Friday, 3 March 2017

The Other A Word.

Real talk time...


There you go I said it. And yes I am affected by it.

I used to be ashamed of this part of me and kept it as my deep dark secret for such a long time. However, more and more these days I hear from so many people who also have anxiety.

I guess I've always been on the anxious side. Super organised, slightly (Matt might say extremely) OCD. I've always liked things just so - my mum will vouch for this. It's just me and I wouldn't be me if I was any different. That's what I think is important to remember when your having one of those off days.

My anxiety became a significant part of me properly about 3 years ago now. It's one of those things you don't have an answer for as to why you get it. I had my daughter at 18 whilst I was still finishing my A levels. I returned to my studies when she was 4 weeks old in order to not fall behind a year. That was the beginning of being a mummy whilst juggling full time studies and that turned into working full time in a career that I love.

When I first had my little girl I still lived at home with my mum and dad. They kindly let me and Maisie live with them whilst I saved my deposit for my house. I managed to do this by the age of 20 and was ready to buy my first home on my own. I absolutely adore my little home and wouldn't change a thing about it, but with a house comes big responsibilities on top of those I already had. I thrive off being busy and have always put a lot of pressure on myself to be everything but the young mum stereotype. Not only that, I also want to provide my daughter with a secure future as well as provide her with a lovely life filled with love and experiences. 

Goals and ambitions set, alongside being very stubborn when I set my mind to something, I continued to pave our future for us. Without sounding big headed, I would go as far as saying I have managed this pretty well although the stress of the juggling act does get to me every now and again.

Not everybody does understand this subject and those people are super lucky. I know a few people - some extremely close to me, who have no concept of anxiety or understanding for mental health and that's fine. It must be very hard to understand something if you haven't experienced it yourself. However I bet the majority of you who will read this will have experienced either a period of, or have, long term anxiety.

Like I've said above, I have anxiety. Yes it comes and goes and yes some days its terrible to the point I just want to get in my bed and not come out. It has just become a part of me that I have learnt to deal with, get on with and most of all accept. What is there actually to be ashamed of?

In my experience, being honest was the best thing I ever did in ways of helping myself. Initially I did see a GP - I seem to always get the short straw with doctors and see the really cynical one who makes you feel silly just like I did with my skin. They suggested a variety of things, none of which I wanted to bring into my life, so it was a similar case to my acne of coming away disheartened and doing my own research. Through doing my own research I realised anxiety can be triggered by so many different things and it is actually your bodies reaction to said triggers.

Initially I opened up to one person who I was very close to.. they had noticed more and more that I was sinking into myself so they took me to one side one day and asked me what was going on. My answer.. I did not know. I wasn't ill, my child was happy and healthy, I've never had money worries.. but I didn't feel right and was struggling getting through the day. That person listened and then their response was "it's okay". They went on to tell me that they to had lived feeling like this and actually probably 90% of the people we interact with daily will have experienced something the same/ similar at some point in their lives. That's when I started to think that yes, it is okay. It's not ideal and on a bad day I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy (not that I have one but you know, it's a saying and all that).

I think when you have a realisation over something like this you just want to share it and help other people. By writing this, even it helps just one person, I will be a happy girl.

Since I confided in my friend, I went on to learn how to deal with my anxiety so that it doesn't hinder me in the same ways it was doing. I now speak openly with my friends and people I know that also suffer. When I've spoken to people about it they have gone on to ask questions and likewise I have asked them things. It's such an un-talked about subject that you almost have to learn from each other and help each other. I'm always surprised when in conversation, how many people suddenly admit they too have experienced the same.

Everybody's anxieties and triggers will be different and have different roots but I think help mechanisms can be very similar between people. The things I have found that really help me include:

-Talking myself down.. This really works for me. When I'm having a bad day and feel so anxious I can barely concentrate on anything else I literally talk myself out of it. No I don't do it aloud, but I do take 5 minutes away from what I'm doing and question myself over what I'm preoccupied about. Is it going to hurt me? Is it going to hurt my family? Can I change it? If I don't get it done will something bad happen? The answer is most usually no and then I realise I'm worrying over not a great deal or something that I can not control!

-Exercise.. My friends all know I've grown to love my yoga. Especially since Christmas time when I discovered it. I don't get the time to go to the gym. I rely heavily on my family already to enable myself to work full time so I don't think they would be thrilled if I was then asking them to have my daughter whilst I attend the gym but Youtube is fabulous! I've found so many yoga tutorials were you feel as though you are actually doing the practise with somebody and yet you've not left the house. I like to do my practise in the evening when Maisie is in bed and everywhere is calm. I never realised the strength and balance yoga requires and I find I totally zone out when I'm doing it as I'm not focusing on anything else other than holding my position and breathing. If you haven't tried it already I would really recommend it. I will pop a link to some of the videos I love below.

-Walking.. I adore walking. It really does blow the cob webs off. When I'm feeling particularly anxious you cant beat a good long walk - with your family if possible.

-Blogging.. Another new found love. I didn't start my blog as a way to relax myself but it really has become just that. When I sit down and write a post I literally get lost in it. I zone out to anything on my mind and in turn always turn off my laptop feeling more chilled than when I opened it!

-Nourishing my body & mind.. I haven't always been the kindest to my body. I would say I've definitely learnt this the hard way. It really is so true that you need to nourish not only your body but your mind. Over time I have read so many interesting articles regarding how important a healthy and varied diet is for the mind. The most interesting thing I learnt that I had never known before, was that certain nutrient deficiencies can actually trigger anxiety and depression! I'm not saying everything needs to be "clean", life is about balance, but try to make sure you are filling your plates with nutrient rich, nourishing foods.

Like I said, every bodies anxieties and coping mechanisms will be different. I know what I have found works for me and I hope if you are reading this and struggling yourself it might be of help. Please remember how important it is too talk - to a friend, family member, colleague or someone you can confide in. As always I love to hear your thoughts! If you have any other ideas that help you please pop them below!

Bethany xx

My favourite yoga YouTube videos are by Boho Beautiful:


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