my anxiety wasn’t a problem at all throughout pregnancy!

Only a couple of nights ago, I remembered an app that I tried a couple of years ago. I remember it being good and really effective but I honestly think I must have deleted it to make room to take more photos on my phone – this is  a frequent occurrence. Anyway I re-downloaded it and have fallen in love with it all over again. You get 10 free ’10 minute sessions’ & then you have to pay a subscription. You can find the costs on their website. I don’t think they are unreasonable when you compare to the cost of therapy etc.

https://www.headspace.com/

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It relaxes me so much that within 5 minutes I am asleep. They call it a ‘Gym membership for the brain’ and they aren’t wrong. Being in tune with your breathing will make a HUUUUUUUGE difference if you suffer with panic attacks. I have nipped many in the bud by mastering my breathing techniques. It’s a good excuse to make time for yourself. Stick on your comfies and lay in a dark room and you’ll be away with the fairies. Lovely little escape from reality.

Exercise

Since having Joseph I have had to fight a couple of emotional demons and I cannot tell you how much joining a gym made a difference with this. On Maternity Leave my Anxiety levels shot through the roof. It wasn’t becoming or being a mum, it was being left with my own thoughts and fears. Broken nights sleep with a baby was a breeze in comparison to how mentally drained I can get from my thoughts. I honestly felt as though I was going mental. I wanted to get fit and lose my baby weight but I needed something to channel my thoughts into and really get rid of my bad energy and anger. This anxiety was getting nipped in the bud pronto, there was and is no way I will let that effect Joseph or the way I bring him up! It isn’t the mum that I want to be. Changing the foods that I ate, the amount that I used to drink and bringing exercise into my life has made the hugest difference! Get yourself a Pure Gym membership or get yourself out for a run – pump those happy endorphin’s and you will be amazed how much better you will feel.

St Johns Wort

I really swear by these. I have tried alot in terms of herbal remedies and these by far are the best. I’ve tried lavender pillow sprays, Camomile tea before bed, Horlicks, Kalms Tablets. I’ve done them all but this one is right up there alongside the Bachs Rescue Remedy. The doctors even recommend them. What I will say though, is the branded St Johns Worts can be a bit more expensive. Get yourself to Boots and buy their branded version and they are pretty much like for like, but at a cheaper price. Girls, please note that this can cancel out your Contaceptive Pill.

http://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/drugs-and-treatments/st-johns-wort/#.V_trm-UrJdg

http://www.boots.com/en/Boots-Mood-Lift-Max-Strength-St-Johns-Wort-Tablets-30-tablets_850311/

Communicate

Communication, as with anything is VITAL. I understand it isn’t as easy for some but if your loved ones are aware of your feelings, emotions and what can set off your Anxiety, they can help you. Since becoming vocal with my loved ones, people have come forward to me with their Anxiety problems too! It took me a while to learn this myself, but a problem shared really is a problem halved and you’ll be suprised how many people are going through the same thing.

I very much wear my heart on my sleeve and I am quite open with my feelings and emotions, but I know that not everyone is like that and I hate the thought of ANYONE suffering alone. I am always so happy to help people, and as with most things that isn’t completely selfless as I enjoy and get something out of it too. If you have any questions etc about Anxiety or want to share any of your experiences please feel free to comment or you can pop me an email as shown on my ‘Contact’ page. 

Keep Smiling xxx

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

http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Anxiety/Pages/Introduction.aspx

2 Comments on “World Mental Health Day x

  1. Very practical advice Jax! You write with such an endearing and interesting tone. I think your anxiety must be the reason why you are very kind and sensitive, so as you say, it’s certainly not all bad. Something I also read a while ago was interesting, it pointed out how people with high anxiety may be better at certain jobs, like risk management etc. XXXX

    1. Love you sister!!! Such a lovely message, thank you! just wanted to wait until I was at a comp so I could respond properly. Get too distracted on my phone!!! Your tooo cuteeeeeeeeee xxxxx

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