Shyness or anxiety?

Where is it correct to draw the line? I've always wondered if shyness is somewhere on the spectrum of anxiety, but I'm not a psychologist so I'm not sure of the full answer. I've always found it strange that different people can be shy because of different things. I have often heard that actors and actresses are shy when off stage, but are in their element on stage. This is definitely something I cannot relate to! My earliest memory of my shyness is when I was made to be Mary in the infant school play, with the teachers hoping that it would improve my confidence - it certainly didn't! I guess I have always been a shy person as I've hated being the centre of attention, never really put my hand up in class and hated being on stage, but I wonder whether this was anxiety all along. Perhaps I had been suffering from anxiety from the age of five, but there's not much that can tell this is the case. I suppose it almost seems like over the years, my shyness developed into an anxiety disorder with panic attacks and how disabling it became and I think this is where the line is drawn; when it becomes that debilitating. When my anxiety was at its worst, I couldn't do anything. But as it improved I began to learn situations that I was more comfortable in, almost like the situations where my shyness affected me less. I think it's possible to say that there is a connection, but I certainly think that anxiety is the more severe, and I'll just take this opportunity to remind you that if you feel you are suffering with anxiety that is getting in the way or your everyday life, then please seek help. I know it's scary and a lot of the time I hear people saying that they think it's nothing, but even if it is, it's better to sure. If you feel that the opinion the doctor gives you in the first instance isn't right, then I encourage you to go and see someone different until you see someone who understands what is going on with your mind and body. Remember, you know you the best.

I'm curious, has anyone else experienced shyness and anxiety? What are your stories? Leave me a comment below.

Best Wishes,

You've got a friend in me!

Sometimes, when someone else is struggling we don't always know the best way to approach the situation. Often, it's hard enough for us to help ourselves, let alone anyone else. So I have complied a few tips and tricks to help you, if you need to help a friend or someone you care about.  

  • Notice the signs - have they become more distant or changed their behaviour? Keep an eye out for any tell-tell signs that something's not quite right. Even an 'are you okay?' can be the gateway to the help they need. 
  • Offer a hand - if you notice that somethings not quite right, then let them know that you'll be there for them. They may not want to talk straight away, but they will know that you are there.
  • Be casual - don't set up a meeting at a cafe just to chat about mental health. Try and make it more relaxed so that it won't be the topic of conversation. That way they should feel more relaxed. 
  • Have resources - make sure you know some people who you can contact if you suspect that something is up. This means that you can help in the best way you can, whenever you need to.
I hope this has helped. Reaching out and knowing that someone cares, tends to be one of the best ways to help.

Best Wishes,
Amy Xx

Not so new job!

If you've been following me on twitter, you'll know that I have had my my first paid job! I had been

working there for a good few months and I didn't think I would ever get there. Having a paid job was the last goal on my hierarchy because I was just so petrified of the whole notion. But, the way it worked out, one step after another meant to me that I just had to do it. It was my final step for me, so I thought I had to go for it. But I was petrified and I cried at least three times before even getting to the trial shift and even after the first phone call.

But I thought I had come far to even get the trial shift that I might as well continue. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be because I learnt that people don't expect you to be perfect and get everything right the first time round.

Form my first shift itself, I was strangely more excited than nervous. I'll be honest that I was a little rusty as I had to take in a lot of information and for the whole 6 hours, I was on edge, but I made it. Before I got the job I kept getting into a panic about the thought of it and I kept saying that I couldn't do it and I just felt myself full of dread and anxiety and this was the way it was for first month of work.

I'll be honest that the whole notion of a job was so overwhelming that it pushed me to the edge. In the beginning I was doing way too many hours than which I could cope with and I got in such a serious and worrying mental state, that I knew I could either give up or do something about it, and do something about it is what I did. I don't know where the courage came from, but I phoned in sick and explained exactly why and what I struggled with and the necessity to reduce my hours, and as a result that is what happened. I appreciated the fact that I was taken seriously, as an adult and as a human being. My mental health is valid. 

As the months passed, it did get easier and I was brought back from the edge and gaining in confidence. The more I went, the more comfortable I became and the more I got used to it. However, there were many a time where I cried during work, before and after as well having some breakdowns and panic attacks. But, as this passed I picked myself up and tried again. I now understand even more, that the things you think you cannot get through, you can. 

Ultimately, it took one bit of courage to overcome the anxiety. But it was also something I had to give up because I couldn't cope with the stress of final year university and a job and that's okay. Even though I know I will still have anxiety getting my next job, I have gotten over the first hurdle which I never thought would be possible. 

I feel that this was the right time for me to get my first paid job and now, it doesn't matter to me so much what my other peers were doing in the past. I am on my own journey. 

It just takes that one bit of courage.

Best wishes,
Amy Xx