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It all comes out in the wash

I can just her my Mother's words ringing in my ears; "It all comes out in the wash" and I guess it does. Right now I have just finished university and for the first time in my life I don't have a set plan. Because of my anxiety, I like to be sure that everything is in control and so I know what to expect, but currently I only have a very loose plan! 

At the moment I am taking it day by day and slowly forging my future. It's hard because I feel that I'm in a race against time, knowing how fast life can pass you by. But at the same time not everything can be achieved in an instant and things can take time. 

Looking back at my mental health journey, it has been extremely tough and still can be. But focusing on the present, it's strange to see how everything has come together. It's almost as if Mum was right to say that "everything comes out in the wash". Even though I can still get panic attacks, anxiety and depression, I am a world away from the severity that it once was many years ago. At that time I didn't think that I would live to see the next day, let alone ever get better and yet years later I am in a much better place and achieving the things that I want to, even if I do find it harder than others. It's almost as if it's beginning to come out in the wash. Now after university I am in a place of uncertainty and it is scary because for the first time ever I don't have a set plan. But just like my mental health journey, I'm hoping with hard work, help and determination it will all fall into place. I'm not expecting it to be easy or straightforward but it can just happen that things we never think we are going to get through or aren't working out, may do just that. It's about taking things day by day and looking at how much you have already achieved. It will come together in one way or another.

Amy Xx

The cure for your anxiety?

Throughout my mental health journey I have always credited CBT to be a huge help. CBT is cognitive behavioural therapy where you are exposed to situations which trigger your anxiety. It sounds scary I know, but it's not as bad as you think. Usually with CBT you start small, with the things that trigger your anxiety the least and as you move on you get to the things that trigger your anxiety the most. By facing your anxiety head on your mind learns that there isn't a threat there at all and soon learns a new positive behaviour. It does take willpower, but it is definitely something you are capable of! You may not be able to complete the task first of all but you will get there.

Recently I have come across an app called nOCD whom contacted me to highlight their new app and asked to collaborate with me. I downloaded the app and have given it a go myself. In comparison to therapy in which I had CBT, it is pretty much the same thing but without a counsellor being there. I think if you are finding it hard to talk to someone and/or need something to help your anxiety then this app is definitely something you can try. I know I wish it was around when I was having therapy and struggling with my anxiety. It's free to download, so you're not losing anything by just giving it a go. You can download the app free to your phone, here; http://m.treatmyocd.com/ReliefFromAnxiety

I hope it helps you. If there's just a small chance it may help, then why not give it a try? I know CBT really helped me, so I hope this app can help your anxiety and/or OCD too. Below is an example of how I have used the app!

Amy Xx

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The new additions

Pets have always been a soother for the soul and if you have been following me on social media recently, you will know that I have gotten some pet rats; RJ and Remmy. I did have a pet rat before around ten years ago, at a time when life was tough. It was one of the main things that got me through. I don't know how or why, she just did. With my love of pet rats still strong (and all other animals, but I can't get a dog just yet!) I thought it was time to get some more. Many people are horrified of the thought, but in reality domesticated rats are clean, loving and intelligent and make great pets. I feel they also do wonders for my mental health because it provides a purpose to look after something else other than myself and are just generally therapeutic. It sounds weird because they can't talk and yet they seem to provide some peace in the mind. 

With this, here are some introductory pictures. Do you have pets or animals that help you?

Amy Xx

A mental health sick day?

Don't you find it weird that you can phone into work and say that you can't come in for a broken leg and it will be accepted and yet you can phone up about your medically diagnosed depression and it could be brushed under the carpet even though the outcome is the same; that you can't get out of bed? 

In my previous job I did phone in sick because of my mental illness (that wasn't before I had a massive panic attack about opening up about my illness!) But I thought that if I didn't explain it then I wouldn't be able let them know if I was ill at any point in the future and so I did. After this explanation of mine, my past employers were very good and I felt less pressure which provided less triggers and meant I didn't take another sick day. But, it was my employer that told my colleagues that it was a cold when in fact it was crippling anxiety and depression and from that point, I put my colleagues straight and explained to them exactly what was going on and in turn, they reached out to me. I thought to myself that if I was to live a healthy life I am to tell those whom I work for the truth, and if they don't want to know, either I don't need that in my life or in some circumstances, it could be breaking the law and with a law degree, it is certainty a passion of mine to uphold the rights of people. 

In my latest job, my employers have also been very good and understanding.

The problem still remains is that even though I have told people of my illness and have no issue of it being known, I still have concerns about phoning in sick due to my mental health. I still feel this shame that people don't see it in the same light and I won't be believed or that it's not a real reason, when we all know that it really is. I am totally all for having sick days for mental health and in fact, it is a legitimate reason but there is a stigma which makes it appear that it's not right. What must be understood is that there are laws, there is happiness and there is health. There are laws to protect us, our understanding that our happiness must come first and our health, that we must not compromise just because another person doesn't understand. You have every right to take a sick day for your mental health and there is nothing to be ashamed of. I have done it before and I am willing to do it again. Nothing should stop you from living a healthy and happy life, regardless of the stigma that surrounds it and this is something I am campaigning for and allowing myself to be more comfortable with. Without mental health, there is no physical health.

Amy X