Everyone gets it at one stage or another in life and it really loves to shake things up.
A little about me; November 2013 I was diagnosed with severe ANXIETY DEPRESSION after months of having 'freak outs' about my physical health (heart problems, stomach pains, uncontrollable bladder, chest explosions and the like) which turned out to be a panic disorder. One and a half years later and things have changed A LOT but life can still be an uphill struggle at times. I'm not here to blog about this for a pity party, but instead to share what I have learnt on coping with these issues. I'd like to hope that I can be a little handy at times!
One of my biggest regrets from this period is putting the weight of it all on my RELATIONSHIP with my partner. It is so hard to go through all of the sleepless nights and panic attacks alone, and the feeling of never-ending sadness can seem impossible to deal with, but you can do it without making things difficult for the other person. You may not realize the pressure you put on someone else when you expect them to understand what you are going through. They care a lot about you but they aren't qualified counselors. When you are feeling a bit lonely and lost in your little bubble of misery, there are trained counselors and doctors who are there on the other end of the line that you can call at anytime. Make use of the services because they know all about the feelings you are having and can genuinely help you at times when you are feeling helpless.
WORK was another hurdle for me. At my lowest points I was working a job that I despised. Granted, if I was to work that job now, I can't imagine that I would feel the same level of hatred for it than I did then. It wasn't so much the work (repetitive & easy tasks) but the social aspect of the job. Holding down a conversation with fellow workers and forcing a smile for customers was a constant battle with myself. I knew I was capable of doing it, and yet when it came down to it I felt like a completely different person.
I had a few months off after that job and promised myself that when I returned that I would ease myself into it, and when I was worried about anything I reassured myself by telling myself aloud that it was okay. And it was.
Now a year on, I am in my dream job and I still have mornings where I maybe didn't sleep well or I am not feeling super positive - so I write myself a few tasks on my phone that I would like to get done within the first hour of arriving on the job and it motivates me to get going. It's maybe not something that will work for everyone - but I am such a dopamine junkie that when I achieve small morning tasks (putting on make-up, making my bed, clearing my emails) I just want to keep going. It can be hard to find this will to keep going, but if you have a passion in anything, let it drive you forward into your day!
FRIENDSHIPS are difficult when you get bouts of anxiety or suffer from anxiety depression. It can be difficult to explain why you don't really feel like going for pints or having a catch up over coffee without making out that you are trying to avoid them. But I have found it essential to share what is going on in order to keeping my closest friends in the loop. A few years back, as my issues grew harder to deal with, my friendships were deteriorating between people I had been close with for years. It was simply because I was disappearing off the face of the earth without explanation. I felt like I didn't belong, even among people who liked and knew me. I was becoming a lot more short tempered and generally a nightmare to be around, so those that were trying to stick about weren't getting to see me in my best light, but I never gave them explanation. We don't see each other anymore and I regret keeping everything a secret. A problem about mental-health is that there is a lot of stigma surrounding it and people tend to be embarrassed or ashamed for admitting it in public - which is completely the wrong way to look at it. Now I treat my 'bad days' in the same way that I would with physical sick days - If I was feeling ill and needed rest alone, I would have no issue with explaining this to friends, so why is it different when it comes to my mind? Well, it isn't. Don't put yourself/your friends through hell and misery by keeping your mouth shut. People will understand that it isn't something you control, and it will be okay.
One last thing I wanted to mention to knock a little knowledge into those who may, or may not want it is about SLEEP. Anyone who deals with anxiety will know that this is one of the things that gets effected the worst. You lay there, pleading for rest. You might be absolutely shattered and in pain from how tired you are, and yet your mind does not slow down. You worry about all of the things that have happened, will happen, could happen, and are happening. You worry about the fact that you are worrying about not sleeping. It is very very difficult to stop and before you know it, it's morning. Something I found helpful when I had trouble sleeping in my first year of university was guided meditation. I found hundreds of videos on YouTube that helped to take my mind away from all of my busy thoughts and helped me to actually sleep. Something I found out was that there was a huge community based on ASMR. ASMR stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, and is pretty much just a relaxing sensation that only occurs in a percentage of people. This has been an utter blessing for me and my insomnia and although not everybody experiences it, the videos are still that of a calming nature and can really help ease you into a relaxed mood and slows your mind down. Another helpful practice is meditation with an app called HeadSpace which helps you to meditate and chill the flip out too and I would seriously advise everyone reading this post today to at least check it out. A last helpful tip is to keep a pen and paper beside your bed. This allows for you to jot down any ideas, worries or 'notes to self' for the morning so that they are out of your mind and you don't have to remember them or worry about forgetting them. Using a computer or phone is not really a great idea, because the light will only make your brain switch on and make you feel more awake.
Maybe I will talk a little more about ASMR sometime as it is a subject that I really enjoy and yet have never read about in any other blogs.
That was a HUGE ass post, but I guess with mental health, there's a lot to be talking about, so if you are feeling under the weather or relate to anything in this post - be sure to get talking about it, and get in touch with your GP as you never have to go through it alone!
These images were from the lost folder on my laptop from when I had just started shooting on film, and this was in fact my first shoot of 2015!
I am wearing a beautiful Topshop cardigan with a white smock dress by The WhitePepper (who you know are my favorite fashion brand by far!).
I'm really missing lilac hair these days, but I decided to opt for the bleached look. We'll see how long this lasts! ;)