Thursday, 29 May 2014

Having a voice

I feel like I'm losing my voice. Or not. I feel like hiding in a corner being as quiet as I can so I don't disturb the nice people, good people...real people. I feel like I need to rewind and take back everything I've ever said about anything, take it back,  destroy it. I feel like I should never say anything to anyone else again ever.

I feel like I have no right to a voice. No right to be heard.

I mustn't waste people's time, impact on their lives by interacting with them. I have nothing to give, it's all take and I have right to expect anything from anyone ever. I have no right to write this stupid self-pitying rant.

Oh yes, writing, that.

Two huge outlets for expressing myself. I paint my nails and I blog about it. I don't wear make up and my clothes are dull, I discovered nails were a great way to show a bit of 'me' without it being too much. The blog, of course, is me. Give or take.  don't like me. I want to take me away and hide her somewhere where she can't bother people.

So I'm not blogging, and I'm barely painting my nails.

And I want to run and hide and escape. And that can't happen cos I have 'responsibilities'. But I don't know how to do any of it. I feel like I'm fucking everything up. Everything I do is wrong,  everyghing I say is wrong.

I'm just wrong. And I don't know how to make it right.

I need to try and I need to fight and I need to not let everything nfall apart. But I don't have the energy. And I don't deserve too. This is right, this is how it should be and I should stop aiming for better because this is better than I deserve.

I thought I coild be ok, at least a little. But I was wrong.

If you think you're not beibg listened to the expected reaction is annoyance or irritation. The crazy-person reaction is 'well obviously I didn't have anything worth saying in the first place,  why did I even try to speak? Stupid worthless pointless selfish cow, I hope you've learnt your lesson now and will keep your mouth shut from now on'. Because that's proportionate.

I'm worth nothing, so why bother?

I can go through the motions, I can do my job and ring bells and turn up and smile and be a good little girl. Walls up, windows bolted, keep laughing and joking and pretend I haven't gone silent. Who needs a voice when they have nothing worth saying?

I don't want to express myself because I don't want to be myself.

All I've ever wanted is to be a good person. X

Wednesday, 28 May 2014


I'm still around, I'm still reading blogs and following folk. I'm just not here. I'm struggling to allow myself to talk. And I need to change that. Things crash fast in my brain and I need to slam on the breaks before things totally disintegrate.....mixing metaphors. I need to find some energy. And I need to find a part of my brain that cares about myself and thinks I deserve positive things. Basically I need to not be ill. Cos I'm not meant to be that (this?) person anymore.
How quickly things can flip from one side of the line to the other.
Oh so much melodramatic,  self-pitying bullshit. I bore myself. And I hate myself. And this needs to stop. Now.

I can write a proper coherent post about this sometime. But not now. Now I'm just writing. And trying to prove that's ok. That I'm allowed to speak. I'll come back tomorrow maybe. When it's not so late and I'm making more sense. X

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Anxiety and doing well

'Doing' being the operative word.

I don't want to be all pessimistic and miserable and imply it's all doom and gloom and never gets better. It certainly can get better.... It's just really hard work. Hence the 'doing'.

At the moment I'm stable for the most part. Which I'm totally and constantly grateful for. But on the other hand I didn't wake up one morning thinking 'oh yay, I'm well!'....I wake up every morning and work hard to do the things I need to for wellness. Those things don't cure the anxiety or make it go away but they do help me manage it well enough to live my life in a meaningful way. Often I get frustrated because 'enjoyment' and 'fun' tend to occur in a somewhat detached way, you can't really try to be happy. But I'd rather have detached happiness than no happiness at all...and I know how easy it is to slide away and into the chaos of I give thoughts like 'is it worth it?' Any sort of brain-space.

Ah yes, that's the other thing. Yes you fight to get out of bed and out of the house and on with your life. You can fight to force yourself outside your box and out into life. Fight to see people, do things, counter negative thoughts, urges, compulsions. There are a tonne of things that can, and will be fought along the way. But before you do any of that you have to fight to convince yourself it's worth fighting.

When you're feeling dispirited because 'well' isn't as well as you were hoping for. Or when you're feeling crap about yourself and spiral off into the place where you're such a pathetic excuse for a human being that you don't deserve to be well. Or when you're just plain tied and can't be bothered. All of which can become can become frustratingly cyclical of course, if you haven't got the energy to fight how can you gave the energy to fight to fight (now there's a silly sentence!).

This, I'll admit, is where I fall down more often than not. I'm quite good at convincing myself to get out of bed or get to ringing or try new things and push through the anxiety. What I'm not very good at is convincing myself it's worth it. Or, to be more honest, convincing myself I'm worth it. I have a terribly tendency towards silly, self-pitying thoughts of the 'What's the point? I'm a horrible person, I'll always be a horrible person, I'll never be able to cope with life, I deserve to feel like shit so why bother?!'. Not productive.

That's the bit I haven't quite got the hang of yet. I'm better at using all those therapy type techniques to ignore and counter negative thoughts on a routine basis. But they don't go away and the slightest stupid little event, like missing an appointment or saying the wrong thing, can instantly and those thoughts spiralling. From that point things can slip incredibly quickly if you're not careful.

I feel like I've gone off on a tangent and not really said what I meant to with this post, sorry. I need some sleep lol. And to pay attention to everything I just wrote and be reasonable with myself.

Final thing. As I said at the start, I'm not in any way suggesting that everything is hopeless. I'm also not suggesting that recovering from anxiety is just about getting a grip and trying harder. Obviously. Or that people who are ill just aren't working hard enough. Just that improving is hard work. X

Friday, 16 May 2014

Managing anxiety

So you've heard a lot about what anxiety is like....but what can you do about it?

As always these are my personal ways of coping...Some I've picked up through treatment, others are just random so please, please assume they'll all work for you or take this list as some sort of preachy manual. It's just what works for me.

I've split it down into sections to try to make my natural tendency towards rambling nonsense more palatable.

Dealing with sudden acute panic
- Yell STOP inside my head (or outside but the embarrassment of doing so in public is a little counter productive lol) and take a couple of deep breaths. Sometimes if I notice the spiral early on this is enough to shock my brain out of it long enough to get more of a handle on my thoughts.

- 4/6 breathing that I've talked about before.

- pretty sure this isn't technically recommended but taking a deep breath and holding it as long as I can. In a weird way it reminds me in in control of my breathing and stops it rising towards hyperventilation. At the same time it focuses my brain away from racing thoughts. But I have been known to use this as quasi sh type behaviour in the past so I'm cautious.

- blast music. Shockingly loud. Usually in the car but also through headphones. Loud enough that my brain can't get a word in edgeways. Again there's a but, I know if I'm not carefully this can push me towards dissociation and drifting away from the world so I try to be careful.

- recite lines. The ringing sort not the acting sort lol. It's safe and familiar and repetitive and takes up a lot of attention.

- repetitive mantras. I have a few. They'd not mean much to anyone else tbh lol but you get the idea. Most of mine aren't 'fluffy' they're silly or funny or about something I care about. A variation on reciting lines when my brain isn't in gear enough to cope with them.

Controlling general underlying anxiety
This is the anxiety that never escalates to the point of total panic but just sits there nagging, looking away at you.

- listen to music. More sensibly than above though lol.

- paint my nails....obviously. Particularly nail art of I have time, though only if my hands aren't shaking too badly cos if they are the frustration makes things worse.

- make tea. Ok, yea, I know how terribly british haha. But, rather like reciting lines, it's familiar and down to earth and soothing. Plus you get tea at the end of it :p.

- talk. Obviously. Our not obviously, I dunno. Usually via text/WhatsApp/fb more because I find that less anxiety provoking in itself

- games. Any games. Silly games, easy games mainly. I love mini games.... intense concentration but only in short bursts lol.

- write. Blog, journal, rant, whatever.

- or read. Though this can be difficult when anxiety and skipping thoughts make it hard to concentrate.

- drive. I dunno if this is sensible or not really. But moving helps. And being out of the house but in a way that's still safe and contained and separate from nasty reality.... plus I just love driving tbh.

And how I decrease the anxiety before it even happens
Because prevention is better than cure, right? And whilst it's hard to get into and keep up good habits it does help. And can in fact make you feel better, more positive, kinder towards yourself. Maybe.

- sleep. Get enough of it. Regularly. I'm bad at this one... She says at nearly midnight when the alarm will be going off at half six. I managed 2.5 hours last night, epic fail. Must try harder.

- for me personally, avoiding coffee and full sugar fizzy drinks. I appear not to handle them well.

- regular mindfulness/meditation practice.

- keeping my car and living space tidy and keeping my diary organised. Mess and chaos and unpredictability tend not to be good for the anxious brain.... and double booking yourself definitely isn't!

- talking to friends about the anxiety and how you might act sometimes and why you might act that way. This can help reduce some of the 'anxious about being anxious' feelings.

- Eat right. Take meds. Shower regularly. Cleanse and moisturise. Generally treat myself with a little respect.

And lots of other things those are just a). The more reasonable ones and b). The ones that happened to pop into my head lol.

Right, what was that about getting enough sleep?! X

Guest post- Georgie's experience

The second of my guest posts comes from the wondrrful Georgie who has a brand new blog here
with some wonderfully well written and insightful mh posts (and I'm not just saying that cos she's my friend and I love her loads honest :p). Anyway, always I mean to write a brief intro and always I end up rambling on, so here's Georgie:

As Mental Health Awareness Week draws to a close, I’ve finally managed to find a spare moment to write a blog post for one of my best friends, Katie. My name’s Georgie, I’m 21 and I’ve very very very nearly finished my Psychology degree (literally 1 exam left now). My blog is called ‘We’re All Mad Here…’ I haven’t written that much yet but my posts do have a strong mental health tone to them. I am quite passionate about raising awareness and trying to help beat the stigma around mental health. Anyway, enough about that, let me talk to you about my experience with anxiety, particularly the struggles I have had to face whilst at uni. I first noticed my anxiety when I was about 15, around the time that my depression started (in fact, I’m pretty sure they came hand-in-hand). I distinctly remember one time when my anxiety was really bad. I was meant to be meeting my friend in town but I felt like I couldn’t leave my house. I rang her up and started having a panic attack. I had no idea what was going on, no idea why I felt like I couldn’t leave my house. It had never bothered me in the past – sure, I’d have moments when I was on my own when I would be anxious, but it had never stopped me from doing anything. As the years went by, I got better at controlling my anxiety and better at ‘ignoring’ it. I tried as hard as I could not to let the anxiety win and stop me from going to school or out with my friends. Of course, this was helped by the fact that I had to go to school, even if I didn’t want to, because otherwise the school would ring my parents and they’d know I hadn’t gone. When I came to uni though, I had my own freedom, I suddenly didn’t have to explain why I wasn’t in or let anyone know that I wouldn’t be at the lectures. I used to spend a lot of time sat in my room, watching TV and ignoring the outside world. I made one good friend on my course and was too nervous to really speak to anyone else unless I had to. Second year was better, I was more comfortable in myself. Now that I’m in my third year, I’m much more confident in myself. I have a beautiful and wonderful group of friends who are there to support me when I am having a bad day. But anxiety doesn’t just leave you. It’s not like a cold where you have it for a week and then it goes away. It is constantly there, always lurking at the back of your mind, ready to make yourself doubt your own thoughts and feelings. I can walk through a street and think everyone is staring at me and thinking how ugly I am. Or I’ll say something and constantly be worrying about the way in which I’ve said it, whether I’ve said it in a way to offend others, or if I’ve made a fool of myself. If I’m meeting a friend for a coffee and I get there early, I’ll worry that they won’t show up, even when I know that they will. Anxiety is irrational and you are aware that it is irrational but you can’t tell that voice to be quiet. Sometimes you can ignore it but even if you ignore something for a long time, it doesn’t just magically go away. All we can really do is try and push ourselves outside of our comfort zones, to do things that may be anxiety-inducing but in the end will be rewarding. Still, it can be very hard and don’t even get me started on how tiring it is! But we have to push on because maybe somewhere in the not-too-distant-future, things will look a bit brighter and be a bit easier…!

Ps. Sorry about the picture Georgie dear!! :p. X

Anxiety in pictures

Because I'm tired and lacking words here are some pictures I've gathered along the way that have resonated with me in some way. I'm sorry I can't quote exact sources, most are pins. Some are from anxiety cat or mental health memes on tumblr.
Some are advice some are examples of how it feels/can feel some are information and some are just a bit of silliness :p... though usually with a serious point. X

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Anxiety mani

Wow, look, nails!!! Seems like ages since I've done anything more than slap on a basic colour.

Anyway, as I may have mentioned just a couple of times, it's mental health awareness week. The mental health foundation have themed the week around anxiety this year so I decided to base my mani on their 'are you anxiety aware?' posters. I've included a screenshot so you can see what I mean. You can read more about the week on their website.

The base is Barry M coconut, the orange is sinful colors big daddy and the yellow is from the models own iced neons collection but the name eludes me right now. And basically I just had fun with striping tape :p. I really enjoyed this, even though it turned out kinda scruffy, it really has been a while since I just played with my nails. Also don't forget to check out a). The giveaway s couple of posts back and b). All the amazingly talented ladies from british nails bloggers in the inlinz below.x X

Guest post- Katie's experience

I have a special post today, kindly written for me by Katie from oh to feel pretty (thank you Katie :)). Do wander across and check out her blog for all sorts of helpful tips and tricks and beautiful looks from the world of budget beauty :). As part of mh awareness week I wanted to share some different perspectives than just me babbling, so over to Katie:

So Katie asked me to write a guest post for her during MH Awareness week and I was more than happy to help out. I'm Katie (another one!) and I blog over at Oh to Feel Prretty though I don't often talk about mental health there and it's great to be able to share a little more of myself.The theme of MHAW this year  is anxiety. First things first I want to make it clear i have never been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder (I have an ED & depression) but I do struggle with anxiety around some things, mostly related to social situations outside of ED related anxiety with food and eating around others which is a seperate issie altogether. I struggle meeting new people, talking to them or going into new situations.Trying to get me to talk at first has been likened to getting blood out of a stone! This is just general social anxiety, and something I'm sure a lot of people can relate to (especially fellow introverts) but as you can imagine it can cause some significant problems when it comes to things like work and school. I never made any real friends in University in part down to anxiety - I was too scared to go out and try new things or even talk to new people in groups or labs. Even with low level problems like mine it can be easy to slip into unhealthy coping mechanisms. Alcohol is something a lot of people use to cope with social anxiety, it's something I do myself, as just that first couple of drinks can give you that added boost to get out and do new things and to get you talking. I know that's how things work for me, with a drink I can talk to people. However there are a few pretty big downsides to this. For starters, no one wants to be around a drunk all the time, and drunken talkativeness is nothing like normal conversation - you say things you never really wanted to and you can make a total fool of yourself. And more importantly alcohol is addictive, and addictions are serious things. Not something you want to find yourself struggling with. I also use things like cigarettes to cope, and if I'm not then I isolate myself. None of which are good.I've been looking into other ways of challenging my social anxiety, without unhealthy coping mechanisms, one of which is to just push myself. This can backfire, but sometimes it helps (and I almost always have an escape plan - an excuse to swiftly exit any social engagement). Asylum, a Supernatural convention, is one way I've challenged myself to try and do new things. Granted I do drink when I'm there, but last year I successfully travelled to London alone and even talked to people sober (after talking to them drunk the night before). This year at the con I will be stewarding, another way to push myself and do things sober. The con is a massive thing, starting with small steps might be better for you. Go to an event with a friend and challenge yourself to talk to one stranger, its a great starting point and you have backup there to help.Sorry this wasn't such a helpful post, but I hope it gave you some insight into low level social anxiety and maybe if you struggle with these things you'll be able to challenge yourself too.

Anxiety and me

It seems rather apt that I'm writing this post now as my anxiety has seriously rocketed since getting home from holidays.

You know that crappy 'back to reality' feeling? Crank up the volume and add a healthy dose of pure fear. I'm scared everything will have changed since I've been gone. I'm scared everyone will have realised how annoying and horrible and stupid I am and how much better life is without me and will now hate me and not want anything to do with me. I'm scared 'my ladies' will have had much better carers than me while I've been gone and that they'll not want me back. I'm scared cos I have someone new on my rota tomorroe. I'm scared I'll have forgotten everything about how to ring and do my job and won't know how to fit back into my usual routine.

And that's the key. Routine. I've spent two weeks living an entirely different life and my routine is all over the place. And I need routine. It makes everything safer and easier and more manageable. A huge part of my anxiety consists of fear of a). Not knowing the rules and b). Getting things wrong. The idea of not knowing how to be in a certain situation scares me, of behaving inappropriately or doing the wrong thing. I hate not knowing the code and how things work and how they should go.

All of which is why change and unfamikiarity and new situations scare me. I find it hard to meet new people because I don't know their particular set of rules and who I'm supposed to be when I'm around them. I struggle with new situations because I don't know where things are and how the environment works. Sitting exams I get more anxious about the logistics the turning up in the right place,  at the right time, with the right things and knowing how to act in certain scenarios than I do about the actual paper.

The anxiety stays at a reasonable level provided I stay in my safe little box. As soon as I venture out into the wider world it all gets horribly, painfully uncomfortable and I want to retreat and hide and cry. A slight change in my usual rota at work can send me into a total tailspin, of not being able to sleep for days before, struggling to get out of the house or the car or generally do anything that involves dealing with the world. A road closure has the potential to cause a major freak out.

Take the ringing holiday, for example. I enjoyed it, certainly, but it was also hugely anxiety provoking. It's not as bad as it used to be because I've been on several before now so I'm building up a solid rule book. But it's still a new place with people I don't spend large amounts of time with on a regular basis. Add to this the uni assignment that I stupidly left til the last minute and it all gets very fun. Mainly this shows itself in a massive increase in claustrophobia. I struggle with enclosed spaces, or spaces I can't easily escape from (this includes social situations, long walks,  conversations and various other seemingly unconnected scenarios). It gets worse when my anxiety is high and I generally feel like running away from everything in the first place. It's also rather inconvinient when a significant part of your day involves enclosed ringing rooms which are often cramped, hidden behind organs or up tiny spiral staircases.

The upshot being shaking, difficulty breathing, racing thoughts, tingling/numb hands, dizziness, nausea, feelings of panic and urges to run and hide and generally get away. Anxiety rocks.

Saying that I don't live life in my box. I refuse to let anxiety dictate my life and I want to try new things even if it's really bloody difficult at times. And I'm lucky that I'm able to do that. I'm lucky I am able to fight it and do things anyway, a lot of people can't I guess. I'm also lucky that I have a huge amount of supportive people in my life these days, people who will accept my freak outs and not make me feel emvarrased or weak or guilty. Plus, the constant anxiety means I often fail to tell the difference between things that are my head getting carried away and things that are genuibely anxiety provoking even for 'normal people'. This has on occassion led to people commenting 'blimey that's brave, I never could have done that' or similar.....which I find both confusing quite amusing lol. X

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

mental health awareness week- a giveaway

Eep, ok I've never done this before...I'm not sure if the fact that makes me anxious is ironic or not :p lol. Anyway I'm not 100% sure how the whole thing works so bear with me please? You all know how the rafflecopter thing works, right? UK only sorry, cos of the fact on prize contains polish....and the fact having bought the prizes I'm just not rich enough the ship abroad lol. The giveaway ends on may 31st. I can't easily check up on the make a pledge thing so I guess you can view that as a free entry but ya know, it's an interesting website and a good cause. My blog is only little so in the event less people enter than there are prizes I will continue to randomly draw names until all prizes are gone so that one or more people may get more than one prize. So the prizes are all mental health themed, because I'm a dork basically lol. 1. Lucky thirteen lacquer- butterfly project
This is lucky thirteen lacquer's charity polish in aid of the butterfly project, which is a project to help people quit self harm. The ploish pictured is my own bottle and there will be a brand new one for the actual prize it just hasn't arrived yet. Plus a stress busting popper dealy and a time to change badge. 2. Serotonin molecule necklace
Besically that's it. Serotonin is a chemical found in the brain which is believed to be connected to depression (at least that's the theory behind common anti-depressant drugs). Plus a time to change badge. 3. Pin badge set
'Have I gone mad', 'stark raven mad', time to change x2, set of chemical structure badges (not pictured but will be as soon as they arrive/I find a pic) and a stretchy little man stress buster dealy. 4. Stress busting set with time to change bag
Stress ball, bendy man, mini stretchy man, 'popper'(I dunno the word for these? The kinda elastic cuppy things that you flatten and then the pop up in the air?) And a time to change cotton shopping bag. 5. Mini stress busting set a (x2)
Time to change pen, Motivational pencil and pad, time to change badge! Stress dots. Stress dots are a biofeedback thing, you stick them on you hand or wrist and they judge you stress/anxiety levels based on the temperature. Theory is being aware of stress helps reduce it I believe, it's been a while...the instructions are on thd card. 6. Mini stress busting set b
Stress ball, motivational pencil and pad, time to change badge 7. Mini stress busting set c
Bendy man, motivational pencil and pad, tkme to change badge. a Rafflecopter giveaway Phew!! I think that's everything, now it must be bed time (proper regilar sleep helps decrease anxiety you know :p). x

Monday, 12 May 2014

Mental health awareness week- an introduction

Hi, so I return from holiday-ing to what will hopefully be a very busy week at the lost and found, since it is (as the title would suggest) mental health awareness week.
Considering I write a blog based around raising awareness of mental health issues I figured I'd better make an effort really. So I have exciting things planned....well, I have things planned anyway lol.

Each year the world mental health foundation pick a theme for the week and this year's theme is anxiety, which you may have noticed by now is something I havepersonal experience of. I can't exactly do an 'opening up and baring all' type post as that's pretty much what my entire blog is :p. I will however be writing a post on my experience with anxiety specifically, and particularly on 'doing well' and what that even means.

There's a giveaway that I'm frantically trying to pull together right now, so that will be up later tonight or tomorrow.

I will of course be paiting my nails in various bizarre but anxiety themed ways.

I'm also trying to gather together a post's worth of tips and tricks and helpful websites. So if you know any please share :).

Erm, what else? I'm trying to rope a friend or two into sharing a little bit of their own story with you. Plus....well plus whatever else enters my head really! Facts and figures and random memes probably lol.
Good luck :p. x

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Oops, hi!

Ah ok I didn't mean to wander off and leave my blog untended! Life has been manic with ringing holiday followed by being home for a day for ringing agm then a week in Cyprus. Plus an assignment for open university (I passed btw go me lol).
Good stuff. But manic.
Plus dicey Internet for both weeks.
Plus kinda wanting a total break from my regular live and routine.

Back home now. Back to work tomorrow. Back to blogging in time for mental health awareness week (and a giveaway!). So lots planned this week. Plus catching up on blogs and writing some guest posts and stuff.

Happy days :). X