Dear Anxiety..

October 10, 2018

For many people, living with anxiety can be excruciating – the unknown attacks, that feeling of dread or even the feeling of not being good enough.  With it being Mental Health Awareness Month, I wanted to dedicate this post solely to mental health.  It has relatively become a big conversation over the last couple of years with more people opening up about how they’re feeling and that they’re not alone.  The thing people keep telling themselves is that anxiety isn’t some foreign object – it has been around for years but only yet people are being to understand.  Living with anxiety isn’t something you can buy or remove simply, for many, its a part of their day to day life.

I am very big on listening to podcasts as they usually help relax me – lately, Happy Place by Fearne Cotton has helped me tremendously – hearing both Matt Haig and Stephen Fry sharing their stories about living with mental illnesses, shows that living with the condition is ok – not being ok is fine, its ok not to be ok.
It’s also ok not to deal with your mental illness straight away, sometimes accepting you have a mental illness yourself is the hardest part. ‘This too shall past’.  I often find that when I’m feeling particularly anxious or panicky that I can’t think straight that often, everything I’ve tried to remember on how to remain calm disappears – just letting the moment pass is sometimes best.  It can feel very uncomfortable, although the pain isn’t physical, it hurts mentally and emotionally – try and embrace that feeling of panic and respond as you feel you can. When not focusing on the situation – overcoming that situation can pass much quicker. 
Anxiety is often a barrier which stops people doing even the simplest day to day things, simply not just ‘getting over’ it will banish it for good – but having tips for anxiety can help.  If you know someone with anxiety, whether you understand it or not, please be patient and understand that it is something that cannot be helped.  If you find you are around someone who is living with anxiety or you are struggling yourself, it is understandably distressing – anxiety can feel like a mysterious thing to people who never experienced it, so if you don’t suffer with anxiety then maybe try one of these tips if you know someone who is suffering.
Go to a group meeting/activity with them
There are many self-help groups available and can work well for anxiety – and they can even be fun, even if you take the issue of anxiety out of the equation – even attending a yoga class can help reduce stress and increase tiredness, it’s an easy and simple way to relax without feeling any pressure to talk about how you’re feeling. 
Don’t push someone to talk
Talking about anxiety or any other mental illness can be hard, some people are able to talk freely about how they feel and others find it daunting and nerving. Pushing someone to talk about how they’re feeling only makes them more disengaged in the conversation.  If someone feels comfortable enough to talk to you, the best thing you can do is listen – you may not understand why they are feeling that way but often, we’re just looking for someone to listen, not necessarily understand. 
Reassure them
It might sound ridiculous, but anxiety in itself can be responsible for creating anxiety and can therefore make a situation worse.  It’s worth reassuring someone that something they may feel particularly anxious about isn’t unusual, even for people who are mentally healthy.  Everyone can feel anxious, and reassuring someone that its ok to feel that way will help. 
Understand that you don’t have the answers
This ties in with not pushing someone to talk, but no matter how much you try to relieve someones mental pain, it won’t always relieve the issue – theres simply nothing you can do but feel content you have tried your hardest. 
We do not mean to hurt people close to us, but its a coping mechanism that is easier to use than to accept a compliment or accept something positive. 
Don’t get angry
Often, a person who feels anxious will also feel angry – this can be because they simply don’t understand why at that particular moment they feel anxious.  Shouting or getting angry will only make the situation worse, and this doesn’t help anyone. Yes, it can be frustrating for people who don’t feel this way, but try and understand how frustrating it is when we do feel this way.  There will be many emotions involved, but being strong and supportive will be appreciated more than you know.
Today, 1O October, I decided to break my silence on Instagram about mental health and posted this picture with the caption:

“I’m not ready to talk, and I don’t know if I ever will. Its hard, really f**king hard – waking up and feeling like you shouldn’t have, these thoughts are unwanted yet remain, no matter what. Medication only helps 10% of the pain, talking only helps 10% of the brain, the other 80% if left, unknown, imbedded and ruthless.
Mental health awareness month – living with one or more mental illnesses is hard, harder than anything I’ve faced in my life – but I’m surviving. 
Please, do not feel afraid to talk about the way you are feeling, it’s something that cannot be controlled. Never be ashamed of the person you are”
And I just want to say, thank you SO much, to every single person that liked, commented or sent me a DM, it is all very appreciated and makes me feel so happy to know I have people who genuinely care.  If you don’t follow me on Instagram, then please do, it would be lovely for you to come and say Hello!

If you want more information on any Mental Health issues then please use Mind as they are an organisation who may be able to help.

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