Ten top tips

Hi guys! I'm sorry it has been so long since the last post.
In this post I'm going to write about the main tips I have used to overcome or reduce my anxiety, in the hope that it will help you too.

Tips to overcome anxiety

1. Education - To reduce and overcome anxiety, you must understand the condition. For example: If you know that adrenaline is a result of the flight or fight system, you won't be as worried and unsure as to what's happening to your body. If you understand what symptoms you can get as a result of this adrenaline, then you will be more confident that it is anxiety and not another illness. You can get all sorts of information on anxiety through organisations such as charities and counselling services. I have also written many posts on anxiety, the symptoms and how it works.

2. Professional help - Therapy/Counselling has been a godsend for me. As mentioned in my past posts, I have had private hypnotherapy and then went onto a more hardcore and meaty type of therapy available on the NHS. It has really helped educate me about my condition, so I can understand the feelings and symptoms. It has also helped me to tackle my anxiety through CBT. Currently, I am on a more intense therapy where it is tackling my thought patterns on becoming ill and confidence. I can honestly say that it has been the most beneficial factor in my recovery process. 

3. Breathing - My therapist taught me a breathing technique that I may have mentioned in previous posts. Occasionally, it worked better than medication.  You must breathe in through your nose, hold it and then breathe out through your mouth very slowly. It will calm you down and bring you back to a normal state, whilst slightly reducing your physical symptoms. 

4. Talking - As i've mentioned before, talking to someone is extremely important. You cannot bottle up your feelings, especially if you are suffering with some sort of mental health condition. It is extremely important you talk to a family member, a friend, a charity worker or a teacher - someone you trust. You can get the ball rolling with recovery and you know that there is someone who can work through your problems with you throughout your recovery.

5. Panic attacks - Panic attacks are common with all types of anxiety, and I have written a post with tips to help with panic attacks, here.

6. Anxiety can't last forever - One thing my therapist told me, is that a high state of anxiety cannot last forever. So, when you are having a panic attack and think it's going out of control, think to yourself that this cannot last. It will go. It helps me to calm down. 

7. Journal - I bought myself a notebook on a whim and thought that it would be a good idea to track my progress, in the hope that one day I will look back and see how much I have improved and overcome my anxiety. Every day I will write down my scores of anxiety, depression, any aids I have used (medication, breathing techniques), positive points of the day and things I need to learn from. It's great to get things off your chest, learn from the day and review your progress.

8. Google - I know we all use Google for school, home and work. However, please try your best to not 'self diagnose' on Google as it often leads to a higher state of anxiety and worry about an illness that you do not have. I cannot deny that I used to use google a lot to try and explain the 'illness' that I was feeling, but please try your best to stay away. If you think you really have a problem, please see your Doctor. They are there to help you, do not be afraid of them. 

9. Other people - Something I keep reminding myself is that many people have been here before. You are not alone. When It's exam season and I am extremely stressed, I know that other people have survived and have done well. It's the same with mental illness. There are many people living successful and happy lives. They know what it feels like and they have survived. It encourages me to keep going.

10. Voyage of Self Discovery - "I am under reconstruction" - a quote I found very useful. Before anxiety really took its toll, I was just moving along in life and sticking to the same old routine. However when anxiety hit me, I had to start from the very beginning. It has taught me so much about myself and dare I say it, I know myself better than people who have not gone down a similar route. I have realised my strength, I have learnt new skills,  I have a massive sense of achievement and I am beginning to do things that I would never have thought of doing a few months back. It is like I am building myself from scratch again. So, instead of looking at it in such a negative way, think about all of the tasks you will attack and all the skills you will gain. You are not a victim.

Best Wishes to all of you!
Amy xx

Phobias don't last

I'm pretty sure every person in the world has a phobia of some sort, whether that be spiders, heights or dogs. Everyone has one and is scared of something. Even celebrities and highly powered people have their insecurities. 

Many people would accept that the fear of spiders is one which is very common and something which is widely accepted and understood. However; when you ask the person why they are scared of spiders, they probably won't have an answer. Okay, so the long legs and the fact that they run fast is part of its character, but if you look deeply into the phobia there really isn't an answer. This is something I want to address. Anxiety often comes with triggers and phobias and unfortunately for the phobias which are less common, people often believe that these phobias do not last or exist.

As I've mentioned previously, my biggest anxiety trigger is school and I have no clue why. I never ever had a serious problem with school until my breakdown in January. Unfortunately for me, it is the most important place in my life at the moment, as it holds the key to my education. 
This phobia makes my life hell as it is extremely severe. As school takes up 5 days of my life and ultimately the build up of Sunday, my life is very hard in terms of school. Everyday I wake up with dread, fear and adrenaline. Ultimately six out of the seven days of the week I get symptoms of anxiety, which often results in me eating little, being tired and feeling really ill. 
I absolutely love the subjects I am studying and conversing with my friends, but for some reason every day is an up hill struggle. However, each day I manage to go to school is an achievement and one step closer to recovery.

There is something else I want to address; not all phobias are short term! I will get periods of prolonged absence from school. Last year I missed about half of the school year and had to teach myself at home. However, if I manage the whole of this school week, it means I've been to school for almost three weeks in a row which is the most since January. This is a pure example that recovery does happen! However, many people have the assumption that phobias don't last. Just because I can get to school for a certain amount of time, doesn't mean that life is any easier or that my phobia has gone. This is not the case at all and unfortunately some people assume that this is true. Recovery is a gradual process and it does not happen over a few weeks, neither does getting over a phobia. However, I must reinforce the point that just because I am managing to work through my phobia, it doesn't mean that it is any easier or that it has disappeared.

Everyone's phobias are different and I understand how hard it can be. I hope that this post helped you in someway and made you realise you are not alone. Recovery can happen and I am an example of this. Do not give up. 

Amy xx