When I first started this blog, one of my main goals was to write about my anxiety and how I managed to overcome it.
I decided that it is now a good time to share my story and, continue writing posts that will hopefully help anyone who is currently going through a bad patch or just wants to look after their mental health.
My anxiety started around 4 years ago, I was your typical 21 year old going out on the weekends, drinking, smoking and, eating lots of rubbish food – enjoying life. The anxiety crept up on me for no apparent reason. This is when things started changing.
In the beginning I wasn’t really sure what it was. I didn’t know much about it, all I knew was this ‘thing’ was taking over my life. It gradually got worse and worse, to the point that everyday life was affected and work was a struggle.
Having a conversation with someone could, without any warning turn into a full blown panic attack. For me, a panic attack meant my vision going, heart racing, heat through my whole body including my face, feeling sick and shaking inside.
This gave me a fear of any situation where I had ever had a panic attack, or thought I might have one. I gradually started to avoid these places, and people until I was rarely leaving the house for anything other than work.
Once I built up this fear in my mind, and may I just re-iterate the I part, I began to focus on this. The attention shifted inwards and that’s when I started to live in my head. This is what I like to call ‘feeding’ the anxiety. Not only was I feeding it with fear, I was also feeding it with negative thoughts like, ‘what’s wrong with me’?
Probably about 6 months (roughly) and a lot of research later, enough was enough. I made a doctors appointment and took the first step on the road to recovery.
During my appointment, I was offered to go on anti-depressants – this seems to be the first option they give you. I politely declined, and told them that I did not want to cover up the problem and wanted to fix it. I knew deep down that how I was living wasn’t the real me, and I refused to accept that. I was then given a number to call for counselling or CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy).
I decided to go private and had 6 months of counselling, which introduced me to yoga and mindfulness. I was still in the process of trying to accept that I had to make positive changes to my lifestyle – this took quite a while. By the time I had finished counselling, I felt a little bit better but still had a long way to go.
A few months later I had 6 sessions of hypnotherapy. This was a great experience and helped me a lot. My hypnotherapist also said because of all the yoga, mindfulness and relaxing I had been doing alongside, I was very easy to send into hypnosis.
After hypnotherapy, my mindset was a lot more positive. This enabled me to carry on everything I had been taught from counselling and hypnotherapy myself at home – which in reality was a whole new lifestyle.
To change my lifestyle, I stopped drinking alcohol, I ate healthier, I practised my yoga – which I fell in love with, I did my mindful meditations and practised self-hypnosis when I felt I needed it. I changed every aspect of my life into a positive. I stopped any negative thoughts arising straight away, and fed my brain with daily affirmations.
I have learnt a lot over these past years and have also learnt from my mistakes.
The whole time I was suffering from anxiety, I kept it a secret. I didn’t think anyone would understand or get what I was going through. This was one of the worst things I could have done because, you need a support system around you and you need to have people that make you feel safe. Tell someone you trust and you will feel a huge weight off your shoulders.
Tune-in to yourself. Keep a diary of how you are feeling everyday and try and learn about what makes you feel good, and what makes you feel not so good. There are certain things I know will 100% make me feel more anxious or like I am having an ‘off’ day. Over-sleeping is number one on my list – I don’t know why but it does. I use this information to my advantage and, make sure I listen to my body and set and alarm for an appropriate time (usually 8 hours). Small pieces of information like this can make a whole load of difference to your everyday life.
My last piece of advice whilst on the subject of ‘off’ days is, to accept that the road to recovery will be full of ups and downs. Just because you have one bad day after 5 good days does NOT mean that ‘its back’. It just means your human! I still have ‘off’ days now, but I accept them, know how to manage them and tell myself that its okay to not be okay.
I have been gifted a beautiful personalised necklace by Ineffabless. This ties in fantastically with this post because the word, ‘Namaste’ brings a lot of peace and calm to myself. If I am ever in a busy, uncomfortable situation, I can take myself back to my breath which takes the focus off of how my brain is thinking. ‘Namaste’ is also a sign of respect, it has quite a few different variations but, mainly it is one person acknowledging and accepting another.
If you have a special word or the name of someone who makes you feel safe, carrying that around with you can be a very comforting feeling. My necklace shown in the photograph was from Ineffabless Jewellery UK, who have a large range of personalised necklaces in Silver, Gold and Rose Gold. Head over to their website to see the huge sale they’ve got going on.
From now on, every Sunday I will be posting a series called Sunday Vibes. These posts will consist of everything I have learnt over the years to help deal with my mental health. This doesn’t mean that you have to be suffering with mental health to read these posts, you may just want to keep your brain happy and healthy.
I will be covering a wide range of topics which over the years have helped me to become more relaxed as a person, more mindful (living in the now) and more positive in day to day life.
If you would like to keep up to date with the Sunday Vibes you can subscribe on the homepage and these will be personally emailed to you when they go live on the blog.
Something to remember…anxiety is just our brain overthinking and overworking. If you take the power away, our thoughts become powerless – they become just thoughts. Having thoughts makes you human, just don’t focus on them.
Love, Dans x