Well let’s just say that this year has been one for the record books and has been challenging for us all.
In October 2019 I decided to under take a masters degree it was huge decision as I was (and still am) working full time but it was one of the best decisions that I have made.
So a year on and one global pandemic later I am about to start my second year of my course so I thought I would share with you what I have learnt.
Though distance learning is now something that is familiar to us all after recent months for me back in October it was a first. The idea of being able to study at home seemed great but I will I will tell you one thing it’s hard. I found myself distracted at every moment and I would prioritise anything else over my uni work. I found that limiting my distractions really helped and found myself so much more productive if I went out to study rather than be stuck at home. I would reside in my local Starbucks and drink my weight in coffee but I managed to get more work done there than anywhere else.
It’s safe to say that trying to study for a masters, move house, learn to drive, keep up a social life and work full time was a bit too much. I would find myself struggling to juggle everything and I never let anything slip. Going into my second year I vowed to not try and keep everything up and that in the end some things have to give trying to keep myself involved with everything was too much and caused no end of stress.
I feel that ending my year the way I did was difficult, my course stopped dead and we was told that we would be given predicted grades. It caused no end of stress as all I could think about was what if? What if I failed? How would I pay for everything? What if I have to spend another year studying? In the end I passed and I breathed a sigh of relief but one thing I realised was that I was more stressed because I knew I didn’t do my best. I knew that there was a chance that I wouldn’t pass because I hadn’t given my all. So this year I have vowed to do everything in my power to do the best I can do then I will always know that I couldn’t have done any more.
I think honestly my attitude towards my course has changed, my priorities have shifted and I know that I need to really work hard to get through this. I am nervous for what’s to come but more excited as this year is my most interesting. It was certainly an unusual first year but it helped me grow and realise my true potential.
Bring on second year!!!!
Do you ever wonder what your life would look like through someone else’s eyes?
We spend most of our lives wishing we were someone else. You know when you look at someone’s life and think to yourself I want what they have? Have you ever thought some people may wish that they had your life?
I know sounds crazy. I bet a lot of you are thinking why would anyone wish to be me why am I so special?
But maybe that’s just it our lives are special and we just don’t see it. Maybe we just need to stop getting distracted about all that goes wrong in our lives and focus on what’s going right.
I was reading a blog from a psychologist who was conducting a class. She held up a glass of water and everyone she was going to ask is the glass half full or empty half full?
Instead she asked how much does the glass of water weigh. Of course people started answering 100 grams or 500 grams. The psychologist explained that it doesn’t matter how much the water weighs what matters is how long that you hold the glass of water. If you hold it for a minute it weighs nothing, if you hold it for an hour it gets heavier but if you hold it for a day it becomes really heavy as your arm starts cramping.
Her point was that the same applies to stress and anxiety and life, the longer that you hold onto something the more it weighs you down and that at the end of the day we should let go of all that stress that has built up.
This really speaks to me we don’t seem to see how good our lives are because we are being weighed down by all the negativity.
So that one person who wishes that they had your life isn’t crazy they just see all the good things that is happening to you and wish it were happening to them.
Maybe we all just need to stop and think what our life would look like through someone else’s eyes.
We just need to learn to seize the experiences that life throws at you because hidden in the chaos and the stress is a door that can lead to better things. It has always been there we just are so blinded by everything else to see it.
You are the person that can make everything change.
Some words of wisdom, just slow down and take everything in, there is a reason that this is happening you just need to find it and understand it.
It is strange time across the world right now, as we are all aware the world is experiencing a pandemic. This means that we are all stuck inside with no where to go and not being able to see friends and family is tough.
When you have limited things to keep you entertained it is easy to retreat into your mind and your mental health can take a real blow. I have found that during this time I am more irritable, anxious and feel as though I have no energy to do anything or speak to anyone. This is normal and I can guarantee that a lot of you are feeling the same way right now. So I thought that I would share a few tips on what is helping me deal with my mental health during this time.
First it is so easy to keep yourself busy with things like washing of chores but this doesn't keep your mind busy. Using chores to keep you entertained doesn't give you a break, you need to find something that you enjoy a hobby. I have dabbled in a lot of different things such as paint by numbers, wreath making and colouring ( I have been feeling creative). Whatever it is you need to find something that you enjoy to do rather than have to do.
One thing I have been making sure I do is looking after myself, I have been making sure that I eat plenty of fruit and veg and drink plenty of water. I have also been making sure I give myself a pamper whether that is in the bath with a glass of wine or watching my favourite TV show while painting my nails with a face mask. Nothing feels better than a pamper session and it just relaxes you keeping those pesky thoughts at bay.
An obvious option is keeping in touch with friends and family. You need to remember there is not a lot of things to talk about as everyone is stuck inside so sometimes it can be awkward. Fill this time with family quizzes and games. I know a lot of people are doing quiz competitions but you can mix it up and I have found I am looking forward to the weekly board games with family over Zoom.
Finally make sure that you pencil in your daily exercise into your busy schedule. The government has sanctioned a daily walk in order to let people experience the forbidden outside world. We have mixed our walk up with going to the local park or walking through the woods. It makes such a difference going outside in the fresh air so not matter the weather make sure you take full advantage of it. I have also been enjoying Yoga in the morning. With my morning coffee in hand I look forward to having half an our Yoga with a mixture of meditation it really sets the tone for the day.
I know this time is hard for everyone and it affects people in different ways. Just remember to prioritise you in this time.
Stay Safe, Stay Home
It's no secret that I have been very open about my anxiety journey and have come a long way however my journey is far from over.
I still find myself having bad days now and again but no where near to the extent that I used to suffer. I feel that this journey may not be over for me just yet and it may always be something that lingers in the background but I have found my coping mechanisms working and I have identified some of my triggers so it's safe to say I feel as though I am well equipped for the future.
My advice to anyone who is suffering is to know your anxiety, know your triggers and know how to deal with them. I know my biggest triggers are crowds and travel they seem to set me off no matter how prepared I am but what I have found that it's all about how I approach each situation that varies my response.
I know when travelling that I have my headphones and my meditation app at hand, I know to be prepared and make sure I know what times to travel and that I have packed everything. When travelling through airports I often get fast passes to speed us through so I am not in a security for too long and my husband takes a lot off me so I know that my only focus is to get through the check ins. When travelling around the UK it's important for me to not rush and reduce my stress as much as possible. I am lucky that my husband takes a lot of responsibilities off me so that I can only focus on myself and getting through the situation.
It's also important to note that I never shy away from situations and do try and confront my fears as much as I can. This helps me when I am having an attack to think about the times that I overcame my anxiety and how I managed to get through that situation so that I can overcome this one.
It's important to reduce the stress around a trigger but also in your life. I am unfortunate that I am a very stressful person and I like things to be done in a certain manner but I have worked really hard with my friends and family to give up some responsibilities and focus on myself and having days where I only surround myself in things that I like. An example of this is having rest days to spend time watching my favourite shows / film and eating my favourite food or going to my favourite place.
Though my anxiety is more manageable I do still find myself having those feelings of panic and I do have attacks but it's my management of the situation and my exposure of situations in the past that helps me overcome the attacks more quickly and recover a lot faster. This journey is long and it is by no means over it has taken me years to get to this point but it is safe to say that I can start having a positive relationship with my anxiety instead of the overwhelming feeling of dread.
I know not everyone has the same triggers or can manage the feelings as easily as I have found myself doing but just no that it is no quick fix and eventually there will be a time where you can overcome the worst fears. You are not alone in this battle.
Loss is something that everyone will deal with at least at some point in their life. It is one of the single most worst thing someone can go and rather hard to recover from.
I first experienced loss at a rather young age with the death of elderly relatives and though I don't think loss of any kind is easier, the loss of an elderly relative is more understandable than a sudden death as it seems almost expected after a certain age. For me I never understood why people was so emotional or even understood what was happening fully.
When I was 15 I lost my dad to a terrible disease known as motor neurone. I was at that awful age where I knew what was happening enough to understand but wasn't emotionally mature enough to process the emotions that came with such a big loss. We had 15 weeks from diagnosis to my father passing away and for a 15 year old this wasn't enough time to process the whole situation.
I was very much a daddy's girl and this was such a shock to the system to not have someone there I expected to be there for years to come. My father was rather young when he died he had only turned 50 the year before.
At the time these emotions turned to anger at the situation, at the world. I resented the fact that other people had a father while I didn't, it wasn't fair it shouldn't have happened that way and I wanted him back!
As I grew up it was the things that I couldn't share with him like my prom, getting into uni, graduating, getting engaged and married that I missed.
Now this year marks 10 years since I lost my dad and though I feel as though I can get through my day to day life I do miss him terribly. He was never there for any of my milestones in my life, he never got to meet my husband or my future children. He never got to see his other grandchildren grow up and he has now become a story that we tell each other at family occasions. He will never be forgotten and he is always in our minds on a daily basis. It has gotten more bearable and we have moved on and instead of stopping our lives, we live because of them, we want to make them proud.
To any one who has suffered any form of loss in your life just know that everyone goes through it and there is no right or wrong way to deal with it. All we can do is make sure it doesn't stop our lives from going forward as they would never have wanted that for us. See it as a purpose to live your life to the fullest in their memory, honour them and make sure they are never forgotten.
I have suffered from anxiety for a number of years now and even though I kept it a secret from a lot of people I feel that I have come a long way in my journey.
When I first started suffering with anxiety my attacks they used to be daily occurrence and I would find myself crippled to the point I was lying in a ball on the floor, I wouldn't leave the house or even answer the door. I would only leave the house when I had to and only with my husband I couldn't bear of doing anything on my own I felt that I needed to be accompanied everywhere just in case I had an attack.
I have come a long way now that I have fewer anxiety attacks they average around once a month and some months none at all! I can leave the house on my own and feel as though I don't have to be with someone all time I actually enjoy having time to myself.
I seemed to have worked out my triggers and developed coping mechanisms to overcome my attacks. I have been seeing a therapist for a few months that seems to have helped in dealing with my thought processes and how I react to certain situations. I have worked hard to get to this point and when I look back on how I was and it's like I was a different person.
I hope that for all those people suffering like I was/am I want to say there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You will get better it just takes time and patience it has taken me years to get to this point and I still have a long way to go. Nobody's perfect.
I feel as though I might be slightly mad about going back to uni, sometimes I think I have gotten in over my head. I mean it's a lot to take on with working full time, learning to drive, general adulting and then throw in a full time masters course.
So even though I am slightly terrified and are wondering whether I will have enough time in the day I am so excited!
I can't wait to push myself and get back into learning again, I love getting to grips with something new and lets not forget getting to buy loads of new stationary (ok I know that makes me sound sad)!!
I feel that just because life has gotten in the way with a job and house's and again adult stuff it doesn't mean that I can't push myself and follow a dream of mine. I feel so privileged to be able to use my degree and further myself in a field that I am so passionate about.
So as the nerves kick in with starting something new and all the dominoes fall into place I feel a mixture of nerves and excitement for my new adventure. Fingers crossed!!!
I am at that point in my life now where everything is changing and not always for the better. Life likes throwing me some curve balls and they keep knocking me down.
Not going to lie it’s been tough.
However I have realised I need to stop spending most of my time on the floor and get back up and take charge. We can never predict some of the curve balls that are coming our way but we can limit the amount of damage that they cause and use them to our advantage.
I know easier said than done right?
But you can say that about anything.
We might not know what around the corner but doesn’t mean we can’t be prepared.
Why are we sat there preparing for all the things that can go wrong but ignoring everything that can go right? We are wasting all of our resources on something that might not even happen.
Someone once said to me imagine yourself as a battery you have 100% but you have to split that between everything in your life.
So for example 30% on work/school 20% on family 40% on friends etc. what happens when you have nothing to give out any more?
But you also have to imagine that you get percentages back to help replenish your charge like 20% from family and 30% from work/ school but what happens when you are putting in 40% on friends but only getting 10% back. Doesn’t that mean that you are investing more than you are getting back?
Now think of this in regards to the challenges you face if you are wasting so much energy worrying and expecting the worse you are wasting your resources. You are getting nothing back out of that.
We should be using all the challenges that we face as a driving force that can make our lives so much better and push us to do things that we never had the drive to do.
The saying that everything happens for a reason is Cliché but makes sense. We seem to forget that we can’t change something that happens to us its already happened. What we can change is the out come and where it will lead us in the future.
We can’t change the past or present but the future is ours to control so it’s about time that we took charge and decided what will happen to us.
I think the conversation around mental health is something that is in the front of everyone’s mind in today’s society. Surprising statistics show that so many people are silent sufferers. We know at least one person within our life struggling to keep everything under control.
Unfortunately I am a sufferer too and my enemy is my anxiety. Anxiety seems to be something that many people have heard of but not many understand. I have had my own family admit they can’t relate to what I am feeling.
For a long time I thought I was getting better thought I had it all under control but recently I have realised that this is far from the case. I had somehow managed to kid myself that I was finally rid of this dark shadow that seemed to loom over my shoulder constantly. Instead I realised I have just been hiding behind a smoke screen instead and I was close to breaking point.
It all came to light after a stressful few weeks at work followed by the demand of family and responsibilities and a few arguments thrown in there as well. It had to be one of the scariest points of my anxiety so far waking up unable to breath and having to ring 999 to get help.
I have been on medication for my anxiety for a while and had managed to reduce my dosages to s when I needed them so for all that to change and rely on them daily seemed to me such a set back.
The thing is it wasn’t a set back it was my body’s way of telling me when enough is enough. I had split myself in so many directions to keep everyone happy I was neglecting myself in the long run. So I have taken steps to help me get my anxiety under control.
I think the first accomplishment was admitting to people around me. I had been struggling at work for such a long time letting them know what I was suffering was a big step but one I wish I had taken earlier. They instantly wanted to help and have pushed me to seek help through many different organisations. I feel as though They will support me in all decisions that I make as well as keep my wellbeing in mind.
Another step was identifying my triggers and micro managing them. Taking that step back is just what I needed knowing when to push myself and when not to and being proud of the small victories I achieve.
My life so far has included a lot of change it seems never to stay still for too long but making the effort to stop and take time not only for my self but making sure my life is a constant has helped more than you would think. I t has helped me in dealing with the changes that have to happen and has made me slow down and appreciate the life I have made for myself before it all changes again. I have started to set small goals to work towards whether that is a holiday or a shopping trip or a weekend away it all helps me focus on the positives in my life at the moment.
The biggest thing I have come to realise is that talking about mental health is not the end of the world. So many people can relate to what I am going through and together we can help each other with tips and advice along the way. This journey is by far from over for me but it feels a lot more manageable now I know I am not on my own and no matter what someone has my back.
I guess this post is more for me than you guys but if somehow this post helps just one of you then I have made a difference.
For years I have suffered with anxiety and Depression.
A lot of those years I didn’t have a label for it I just thought something was wrong with me. It was five years ago when I was diagnosed officially and in some way it was a blessing in disguise to know what it was.
I have been through some very challenging times in my life that I thought I had dealt with but I guess I hadn’t.
I can’t ever describe it, it changes so often but if I had to I guess I would describe it as your own mind turning against you.
Its like you are in there and you can see things clearly but you’re not on your own and there are times where this panic jut sets in. You can see what is happening but you are completely helpless in doing anything about it. You are completely consumed by the feeling of panic and you don’t know when it is going to stop. The thing is you can’t work out what causes it to happen. You spend all day wishing that today is going to be fine and you won’t have an attack. It’s like living in constant fear.
I have bad days; really bad days where I don’t want to leave the house and just want to curl up into a ball in the corner.
However not everyday is like that, I have good days too. Days where I can feel that I can conquer this feeling and take charge of my life again.
The bad days are happening less and less but they still happen. I am on some strong medication, which makes things better. But it doesn’t cure anything it just makes the days more bearable. It angered me so much when I was put on the medication because I was so scared that I would become dependant on them, that they were the only thing keeping me from falling apart. Ever since I was given them I have vowed that I will not be on them for the rest of my life.
I have used them as a driving force to help me manage my own mind without any help. It even though it has been a long road it is working slowly.
But hey, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Other things have helped too.
The biggest thing has been my husband he still panics every time I have an attack but he lets me take charge and just waits for me to tell him what I want.
Meditation has helped to being able to control my breathing helps me calm myself down when it all gets too much. There are plenty of apps out there that are free that can get you started.
I think the biggest thing that has helped is space. Having a place that is just yours to help you clear your head. My place changes often whether if it’s having a day out somewhere quiet or sitting on the beach listening to the waves.
But having a place at home helps too.
I have a spare room which is filled with books where I just get lost in a book whether it’s harry potter or the newest edition to my collection having that quiet time helps so much.
Everyone who suffers from anxiety is different and has different things that help. The thing is anxiety isn’t something that you can see you can’t tell if the person who sits next to you on the bus suffer too.
I hope that by sharing my experiences if I can help one person then that is enough.
Remember you are never alone.