Saturday, 20 August 2016

All About Anxiety: MHM Post

Do you know what it feels like to be on edge whenever you go out? Can you even begin to comprehend how difficult it must be to switch off, and go to sleep when the thoughts in your mind are buzzing about like busy bees, never ready to settle down?

That, my friends, is what it's like to be an anxious person. Well, alongside many other symptoms, thoughts, and feelings. One of my very good friends Lauren has started up her own campaign surrounding mental health, as she hopes to end the stigma, and raise awareness, so of course I'm going to get involved, and help in anyway I can.

A lot of people often feel anxious, or scared from time to time, but some experience these feelings in a much more extreme way than others. When they start to take over, and become too much to handle, then that's when you know that something needs to be done.

Evidently, anxiety is no joke. It's not funny, it's not cool, and it's certainly not something that people would want to show off about, and publicise to all of their peers. It can make an individual's life incredibly challenging, and even the things that some may think are a walk in the park will begin to fill them with fear. I know this all too well.

I've always been the sort of girl that tries my best to blend into the crowd. I never liked to shout, and scream, and I certainly didn't want everyone to know who I was. The thought terrified me! I'd get embarrassed super easily, and I shied away at any chance that I got, whether that be in the street, in the classroom, or even when surrounded by my family, and friends.

Since starting secondary school almost 4 years ago, it just got 1 million times worse. I was being bullied even more so than I was in primary school, and I was really struggling to fit in, and find people that liked me for who I really was. It felt like no matter what I said, or did, I'd just get weird looks, and bitchy laughs. For someone who already has low self-esteem, and zero confidence, it can feel like such a knock in the teeth to know that you're not accepted, and you're just judged regardless.

Quite a few traumatic events have happened in my life that I don't think I should go into right now, but alongside those, and the bullying, I started to become a very anxious, paranoid young girl. I'd sometimes take the day off school, just because I was too scared to do PE, or join in with group activities. Whenever people came round my house that I didn't know that well, I'd hide away in my room, too shy to even say hi to them. I didn't want things to be that way, but they had for so long that I just couldn't see how I was meant to change.

Despite being surrounded by supportive friends, and family, I wasn't getting much better. I'd squeal every time I had to cross the road, I wouldn't be able to go into shops myself, so half the time I'd just walk out as quickly as I'd walked in, and I'd spend the majority of my time at school standing alone, too afraid to even eat due to the fear of being judged. It sounds ridiculous to those who may not fully understand, but to those who do, you will understand how emotionally draining, and disheartening it can be. You end up getting yourself so worked up when your mind is working on overdrive, and you turn down endless opportunities, just because of this one feeling. Except, it's not just 'this one feeling'. On a particularly bad day, it can feel almost like it's consuming you, and taking over your body, and brain. Nobody should feel so scared to the point where they can't even face getting out of bed that day. Nobody should be afraid of walking the streets. Nobody should believe that they need to change in order to be accepted, and appreciated. Nobody at all.

Over time, I've managed to improve quite a bit. With support, and encouragement from those around me, as well as determination, I've taken baby steps to get to where I am now. I'm still quite a way from where I would like to be, but I'm getting closer, and closer as each day goes by. No matter what other people may say, if something you have done feels like an achievement to you, then that's what it is. It doesn't matter if others don't agree with you. It's a personal thing, and if stepping onto your doorstep without crying is a massive milestone for you, then celebrate, and cheer about it! Who cares if your neighbour wonders what you're doing? You deserve to be proud of yourself.

Now, I'm able to cross most roads without freaking out, or squealing. I'm able to eat at school, even if I don't always have a smile on my face whilst doing so. I'm able to talk to people that I don't know too well, and make eye contact with them. These may sound like insignificant things to some of you, but they are major things to me, and I'm so bloody proud of myself.

Just remember to take baby steps, and do things at your own pace. Don't be too hard on yourself, and don't beat yourself up if at first you can't do something. It's okay to freak out. It's okay to slip up, and go back to your own ways. You're only human, and you're allowed to act however you feel you need to during that moment. Try to be as determined as you can, and even though I do agree that you need to rest up, and take it easy, I don't think that you should ever give up, because with each baby step, no matter how small it may seem, you are getting closer to your goal, and you are defeating your demons, one at a time.

Here are just a few of my top tips for those of you that struggle with anxiety:

  • Set yourself little, achievable goals to aim towards each day.
  • Consider downloading mindfulness apps, such as Headspace, and Calm.
  • Make sure that you surround yourself with positive, supportive people.
  • Face your fears, as hard as they may seem. You will feel better for it, trust me.

If you want to read a little bit more about facing your fears, then you can head on over, and read the blog post that I did about it here.

Thank you so much for reading this post. I hope that you found it to be helpful, or inspiring in some way, as it was so personal to me, and if you were looking for some support, then fingers crossed you have now found it.

Remember, you are my strong, sassy soldiers, and you are capable of anything you set your beautiful lil minds too.

Lots of love always,

Jade xo

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