Friday, 28 April 2017

Whilst you're here...

Would you mind subscribing to this blog and leaving me a comment below if you would like the font size to be bigger? Considering I only made this yesterday I still have some adjustments to make so some feedback in terms of what you'd like to see, if the font is too small, if the translator app works for you or not etc would be much appreciated. I'm always looking to improve on the look of the blog and take on feedback providing that it is constructive.

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Thursday, 27 April 2017

Little Introduction (Edited from my Tumblr)

Welcome to my blog! As you have probably noticed, there are some posts here already but I decided to revamp the design and the tone of it so I’m starting now with a proper introduction. I have also changed hosts so for the time being there will be double posts/ones you may have seen before on Tumblr).
Just to start off; I’m not going to mention my name as I don’t feel like that’s important to this blog. What I do feel is important, however, is the information that I want to share with you from both a professional (from the treatment I have been going through that I think has been helpful) and personal stance. I don’t want to mention people I know, either, as the names are not important; it’s the content and scenarios that are so if any of my posts require names, I’m likely to either change them or label them (e.g: Girl #1).
There’s not really much else to say about me but the main things to mention are; I am a female in my 20’s and that I have severe anxiety and depression. I’m currently undergoing treatment (and have been for the past several years) and whilst I’m far from being cured (I’m always going to have some degree of mental illness), I have found a lot of it to be helpful in understanding why I feel the way that I do which brings me onto my goal for this blog:
My goal for this blog is to have a place where other people who suffer from anxiety, depression and the various illnesses in between can come and read about similar experiences, and for those who have loved ones who suffer from mental illnesses to get a better understanding of the symptoms and the thought processes they encounter when they struck by their illness.
I don’t really know what else to say apart from that I hope you find this blog helpful in some form and that I’ll do my best to keep it light-hearted where needed.

Bit of a Change

To anyone who reads this blog:

Just a heads up: Anytime I post my informational sections (such as"The Vicious Cycle" and "Physical Symptoms of Anxiety" - the more "medical" side of things that I've learned over the years) I will be creating separate pages for them which you can find the links to on the right of this blog space. It just makes it easier for you (and me) to find a particular page without scrolling through the blog.

My personal posts will stay on this main part unless I change my mind or someone requests for them to have separate pages.

I hope you like this blog and I hope you find it helpful!



Blog 3: Work *Sensitive/Possible Trigger Material

*Edit: Just to mention that there is a possible trigger warning further down. Will put a warning in bold next to it and next to where it ends*

Blog 3: Work

Work, work, work, work, work. As I am constantly in a state of anxiety I find it hard to stay in one job for long – paid or not. If I could work in charity shops for free my whole life I would but even that gives me panic attacks. Money aside (I’m more into helping others than expecting to get paid for it) because I feel so wound up all the time I forget what tasks I’ve been asked to do, where things go and even how to work a till (cash register) even if I’ve been there for a while. As I said in my previously blog; my mind goes blank. It is, unfortunately, a sign of severe anxiety and it’s embarrassing. I know what to do but my mind prevents me from being able to do even the simplest of tasks. It blocks me from being able to do anything out of fear of doing the wrong thing or coming across as stupid or an idiot (which is a blog post all on its own for another day). I become forgetful and less observational which isn’t great if you’re the only one on the shop floor and your shop is prone to shoplifters because it’s “only a charity shop”. A charity shop! Imagine stealing from charity! I get that some people shoplift because they have kleptomania (a recurring compulsion to steal) but if you shoplift because you don’t have any money then there are CHARITIES and government schemes that can help you out if you are unable to work or find work.

The last job I had I worked in a call centre for a popular TV, Phone and Broadband company (I know; what is someone who can’t answer phones doing working in a place where they HAVE to answer phones? We’ll get to that.) I won’t name the company as I actually have no issue with them or anyone that I worked with but it is there that I became so unwell. When I started there I went from volunteering a couple of hours a week to working a 40+ hour weekly shift pattern. One week I’d be in for 8am until around 4/4:30 and the next I’d be starting at 2:30pm and finishing at 11pm so I’d either wake up to it being dark and be home as it was getting dark, or sleeping until the last minute and coming home when it was pitch black outside. I was also struggling with my depression back then (I didn’t quite realise how bad it was or that it was anxiety tag-teaming up with it) so getting out of bed at 6am was difficult as I’d either been up all night because of insomnia or feel unable to get out of bed. My limbs would feel heavy and my stomach would ache. I would be physically sick out of pure dread when I had nothing to fear.
Over time it became distressing to answer the numerous phone calls I got because I felt flustered and rushed into finding a solution (or answering the call) within seconds because of disgruntled customers or because of targets set in the work place. It became hard to hear them either due to faulty equipment or because my hearing was failing. I thought I was going deaf. Turns out it’s a common symptom of anxiety.

Next it became a chore to walk from the train station to work (20 mins tops). Soon I was getting off the train simply to board the next one going home because the very thought of going to work terrified me. I was ill and extremely panicked at the thought of letting my team, my boss and the customers done because I couldn’t hear and my heavy limbs felt like I was moving in quicksand. I didn’t feel like I was doing anything right despite my manager telling me that I was really good at my job and that the number of praise calls I had received proved so. My confidence was (and still is) so low that I didn’t believe him. Train journeys became fewer and trips to the doctor became more frequent. I was petrified that I was getting to the point of no return – *trigger warning* the point where being unable to get out of bed turns into self-harm and, quite frankly, suicide.*end of trigger* I got given anti-depressants which, apart from making my teeth chatter, did very little and went back to work. After that I had a very messy breakdown in the staff toilets that had warranted my manager to get a colleague to come and see if I was OK. I wasn’t. I went straight back to the doctor and spent some time off on sick leave. I couldn’t cope when I returned so it was a mutual decision for me to leave the company. I felt so ashamed, so disappointed in myself. I wanted to work and I wanted working to work for me but it didn’t; it just made my illness all the more prominent. I haven't worked since. Not because I don’t want to or because I’m using my illness as an “excuse” (another explanation on another blog post some time?) but because being around other people terrifies me and the sheer thought of having a panic attack makes me have, well, a panic attack, on top of the other symptoms I constantly feel and it sends me into a ball of anxious mess. And it’s not through lack of trying to get better, no, which leads me onto my next post: treatment.



Blog 2: Communication

As I said in my last blog; I find communicating with others hard. I feel as if I annoy my friends and family if I message them and you can forget about calling them; the very thought paralyses me and makes me avoid all forms of communication – social media, my phone, visiting people etc. I don’t think you realise how difficult it is for someone with even just a little bit of anxiety to get up and do things for fear of something bad happening or being judged. My anxiety coupled with my depression makes getting out of bed mentally painful and I think that, because they are “invisible” illnesses and don’t warrant casts and stitches like broken bones do, that those who do not suffer from them simply cannot fathom that they exist when the sufferer may only appear to be sad or shy. It’s deeper than that. Bones can heal and scars can fade but mental illnesses can remain for a lifetime – even in recovery. It’s like rehabilitating a drug and alcohol addiction; there’s always a chance of a relapse. Relapses do not make us failures, however. They make us human.

I’m very open about my mental health and I understand a lot about it but there is one thing I do not understand. I do not understand, when in my attempt to communicate with others, why they still insist on calling me when they are aware that I cannot answer a ringing phone. Obviously if it’s an emergency then it would be fine (as the logical side of my brain will more than likely take over) but it never is. I wouldn’t even mind if they called me once and left a message; it would be fine but they will continuously try to get me to answer the phone even though they know speaking on the phone makes me stutter. I need advance notice if you’re going to call me so I can mentally prepare myself and write down things I want to talk about because as I said I tend to stutter and my brain seems to just stop working. My mind goes blank and I’m not capable of giving more than a couple of words as a reply, and it’s just plain embarrassing. It makes me sound disinterested (which I’m not); I just don’t know what to say. I think it stems from only having one friend for most of life and having our friendship be mostly about them and what they want. I’m aware that people just want to chat – and that’s fine – but if you expect me to engage in a conversation with you and be there for you then is it too much to ask that you do the same for me? Am I unreasonable to want that? To not have a friendship that is one-sided? I love helping others but it would be nice to have someone be there for me for a change and to take an interest in who I am and not what I can give them. A well can only give out so much water before it eventually dries out.

My anxiety towards phone calls also relates to a previous job I had which will be the topic of my next blog.

Blog 1: Severe Anxiety

I suffer from severe anxiety. There isn’t a time when I’m not constantly worrying – I even have anxiety dreams. In fact; right now I’m worrying about what you, the reader, are thinking of me as you read this. Are you reading this to get a better understanding of the condition? Did you stumble upon this blog and the subject matter caught your attention? Do you know me in person and want a better understanding of who I am and this part of my life or do you have some ulterior motive? I’m afraid that if it is the latter then you will be disappointed. I’m very open about my struggles with anxiety and depression (and the other illnesses within them) and there aren’t any secrets when it comes to it. I don’t find it embarrassing and I’m not ashamed of it anymore. So what if I have mental health issues? I’m not afraid of them and you shouldn’t be afraid of me for having them. Hopefully this blog will give you a better insight on what I go through and how it affects me –why it makes me the way that I am. Some may call this blog “depressing” and “negative”. I call it life; my life. This is all I know.

I have had anxiety for as long as I can remember. It has stopped me from trying new things for fear of being judged and made fun of. Being bullied throughout my childhood and teenage years certainly didn’t help. I grew up extremely self-conscious, aware that all eyes were on me because at school if I tried to participate in say, P.E, peers would stare, call me names and find ways to let me know that, as a bigger person, I didn’t look good when I ran (or when I did anything, according to them). I couldn’t walk from my seat to the front of the class without snide comments or looks being exchanged. I grew up with people taking the mick out of me when we did things like “Social Dancing” because no one wanted to dance with the fat girl, and a fat girl dancing was hilarious to them. There was one guy, however, who didn’t see it that way and that will always stick with me. We had gone to primary school together and he had no qualms about asking me if I wanted to be his dance partner. That is probably one of the only good things that happened to me throughout my education. I could’ve let my paranoia convince me that he was doing it for a laugh but I knew in my heart that he was sincere because back when I was well-minded he was always very nice to me. I think he was aware that despite others thinking that I wasn’t worth knowing because I was different, that I was at least worth showing some human decency towards because, at the end of the day, no matter what you look like; we are all human -unless you identify as a fish or something but you catch my drift. We all have a living, beating heart and a soul (yes; even gingers) and we all deserve to be treated with respect and decency.  
I try to treat everyone how I would want to be treated and if they turn out not to be worth giving my respect or time to (because they are horrible people) then I simply do not bother with them. If a friend or acquaintance becomes toxic then I stop associating with them. These kinds of people, I have learned, are not worth what limited good mental health I do have and I will not jeopardise my recovery for them or their toxic ways.
Even though I have been out of school for a while now, I still feel down a lot and that impacts my interactions with people I know. When I feel really bad I go offline for days, sometimes even weeks at a time, and I turn my phone off. On good days I still find it hard to talk on the phone and to reach out to people as, due to my anxiety, I feel like I am bothering them. You would think that as I am aware that the paranoia traits of my anxiety warps my mind that I would be able to brush it aside and forget about it but I can’t and that leads me onto the subject of my next blog post; communication.

If you have any questions about this post or would like me to talk about a specific part of dealing with anxiety and depression then please feel free to ask. Any negativity will be deleted.



New Blog Host!

Hi everyone!

I decided to change the blog host as, whilst Tumblr is really simple and easy to use, Blogger provides me with a wide variety of options when it comes to how I envisioned my blog and it makes seeing how many people check in a whole lot easier. The only thing that changed is the url which is the one you are on at the moment.

Comments are enabled on each post so feel free to join in! Just a reminder, though, that any negativity will be deleted.

I can't wait to start this new blog journey with you - albeit if it causes me anxiety!



Get To Know Me Part 2

Hi everyone! Here is part 2 of the "Get To Know Me" post that I did last Friday to celebrate one year of being with Blogger. If ...

Anxiously, Me