Friday 15 July 2016

It's Not All Glitz And Glam...

Heyyy everyone!

Today I am here to talk to you about the huge pest we happen to call Anxiety.

This is not my usual type of blog post. Anybody who follows my blog regularly will know that I tend to do fashion related posts, beauty reviews and just general lifestyle posts. 
Every so often I will write positive posts to try and cheer everyone up around me but I never really talk on my blog about what I'm going through personally with mental illness.
I've spoke about this on Facebook but that's because most people on there are friends and family but never on my blog in detail.

I don't really want to bore everybody with my life story so I'll try and keep it short and sweet. I was asked by a lovely girl I know to write about my anxiety as she thought it would be helpful to people in the same situation and so here I am. Opening up on the internet. What the readers want, the readers get.

I have suffered with anxiety for as long as I can remember. I remember always being quite an anxious person anyway, I think it's just my personality. However, I didn't get diagnosed with anxiety until I was 20. This is because I just didn't go to the doctors. I thought I could deal with it all by myself. (Bad move).

Anxiety is obviously very different for each individual person and it affects us all in different ways, so if you also suffer from anxiety, we may not necessarily have any of the same symptoms.

Unfortunately I didn't decided to do anything about my anxiety until I was put into hospital which was when it really opened my eyes and I realised it was literally taking over my life. 
I had been really quite stressed for a long time and to be honest a bad flight to Spain was what really kicked it off big time. I couldn't walk to the shop without feeling like I was about to have a panic attack. My relationship with my boyfriend at the time was becoming non-existent. I didn't want to be touched at all in any way, shape or form and I blamed him for every little thing that went wrong.

I became really obsessive with my health. The slightest cold would be a huge drama to me and I'd get really down about everything. I had no passion for life and stopped making an effort with my appearance. My skin got really bad through stress which caused even more stress because I was self conscious.

Over Christmas and New Year 2013 I was in hospital. Originally it was because I had gastroenteritis. However, as I had anxiety I started to notice other non-existent symptoms. I was so nervous I was constantly pressing the emergency alarm and telling the nurses I was having a heart attack, they had to give me 4 separate ECG's just to calm me down. I wouldn't eat because my stomach wouldn't settle from being too nervous. I wasn't really drinking either because I felt sick so they had to hook me up to a drip because I was so severely dehydrated.
Whilst in hospital I lost over a stone and a half and I wasn't big anyway. So I was very very thin. They made me go round in a wheelchair because I was too frail to walk which I thought was silly myself.

As I had so many symptoms like chest pain and kidney pain I was also given a CT scan to check for anything wrong, I was checked for thyroid disease also. All my scans came back fine other than my kidneys being rather inflamed and an infection. 

They kept me in for a while which was really depressing not seeing my family over xmas and new year but eventually they diagnosed me with chronic anxiety and let me go. The saddest thing was that I wanted to stay there forever. I didn't even want to go home.

I was sent to counselling and it was the most patronising experience I've ever been through.
The doctor laughed at me and said 'Don't you think you're being a little bit silly, oh god I'm having a heart attack'!! and started rolling around on the floor.
As you can imagine I've never had counselling since but PLEASE do not let that put you off because that was just a one off dickhead doctor that put me off who was clearly terrible at his job. I know of many people who have had remarkable recoveries from counselling.

I then felt a little better for a while as I had so much support off friends and family. But unfortunately, it didn't last very long. I started to get quite a lot of random phobias. My worst being thunder and lightning. It had never bothered me in the past but I started to become obsessive with it. Checking my weather app hourly, crying and not eating when storms were forecast. When there were storms I would move the room around so that I could hide but not be near wires, plumbing, windows or metal. I would be sick. I would pass out from not breathing properly. I became obsessed with statistics too and would research the ins and outs of lightning but only focus on the negative things.

Even though storms weren't regular, it was a daily struggle for me which was the frustrating part!

I then didn't do anything for two years. I just put up with it and let it get worse and worse. I tried lifestyle changes, self help CD's and books, diet changes, new friends, everything but nothing was helping.

The only thing I found made a huge difference was moving away from Wolverhampton, the place where I had bad memories and was scared of everything around me. I wanted to start fresh, go somewhere new. So me and my boyfriend moved down south.
It made a huge difference, I was actually happy.

It didn't last long. I had a new job and had recently being through workplace bullying so I was anxious about that. There was a lot of stress trying to find somewhere to live and Elliot wasn't working so money was stressing us out. It wasn't long before I had to go to back to the doctors and they signed me off work for a few weeks with chronic anxiety. I didn't want to get out of bed, I wouldn't leave the house at all and cried a hell of a lot.

I was put on anti-depressants. Why didn't I do this sooner please? I was put on Sertraline and after a month or so it started to kick in. I felt a lot happier in life, my relationship was going amazingly and nothing could stop me. My blog took off and I found that was a great way to release any tension or stress.

It's now being 7 months and I felt happier than ever until last week.

I started a new job so again the anxiety hit me but I guess it's just new job nerves. Everyone gets it but it just felt quite exaggerated compared to other jobs I had started previously. To top it all off (lots of you know) a young man died outside my house the other day after jumping from a 140ft bridge. Sadly, myself and other residents found him and tried to save him but seeing something like that was not something I thought Id ever see so as you can imagine, I'm not feeling great. I've been struggling to work and do my blog so I'm kind of having some time off to myself at the moment but I know I'll be fine. I just can't help but worry about everyone else.

Other than this weeks events, I have been feeling a lot better in myself so I promise you, if you are in that depth of despair where you feel like it will never get better, it can. But you have to be willing to let it. You absolutely must go to the doctors. No self help will cure anxiety. It will keep it at bay but only medication can help with the imbalance of chemicals causing anxiety.

I had such a negative outlook on life. Nothing anybody said helped me at all. I guess people who haven't had anxiety don't know what to say. You get the usual...'Just be positive, don't think about it'. We anxiety sufferers know that is not helpful at all. We just nod and smile and say 'I know'.
Anxiety isn't something we can control. It is literally a chemical imbalance in our brain that we cannot do anything about. 
Telling someone 'there isn't anything to worry about, it won't hurt you' won't make the slightest difference because our brains won't process that. It's impossible for us to change our mindset with the click of a finger.

It sounds terrible but the only thing that kept me going on and not just giving up on life was telling myself when I was scared that 'the worst thing that could happen if I do this is that I die. And then I won't be scared anymore'.

This did not make me feel suicidal though! I didn't actually want to die but I just told myself that if I do get struck by lightning I'll die and then it's over and that would make me feel slightly more calm. Luckily I don't have to think like that anymore and I don't recommend that you do but it was the only thing someone could say to me that would calm me down unfortunately.

Some of you might be thinking 'why would you say something so negative to someone who is feeling down, you'll make it worse. But honestly, if you haven't been there you won't understand. When you are at your lowest point , positivity isn't something that you even believe in anymore. You're literally feeling so negative that it can't actually get any worse so thinking the opposite of positive and being so unbelievably negative actually makes you realise how shit your life is and THAT is what pushes you to do something about it. It's a bit like reverse psychology I guess. You're so far down in the dumps that the only way is up. I'm not trying to make people feel worse with this post but sometimes that's what people need. A shock to the system with horrible thoughts that scare you into a more positive outlook.

My physical symptoms were also really bad. I was always losing weight and I'm still not back to my pre-anxiety weight four years on...
I used to get the worst chest pains.
I would not be able to breathe properly.
I would shake.
I would go hot and cold.
I felt faint most days.
I had bad memory and I couldn't concentrate.

(If you yourself are suffering from any of the above symptoms don't just automatically presume that it's anxiety because I had to be tested for a thyroid problem so many times because that can cause anxiety symptoms). Anxiety can always be caused by underlying issues so make sure you go to a doctor, even if that makes you anxious. Get someone to call for you and come with you.

I have a few little self-help tricks that would keep my anxiety at bay.
They may not necessarily work for you but this is just what I found helped me.

Having a really hot bath .
Flicking a hair band off your wrist.
Listening to classical music or happy music that you just have to dance too.
Crying it all out.
Taking baby steps like walking outside the house and coming back inside three times.
Getting plenty of sleep (if you're asleep you're not stressing).

One thing every doctor will tell you to do is breathing exercises.
I know people that find it really helps them. I personally thought it was a load of tripe. Didn't help me at all but as I say try it anyway because we are two different people, what doesn't work for me may work for you.

I did find however tensing my entire body as hard as I possibly could until it hurts and then relaxing was an amazing feeling that temporarily disabled any physical symptoms and you can do that anywhere. I highly recommend trying that.

One thing that I recommend is finding a happy place. Think of somewhere you have had happy memories and go there. Somewhere you wouldn't feel anxious.
 Even if its in the cupboard under the stairs or the toilet. 

Take something you like to look at (a photograph of a loved one).
Take something that feels nice (the fluffiest blanket and wrap yourself in it away from harm).
Take something you like to listen to (the music on your phone).
Take something to eat (your favourite food that you can stomach when anxious, I recommend soup in a travel mug).
Take something that smells really good (a candle you cant get enough of)
and just let your senses go mad with the overwhelming happiness.

So for example my idea of this would be to go to the lake at Llandrindod Wells (only in autumn when there are no bees and no lightning). Take my fur blanket. Look out at the lake because it's so pretty, I'd take Elliot with me to chat to me and I'd have my travel mug of soup and I'd make sure my clothes were freshly washed because I love the smell of my washing powder.

That is my happy place.

Also...try not to think of anxiety as a bad thing all the time. Sometimes it's good to be anxious. If you're worried about an illness and frantically go to the doctors you might manage to find an illness before it gets worse.
You'll definitely be more prepared if someone broke into your house because I can guarantee you've already got your weapon, escape route and contact number all figured out.
I guess in a weird way, it can help sometimes so don't hate yourself for having it. Once in a blue moon, it can be useful.

To be honest, I'm not the best advice giver at all. I'm aware of that. I am a good listener though so if anybody wants to rant to me about things that are bothering them give me an email, go on my contact page at the top of this website. I will always make time to help when I can.

I hope this blog post has been of some help at least. Even if you just wanted to know someone else out there has done crazy things because of anxiety. A lot of people presume because I'm happy on social media and everything is going really well for me at the minute that I have nothing to worry about but that is not the case. Blogging has it's perks but it's not all glitz and glam.
I know I've said a lot of negative things in this as well as positive but please bare in mind that I am still struggling with anxiety myself. Just because I'm getting better doesn't mean I don't have my moments so it's hard for me to be positive sometimes. 
I just wanted to write a post for my fellow anxiety ridden readers from someone with an anxious mind.
Let's help each other through this!

PS: On a more positive note, I've started doing more videos on Snapchat such as OOTD videos, what's in my handbag videos, beauty tips etc... so add me on Snapchat where I'll be more active!   Fbloggerstacie

Much love,

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  1. You are so brave and inspiring to share your anxiety struggles. I do empathise with you very much. My anxiety reached a clinical level in January and asking for help is definitely a positive step I agree! Thank you so much for writing sounds like you have done a wonderful thing working so hard to get well, little by little and day by day. I hope things begin to get easier for you. Very best wishes...

    Keep Calm and Start writing -

  2. This was such a lovely comment to read. Thank you so much. I'm glad it has been of some help! I'm sure things will get better with time and I am also sorry to hear that you're anxiety got bad for you too! I hope things are improving and if not, will do so soon.
    Best wishes,

    Stacie xoxo

    1. Thank you so much for your kind reply. Take good care x

      Keep Calm and Start Writing ...


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