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Reasons to stay alive - life after anxiety

Just finished reading Reasons To Stay Alive by Matt Haig and had to get my thoughts out. If you or anyone you know has or is struggling with depression, please read this book. You won’t regret it.

It got me thinking a lot about my own journey and how only a few years ago I sat in a bath thinking about how I could take my own life without hurting the people I loved. The answer was, I couldn’t. After years of gruelling therapy and putting myself in situations that were my biggest fears, I’m here and for the most part live anxiety free.

It also got me thinking about how I used to share my most vulnerable thoughts through my blog, and get so many messages from people who had been helped in some way just by my words. That was until I let people in real life make me feel silly for what I was doing and I’ve since been dealing with a bout of ‘post anxiety’ but fuck that. If it helps, it’s worth it.

The crazy thing about mental illness is that it can creep in when you least expect it. It’s been in what should be some of my happiest times, that I’ve felt the most disconnected and in times of disarray, the most together. Those who know me personally know the last couple of years have held some serious weight and yet, my mental health has been in check. So I honestly believe that by overhauling your attitude completely, like Matt mentions in this book, drastically improves your life as a whole.

So if you are having a down day, week, month, or are feeling completely overwhelmed with anxiety. Know it gets better. There IS light at the end of the tunnel. I found it. In the mean time, surround yourself with people who accept and love you as you are, read the books, meditate, buy the damn shoes. Do what you’ve got to do to get from one day to the next, because one day you’ll be sat just as I was, about to do the next thing on my to do list and you’ll realise it’s been a whole hour since you had those intrusive thoughts, that hour turns into days, then weeks, then months. Until you can barely remember what it felt like to feel the way you do right now.

If you told 22 year old Soph that she would be flying to Barcelona to see Billie Eilish after just spending a month backpacking through Europe, she’d have panicked just at the thought, but here we are...

Overcoming self-doubt on the internet

Overcoming self-doubt on the internet

It's been a long old while since I posted on my little corner of the internet, so before I throw myself back into the blogging world, I thought I'd post a little update on where I've been. 

The past 2 years have been both the best and worst of my life. I've dealt with death and still deal with the process of grief now. I've lost friendships, and gained better ones. I moved my entire life to a new city, quit my job to study psychology... the list could go on and on. Dealing with huge life changes can be hard in itself, but having them all at the same time has been a pretty rough ride. On top of all of that, I decided to start posting some more personal content on my blog, but early last year, my hosting expired unnoticed and deleted everything I'd posted in the previous year. 

As you can probably imagine, after pouring my heart and soul into content and losing it all, I was pretty devastated and demotivated to post anything at all. That said, my blog is and always has been a creative outlet for me, somewhere for me to come and talk about the things I love, struggles with anxiety and general updates, because for whatever reason I love having a record of my life online, which kind of leads me perfectly onto my final point. 

2018 was such a fun year, especially summer. However emotionally it was a really negative one for me overall, I went through a lot of hurt and despite having some amazing people around. I also had a few, or one in particular actually, that affected me quite a lot in a really negative way. My looks and feeling unconfident in my own skin has always been a problem for me, but I've always been pretty sure of the person I am, that I'm kind and can do well at something if I set my mind to it. I have never felt anything but proud of my blog and the community I had built behind it. Last year wasn't like that at all, my self confidence in who I am took a real hit and I all of a sudden felt like a shitty person and became embarrassed to post online through fear of judgement from people who were supposed to be my friends. This was a problem even down to the caption on a photo, I'd have Elaine check it over (all while giving me crazy looks haha) time and time again. 

Now that my circle has been overhauled, that self-doubt has dwindled a little and over Christmas I looked back over the messages I had been receiving when I was posting. How I'd impacted someones day or really helped them with their mental health struggles. How did I let someone chip away at my confidence enough to completely forget about that and why I started this blog in the first place? That really pushed me to focus on writing again. Ever since I was a child, writing has been my outlet. Little short love stories, secret journals of my thoughts even down to writing lists has always been my happy place. For me there is no better feeling than putting pen to paper or as we do now 'fingers to keyboard'. Even typing this post, I feel a huge weight lifted for just writing down my thoughts as they come and never again, will I let anyone make me feel like there is something wrong with that. 

2019 is set to be a great year, I live in a house full of the best people. Myself, my friends and my family have their health. I count myself really lucky to be where I am. Despite still having a lot of things to work through with trust and self confidence, I'm in the best place I have been for a long time and I'm really excited for everything to come. 


5 things to do when your anxious

As most of you will know, I have suffered with panic disorder and generalised anxiety disorder for around five years now. Although in the past 2 years I have managed to control panic attacks for the most part I still suffer with lapses here and there, and for all you sufferers out there - that's ok.

In this post I'll be sharing with you 5 of my top tips for when your having a set back or maybe just a bad day. Please share your top tips in the comments below, it would be great to have some more for myself and for us to help each other out. 

This is huge. Although most of us won't realise it, when we are anxious our breaths become short and shallow. Event though this does us absolutely no harm whatsoever, it does add to that awful feeling of dread we all know too well. Take a couple of minutes to really zone in on your breathing. Take a big deep breath in through your nose, really fill your lungs. Hold for 2 seconds and then let a long breath out through you mouth. After a few minutes you'll really feel the difference. 

Pressure points 
In my desperation a few years back, I looked for anything that would calm my mind and rid me of those awful anxiety related physical symptoms. I stumbled upon pressure point therapy and haven't looked back. To name a few; 
- earlobes - rub your earlobes for 1 minute (how this works I don't know - but it does)
- wrist - use 3 fingers to measure from the crack if your wrist, where your fingers stop use your thumb to hold pressure on this spot for 2 minutes on each side
- foot - just under the ball of your foot between your big toe and the next. Apply moderate pressure to this area and massage for 2 minutes, this really helps to find inner calm 

This next one goes against everything my therapist ever told me, but it's something I though I should include because in reality it's a product that helps me massively. Calms offer a wide range of relaxing products but for me their lozenges are my favourite, especially the raspberry flavour ones. In a moment of heightened anxiety or panic. Just pop on of these in your mouth and take some deep breaths. 

Moment if calm
This was something a friend brought for me when I was probably at my worst point with my anxiety. It's actually on it's last legs now so this has just reminded me to order some more. I carry this everywhere and although my therapist would snack my wrist for this, I'm a strong believer in defining your own recovery and if that means having a few clutches that help you through then so be it. Apply a drop of this to your index fingers and rub it into your earlobes, temples and wrists. It really does give you peace of mind. On a particularly bad day I will even then just take deep breaths smelling the remainder on my fingers and it will really help to calm me down. I couldn't recommend this stuff more. It's fantastic 

When I first heard the concept of meditation I was so wary. When I first tried mediation I felt like a complete idiot.
I don't know why but I had this assumption that you sit with your legs awkwardly crossed, arms floating in the air and you hum to yourself. Whatever is watched that gave me this vision was completely wrong. Meditation has helped me massively in overcoming my debilitating anxiety. All you need is 5 minutes, surely we can all find that. Now if your novice like me, I'd recommend using guided mediation to help you along. You can find some brilliant 5 minute meditations on YouTube. Just find yourself a quiet place, a toilet if you need to, just plug your earphones in and listen to everything they tell you. If you'd like to look into mediation more, there is a great app called headspace that offers daily mediation to help clear your mind of all the worries we tend to hold onto from day to day life. 

So there you have my 5 things to do when your anxious. I really hope you can take something from this post and use it when anxiety throws you a curve ball. I can relate to all of you that feel like anxiety if over ruling your entire life or that something else is seriously wrong. These things will help you calm down and let your rational mind come back into force. 

What are your best tips to do when your anxious? 

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