I know this seems a little cringey, but I am struggling a little at the moment and was wondering if anyone would like to become online friends? I lack close relationships in real life since moving. (although I do have my partner) You don’t have to read my blog, or know anything about me, I’d just like to connect with someone. It can be through whatsapp, email, any platform that you feel comfortable with. Comment on this post, or go to my ‘Contact’ page to discuss! ❤
As I’m sure you have seen all over social media, today; the 10th October is World Mental Health Day! It’s great that you have probably heard of this as it means awareness is growing. This years theme is Suicide Prevention.
If you follow my blog you would know that suicidal ideation is something I struggle with. Lot’s of posts surrounding this day are displaying the progress they have made with their mental health. I’m currently not doing the best, so cannot feel I can involve myself the same as many others are.
Today I am low, and do not have many words to share. I still wanted to have a post go up, just in case one person didn’t know of today, and now they do. Awareness of every mental illness is important, and not just today. I apologise that I can’t write a lengthy optimistic post about my mental health journey. I’m going to end this mini post ensuring YOU ARE NOT ALONE. I am here for ANYONE who needs someone to talk to. (just pop me an email, or press the ‘contact’ page on my blog).
I have spoke previously about my experience with anxiety, and how it affected by life, but has not affected me much for the past year or so. Ironically this week I have had moments on intense anxiety. No way near as bad as it use to me. But enough for me to notice it affecting me.
Last week I was at work, where I suddenly noticed how much my heart was beating, the room felt very hot, my hands were shaking. Thoughts in my head started appearing that I am dying. The beginnings of an anxiety attack. A colleague noticed, but I was able to distract myself as work was relatively busy. I find distraction helps me a lot. The more I think about it ,the worse it gets. I noticed that all week I’ve been physically anxious, which is harder to cope with for me. I feel mentally okay, so why is my body betraying me? I’m not sure what to do, as I feel it’s a physical symptom? Suggestions welcome!
Feeling this attack last week made me realise how well and calm I feel in general, which is huge! I used to feel this amount of anxiety on a daily basis. (How I coped, I do not know). This week has been mentally exhausting, but I feel well still. I hope this feeling doesn’t stay.
Am I suffering with anxiety? Does a diagnosis last a life time? Is this a disorder that comes and goes? I’m not interested in putting a label to how I feel, but it’s still interesting. I wonder if I’ll always have anxious tendencies.
If you have been reading my blog for a while, you shall know that mental illness and therapy isn’t an unknown in my life.. To say the least! I have attempted multiple forms of therapy, including psychotherapy, CBT, group therapy, online therapy and hypnotherapy. The problem with me is not that the therapy isn’t working, it’s that I can’t stick to it…
This is for a number of reasons, mostly because I find it SO hard and exhausting! This usually ends up with me giving up, and waiting until the ‘right’ time to focus on my mental health. Realistically there will never be a right time. (Unless I deteriorate rapidly, which I can’t see happening again, but logically should be a possibility). It’s either, I’m busy with my degree and part time job or I have lot’s of things planned which means I wouldn’t be able to physically attend weekly. Finance obviously plays a huge role too! But I’m currently in the mindset that I want to travel lots, so am putting my disposable income into that instead… Therapy is very expensive, around $50 a session averagely. As I am back studying a degree, thus am a student, this isn’t the most affordable expense!
What have I tried thus far?- I did online 1-1 CBT with a dr for 6 months, the longest with one person,but it ended due to the dr leaving to open his own business. I really struggled with this news, as it took weeks for me to bond with said dr, and I knew I would have to start from square 1 all over again. It’s a long process! I had hypnotherapy, in a group environment. This is by far the least favourable out of those I’ve tried. I felt like I was the only one in the group who couldn’t relax and benefit from it. Some people just can’t ‘do’ hypnotherapy, which after 2 months, I can say I am one of those! This treatment is mostly used for addiction and anxiety, which I went for stress/anxiety management. I personally feel anxiety is a symptom of my mental health, rather than a condition in itself. So maybe this approach isn’t what I need.
Earlier this year I tried seeing a private therapist outside of a clinic/hospital environment, this was extremely anxiety provoking for me, which I felt I wouldn’t be able to cope with at the time, on top of my life. If (when) I return to therapy, I think this is the route I would take. As it is more relaxed, and I would only be seeing one therapist.
I am (&can) live a normal life despite my mental health. This hasn’t always been the case, and I suspect won’t always be. Therefore, as the title states, therapy is inevitable for me. I haven’t taken any actions thus far. I am in a really good place, which I have been for a couple of months now! So I think I’ll just sail through, as I have been doing so. I do still experience intrusive thoughts of suicide, they are less frequent and thus more manageable! I am trying to be more open when I am experiencing them, and I know how to keep myself safe. I am okay, but I know that a healthier brain is waiting to come inside my head one day!
It’s hard to know what anxiety is until you have suffered personally. My anxiety used to be quite moderate, I don’t want to say severe as I didn’t suffer with panic attacks too. Anxiety used to affect me to the point of being unable to do the things I needed to. I noticed it was particularly bad in situations where I felt I couldn’t escape, buses and taxi’s were completely off the table, I only managed the train because it was the only way of travel, which I avoided and did rarely, as it was a gruelling experience. My intense fear of failure caused me so much anxiety that I could not even pick up my pen in tests and exams, which I am sure you can work out the consequences. This was particularly difficult in my teenage years, and really affected my life.
Years later, where am I now? I am great! I do still experience anxiety, but only slightly more than the average person, well I think… (Read my last blog post on how I recognise the difference between ‘normal’ and irrational stress and anxiety). I am able to do the everyday things! I travel to my job, which is huge for me, and doesn’t prevent me going. I don’t enjoy the travel, but it definitely isn’t gruelling. I get public transport alone, I can basically do anything alone now! Which not only rewarding for me, but for my partner to see too.
Last week I had an assessment at my part time job unexpectedly, where I felt my heart suddenly beating fast, my palms were sweating, I felt like I couldn’t get enough oxygen, shaking… Obviously this wasn’t a pleasant experience but the next day I realised how far it is for me to feel this way anymore. It made me recognise how far I have come in my journey! If you suffer with anxiety, be aware that you won’t feel this way forever. I couldn’t think of a time where I wouldn’t feel this way daily but somehow I am already there! (just FYI that I did not take any medications specifically for my anxiety but know this is a life saver option for some). I am at this point because I worked hard and constantly challenged myself. I’m recognising how far I have come and I should be proud.
It is not unknown on this blog that I suffer with my metal health, I have a dedicated section to solely talk about it. As this isn’t something I talk about in real life. I enjoy freely writing about how I am feeling and what I am struggling with, without anyone knowing who is typing these words. I find it comforting that I can talk without worrying people knowing its me.
I often write as and when I am struggling, as it is easier to come across in the correct way as you actively know how you are feeling. I find it harder to write once I am in a good place, as I can’t remember/don’t realise how bad it truly feels. Saying this, I like to reflect on events/ways I have I have felt in the past, to see the comparison on my mindset. Logical thinking compared to the illogical thoughts I had, and how that can change.
This post is written in a ‘in-between’. I have been in a great, a genuine great place for a few months now, which is wonderful. The past week this has changed a little. I’m not in a ‘bad’ place, but can recognise a dip in myself. I am experiencing more intrusive thoughts, that are starting to affect me again. For example, I had intrusive thoughts whilst in the bath tub that lot’s of little snakes would come through the overflow holes, which nearly resulted in a panic attack.
I have also noticed that I have having intrusive thoughts of suicide this week. This has been confusing as I do not want to die, and genuinely enjoy my life. Yet these thoughts are quite powerful, and it’s hard ignore and not feel this way. As of yet, I am still able to do everything, but it’s taking a little more mental energy. I have a busy couple of weeks coming up, so I hope this creates a distraction and doesn’t result in me becoming overwhelmed.
Therefore, here is me not in a bad place but also not doing great. That’s a wrap on my mini update!
If you are a long time reader, you are aware that I get intrusive thoughts that bring me a large amount of stress. Today I shall not be talking how to deal with this, but with what I call ‘Normal people stress’. FYI I mean no harm using words like ‘normal’, it’s just what I’ve been calling stressors of day to day life.
What do I mean by normal people stress? This involves the inevitable stressors of life that everyone is bound to experience at some point. This can include things like, working too many hours at work, not having enough time to complete all your college work, worrying about finance, making sure the fridge is full/you’re eating often, catching a cold on top of the above. Oh the list could go on for miles. But I’m guessing you get the point now?
As my intrusive thoughts correlate with how stressed I am. I have learnt to recognise the difference between ‘normal people stress’ and ‘irrational stress’. I have mostly learnt to tell the difference between applying my stress/worrysome thought and imaging my partner in the same situation. He is a very level headed and relaxed person, so I trust his judgement. For example, if I have having stressful thoughts that X person is going to get into an accident on their way home, I would think is this something my partner would be thinking/excessively stressed about? Which it wouldn’t be. Therefore, I know this is an irrational stress. Recognising it itself being a irrational thought makes me a lot calmer.
On the other hand, recognising you’re stressed about everyday life doesn’t make everyday life disappear. But for me personally, every day stress can be controlled. This makes it a lot easier to feel relaxed, and reduce the stress around them. Taking examples from above, if I stress about completing all college/university work before deadlines, whilst also working part time. I control this by planning when I shall work. I write a list/time table every month when I get my shifts, and therefore always have scheduled time to study. List making is a game changer for me! (I may be a little obsessed)
I’m not sure I addressed the title of this post… But I just wanted to quickly ramble about how I find recognising the difference between ‘normal’ stress and irrational stress beneficial for my brain! I’m still learning about my mind and self, and recognition is a huge step forward for me!