My year in review 2015

It's that time of year again where I review my past year. I've done this for the previous two years, which can be read here and here.

It's been another intense year with ups and downs but many achievements. I finished my first year studying Law at university and moved into the second with a pass rate I am very pleased with. University has been the best choice I have made as I have made so many great friends, become independent and battled my anxiety head on. I have some amazing memories and laughs from this year which I will never forget.

I have been to numerous concerts and met my idol for the third time, reached a one year anniversary, had many nights out and great times with friends and family and moved into my own house!

This Summer has been a massive achievement for me. I travelled back from Germany to London completely alone, worked in a charity shop for two months, did a weeks work experience in a law firm, held my blogger meet up and did lots of travelling. I also took my driving test for the first time, but unfortunately failed. Nevertheless, because it is one of my biggest anxiety triggers I am so proud I took it. I retook my driving test for the second time and passed! A three year battle which I've won!

Of course, as with any year there have been battles that had to be conquered and I've still battled my anxiety and depression this year and some stages were definitely more tough than others. But, I have felt that by going to university the struggle has lessened. As I look back at my years in review, it's encouraging to see the improvement over time. I still continue to work with it and battle it and I'm hoping that maybe even next year I will be able to come off of my medication. 

I am immensely proud of this year and what I have achieved. You can do it!

Amy Xx

Teenage years and tears!

I am now a few months into being 20 or twenteen as I like to think. Unfortunately, this means I am no longer a teenager and half way to 40! Now being at the other side of the teenager years, I thought I would reflect and look back at any life lessons I've learnt:

You are still naive in your younger teenage years, and you won't realise it until you're much older. The quotes you once used to love as a thirteen year old are really cringe worthy and I am glad I have found better ones now.

The teenager years are a battleground of hormones, which can be utter hell. You've just got to hold on in there!

Never give in to peer pressure. I never did and I am so glad that I was the person I wanted to be the whole way through my teenager years.

study hard!

Don't worry if you're not keeping up with your peers. I am 20 and I'm still not doing some things that my peers are, but that's okay because I know my achievements are different to theirs. 

Your dress sense has always been a bit different, but that Goth and punk faze was totally awesome.

Girls can be awfully mean during the teenage years. Even your friends may turn their backs. I still can't quite get over how mean some of the girls during my school years were.

The problems you face aren't half as big as you think they are (presuming they're not serious!)

Sex, drugs, alcohol (and rock and roll) are all personal choices and it's completely up to you as to whether you undertake any. Never give in to peer pressure because it's 'cool'. I've always agreed with that from a young age and I'm glad I have made my own choices in my own time in regards to this.

Never be afraid to talk to teachers and parents!

All of the 'cool' stuff really isn't as 'cool' and hyped up as everyone makes it out to be.

Having fun is super important!

You'll be friends with some people you met during you teenage years even after they're over. I know I still am and I love them to pieces!

Don't stress too much about relationships during your younger years. It's not really worth it. 

Things change, people change, you change and it may be tough at times and even though it is a rollercoaster, you've just got to stick with it. Besides the struggle with being bullied and my mental health issues, I have had some fantastic times and memories I will never forget. 


What would you add?

Amy xx

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Facebook is fake?

Comparison and competition on a daily basis can be hard enough without the influence of social media. However, social media is such a huge and normal part of our lives that sometimes I don't think we can see the damage it is doing.

Throughout the years of my mental illness journey, I have noticed that I have't always been at the same stage as my peers and this can be another mental battle to add to the list. Using social media on a regular basis has given me the information to feed this comparison culture that many of us have engrained. This not to say that social media is bad, because I find it very useful. I am constantly using it and it's a great way to keep up to date, share photos and meet other like-minded people. I think it's great! But, as reminder, we have to look at the issues it can create. 

The main point here is that people pick and choose what goes on social media and generally speaking it is the best bits. You don't see the bad days, the things that didn't go too well or the break-ups. You see the good bits; the holidays, the passing of driving tests, the academic success and the closeness that they have with friends. Of course, even this can be fa├žade; they may hardly speak to their 'Facebook' friends for example. Social media to an extent must be taken with a pinch of salt and with an understanding that this person's life that looks so perfect, is only a snippet and on a lot of occasions may only be for the show of virtual friends. In this way, the comparisons we make with another may not be accurate nor fair. It's also important to remind yourself that you are on your own journey, and the 'race is only with yourself.'

Don't get me wrong, we can all get caught in this trap. However, when social media starts to do damage with comparisons and competition to our mental health, it's time to take a break and remember that no one's life is perfect and social media can be fake.

What do you think?

Amy Xx

Part 2: the process of revision

Its been almost been two years since I wrote my post on revision tips. I thought I'd write a part two, which is more about the practical side of revision. I have written in the past about generalized revision tips, but haven't given a full method as to how this is done and since exams will be coming up soon, I thought this might be useful. 

Preparation:

Preparation in life's a wide range of processes. For me, it's organizing my folders, gathering my notes together and most importantly creating mind maps to help me to revise. I may do this over the school year, so when it comes to revision I am prepared and ready to start.

Revision itself:

My other post has tips on how to revise, which you can find here. Revision itself can be a chore, but you have to remember that it will pay off in the end. Make sure that you follow the curriculum and learn all that is needed for the exams. These videos might give you some encouragement:

Practice:

Whilst you are revising or perhaps after you've revised it all, you can begin to practice questions. Personally, I like to revise first. However, if I've revised a chapter I then like to test myself with an essay: timing is the absolute key. Once I've revised it all then I can do a mock, and figure out all of the parts which I need to focus on.

Key Checks:

Write a list of the other things you need to work on. 

Amy Xx

Follow yourself

Something we all must understand is this is your life and it is up to us what we do with it. Now, I know we all have things in life that stop us from doing certain things including mental health issues, various other disabilities and responsibilities, but I feel we still should embrace what we can and ultimately it is up to you what you choose to do. 

I find that the younger we are, the more reluctant we are to accept other people's words of wisdom, but more often than not people are usually right as they have more experience than yourself. However, whether you choose to go along with this advice is completely up to you and as you go through your life you will be able to make more decisions in the surroundings of yourself and it's important to remember this.The reason I am writing this now is for two main reasons. Firstly because too often than not you can get caught up in other people's visions and dreams only to forget your own and fall among the crowd just to be like others and end up losing yourself. And secondly, the battle with mental illness is completely your own and you should not let those who comment badly on your situation to rattle your progress and stop you from following your own path. Again, advice from professionals should be taken notice of, but when I have experienced comments that are heartless or misunderstood, I have just wanted to walk further down my own path and I made that choice.

Ultimately, this post could be seen a naive, but I am fully aware that there are restrictions in everyone's life and not everything will always go in the right direction, but I want to send a reminder that sometimes, you need to follow the path that you want to choose, because it's you who is going to be affected in the long run and if you have something that you really want to do (as long as it's legal and preferably doesn't hurt those surrounding you!) and you have a gut feeling, putting apart others words, then perhaps you should go for it. 

Amy Xx

#2 University life: Introductory weeks

I'll be honest, I had no clue what to expect when I went to university. But, I feel that you may feel more prepared if you have some sort of a step by step process of how it all weeks. I presume most universities will be the same.


  • Friends - everyone is in exactly the same boat, so don't worry about not making friends. You'll meet new people left right and center. I was worried I wouldn't meet anyone, but there are thousands of new students, so it's never a worry. You will find someone.
  • Freshers - typically this is the best two weeks of your university life and I have to say i really enjoyed it. Try and get into it as much as possible; drinking doesn't have to be a part of it if you don't want to. All the events should already be organised, so don't worry about not knowing where to go.
  • Enrollment - You should have a few days where you'll pick up information for your course, ID badges and so. Your university will let you know the details of that. It's usually the first weekend of arrival and there are usually checklists online. It's a busy few days, but once it's done you don't have to worry about it anymore.
  • Accommodation - your university should tell you the dates that your able to move into your accommodation. From that day forward it's up to you to move your new life into your new room!
  • Lectures -  I think lectures tend to start on the second week of freshers. These are only usually introductory, and the main body doesn't tend to start until after freshers is over. 
  • Relaxed - university is unlike anything you've ever experienced. Depending on your course, attendance may or may not be registered in seminars or in lectures. And although you are paying to attend, it is generally up to you how much you attend. Of course, there is a correlation between low attendance and grades. But, university is all about your choices.
  • Societies - there will be hundreds of societies to join, I signed up to too many, so I am intending to stick to two or three at a time. Although, it's great to join, there is also a balance that needs to be struck with money and when the work starts to roll in (to be fair, isn't too much in the first year compared to others.)

You may feel like a big fish in a small pond, but you will begin to understand it all within a few days. Things will click into place. 

Amy Xx

I travelled the world with my anxiety

Well I didn't exactly travel the whole world as the title suggests, but I did manage to find my way from Germany back to London completely alone with anxiety right by my side. 

Actually, travelling anxiety has never been a major issue for me. However, battling my health anxiety and travel has. I once couldn't get on any form of transport in the fear I wouldn't be able to leave. Fortunately, with the help of CBT and medication, that fear is almost completely gone. Travelling is also something I love to do and I have traveled alone on various occasions. However, I have never gotten two trains in a different country on my own and gotten on a plane on my own, and this is something which I had to do to get out of the situation I was in whilst I was in Germany. I thought I would give you all some insight as to what it was like.

Travelling on the two trains themselves wasn't too much of an issue, it was more the worry of being on the right train and not knowing every aspect of the Germany language. However, pushing my anxiety out of my way, I managed to ask multiple times whether it was the right train and where my stop was (even some was spoken in German!) When I left my final train, I then had the ultimate struggle - to find my way through Munich airport, which is split into two massive and separate sections in which I got utterly lost. Luckily I was a fair few hours early, and I managed to find someone who could point me in the right direction. Even after been given instructions, I still got a little bit lost until I finally found the security checks. I would be lying if I said I wasn't at all anxious being alone in a massive queue, but I was pretty calm for travelling and being alone. Knowing that I had to rely solely on myself to get home, was fairly scary. However, going on a fair few planes in the past helped me to be acquainted with the situation too. After going through security I was out into duty free (woooooo!) and I just had to find my gate to my plane, which I luckily did. I got onto the plane wondering how the hell I managed it. 

If this experience has taught me anything, it's that you are way more capable than you can ever imagine and if you need to do something, you will. I never thought I could do it, but luckily I arrived safe and sound and I am proud!

You can do it!
Amy Xx

I was just like it

Thinking over the whole of my mental illness journey, there is still one thing that I will never
be able to understand - that I was just like it. My mental illness came out of nowhere and overnight even, and it is a mystery that I am still yet to solve. 

Looking back to my younger years, my mental illness issues just appeared. I can think of the time before I had all of my problems and I can think of a time where they lessened, but I cannot see the gradual build up. It just happened overnight and this I find it very strange. I find it odd that you can wake up one morning and find yourself incapable of doing something that you were able to do only a few hours earlier and I know I am not alone in this. I have heard from some counselors that there is a gradual build up that isn't noticeable, but there perhaps comes a time where you just go 'bang' and I can see that happening. However, for the person themselves it seems that their life can be turned upside down overnight. When I had my breakdown, I did begin to struggle long before a switch was flicked in my brain. Nevertheless, I did wake up on a Thursday morning after going to school all week with the inability to walk to the end of my street. For me, I couldn't understand and today, I still can't seem to comprehend it to some extent or another.

Perhaps the mystery will never be solved and that might be something that must be accepted. It just gets me thinking about the range of things that us as humans can experience and our complexity with the knowledge that we are just able to wake up one morning and everything could be different. What are your thoughts?

Amy Xx

To make me feel better

We all have those bad days (Queue 'Bad day' by Daniel Powter!) and these aren't just exclusive to those of us who are suffering with mental illnesses. However, when having a bad day in terms of mental illness, it is a lot more difficult to sort and I still believe part of the solution is to look after yourself first and foremost, but that is for a later blog post.

With this post, I wanted to generically write about how I cope with having a bad day. Here's my list:

1. Cup of tea
2. Warm bath
3. Sleep
4.Writing down your thoughts of the day
5.Yoga or mindfulness
6. Something to take your mind off of the day (whatever your escape may be!) For me, it would probably be music or TV.
6. Exercise can make you feel better, but I often don't feel like doing when I feel a bit 'down in my boots!'
7. Ice cream always saves the day.

What does your list consist of?

Amy xx

Work experience again!

Earlier in the summer I did a work experience placement at a Law firm for five days. It was a 9-5 working day, which I must admit was tiring but something I must get used to!

Surprisingly I wasn't very nervous. This is unlike the previous year where I had work experience at another law firm and was quite nervous and where anxiety was rife at times. It was a very daunting experience, with the work being quite hands on. I worked on live cases, inquiries and worked in all departments of that firm. Each day was something new and different people to work with. There was no time to settle down and so every day was out of my comfort zone. I found the work I did very interesting, if a little nerve-wracking at times, but I knew I had to do my best to adapt to the situation I was in and I am very proud that I have done it. I have learnt a lot and also gained in confidence. I feel privileged that I got the opportunity and it has also shown me what I am capable of. Only a year ago, my anxiety was severely increased to what I felt earlier this Summer. 

You will get there!

Amy Xx

Everything is on your terms

I find as an anxiety sufferer, that we often think of the worst that can happen and how out of control things could become. This is the nature of the illness. And even though there are things we cannot change, such as the time, family and weather, there are billions of things that can be changed and can be controlled.

At the height of my anxiety, I felt a severe lack of control with the thought that I had no capability at doing anything and everything would go wrong. However, as of the past year I have taken a different outlook. I have understood and practiced that everything is on my terms and it helps me to stay in control and for my anxiety to reduce. For example, if I am in a driving lesson and I want to end it, I can simply state that. If I am working in the charity shop and I feel an urgency to leave, I can ask, if I am on a bus, I can get off and If I am at a party and want to leave, I can get a taxi home. It's all about understanding that in every situation, you have the ability and right to do what you want to do to make yourself most comfortable and to know you are empowered to make these decisions (to the extent of not hurting those around you of course!) I think if you wake up everyday with the understanding that you are in control of whatever comes your way, you will be able to reduce the anxiety and this is what I keep in mind all of the time. Why not try it? In fact, this particular picture is stuck on my wall to remind me!

Amy Xx

The charity shop

For those of you who have kept up to date with my twitter, you'll know that I worked in a charity shop over the Summer. I also did a weeks work experience in a law firm, which I will go into more detail later.

Working in a shop was something I never thought I would do. Once upon a time, I got severe panic attacks any time that I went into a shop and asked for a job or I just couldn't step foot into the shop to ask - my body just froze. But, as of recently I have grown in confidence and applied to work in the charity shop. Working in the shop has grown my confidence with the tasks I had to complete including serving customers, sorting out donations and organising displays. 

I finally felt that the time had come that I felt comfortable enough to be able to control my anxiety to an extent to which was manageable. It turns out that after years of panicking, I was calm and collected when applying and when working there; taking everything in my stride. I am proud of how far I have come in terms of my job anxiety, and I hope to continue through the stages and get a paid job next year. It is completely out of my comfort zone, but I knew it was something I needed to do and I am glad and proud that I have. 

What other people are doing at my age is not for me to compare. Although many of my peers have had jobs for years, they may not have dealt with the severity of a mental illness. Therefore if you don't feel ready yet, that is okay. You are on your own journey.

Let's keep kicking the anxiety!,

Amy Xx

Journey of depression

Unlike some people, my depression came about as a result of my severe anxiety that I faced. However, I would say that my suicidal thoughts and depression were felt as young as the age of 15, before my anxiety even became such a detrimental problem. At the time, I didn't tend to pay much attention, I just knew that I was in a very dark place at times. Luckily, these were far and few between until my breakdown at the age of 17.

As soon as my anxiety became so severe that I couldn't leave the house, my depression crept in and took over my whole being and there was nothing I could do about it. Everything in my life was taken away by my anxiety including school, friends, driving, picking up the phone, answering the door and even walking to the end of my road. I couldn't do anything and to be stuck inside and incapable of doing anything triggered my depression to a severe extent.

It's difficult to describe what depression is if you haven't experienced it yourself, but I have tried my best to summarize it, here

It was when the sky was blue and yet everything was dark. For me, it meant not caring for my appearance, always wearing black, having sleeping troubles, always feeling tired, having no motivation to do anything I loved (not that I had much ability to do that anyway!), loss of weight, endless crying, hysterics, not being able to get out of bed, loss of control, suicidal thoughts and some self harm. I was in a very troubled and dangerous place for my existence. The depression and mental health struggles I faced were absolute hell, and I was often pulled between the pillars of life and death on a regular basis. Keeping going was an immense struggle. However, I am glad I did.

I remember days and days where I wouldn't be interested in anything and I would just sleep to get some rest bite. I also remember times when my counselor had to come to my home because I was in such a terrible depressive state that I couldn't get outside. I must admit I hated filling in the depression and suicidal forms when I felt in such a bad way. But, I know they were there to look after me, along side my family, friends and teachers and I thank them greatly. 

Nowadays, as my anxiety has reduced and I am on medication, my depressive episodes are few and far between. However, I can find depression creeping up on me randomly and for no reason at all. Unfortunately, depression runs in the family and this is something that I continue to battle.

For those of you who know what depression is like, you'll know exactly what I have and can go through and for those of you that haven't, I hope you never ever have to, but please still educate yourself on this matter. For all of those fighting the immense struggle, please keep going. There is light at the end of the tunnel. I was once in your position and now I am well on my way to recovery. I know you can do it too. Trust me on this!

Keep going - life can be beautiful.
Amy Xx


Tips for a good day!

Here's my top tips for a good start to the day!

1. Music - brighten your morning with your favourite upbeat songs or favourite playlist. I have created a morning playlist which helps me to get going in the morning. Music can really affect your mood and it's always great to have little dance whilst you're getting ready.

2. Look after yourself - You always feel better if you put a little bit more effort into your appearance. Of course, this is subjective. For me however, it's paying more attention to my outfit, hair, makeup and hygiene. I always feel more ready for the day that way.

3. Breakfast - having a good breakfast is always a good start. Not only for your health, but in getting yourself ready for the day. It provides energy, but also helps you to have some sort of routine.

4. Yoga - I always find that doing some yoga in the morning is a great start to the day. Not only does it get the blood pumping, but wakes you up. It also helps to get you in the right mindset. If course, there are other types of activity that may work in the same way for you.

5. Active - by getting straight out of bed as soon as your wake up and leaving the house as soon as you've finished getting ready, you'll feel better for not wasting the day and not feel as groggy. I always find that I much more productive that way.

What university has taught me!

I have developed so much since I have been to university. It has taught me so much and I have overcome my expectations as an anxiety sufferer too and I'd like to share them with you:

1. House hunting! (which makes me feel old)
2. Paying rent and bills - scary (not really!)
3. Making complaints (and standing up for yourself such as the time our flat was accused of locking ourselves inside our dorm?!)
4. Meeting tonnes of new people and not being anxious about it.
5. Nights out, which I didn't have to go along with if I didn't want to.
4. Realizing how expensive food shopping actually is.
5. Practically living on delayed trains.
6. Sleeping being changed to the day and it being non-existent at night.
7. Cooking (although I could burn cereal, apparently)
8. Coping with work, which is expected.
9. How to compromise.
10. How to budget! 

Are you going to university?
Amy Xx

Do you know what's happened?

It's been a long time since I've reflected and had a proper catch up with you all, so I thought I'd include you all in this roller coaster of a few months.


  • I passed my theory test and only have a week to go until my practical driving test (I'll let you know how it goes!) I had to retake my theory because it ran out after two years. Fortunately with enough preparation, I passed it first time again. I feel I have gotten to the stage with my anxiety where I can tackle my driving. This is something which would have given me major panic attacks before, but this is no longer the case. Hallelujah! 
  • I passed the first year of my Law degree with a 2:1 across all of my modules. I am about to embark into my second year in a new house and living with some amazing people I met during my freshers. Here's hoping I can keep my grades up! This year I chose my optional modules to be medical and family law. 
  • I currently work in my local charity shop whilst I am home from university as a volunteer. This was a big step for me to take as having a job is at the top of my anxiety hierarchy as the thing that triggers my anxiety the most. However, on the first day of the job I had next to no anxiety. My step for next Summer is to get a paid job!
  • I did a week's work experience in a Law firm called Bond Dickinson, which proved to be very beneficial and took me out of my comfort zone even further.
  • For those of you who followed my sponsored cycle to Germany, know that I had to undertake one of the biggest challenges of my anxiety journey which was to find myself across Germany and get on a plane back to England, completely alone. I have no idea how I managed it, but I did. Very proud!
  • I am coming up to a one year anniversary, which again is something I'd never think would be possible with all of my anxiety issues, but yet here I am! I have been very lucky to meet a person who has helped me through every step of my recovery and has been understanding and caring too. (And Mum, I haven't forgotten about you either of course!)

Apart from my depression being an issue for the first month of the holidays, I am slowly getting back on track and tackling my anxiety as each day goes by. I have still had days where I have been very anxious and days when depression has been a cloud over my head, but I am getting there. It's hard to think that I was once a girl, aged seventeen who couldn't leave her house and walk to the shops. Now, I am a girl at age nineteen who is living alone, travelling alone, learning to drive and working. I never thought I'd see the day and I am extremely proud. I have come to far and I never thought it would be possible, so thank you to everyone who has helped me along the way - you will never be forgotten and your help and support has been the best gift I could ever asked for. If anything can give you hope, it's your strength from within and the knowledge that others have made it through. I hope I get there soon enough!

You can do it. I have no doubt,
Amy Xx

The meet up

I can't believe I haven't written a post about this yet. As many of you will know, I held a blogger meet up in London in which there were only three of us in total! There were many more expected, but unfortunately a lot were working or were too anxious to make it on the day.

Nevertheless, I will definitely be holding another meet up in the not so distant future and hopefully on a weekend when less people will be working. The meet up itself was very beneficial with the sharing of ideas and the understanding that you are talking to other people who have been through similar. It is an amazing feeling knowing that you are not alone. The sharing of ideas about how to combat mental illness was also extremely helpful. I walked away from the experience feeling extremely uplifted, not only for holding the meet up, but for talking to others who have been through similar and we all came out stronger because of it. 

Let me know if you'd be interested in another meetup and I will see what I can do. Until then, stay strong and keep going. There are many people in a similar boat to you or have been and have come out alive - something which I found out when I spoke to them a few weeks ago.

Amy xx

Songs for recovery

Forever being a music lover has meant that it has been a big part of my recovery. I thought I would share some songs which have been very close to my heart during the times of battling with my anxiety and depression. Here are my top 5:

1. I believe - Christina Perri

2. Don't give up the fight - Racoon

3. Unsinkable - Lucy Spraggan

4. This isn't everything you are - Snow Patrol

5. Recovery - James Arthur

Amy Xx

The art of postive thinking

I've been involved recently in an experiment, an experiment that I've created myself with the basis of positivity. 

How many times have you heard people saying; "just cheer up" or think positively and it will all be fine? I know full well that this isn't possible for everyone and at every stage of life, especially in the case of depression. Trust me, it angers me more than anything when people tell me just to "be happy" when I am depressed. However, positivity definitely makes a big impact on your life if you can enforce it. 

When it came to the revision of my A-level exams, I had felt very defeatist and like I was fighting a losing battle. However, I know that if I gave up, I would never have a chance at getting success. Second of all and perhaps the biggest change to my mindset, was that instead of staying down and in pity when an essay didn't go well, or a grade went down, I would have my moment and then begin again. Don't get me wrong, it is extremely hard to find the strength in yourself to get back up, even when you feel nothing is going your way. However, it's possible and you can do it. For a while now I have been trying out this positive mindset and it has helped tremendously. It takes a lot of work and training, but it should have a beneficial impact. 

Another way in which I have tried to train my brain is through writing speeches which I can read to myself every morning. It's proven that by feeding yourself with positive thoughts your doubts will fail to exist. 

There is a big difference between battling depression and thinking positively and it's important to make this distinction. Because, telling someone who is battling depression to think positively, will just make things worse.

Amy. Xx

Liebster award #2


I got nominated again for the Liebster award!

1. What is your favourite thing about blogging?
I think it's a great form of expression, which otherwise you freely wouldn't be able to do. I have also met so many people who have been through or who are going through similar situations to me, which hasn't only helped me, but those around me.
2. What is your must have beauty product?
I'm not a massive fan of beauty products, but I suppose it would have to be my Nivea primer. It works super well and you've got to have a solid base to build upon, right?!
3. What is the most worn item in your wardrobe?
Just recently, I've thrown away quite a few of my old tops because of the move to university and the memories that they hold. But, I reckon it must be my red tartan winter jacket. It must be at least five years old. The pockets have holes in, but I just love it too much to ever get rid of it!
4. Favourite movie?
It has to be Bend it like Beckham. It reminds me of my childhood and it's definitely a happy go lucky film. I could watch it forever. I wish they made a second one, or at least one with the same cast.
5. Would you start a YouTube channel?
I would like to, but I'm not sure I have the confidence. I write this blog anonymously, but I'd like my YouTube channel to be related to my blog somehow. It would requite me being in the video. Perhaps when I finally feel comfortable showing myself, then I will think about setting up a YouTube channel as it seems an opportunity full of experiences
6. Your favourite restaurant / place to eat out?
This is difficult. I'm not sure whether it's a chain restaurant, but it's called Pierre's. It's a french restaurant which does the most amazing food.
7. What is your favourite place/country that you have traveled to?
I would like to say that I remember America quite well, but unfortunately I don't. My favourite place other than that is probably London or in terms of a country, Italy.
8. Your favourite quote?
There's way too many that I like!
9. What would you like to be doing in 5 years time?
Finish my training as a lawyer or be in the police force. I think It's more towards the police force than anything else, which is something I've wanted to do since I was seven years old. But above all, happy I suppose.
10. Your favourite book?
The Noughts and Crosses series. The first book in the series is the only one that has ever made me cry. 
11. Do you have any pets?
No. But I would love to.

Amy Xx

Was I happy with the help?

As many of you will know, the first step on the road to recovery is to talk. This can include going to your doctor, as they should have the best insight to help you on your way. However, this isn't always the case which is sad to hear.

The first step I took was to go to my local GP, which unfortunately wasn't too helpful. Even after the milestone of 2 million people improving their attitudes towards mental health, not all health care professionals are versed in something which affects one in four of the population. If I am correct, there is no legal requirement for GPs to educated on mental health specifically. My GP gave information to counselling services outside of the NHS, which no longer existed. We weren't even aware that there was a counselling service on the NHS, even though the leaflet holding all of the information was right outside the doctor's door.

At that stage, we searched through the internet to find counselling services on the NHS, but sadly the waiting list was very long; something which I could not wait for. Therefore, we searched for private counselling services in my area, to which we ended up paying a high price every week. It was somewhat beneficial, but not enough to help me with my severity of my anxiety. For many, the option of private counselling may not even be possible, which raises concerns for those who really need help. This needs to change.

Finally, after many months of just getting by, I managed to get counselling on the NHS to which I had two different types. Even though the waiting list is super long, the quality of counselling and CBT is outstanding and I cannot thank the people who have helped me, enough. I had two different forms in which I moved through the system, until I was well enough to be discharged. Once I finally got access to the services, my life slowly began to turn around. Alongside this, finally meeting an understanding doctor after years of struggle, meant that I got prescriptive medication which has changed my life. 

Even though we are moving in the right direction towards better mental health, many healthcare professionals are still not trained in such a common illness. This is needed to save lives and I hope as time goes on, this will be possible. Without the important help that people need, it can become fatal. We need more money and more awareness to what affects so many people. Once you do get the help, it can change your life so keep going!

Best wishes,
Amy Xx

How many times can I come out alive?


May be triggering.

I often ask myself, how many times can I be pushed and pulled between the poles of life and death. I find that for the majority of life, this has the been the case and just as you feel you are getting somewhere, you get pulled back again. This is something I am used to, but as many of you will know, just because you are used to certain trauma in your life, doesn't mean that you will never get tired of it. 

I find that I am in a much better place now than I was a few years ago and for that I am proud. I can also say that I am beginning to find happiness again - something which I never thought I'd experience for a long time. And even though this is the case, I can't help but be haunted by the continuous traumas that I experience in my life and I find myself questioning how many times can my body be put through this and come out alive? 

When we face trauma, it is extremely difficult especially those that are continuous like a break up of a family, or the illness of a family member. As a you and I both know, that as a sufferer of mental illness, these events don't impact lightly, nor would it on a person who doesn't suffer from such either! But, when we get pulled back into the pain and darkness that we have felt so many times with our mental illness, it has a detrimental effect because you and I both know that we never ever want to go back to the depth of hell that we have experienced. Not only that, but when we begin to find happiness again, it's difficult to comprehend that it might be being taken away all too soon. 

When such repeated traumas come around, I feel exhausted. Knowing that I've been experiencing such for over a decade, and there is no escape. The fact, that I wonder how much more I can cope with and how much longer I can stay alive.

As difficult as it is, I remind myself that this is that way it is, as unfair as it may be - the world doesn't owe me anything. It's just that some people get a better deal of cards than others. I remind myself that these are all bumps in the road on the way to recovery. And as tired and angry as I get, I remind myself that I cannot change this and I know there must be good to come. I just have to go through this pain to get to the other side. It cannot be helped. No year is perfect. 

You can keep going. You are stronger than you think.

Amy Xx

Journey of driving

I have begun my driving journey once again. I passed my theory few days ago and I've already had a few driving refresher lessons! Those of you who have been following my blog will know that I had to stop my driving lessons due to my anxiety. In fact, one of my worst mental health episodes occurred just before a driving lesson and that was the last I ever saw of my driving instructors car.

Although, I find driving fun and have no problem driving in my Dad's car, the lessons seem to affect me differently. Nevertheless, this Summer I plan to pass my driving test as I only need a few refresher lessons and have already booked my driving test!

I used to be jealous at all of the people that have passed their test at age 17. However that doesn't affect me anymore. As time has moved on, I've begun to understand my journey and am beginning to find peace. I finally feel ready to take on one of my biggest anxiety triggers. So, by the time I get back to university in September, I should have a licence to drive - fingers crossed!

I hope to keep you all updated on a regular basis with my driving journey.

Speak soon and here's hoping it all goes well!

Amy Xx

It's impossible

I often find myself thinking things are impossible, but that's not always the case.

Too often than not I find myself looking back on past events and wondering how it was even possible for such things to occur - almost as if some these events were a blessing in disguise; such as one of my idols turning up at my house randomly one day because a family member wrote a letter explaining what a big fan my Mum was or meeting a person at university who I am so well matched with and whom has been through similar to me and is understanding or that I have survived serious episodes of depression.

There is no way that any ordinary person would argue these things to be possible, extremely unlikely at the very most. It gives me a new perspective; one which life is magical, where things are possible, and things do happen when you least expect it. There are just some moments in life, where things cannot be comprehended and where it blows your mind even thinking about it. Things which make me think that perhaps some things could come true, which otherwise I would never believe in.

Before I start becoming or philosophical, I better stop! I just think it's important to note that sometimes a weird twist of fate is all it takes to turn your life around. One second too early, too late or a random event and it changes the view that things are just black as they are white. 

Keep it in mind.
Amy Xx


Germany in Mind again?!

For the second year in a row I have cycled for Mind charity. Today, I will explain why this journey has been a little different. However before discussing that, the places I had traveled to this year seemed quite nice. Munich was like a bigger London and the various places after that were very traditional. At various points the views were spectacular and you could see the Alps. It was my 3rd time in Germany and I was fortunate enough to do some translation and speaking! Unfortunately the weather wasn't that great, but that was okay.

Starting from the beginning, we traveled by plane to Munich to begin the four day round trip of a total of 120 miles. However this didn't quite go as planned. Due to unforeseen circumstances of my anxiety, I only managed to complete two days and a total of 60 miles on my bike. On the 3rd day of the trip, I had a massive panic attack and my mental health started to go into the turmoil of a downward spiral due to various reasons, which weren't entirely expected. But it doesn't stop there...I knew that on that day, I could either continue to the end of the holiday, which was a further 4 days and possibly put myself in danger or get home. The only issue I had was that I would have to travel by myself. Not only does travelling make me anxious, but I now would have to travel 2 hours by train through Germany and then 2 hours by plane, all alone. This is something which I had never done before. However, I had to get out of there and thus I did. I managed to get back to England completely independently, speaking German language on the way to help me find my way. I'd say that although I only did half of the cycle which is an accomplishment in itself, in a weird twist of fate I also managed to accomplish something massive whilst facing some sort of blip.

I appreciate all of the support I have had during the build up to my sponsored cycle and I appreciate all money that has been given during my cycle. It's a shame that I couldn't finish it, but you can still sponsor me for the cycling I did do, here. Be proud of how far you've come!


I've included some photos down below:




My Journal

I write everything in my journals from poems, wordly thoughts, struggles and special moments. It's always on hand so I can write something down if I need to and once I have, I feel a whole lot better. People always say that if you're worrying about something, you should write it down and although it doesn't solve the problem completely, it sure does help (along with a cup of tea!) 

Suffering with anxiety often means that I feel a loss of control and by writing what I'm thinking down, I can come to a conclusion and feel relaxed. In a similar way, if my depression is becoming too much, writing what I'm feeling reduces the pressure that I feel. 

It's not just journals that I would recommend keeping, but also a book of achievements, as I like to call it. I bought a cheap exercise book off eBay and have filled it with my achievements/best moments of 2015 and at the end of the year, I can review it and see how far I have come in my recovery. I also did this in 2014.

Both of these have helped me immensely and it's amazing to see the differences I have made. Why don't you give it a go?

Amy Xx


The best year of my life?

The first year of university is already over and I can't believe it! It only seems like yesterday that I was packing my bags for university and yet I am now packing everything to go back to my hometown for three months. I have to say that university was the best choice I have made and I have had the time of my life. I've met some incredible people and made friends for life, had so many opportunities, so many laughs, funny experiences, memorable nights out, memorable days, learnt how to live independently and studied something I absolutely love. It definitely is an experience unlike any other.

I feel so blessed to be where I am right now considering I didn't even think going to University was possible only a few months before finishing my A-levels, but I continued to battle my mental health issues and achieve my goal. It definitely wasn't easy to get into university; far from it. But the experiences of mental illness has made this experience just that bit more special. It has made me step outside of my comfort zone further than ever before, leaving only a few things to accomplish on my anxiety hierarchy; a job and driving, both which I have already have plans to accomplish this Summer. There isn't really too much of a hiding place at university either; you have to get taxi's, buses, ask for things, make complaints, pay bills and so forth. I'm not saying that it is easy because it's not, as anxiety and depression have still been part of my life at university and I'd be lying if I said at some points I haven't struggled, but it's much less than ever before and luckily through some strange twist of fate, I found someone whom I am very close to, that has experienced similar and we have both helped each other through this first year. The majority of people I have met have also been very supportive. Nevertheless, I am proud of how far I have come and I am hoping to continue into my second year.


It's sad to say goodbye to my first year, but it has been the best year of my life and I am so grateful. I never thought I would see the day and it's hard to comprehend, when you're used to living in a place of darkness and are now experiencing quite the contrast. Roll on year two - I'll leave you with some anonymous pictures! 

I begin my Germany cycle for Mind charity next week and you can still sponsor me, here or text RFAB60 £5 to 70070. Any amount is greatly appreciated.

Amy Xx
















EXAMS!

EXAMS!

A quick note to apologize for the lack of blog posts over these past few weeks - I do have an explanation! I am currently taking my exams and the normal routine should continue as usual, in July.

In the meantime, a few links that might be useful to you:

 - To never miss a blog post of mine again, follow me on bloglovin, here.

- I am holding a meet up for my blog and mental health awareness advocates on the 2nd of July 2015. You can find a summary of the details,
here. (You must contact me for the password to buy a ticket - they're free! And to find out more details)

- I am doing a 5 day cycle through Germany to raise money for Mind charity. Please sponsor me through Just Giving. Any amount is greatly appreciated! To sponsor me, click here.

- If you wish to contact me, I am only an email away: reliefromanxiety@gmail.com (or you can find me on twitter)

Until next time,
Amy xx





This isn't your ending

Things from the past can have detrimental effects upon us and that is to be expected. But, this doesn't have to be your ending. 

What you experience during adolescence and beyond can change you for life which I find incredibly sad. For those lucky enough, it affects us very little. But for the majority such traumatic events unfortunately make it very difficult to change the way we act and think in our subconscious. But, this doesn't have to be your ending.

I could say it is all up to you to change, and yes the majority is up to you. But, to be who you once were, or to become something better is easier said than done. However don't be angry or disappointed if you find yourself struggling to see things how they once were. 

As hard as it may be, you can get there. You can heal, and you can begin to work towards a life you love, regardless of those traumatic experiences you have had. They may haunt you for life or you may be able to work through them. Whatever the outcome what you were once told, or once experienced, doesn't have to the way it ends.

You have the willpower to improve to the best of your ability, and yes this may not be 100%, but it is still your best and you can try and help choose your ending.

Amy Xx