I have anxiety so I do things differently

I know that anxiety is irrational and the way I handle things and behave sometimes isn’t how ‘it should be done’.

But I can’t change that.

I panic.

I over-analyse.

I expect the worst.

I get upset.

I can’t help it.

I’d love to be laid back and barely bat an eyelid when things go Pete Tong.

I’d die to feel stress-free and just go with the flow.

I’d do anything to wing it every time – just do and worry about it later.

I’d love to thrive on the adrenaline that a crisis brings.

I’d love to be at my best under pressure.

But right now, that isn’t me. It probably never will be again, and it hurts when someone points out how I do it wrong. I KNOW. But it doesn’t mean I can just stop because someone finds it annoying or it’s not how other people do things.

Anxiety is annoying.

Anxiety is a shit.

Anxiety ruins everything.

I KNOW.

But I’m doing my best and trying to please and not let everyone down.

I’m trying not to be annoying and a failure.

I’m surviving and trying.

I just do things differently.

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A letter to anxiety girl

I don’t remember a time when you weren’t nervous or shy or awkward. But, I do remember a time when you were undeniably happy and able to enjoy the little things in life.

Where has that girl gone? She seems to have been replaced by an anxiety-driven shell and I’m sorry but she’s got to go. She’s outstayed her welcome and is destroying you, piece by piece.

Focus on the good.

Focus on the happy.

Stop pushing away those who love you. I know you don’t mean to, hell… you don’t even know you’re doing it, but it’s what’s happening.

You are worth something, you just have to start believing it. Life is hard. God knows it is, but you are strong enough to overcome the dark times. You might not feel it, but you struggle every day and still get up every morning. You still do the best that you can despite feeling like the world is against you.

That is bravery.

That is strength.

Ignore the negative. All of it. Anxiety twists things and lies to you to make you feel weak. To make you believe that you’re worthless, that nobody loves you. But it’s lies. I promise you.

Right now you just need a hug from the person you push away the most and your heart is breaking because they’re not there.

It’s okay to not be okay. But it’s not okay to make yourself lonely. You need people around you. Let them love you.

Love yourself.

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A letter to my husband from your anxious wife

Literally just a few seconds ago I was thinking about you; my heart leapt and I felt a knot in my tummy, wondering if you were thinking about me too. Just like when we were teenagers; never imagining that we’d still be a couple nearly 20 years later.

I wondered if you really knew; deep in your heart, just how much I love you. So I’m writing this letter so if you ever doubt it, you can be reminded that I am truly, madly, deeply in love with you. I doubt that words can accurately convey the depth of my feelings for you but I’m going to try.

As a little girl I used to dream about marrying a handsome prince and living happily ever after. As a terribly awkward teen, I convinced myself that no one would ever love me, I wasn’t pretty or cool after all.

Then there you were, cool and handsome, oozing charm and you made me laugh; I loved being in your company and I fell in love with you very quickly. I just knew you ‘were the one’ as cringy as that might sound. I wasn’t a great girlfriend as I was learning about relationships as ours went along and I was so scared that you’d get fed up with me. But here we are, still annoying each other! My soulmate.

God knows we’ve had our fair share of painful memories as well as the beautiful and magical, but I’d say I got my wish. I just need to work harder to make you happy and secure our happily ever after.

Life has been challenging recently which is possibly the understatement of the decade, and I know you put up with a lot. My anxiety makes me pretty unloveable and as hard that is for me to accept, I know it’s true. Yet here you are, holding my hand through the tough days and helping me to see that the negative thoughts lie to me, and that you are my truth. Anxiety twists and turns everything into making me believe that everyone is going to leave me and that I’m just not enough to make them want to stay. Despite trying to ignore it, anxiety breaks my heart several times a day.

Maybe I don’t deserve you but I’m glad you stay. I’m glad you choose me and I’m glad that I’m lucky enough to be able to call you my husband for always. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for forgiving me when my words hurt you.

Thank you for being my friend. I know that people cringe when they hear someone say that their partner is their best friend, but with you it’s true. It’s you I want to tell my secrets, hopes, dreams and concerns to. It’s you I think of above any other. It’s you I want to spend my time with, unwind with and laugh with. It’s you I want a future with and I can’t imagine you not being in it.

You are the one thing I can count on to be real, especially on my bad days where I don’t know which way to turn. I don’t think you realise that you are with me even when you’re not. You’re never far from my thoughts and in my heart always. You’re in everything I do, and I love that. You are a part of me.

I often wonder if everyone has a soulmate, even if they never meet and I couldn’t imagine anything more sorrowful than there being someone out there who makes you whole, yet never knowing of their existence. You are mine and I am so grateful.

I’m so sorry for everything I put you through. But I hope you see that it’s not really me, it’s the anxiety and one day I hope to be free and you can be carefree once more.

I feel like we weather the storms but come out stronger each time, able to battle whatever life throws at us. Together. I hope you believe that too.

I love you so much.

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How I unwind

I feel like a bit of a fraud writing this as I don’t allow myself ‘me time’ anywhere near often enough, but after chatting to my hubby recently where he pointed out that I don’t prioritise myself in my day to day schedule, and I absolutely should for my own well-being.

How right he is and so I decided that it was time to make time for myself. Even if it’s 10 minutes here and there. It’s just so tempting to try and cram everything I need to get done into the few child-free hours I have on a school day.

I came to realise that actually, I should be scheduling my ‘me time’ into those child-free hours instead of trying claw extra time at the end of the day when all I want to do is sleep but can’t.

So here are some things that I do that helps me to unwind or try and forget about the day’s stresses.

Music

I have music on in the background most of the time as I feel better with background noise (plus I can’t hear noise from outside, which believe me, is a blessing) I wrote a post about music as therapy, previously.

Hot bath

Yes, boring but it’s unusual for me to have a looooong soak without someone hammering on the door needing to poop or needing mummy to catch the spider/ check for monsters/ break up world war three that started over who wanted which quilt. Bath oils/ Lush products and candles preferred but not essential; silence is usually sufficient! 😉

Go for a walk or run

Plantar fasciitis allowing, I love running. Although I’m usually limited to a treadmill these days, it sure just helps to burn off excess energy/negativity.

I love going for long walks whatever the weather. Autumn is my absolute favourite time to be. Outdoors. The crisp leaves, the birds, atmosphere and a perfect temperature; chilly but not cold. The kids love being outdoors too, so everyone’s a winner.

Laptop Time

I have not been very well recently, so I can’t lay all the blame on having a family or piss-poor planning, HOWEVER, I worked out that up until approximately 10 days ago, I hadn’t used the laptop/PC in over 4 months!! 4 months!!! How ridiculous is that?! What on Earth was I thinking? It’s not even like my house suddenly became a pristine show home so what the f*ck was I doing with my life? Oh yeah… existing 🙁 I use my phone. Everyday. It’s like it’s been surgically attached to my hand but it’s not quite the same as curling up all cosy with the laptop and a never-ending supply of hot drinks.

Bullet Journaling

I am completely freaking rubbish at this but I love it! I’ve always wanted to be an illustrator and I’ve been a doodler since I could hold a pencil so ‘permission’ to fanny about with fine liners and markers in the name of ‘organisation’ gets my vote! 😉 Joking aside though, the art of bullet journaling is pure genius so if you want to get all your stuff in one place whilst becoming super organised, productive and creative, then give it a go.

Blogging

Sometimes and then not really at times because myself and blogging have a love/hate relationship depending on my current state of mind. But when I’m in a mood like I am tonight, I could write for hours and hours (and I have done just that tonight). Other times I can’t bring myself to even log in, but I’ve learned that that’s absolutely okay.

Watch a movie 

Again it depends on my mood but I love watching movies of all genres. I’m a huge horror fan but I equally enjoy comedies, love stories, action movies, sci-fi, family films…. you name it.

Catching up with TV

I am a soap junkie; my guilty pleasure. I have an eclectic taste in most things and TV is no exception. I love period dramas like Victoria, Real life/reality shows, comedy shows and I am a big fan of The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Doctor Who, Lucifer, House – to name a few.

I also love to watch hospital shows, real life or not… I just love them. I didn’t care that One Born might scare the shit out of me when I was 8 months pregnant, I just had to watch. I also like parenting/lifestyle shows like Supernanny, the 3 day Nanny, obsessive-compulsive cleaners – probably because I’m so bloody nosy!

If anyone has recommendations for new things to watch please let me know!

YouTube

Similarly to TV, I subscribe to hundreds of channels covering all sorts. Beauty, parenting, food, tech, people who make me smile, weep or laugh….you name it. I’ll write a post on my favourite YouTubers as there are soooo many that I love to watch.

Snuggle up with my hubby and or children

I have come to realise that there is absolutely no shame in bundling into the ‘big bed’ in the middle of the afternoon for a nap or to lay together watching movies. In actual fact, I think it’s an occasional necessity.

How do you unwind?

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17 ways to my heart

It’s the little things that make my world go round. I’m lucky to have a husband who knows how to keep me sane and make me feel loved and safe. These are some of the things that make me feel warm and fuzzy.

This post could almost be a ‘letter to my husband’ type post so I feel like this is a good place to say thank you. Thank you to the one person I can always rely on; who makes me happy even when the world feels like such a crazy place. The person who keeps me sane (ok, maybe, sort of), who brings me back down to Earth when I flip out.

Thank you. For everything. For putting up with me, supporting me and holding my hand. Thank you for loving me at my worst and still seeing the best in me.

Thank you for the little things. I love you.

Hug me (if I love you) 

I’m not a hugger AT ALL but I need hugs from those who have my heart (especially my husband) All. Of. The. Time. They make me feel loved and safe and boy I need that.

Surprise me

I’m not materialistic in the slightest but come home early to spend time with me, show up unexpectedly to support me when I’m struggling. That means more to me than any material gift ever could.

Show me you want to spend time with me

Yes, maybe I am needy but there’s nothing that will make my heart sing more than knowing that someone enjoys my company and actually wants to spend their time with lil old me.

Make me laugh

My hubby is amazing at this, fortunately! Anxiety can’t win when laughter is around!

Be honest and loyal

I have no time for anything else. Everyone fibs, that’s human nature but with the big stuff, honesty all the way.

Write to me

I love little letters and notes… just because. The best present I could get is a heartfelt letter full of words and sentiments just for me.

Supply me with fizz

Prosecco. Or Pinot. Or Sauvignon Blanc. Or Gin! I’m not fussy. Well, I am, but if you’d buy it for your favourite aunty then, chances are you’re on to a winner.

Watch movies with me

I love a good horror, but anything with a good storyline will keep my attention. Especially if paired with plenty of snacks and preferably my husband!

Bring me or Bake me Cake

Ideally something despicably gooey and involving chocolate. But, again I’m not fussy. Cake is cake (said no-one ever) Good cake only, please! I have standards! 😉

Listen to me

I don’t just mean let me talk. I mean really listen to me. Even on my batshit crazy days when I’m irrational and emotional, knowing I have someone to listen and care without judgement means the world.

Cook with me

I LOVE cooking, but not on my own. I love to chat and sip wine/coffee/fizzy water as we cook up a feast together.

Let me love you back

As socially awkward as I am, I love deeply. Especially my husband and children, they are my world and I’d go to the ends of the Earth for them. Likewise, if I’m your friend, I’ll be your friend for life. You just got to learn to love the crazy first! 

Let me support you. Even if I’m struggling, please don’t feel like you have to hide your own problems from me. If I can help, I will, and if I can’t…I’ll be there, always.

Buy me stationery

…Or birdie things. I know I said I’m not materialistic but I’ll make an exception here! I love notebooks and journals, lovely pens and birds. Not actual real-life birds, I’m not the pigeon lady! (I totally would be, if I could though! 😂) but prints, pictures… that sort of thing, will take me to my happy place.

Bring me tea

Tea makes the world go round. I have been known as a walking teapot, and I’d say that that is a fairly good description!  Just don’t bring me matcha tea or anything else remotely green. YUK!

Do stuff with me

I don’t mean that kind of stuff 🙄 Minds out of the gutter please! 😉 Unless you’re my hubby then it’s ok! 😝 Anyway, I mean absolutely anything. It doesn’t have to cost any money or involve travelling, just doing the housework with me or running errands with me will make me feel content. I am a homebody but I will go anywhere to spend time with my favourites.

Text me

I don’t think a lot of people understand the power of a simple text. As someone with anxiety, radio silence of any kind allows my brain to kick into overdrive and the negative or irrational thoughts start flooding in. Just a few words by text can change that in an instant as it makes you realise that someone is thinking about you at that very moment. As silly as it sounds, it fills me with instant warmth, and I feel cared for.

Just be there

Knowing you support me, and you have my back means the world. Having you there with me physically too is everything.

 

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My Music Playlist

I’ve always been a music lover and I’ll freely admit to having somewhat of an eclectic taste that probably isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. What I am listening to totally reflects my mood. I find it helps me, mentally and emotionally.

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Music helps me to focus or it allows me to distance myself from anxious thoughts. A distraction, if you like. Mindfulness is quite a thing now; you hear about it everywhere and I think most of us would agree that some sort of ‘time-out’ from our own over-thinking minds, can only be a good thing.

Mindfulness enables us to live fully in the present moment; thinking about breathing or focussing on sensations throughout the body whilst letting go of everything else that’s happening around us. Music helps me do this too – On a good day, I can completely close my mind to everything else, and just be.. in that very moment (anxiety allowing).

This theory is backed up by research as talked about here on the  BBC website.   I absolutely believe that this is true, and whilst it’s not a ‘magic’ fix to all ills, it can definitely give me a boost when I need it.

What music inspires you? What music gives you that positive boost or allows you to ‘feel’, if only for a minute?

As I said, my music taste is a mixed bag, but I like music that makes me feels something. I love a good power ballad when I want to shout my feelings from the rooftops, but simply can’t. I like to listen to something with sheer emotion and that helps me cry if I need to, or let my frustrations out by ‘singing’ along (sorry neighbours!) I also have been known to listen to more ’emo’ or darker music when the mood takes me.

On the whole, I’m pretty much a pop music lover. I’m really loving Ed Sheeran and Demi Lovato for some real emosh stuff and I absolutely love Twenty One Pilots for music that says what I’m thinking. The mind can be a scary place sometimes – music for me, is like a journey; a story and I relate to so many of their lyrics. ❤️

Here’s what I’ve been listening to recently:

  • The entire Divide album – Ed Sheeran (Absolutely beautiful emotional rollercoaster)
  • Make Me Wanna DieThe Pretty Reckless
  • Born This WayLady Gaga
  • Fire Meets GasolineSia
  • Wherever You Will GoCharlene Soraia (Never fails to make me cry!)
  • Stone Cold Demi Lovato
  • Nightingale Demi Lovato
  • Stressed Out Twenty One Pilots
  • The Run and Go Twenty One Pilots
  • HurtsEmeli Sande
  • HeavydirtysoulTwenty One Pilots
  • MigraineTwenty One Pilots

Also listening to Panic! At The Disco thanks to my teenager! ❤️

What’s on your music playlist?

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Rays of light through the darkest clouds

I feel like I should apologise for the radio silence recently. I had the Summer ‘off’ so I could concentrate on my family, but since then I’ve been going through some hard times mentally speaking. I won’t go into a long dramatic post about it all but I felt compelled to write in celebration of the good bits.

I honestly started to think that his was just ‘me’ now and feeling like this was just going to be my life, with regular panic attacks thrown in for good measure. I think I’ve forgotten how to see the positive things day-to-day, or perhaps I see them but I just don’t notice them.

On Monday I decided a bit of retail therapy would do me good. Fresh air, away from the same four walls and the negativity that fuels the storm in my head. I had a really nice time on my own. I bought myself some bargain clothes in the sale and pottered around, looking for ideas for Christmas presents.

On the way home, I felt a bounce in my step and an unfamilar warmth. It felt good and as I sat down on the bus, I realised that I. Was. Actually. Smiling. Not a fake smile to be polite and pretend, but a genuine life-is-good, happy grin.

I had noticed the little things around me. A robin dancing across the fences, a couple holding hands, a little girl skipping along; the sun shining even though the clouds where grey and threatening rain. I suppose it was a mini epiphany – it’s the little things sometimes, isn’t it?

I almost felt like the old me again.  Just for a little while.

Let me be clear. I am not saying that a shopping spree ‘cured’ me, because oh my God, I am nowhere near it. But I just think that it’s important to focus on the positive, no matter how small and insignificant it might seem. Can’t even believe I’ve typed that sentence, to be honest.

Life came tumbling back down to Earth with a bump when I returned to familiar surroundings, passing the ‘negativity in my life’ as I went. It was an unwelcome reminder of the darkness I often feel but I was determined that it wasn’t going to rain on my parade.

Monday was a good day. And I’ll take that.

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A day in the life of anxiety girl

Let me start by saying this is about me personally, and not everyone with anxiety, OCD or any mental illness will feel the same way.  I’m also not making light of mental illness. Believe me, I know just how much of a struggle it is.

But this is a snapshot my day… not every day, but more often than not.

6.30am

My second from last alarm goes off and I enjoy the 3 seconds of warm fuzziness before my brain kicks into gear and I think, “what have I got to worry about today?” There’s rarely a day that there’s nothing.

I try to rationalise everything, check my phone and then depending on how much sleep I’ve had (or haven’t had) I try to get my ‘5 more minutes’ of warm duvet coziness.

Did I send that form in yesterday?

Oh God, I don’t think did. I’m sure it had to be in by last night.

I’ll have to phone them.

God. No, I can’t phone them.

What should I say?

Maybe I did send the form in.

*Jumps up to check*

I sent the blasted form in.

Now…. 3 more minutes….

7am

Shit! My last alarm (the one I’ve actually labelled PANIC) goes off and I fall out of bed, getting dressed as I rush to the bathroom to get washed and ready. I get the children up and start breakfasts and all the rest of the mornings ‘To Do list’.  No matter how organised I am we are always rushing out the door at the last moment. I hate being late – it stresses me out.

8.20am

Finally, we’ve caught up with ourselves and we are en route.

“Did I lock the door?”

“I did lock the door didn’t I?”

*Asks closest child* “Yes mum”

“Are you sure? Did you see me?”

“Oh well, I can’t go back now. We’ll be late.”

“You locked the door, Mum. I saw you. You definitely locked it”

Phew.

But then what if I didn’t?

The house will be burgled.

I can’t afford to replace the XBOX.

The kids will never forgive me.

I’ll go straight home.

I’ve mastered the school run without making eye contact with even one person. Oh I tell a lie, maybe one person, that I know well and I don’t feel intimidated by. Once I drop everyone off,  I go back through my thoughts to make sure I wasn’t forgetting anything.

Better rush home, just in case it’s unlocked and the local burglar is taking everything we own.

Oh God, there’s dog poop/vomit/some other bodily fluid on the pavement.

Wait. I didn’t see that one the way up.

What if we walked in it? What if the kids walked in it?

What if the person it belongs to has some incurable and highly contagious disease?

They’ll be treading all round the school… Oh God, they’ll get ill and probably die.

I’ll clean their shoes when they get home.

Home at last.

I’d locked the blasted door.

10am

*Phone rings*

Unknown number.

I can’t answer it.

I don’t know who it is.

Maybe it’s someone trying to con me into handing over my bank details.

I won’t answer it.

Oh but what if it’s the hospital? Maybe one of the kids or hubby has been in an accident.

I better answer it.

*phone rings off*

Oh god.

12pm

*Reads email*

Invitation to a  ‘really lovely event that you’d love if you wasn’t so socially awkward”

No.

Just No.

I couldn’t possibly go.

There will be people there.

Intelligent people.

Pretty people.

People who will want to talk to me.

God.

They’ll hate me.

I’ll have to say no.

*Politely declines the invitation*

Oh God. They will think I don’t like them.

What if they never speak to me again?

That’s it now. My career is over.

4pm

Arrive home from school run, successfully avoiding the disease-ridden pavement.

I think.

Did I?

Yes, I’m sure I did. I’ll clean everyone’s shoes now, just in case.

7pm

Child A didn’t eat much dinner tonight. Well, when they are hungry later they will learn that if you don’t eat all your dinner, you go hungry!

They won’t sleep tonight.

They will be hungry.

Starving. They’ll be starving.

Maybe I’ll make them a sandwich.

11pm

Bedtime at last! I’ve just written a detailed list for tomorrow so I don’t forget anything. I can’t read at bedtime as I can’t stop my brain from interrupting. Most nights, I fall asleep pretty easily, but then I’ll wake up around 2am.

Better check on the kids. What if the blankets fallen off and they are freezing to death?

What was that noise? It sounded like the back door.

Did I lock the back door?

I said something horrible 5 years ago. I wonder if they still hate me?

I need to find some work.

We won’t have enough money to eat.

But what if I go to an interview and I don’t know what to say?

They’ll hate me.

I’ll never get a job.

What do I need to worry about tomorrow?

God, look at the time… I won’t get up in the morning.

We will be late!

And then it starts all over again tomorrow

Incidentally, I’m feeling panicky about publishing this post. Hence the first paragraph. My mouth is burning, I’m sweating  and I’m about to email a draft to my better half as he is the rational one. My anxiety is far more than just this post, but it is a small insight to the scary place that is my mind. If you feel like this too, you are not alone and talking about it makes more people understand. So there we are.

*holds breath*

 

I’m taking part in Rosalilium’s Blog Every Day In May challenge. I’m looking forward to reading other #BEDM posts! You can find out more by clicking the badge below:
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