Mental Health

Anxiety; how it comes and goes

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.

Mental Health

Therapy is inevitable?

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!

Mental Health

Do I still have anxiety? / mini mental health update

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.

Mental Health

Having a hard time after feeling great for months (Is this a relapse?)

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!

Mental Health

How I deal with everyday stress (from a mentally unwell person)

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!

Mental Health

Distancing myself from my illness; Mental health update

I haven’t posted in 10 days, it feels like a long time since I last logged in. Simply due to being busy. Stress is normally the main contribution to the severity of my mental health. This is particularly annoying as stress is unavoidable in life. It’s not ‘I’m stressed’ that contributes to the decline, but is often due to (what I call) ‘unconscious stress’. This is where there is a event/worry gives you the symptoms of stress despite not actively thinking about said thing.

Surprisingly, despite having a much busier schedule I haven’t been stressed or overwhelmed by the future. My intrusive thoughts have been a lot quieter. It is only recently that I noticed I haven’t had many intrusive thoughts of suicide, and that in itself is a huge achievement. Even when I wasn’t experiencing them, I was often worried they were going to come. So being in a position when it’s not even on my mind is amazing! I think the reduction in intrusive thoughts is the main reason I am doing so well!

I am thriving! I am doing well in my online degree, going to my part time job isn’t a struggle, and everyday life is great! It not only feels GREAT to be doing so well, but it’s even more exciting sharing it with my partner. I am currently doing my degree part time over summer break, but go back to full time once Fall is here, so that should bring a little more anxiety. But I am currently looking forward to delving more into new modules of my degree!

Distancing myself from my mental illness is going well. Not having it the focus of my life, has already improved my views towards my life, and making it easier to plan the immediate future. I can’t see it yet, but maybe one day I could potentially live a life without this?

Mental Health

I’m doing OK?/ Taking day by day

I haven’t done a mental health related post in a while, as I find it easier to write(or type in this case) when I am struggling. So I’m going to make this post a mini update. As I haven’t been struggling as such, I haven’t known what to write about…

I’m thriving in my current living situation, my new apartment is perfect, and I simply adore being here! It even makes me not want to leave the house haha. I have found a good balance between my part time job and doing my degree online. So lifestyle wise, I am doing great!

I have also regained my absolute love for reading! Oh my, I was in the longest reading slump I have ever been in… Multiple months! For someone who aims to read 100 books a year(and has done successfully for the past 5) This was a huge shock for me. I felt lost without my passion for books. Which I guess contributed to my restlessness. I normally delve into a book when I am overwhelmed, and as I didn’t have this outlet, I guess that caused a change in my state. I am so happy to be reading again, and read 7 books last week alone!

I have had a sudden change in mentality around food&body image, which seems to have come out of nowhere. This has triggered many emotions from the past, and I am actively compensating. TW; Part of me is relieved these feelings have returned, as I have felt so unconfident in myself whilst my mind has been ‘free’ from these thoughts the past couple of years. I feel calm that I now have control over my body now ect. The other part of my brain wants to tell me it’s okay to have x BMI or a soft tummy and eat junk food, as life is too short. But the other part of my brain(that has suddenly resurfaced) has become stronger, and I want it to remain this way, so I can feel ‘better’ about myself. Blah blah blah

I am finding comfort in taking life day by day. In the past (&still present) I have found it difficult not to worry about the future, and overwhelm myself into a bad place. Therefore, I have taken the ‘day by day’ approach, and only ‘worry’ about what I am doing ,thinking and feeling on the given day. This has made me less likely to wake up stressed/ overwhelmed by the days ahead. When I am having a hard time with my thoughts, I tell my this is temporary, and ‘this too shall pass’

I am not in a bad place, nor am I doing amazing. I am simply OK. I am content to just be OK for the time being. This is my update, which basically is just saying, I am doing OK!