What it's like to live with anxiety

Below is a guest post from Nina. 

What's It Like to Live with Anxiety?

Anxiety is one of the most common mental health conditions that millions of people around the world will experience at some point in their lives. For some, anxiety will be a short-term problem, but for others, it is a permanent issue that needs to be dealt with before the anxious emotions prevent them from living life to the fullest.
If your anxiety is caused by financial troubles, resources like mentalhealthandmoneyadvice.org might help. If your anxiety is caused by your job, finding a new position might help. But if you have to live with clinical anxiety, the solution might not be so straightforward, unfortunately.
What’s it really like to live with anxiety? Continue reading to learn more, especially if you know someone who has anxiety and you want to understand them better.

You Get Depressed

Living with anxiety often leads to living with depression as well. This is because patients will try their hardest to calm themselves down, but they just can’t seem to do it. It should come as no surprise that, when you feel as though you can’t control your thoughts and emotions, you end up feeling depressed. Many people find that they end up hating themselves, too, or they start to think of themselves as crazy. And when depression strikes, these anxious people want to remove themselves from social situations. By isolating themselves further, they fall deeper into depression, and the anxiety could end up getting far worse as a result.

You Feel Out of Control

In addition to feeling depressed, anxiety could also cause you to feel as though you have no control over your life. As anxiety starts to creep in every day, you might find that you can’t do the things that you used to love doing, or you might restrict yourself from experiencing new things because of the fear and panic that your anxiety causes. As you can probably imagine, patients with anxiety might prevent themselves from applying for a dream job, taking a risk in a relationship, travelling, and doing other things that would otherwise bring them joy.

Even Little Things Become Stressful

The problem with anxiety is that it could be triggered by a variety of things, and different patients will have different triggers. This means that everyday tasks could become difficult. For some, even just going to the shops could be an ordeal. Too many people, too many loud noises, and bright lights could all make a normally easy experience more stressful than it needs to be. Even just figuring out what needs to be purchased and then picking products off a shelf could be an anxiety-causing task. If you have this level of anxiety, you might just leave the trolley in the middle of the shop and walk out, or you might become so overwhelmed by all of the choices on the shelf that you end up breaking down.

You Find It Hard to Attend Social Events

Social anxiety is rather common, and it is the type of anxiety that makes it difficult for people to spend time around others. Individuals who have anxiety might be comfortable around a select few people. But when they find themselves in the middle of a classroom full of students, or when they are shopping at a crowded shopping centre, their anxiety could get the best of them and they could start to panic. This could inhibit someone with anxiety from pursuing a variety of job opportunities simply because they are unable to cope with being around a lot of people all the time or because they find it difficult to interact with strangers comfortably. And social events, such as networking events, company parties and parties with friends, are often out of the question as well.

Common Symptoms of Anxiety

To further put things into perspective, here are a few of the common symptoms that are associated with anxiety and panic attacks:
  • Having difficulty sleeping
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Feeling nauseous
  • Having tense muscles
  • Experiencing tingling or numbness in the feet or hands
  • Having an inability to stay calm and still
  • Developing a dry mouth
  • Having feelings of fear or feeling uneasy
  • Having sweaty or cold feet or hands
  • Developing heart palpitations
  • Experiencing shortness of breath

If you feel anxious or depressed, it is really important that you talk about what you are feeling rather than bottling up your emotions and trying to get through it all on your own. In addition to talking to trusted friends and family members, you could also consult with your doctor and/or a psychologist to figure out the best treatment options for your needs. Before long, you could start getting your anxiety under control, and that will put you back in the driver’s seat of your life.

Top tips to reduce stress!

Below is a guest post from Dan!

How To Manage Stress?

One of the most important questions we have to ask ourselves (but we aren’t doing it), is how do you manage stress. Today, stress has become a part of our routine and we aren’t paying attention to how to manage it, but we are definitely paying attention to it. Talking about how stressed you are and not doing anything is like looking at the burning bed and doing nothing. Soon it will spread to the bedroom, then the entire floor and in the end, it will burn the entire house down. The same thing is with stress. You will notice that you are stressed and you will continue doing your chores. Then you will notice that it is harder to handle the stress but still won’t do a thing about it. The last step is completely stressing out when the stress will be too much for you to handle.
So, to avoid that situation you have to learn how to manage stress and how to keep it under control. If you think you don’t have to do anything about it you are wrong, because it is never too early to start dealing with stress.
You don’t have to do much. You can find some activity which will help you release negative energy. That can be some recreation like yoga, jogging or swimming. If you aren’t a fan of that, you can always find someone to hang out with. Beer, friends and a Tornado foosball table are a great anti-stress therapy, just like reading a book if you are a bookworm. There are numerous situations you can make your anti-stress therapy. Just do whatever relaxes you and you will have stress under control.
If you aren’t sure you can recognize stress, the best way to do that is by learning about it. Stress is a natural body reaction and it affects every person on earth, the only difference is that some feel it more intense. If you are willing to learn more about stress, how it starts and how to handle it, read this infographic about stress.
Infographic source: 

An anxiety-reducing blanket?!

The other day I received a blanket in the post. However, it's not just any normal blanket but one that claims to help with anxiety. I don't know about you, but I have seen these blankets advertised around for a while and they seem to be fairly new to the market in terms of anxiety remedies.The blanket that I received weighs 15lb which is just over a stone and about 10% of my body weight (which they recommend) These claim to reduce anxiety by making you feel safe, calm and acting as a hug. I did begin to wonder how a blanket was able to do all of this and I wasn't the only one, my partner was sceptical too. But, I'm always willing to give things a try. 

I was completely surprised. I had the best sleep in a long time after using the blanket for just one night. I must admit that it is first of all, extremely comfortable albeit being very heavy. It has improved my sleep immensely and keeps you warm, especially at this time of year. It's not noisy either, if you're a person who moves around a lot like myself. I've been using the blanket for around two to three weeks now and I still definitely notice an improvement in my sleep and the comfort of such. My partner also agrees - it's often difficult to get him out of bed when he's wrapped up in it. The blanket also provides another function; to make you feel calm and relaxed, which not only can I attribute to my improvement of sleep but it certainly does help when you begin to feel anxious. It's hard to describe but the weight of blanket gives you that feeling of safety which in turn makes you feel less anxious - just trust me on this! 

I would definitely recommend the blanket as it certainly has improved my sleep, comfort and anxiety. It's not a cure to anxiety, as of course you can't take the blanket everywhere with you...but it does certainly give you moments where you can relax and be comfortable. If anything, it is a superior blanket and for it's price, I'm not sure you could find something similar. 

If you're interested, you can find out more, here and purchase the blanket via amazon, here.

My year in review 2017!

Ever since I started my blog, I have done a year in review - basically where I look back at this past year. 

This year has had some big periods of change. Back in January I was in my final year of university and president of my university's mental health society. At that time too, my Mum got the news that they had found a kidney for her and that she was to go ahead for her second kidney transplant - this was two days before my first exam! It was a period of high stress for obvious reasons, but safe to say both Mum and I made it through, even though we had to be miles apart during this time. 

I continued to study for my exams throughout the year and as a result I graduated with first class honours in Law. I cried when I saw this result and so did Mum! I was so proud of myself and all of the hard work I put in. Graduation day was one of the best day I have experienced too. Now, I'm onto another course to help me advance in my career. 

I got my second paid job over the Summer, in a customer facing role which I am still in now, whilst I go through the process of my dream career (soon to be revealed!) It's not exactly where I want to be in terms of a job, but it is a process I must go through whilst I advance in my career. It has broken down many anxiety barriers too, which I am grateful for.

My new job has allowed me to move into my first flat with my partner, which is an entirely new experience; bills, council tax, food shopping, sharing a small space...it's all a learning experience, but I'm glad I made the decision as I wanted to be independent. 

Amongst other small achievements, family issues and mental health blips, it's been a pretty good year. As I grow older, the better I feel I can handle past life events. It hasn't been a year without depression and anxiety and other mental health issues, but it hasn't been one of the most severe in terms of this either. Next year is full of uncertainty and that is why I am taking it one day at a time because if I think too far ahead, then my brain goes into meltdown! 

I just want to end this post by wishing you all a lovely Christmas and the best in your recovery. Mental health can be extremely tough at times, especially at this time of year, but please hold on to the mystery that is life and the wonderful things that can happen. Remember that you do have the strength to get through the hard times - you've survived every bad day yet. I know these words may be fluffy, but I too have experienced the darkest depths and know that it's possible to be on the road to recovery, so hold on!

What are your big moments of this year?

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! 

I'm finding it hard to talk

I've spoken so much about mental health over the past few years that you'd think that I'd be totally comfortable with the notion - and it's fair to say that I am. I'm not ashamed of it and I'm certainly not afraid at speaking out about it to raise awareness. I'm quite happy to share advice from my personal experience and help others with tips and tricks that have helped me. However, I feel my words don't seem to touch the people who are closest to me. Over the years, many friends and family members have opened up about their struggles with mental health which is great. 

The other day however, my friend had told me that they had just been put on medication and had been struggling with anxiety and depression. She was always the friend that I thought would be okay, but it just shows that anyone can be affected. She was clearly upset at the time and I could just tell how low she was and how raw the illness was at that time. It's strange though, because it was so raw it made it harder for me to find the words. I think it's because I knew exactly how she felt and how I only could hope that I could drag her out of what she was feeling. I almost felt as if I knew that whatever I said wouldn't make things better there and then. All I could do was comfort and explain that things do get better, to ask more about any support, friends and family, how she was feeling and that I have been there too. Perhaps that was all I was meant to say, but I felt much less confident in my replies. 

It's important to remember that there is no right way to comfort someone who is going through mental health struggles, but it is important to be sensitive, responsive and compassionate. When someone is in the midst of the most severe days of their illness, it does feel hard to find the words to help them through, but you just need to let them know that you are there for them and suggest any help that they can get. It's when we don't support each other that we can slip through the cracks. Talking about the most important things in life are going to be hard, especially if it takes you by surprise but it is key that the opportunity isn't missed. 

How do you feel are the best ways to talk?

The dreaded 'E' word

I'll be honest, I can't stand it when I go to see a doctor about my mental health and the first thing they say to me is; 'have you tried exercise?' Now I know that they're not trying to do any harm, but from personal experience and from hearing many other people's stories, exercise is not the answer to a mental health condition. In fact when you're in a dark depressive episode and you exercise I don't find that it helps me much, if I can even get out of the door at all. 

However I have included exercise into my daily routine for a few years now and although it isn't a cure, it can make you feel a lot better. I have found that exercise too much can give you the opposite effect of what you want it to have, but including exercise into your daily routine can make you feel more awake and happier in yourself, as well of all of the benefits inside that you don't see.

What I don't agree with is people thinking that exercise is the answer to all mental health conditions, because it's not. But I do think including it somewhere in your week will make you feel a little better. Exercise can be hard, but you can also make it fun and meet new people. You don't have try and be an athlete - working at your own pace is good enough to feel the endorphins! 

Let me know what you think,