Living without you

Time for an appreciation post! I'm not usually one with words, but this is important. As I've mentioned in my post 'My year in review', it has been an extremely hard year and it's made me see many sides to humankind. Below I have written a little passage to all of the people that have helped me survive this year:

Family

This year, I have needed my family more than ever and I am glad to say that they have been here for me. Not everyone understands or knows about it, but it's generally been a good response, even if it's been a task to explain what it's all about. My mum especially, has given every waking moment to me when my anxiety has taken over. She has gone over and beyond to help me through. I wish I never had to put her through any of it, but as many of you know anxiety can be overwhelming and can affect everyone around you. She's a lifesaver and miracle worker! ha. My Auntie has been there on the phone to talk whenever. As she suffers with mental health herself, it's great to to be able to talk to someone who's been through it too. Words can never explain how much I appreciate them and the support they have given me. I hope they know their worth. 

Friends

As I've mentioned before, I have found out who my real friends are. Even though some may not understand; they haven't avoided me. I am very lucky to have people who have supported me and listened during the harder times. 

Teachers
My first assumption was that I'd have to leave the school I am studying at. I thought that they would think that I'm stupid, weak, that I'm skipping school on purpose and that they'd laugh. How wrong I was! They have been a main part of my recovery and have been so supportive. They've chatted to me about it, sent work home, given me a lot of leeway with times and rooms. I will never forget them. They have worked so hard, using their spare time to make sure I still continue to stay in school. It's helped immensely and I hope they understand their importance throughout my journey and the changes they can make to people's lives. Not having the ability to go to school, has made me realise how important it is and how much I miss it all. It's true to say "You don't know what you've got until it's gone".

You

When I started this blog and only had a few views, I was so happy that I had the ability to help a few people. Now, I am beginning to make some friends in the blogging world and help more people out as the days go by. Knowing that I can improve someone's life just a little bit, is a great thing to me. In return, the lovely things you write to me, make my day and keep me going. I hope that we can continue this journey, and we can fight this battle together. 

Be thankful for all of the people that support you and make sure you let them know. Remember that talking is key. I understand that not everyone has someone to talk to and reactions may be different, but it's important to note that what you think may happen, isn't always the case. Many will react in a positive manner. From experience, I know that not everyone will be understanding or be graceful with words. Everyone has experienced this in regards to mental health, but it's important to know that there are people out there who love you and support you. Try and find someone in your life that you can talk to. It takes a lot of courage to talk because of your perceptions, but it will help you a lot. There are always charities and I am always here to help. 


I wish you all the best for 2014 and let this be the year we win the battle against our mental health!




Amy xx



Life vs. Death

Every day I slowly develop my mindset and understand the philosophy of the world just that little bit more. It makes me review the world around me, life, the universe, how I can improve my life and what it's all about. Recently, I've begun to include a new philosophy that's been around for hundreds of years.

Anxiety can be so crippling and in reaction to the simplest of things. I'm not saying that this new philosophy can change your anxiety forever, but it may help you to go outside of your comfort zone. After all, exposure has been proven to work.

You must have heard people say at least once in your lifetime: 'at least you're not dying', 'YOLO', 'life's short' and so on. This philosophy I have heard all of my life, but have never had the confidence to put it into practice. But as each new day arrives, another door opens in my mind and it just so happened to click this time. For example, I have applied for Law work experience, where I will have to undertake a phone interview. I'm not going to lie, I'm scared! Especially because talking on the phone is something I'm yet to tackle. However, with this way of thinking, I know that it's not the be all end all. I know that life's short and I should just give it a go. If I mess up, then at least I've given it a try. Firstly, I'm only human and the person interviewing me will have highly likely messed up before and secondly, what's the worst that can happen? Unfortunately, I cannot apply this philosophy to all areas of my anxiety, such as school, although the application in theory does make it easier. As time goes by, the more I feel it would work. For example, I plan to get my ear pierced. Easy for some, but not for others! It's the little things.

As much as I wish I could get on stage, drive and have a job all in a breeze, it is something I must tackle. There will still be things that I will find incredibly hard, even with this philosophy in mind. However, I think it's going to help. A new year is upon us and it's time for a fresh start (although any new way of life can begin at any day) Perhaps we should all strive to do something out of our comfort zone, because that's usually where the fun is! Anxiety will still make it a struggle and perhaps you're not in that stage of recovery yet, but one day you will get there.

Remember, life vs. death. In the situations where you can apply this, try it. Whether it be with relationships, jobs, clubs and so on. At the end of the day anxiety is a battle, but let's still try to live life as much as possible. One day you'll get there!

"What would you do, if you knew you couldn't fail?" 
Best wishes and I hope you've had a lovely Christmas. Onto the new year! 
Amy xx

My year in review

I know we've still got a few weeks to go until the end of December and the beginning of 2014, but because it's going to be a busy time of celebration, now seems like a good option to reflect on the past year.

This time last year, it was 2012 and the end of what I regard as the best year of my life so far. The end of 2012 however, was a bit harder as my anxiety slowly began to creep in more and more. 2013 arrived and as many of you may have read, I had a breakdown in January where I've had to rebuild my life from the very beginning. Blood tests and mostly doctors appointments have been main parts of my life this year and almost twelve months later, it has brought me here. Thinking about this makes me feel sick to my stomach of frustration and sadness over how much I've missed in the past year or so. It's safe to it's been one hell of year in more ways than one.

On the plus side, even though this year has been a struggle, I have had a few good moments and it's important to remember these. Amongst a few highlights are my AS level results and university offers. At the beginning of the year, when I couldn't face school, many people said that I wouldn't do so well at school due my lack of attendance. But, I was so determined. I was not going to fail and I was not going to give in. The determination to succeed was so huge and the crippling anxiety was just what encouraged me further. I was not going to let my anxiety defeat me, even though I have had many moments in this year where I've thought the only way to survive, was to quit school. I spent many months revising and teaching myself in preparation for the exams, and I surprised myself and many others as a result. I've also learnt about myself more than ever this year and it's helped me to understand more about the philosophy of the world. If this is to teach you and I anything, it is that if you work hard you can reap the rewards and have faith in yourself that you can achieve. 


In terms of my family, friends and teachers - these are the people I am incredibly grateful for. Without them, I have no clue where I'd be now. They've kept me going. They have been so supportive. It sounds very cliche, but this year has shown me who my true friends are and I cherish them. Remember, talking is the most important thing you can do to get on the road to recovery. I can't thank everyone enough. I hope these people realise how important they are to me!

Looking back, I know this has been an extremely hard year; because of not having the ability do what I love and this is something I'm still battling, so that one day I can live a full life. It's true to say that many will only understand if you've experienced it. There have been many times when I could've given up, but I managed to hold onto the knowledge that I will get through this and that there are better things to come. I know there are times when you can feel as one of my teachers put it "just holding on", but you can do it and you will get there. 

How was your year in review? Let me know! 
Merry Christmas! or as it is said in German; Froehliche Weihnachten!,
Amy x

A whole lot of chitty chat

Hello guys! As you may know I have recently written a blog post for Anna from 'A Whole Lot Of Chitty Chat'. I thought it would be a good idea if Anna would write a blog post for my blog too, in the hope that it will help others in regards to what you're experiecing with anxiety, but also to let you know of a great blogger!: 

Hello Amy's lovely readers, by the looks of her twitter followers there could be a lot of you! I love reading Amy's blog & I can totally relate to her just like many others can too I'm sure :)
 
I approached Amy & asked her if she would like to do a post for my blog which she happily got involved in & sent me a post, which is now up over on my blog.
 
So now it is my turn, I didn't approach Amy with the hope that she would want me to do a post for her blog too, not at all. But I feel happy that she asked me to do one in return. I approached Amy in the hope she would say yes & so I could then help spread the word & share her blog with my readers.
 
So now we are on track & know what is going on, I'll tell you a little bit about myself. My name is Anna, I'm 21 & I blog over at A Whole Lot Of Chitty Chat. I started blogging at the start of this year when to be honest I felt very little purpose in my life. That was when my blog was created, I thought it would be a good place to share my thoughts. Then I actually started sharing my blog about a bit over on twitter & started gaining readers. Now I not only blog for myself but for others, others who probably like yourself feel so alone in your situation. You are never alone :)
 
Just like Amy, I suffer with anxiety. I first started noticing when I was around the age of 16/17. I know how hard life can be for those affected. You can feel so misunderstood, you can feel so alone. But that really doesn't have to be the case. You shouldn't have to suffer in silence either. If you don't feel comfortable speaking about your struggles openly, why not maybe start a blog anonymously just like Amy?
 
I think blogging is a great way to have a voice & a little place to build a friendship & become part of a community. I'm currently building friendships with a few lovely girls who also blog, it is fantastic!
 
I do blog mainly about mental health & the effect it has on my life but I now blog weekly about my driving lessons & do a post every Sunday called Sit Down Sunday which is where I just reflect on everything good about that week. For a little while I had a routine for the days of the week I would blog on but sometimes life is unexpected & changes. Plus having a routine kind of takes away the fun in blogging & just adds pressure! Pressure is not fun.
 
I'm going to leave my post at that & hope I haven't bored anyone to sleep. Oh & well done if you managed to read to the end. I feel that was really higgledy piggledy so I apologise :)
 
Thanks for having me over on your blog Amy & thanks to your readers for hopefully reading this post :)
Anna ♥
 
You can find me over on twitter @awholelotof_
If you do check out my blog leave me a little comment saying you've come from Amy's blog :)

Thank you Anna for writing. it just shows there are many people going through the same experience as you.
Best Wishes,
Amy xx 
 

On the rampage (stigma)

A few months ago, I did a three part series on stigma which you can find below:
This post however, I have felt the need to write after mental health coming up in a few discussions in class and it appears that quite a few people still have the impression that everyone with a mental illness is a person who is running around on a rampage. How wrong they are! This post will hopefully clear it up for anyone who still has the idea of such a stereotype. I am not an expert in every field of mental illness and I am still learning about my own every day, but I aim to get rid of some myths in today's post. In this post by Time To Change, it dispels some myths about mental illness and I advise you to take a look.

In the meantime, here are a few of my personal favourite mental myth busting facts:  

1. People who are mentally ill are violent - The majority are not violent. People with mental health are more likely to be victimised. From hearing in discussions, when people talk about mental illness they just think of violence and horror movies. I suffer mainly with anxiety as a mental illness and I am not violent. My auntie who suffers with depression is not one who goes around like you see in the horror movies either. As can be seen in the dispute between Asda and Tesco with their halloween costumes, the majority of people with a mental illness are not like that. We are normal people. Mental illness doesn't define me. I am not a mental illness. I am me, with mental illness being something I must deal with. I find it very sad when the first words that people come out with when thinking about mental illness is: dangerous, violent and crazy. Too often the use of the word mental and comparing a person to someone in a mental institution is just reinforcing the stereotype. They are many in institutions who are suffering with conditions such as eating disorders and depression. It gives an increasing importance to get rid of the stigma.

2. If you're mentally ill, you would've been sectioned - not the case. There are many people with eating disorders, anxiety, depression and others that are not sectioned. There is often help within the community, people who go to therapy sessions and so on. Many can live a next to normal life.

3. You can see if someone's mentally ill - not true. If you saw me you wouldn't even guess it. I've had many a friend tell me 'I would never have expected it to be you'. Just because you can't see it doesn't mean there's no effect.The videos below from Time To Change may help you to have a new outlook, if not already. If this changed your mind and helped, please share. We must reduce the stigma. 

Best Wishes,
Amy xx

Birdy

A very important, but quick blog post that I feel obliged to write. 

For a long time now, I have realised how many people are suffering throughout life and with such conditions as mental illness. There are so many people, whether they've been diagnosed or not, whether it's severe, or not so, whether it's a terrible day, or a continuous drag of bad thoughts; there are so many people out there suffering. At the beginning of discovering I had an issue with anxiety, I thought I was alone in battling this. I had blinkers on, but I was wrong in my belief that I was alone. 
Every day never fails to surprise me. All of the 'perfect' celebrities that can result to panic because of a fear, and even the people you assume are perfect are in fact are suffering with their own battles. The people you see every day, including family members, friends, teachers and colleagues may all be battling something severe of their own, even though you would never in a million years have guessed it. 
The moral of this story is, that a person may be very good at hiding how they are feeling and a simple 'how are you doing?' may reveal a lot of information that they are struggling. However, there are many that keep such issues close to their chests, and it may take a few times of encouraging them to speak about it. If they don't want to talk about it, that's also okay as they will talk when they are comfortable. Don't be afraid to lend a helping hand because you never know, you might be the one who keeps them going.

Until next time,
People, help the people!
Amy xx

Words of wisdom

A few weeks ago, I was having a pretty rubbish week in terms of my anxiety. I was once again in the situation of thinking "what can I do help my state of mind?" Quotes have always been a massive favourite of mine. They give insight, help and ultimately I can relate to others. I was feeling quite down on myself and I'd had enough.  I looked  up some quotes to do with fear, anxiety and my fear of failure in the hope that my mindset would improve. I think it would be a good idea to share the best ones that I found with you, in the hope it will help you too: 
 "Remembering that i'll be dead soon is the most important tool i've encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything - all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important." Steve Jobs
"It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default." J.K Rowling
"This is all you have. This is not a dry run. This is your life. If you want to fritter it away with your fears, then you will fritter it away, but you won't get it back later." Laura Schlessinger
"Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one's definition of your life; define yourself" Harvey Fierstein
"Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don't resist them - that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like" Lao Tzu 
"Expect problems and eat them for breakfast" Alfred A. Montapert
 "Either you run the day or the day runs you" Jim Rohn
I know some of these quotes may come across as quite morbid and harsh, but to me they were the most useful when looking up about anxiety and my fear of failure. I also understand by reading a few quotes, your life won't suddenly be turned upside down. This is only to help you on your way. Perhaps one day I will write about my favourite quotes of all time...

Best Wishes!
Amy xx