I failed driving

It's time to finish what I left in regards to driving journey! 

For those of you that haven't been following my driving journey; I started driving when I turned 17 and by the Summer I had booked my driving test - I'm 20 now. During that time, I had severe panic attacks and anxiety over it. Every lesson was a massive struggle. In the end, I cancelled my driving test and I never saw my driving instructor again because before one lesson, I had one of the worst panic attacks I have ever experienced and completely lost control. I decided to leave driving behind me.

I picked up driving again this Summer, at the age of 19. I finally felt ready to tackle one of my biggest anxiety triggers. I had driving lessons all summer and booked my test, which I took and unfortunately failed.

After 3 months away at university with no driving and now at the age of 20, I rebooked my driving test over last Christmas...and I passed! It must have been one of my proudest moments considering my driving has been a battle of over 3 years. Getting my license through the post was super exciting! 

I was more nervous the second time around even though I knew what to expect. I thought I had failed the test at a few points, but they turned out to only be minors. I managed to control my anxiety through breathing and having the understanding that it wasn't the be all and end all if I didn't pass. I would just have to try again. 

Nevertheless, I did pass and my 3 year battle is over. I didn't think I was capable, but it shows that you are stronger than you think.

Amy Xx






Talk.

Talking may be scary.

Talking may make you feel ashamed.

But talking can save your life. 



I always say that talking about your mental illness is one of the most important things that you can do to help with your recovery. Talking about your mental illness however can be a difficult task, I understand that. But, if you can speak to just one person who supports you, it will make your life just that bit easier. The people around you who support you, will be willing to support you through this element of your life also. They love you very much and I'm sure would be only more than happy to help. I've said this before, but imagine a situation where someone close to you was ill and they didn't tell you. You would have wanted to help them get better in any way you could. Similarly, there are people who want to help you through this also. You are not a burden.

Being ashamed of mental illness is common, but it shouldn't be. People feel weak and vulnerable and I myself have felt this at times too. But, you are stronger than you could ever imagine and there is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. You are not alone. You are not weak, you are strong. I worried about what others were going to think about me, but if I hadn't spoken to those close to me, I wouldn't be here today. It saved my life and I sincerely hope you can have the courage to speak so you can have help too.

I know it can be scary. I know you can be sat there crying and trembling with the words stuck in your throat. But I know you have the courage to talk to those who love you and
to get on the road to recovery. 

Best Wishes,
Amy xx






Society

Life provides us with a great range of opportunities and it's up to us whether we decide to take them or not. 

I'm currently at university and it seems to be the thing that whilst you are at university, you must be a member of a society. Okay, so I'm a member of the Law society and the Student Minds society and I occasionally go the the kick boxing society, which is great, but they aren't necessarily the traditional societies. I suppose it's seen that sports societies or those with more meet ups and nights out are the ones I should be joining because "you only get to experience university once!".

There are so many societies out there and many of them I am interested in, but I just can't bring myself to join them. For example, I'd love to do rowing, but the last time I tried to go to the meet and greet I had a panic attack and couldn't cycle there. I've never been a fan of clubs and I have never been comfortable with them either. I've always wanted to leave. I know that it's a good thing to put on your CV and I'd probably have fun, but the overriding anxiety just isn't going to help me go anywhere fast. 

Perhaps one day, I will join a society properly and it will make me truly happy. The problem is that you always think that you're missing out on so many memories and so much fun, but if I am not comfortable and happy, I'm not going to do it just because it's perceived the right thing to do. I'd rather make my time at university a happy one, then one that I dread. The same applies to any opportunity in your life. I know we all have to do things we struggle with and things we don't want to do, but at the end of the day, happiness is the aim.

Amy Xx

Calming breathing techniques

One way to reduce your levels of anxiety is through breathing techniques. Here, I have listed various different breathing techniques that may help you. Choose the right ones for you!


  • Exhaling longer - the simplest technique is to exhale for longer than you breathe in. For example If you breathe in for 5 seconds, exhale for 10. Repeat this until you feel a lot calmer. 
  • The box - find something that is square or rectangle in nature and focus on it. Focus on one side at a time and scan the object in a clockwise manner. If you start at the side of the object, breathe in for the length of the side of the object, then exhale for the length of the top of the object and carry on for the other two sides, inhaling and exhaling in turns.
  • Numbers - with this, you follow a pattern. Start by breathing for 1 and exhaling for 2, then inhaling for 2 and exhaling for 3, then inhaling for 3 and exhaling for 4 and so forth until you get to 10 and start over again. 
These are my top three techniques. Do you have any others you'd like to share?

Amy Xx

Gift Boxz & giveaway!

Not so long ago I got a message from Gordon at 'Gift Boxz' saying that he would be able to include some prizes into my giveaway (which you can still enter, here) True to his word I was sent a big box of gifts. But before going any further, I would like to take the opportunity to say thank you to Gordon for working with me!

What is Gift Boxz?

Gift Boxz is a business set up with charity in mind in which 50% of its profits go to charity. There are a range of different charities that this money goes to which you can find out about by visiting the website. After wanting to give something back to society for a long time, Gordon finally took the opportunity to set up his business and personally, I think it's a very heart-warming and generous thing to do as the aim is to make a difference, and it certainly does that. Over on the website, there are a range of products suitable for all ages and of great quality, including a range of products for the house, garden and to treat yourself. The best part is, not only are you buying something you like or for others, but with the knowledge that half of your money is going to charity.

I am really pleased with the items I have been sent, ranging from cushions, to outdoor ornaments and kitchenware and I recommend you visiting the website and even ordering something!  I'd love to know what you think in the comments below. If you still aren't sure, then take a look at the pictures of the items I was sent below. Included in the pictures are some the prizes you can win thanks to Gift Boxz!

Giftz Boxz website: http://www.giftboxz.co.uk/

Details to enter my giveaway: http://reliefromanxiety.blogspot.co.uk/2016/01/giveaway.html






Remember, if you want to win some of these prizes and more, then enter my giveaway by clicking, here and follow the steps!

Thanks again to Gordon,
Amy Xx

Throwing mental health around

How many times do you hear the words "that's so depressing" when they've noticed it's raining or gotten a bad test result?

How many times have you heard someone say who can't make their mind up that they're "so bipolar"?

How many times have you heard someone say "you're mental" or "you need a straight jacket"?

I have, and only over the last week. I have to be honest that it is something that really bothers me. It undermines those who are struggling and certainly doesn't help with battling the stigma. Battling mental illness is one of hardest things to do and for people to take it with a pinch of salt is completely insensitive. I can let it pass if someone does it once or twice or they're not aware, but if they should have known better there really is no excuse. Please avoid using words that will only make people's lives harder and choose alternatives. 

Please, stop throwing mental health around.

Amy Xx

Mindfulness

One method I use to battle my anxiety and depression is through mindfulness.
A lot of people recommend it and although it is beneficial, I don't think it can fully cure you from your struggles.

Mindfulness is about taking time out of your day to focus on yourself and to block the world out. It provides an escape and a focus on your mental health. I find on an everyday basis I can get stressed and caught up in the happenings around me and sometimes taking time away from that is just what I need - and you can do it too!

All you need to do is find somewhere you feel calm and relaxed, such as the garden or your bedroom and find somewhere comfortable to lay or sit. Some people prefer to sit in silence, but I prefer to find some meditation or sleeping music on youtube which helps to calm me. I tend to spend around 10 - 20 minutes with my eyes closed, focusing on my breathing and the muscles in my body. I focus on my breathing through taking a shorter breath in than the breath I exhale or I use number counting to count the seconds of my breath. With my body, I tend to start at the top of my head and imagine every muscle relaxing until I get to the tip of my toes. If I feel my mind wondering, I try to bring it back by focusing on my breathing.

It may be difficult at first, but once you get it, you can feel completely refreshed, calm and sometimes even quite light!

Lots of people recommend it and I personally think it's something that is helpful to all.

Amy Xx