Anxiety tag – Collaboration with Larissa!

Hi guys!

It’s Elm and I’m ridiculously excited to be collaborating with an amazing blogger and friend of mine, Larissa from this blog – we’ll be doing the Anxiety Tag! I’ve also posted on her blog.


Hey everyone, I am Larissa from the blog Lifeoflarissablog.wordpress.com and I am guest posting for the lovely Elm. I am 17 and have just gone in to year 13, I enjoy blogging about school as well as mental health, lifestyle and my thoughts. I want to be a lawyer when I am older and so I will be blogging more about my journey to university as well as my love of murder mysteries and Mun.

1)When did your anxiety start?<
t started when I was very young. I have always been a shy and quiet person but bullying early on made me retreat into my shell even more, it made every day social situations more difficult.

2)What symptoms do you have?<
t can vary but when I feel anxious I usually have a very fast heartbeat, I find it difficult to breathe/ move, I can feel dizzy too.

3)How do you control it? I am going to do a full blog post on my blog about this but mostly through green tea and theanine capsules (which is in green tea). I also find taking time for myself and doing things I enjoy calms me down a lot too.

4) Have you ever tried yoga/meditation/acupuncture?<
have found that acupuncture has helped me so so much, it helps me to feel more relaxed. I enjoy doing pilates when I feel very stressed after school or in the holidays, it is a great activity to do in a revision break too.

5)Does it impact on your everyday life?<
y anxiety tends to be worse in term time. I feel very anxious around school because of the stresses of work, university application and crowds of people. Some days are worse than others for no reason at all but my anxiety is better when I have less lessons and more free time by myself or with friends.

6)Have you made any changes to your life because of anxiety?<
have had to find differing ways to control my anxiety. I have also learnt that it is important to face your fears but also realise it’s ok to stay within your comfort zone too. Also, you have to realise who to confide in regarding anxiety as some people will not help you through it at all.

7)Do any foods make your anxiety worse?<
ot that I know of but possibly fast food. I can’t eat lots of fast food because of my gluten and dairy allergies but eating chips tends to make me feel bloated and more anxious.

8)Has your anxiety changed with age?<
have learned how to control it more with age. It has also changed with age, as when you are younger you care less what people think. As life becomes more complicated when you are older, you have to take on more responsibility my anxiety has got worse.Also, as I have left behind friends along the way too I have found it more difficult to deal with anxiety.

9)Do people in your life understand your condition? My family find it difficult to understand, some of my friends understand and others don’t at all. However, I also have some friends who do not understand it at all but try to be there for me in any way they can even if it is just going out for a coffee or having a chat in a quiet room.

10)What is your best advice for their struggling with mental health issues?<
would say that talking to someone about what you are feeling is so important, you can’t keep these feelings to yourself. I would say to take every day as it comes and try to figure out your own ways to control your anxiety. If you need help go for it but make sure you have researched a range of different options first!<
his is a good website to check out!! 💭

http://anxietynetwork.com/content/social-anxiety-questions-and-answers

As well as the NHS website too!!

I hope you guys enjoyed this post and it was beneficial/ interesting to some of you guys

Larissa xox

Today’s Another Day

This morning, I woke up and felt so awful that I didn’t want to move. My eyes felt swollen from tears; absolutely everything felt bleak; I couldn’t remember a single positive thing that I’d thought about yesterday to try and change my mindset. I lay there for what felt like ages, my mind in this blank haze which was broken up by fear at the prospect of today being like yesterday.

Then, somehow, I managed to get myself up. I levered myself out of bed, shaking because I felt too mentally tired to want to do anything throughout the day. Something, though, kept me going. I want to share that with you, to try and help you and help myself alongside.

A good friend told me last night that the only thing I can rely on to be certain is the present moment. Only I am in control of what I feel: not external circumstances and not the future, whatever may happen there. Lying there, I felt very hopeless and like there was no point in getting up, doing anything, because it wouldn’t result in anything worthwhile for the future. What my friend said popped into my head then: if I thought like that, surely I’d think nothing was worth anything? My life would turn into a series of blank slates broken up by panic and I didn’t want that. I would be so focused on the past and future that the present would slip away through my fingers: that scared me more than anything else and spurred me into action. That was the first step for me: to realise that I didn’t want to carry on like this by breaking through my fog of pointlessness. Maybe, for you, it’ll be something different but establishing the first link in your mind is so important if you want to break out of a cycle.

After that, it was a case of telling myself that getting up was worth it and that I could achieve something little – not big but a tiny thing. I had no idea what that was at the time but I needed something to motivate me in the slightest to move, to get up: the prospect of the future made me feel ill so I concentrated on the fact that at some point today, I’d do something small that’d make me smile. So I didn’t stress myself out, I didn’t set any goals: I knew that I needed to take things very slowly so I wouldn’t lose what little motivation I had. If goals work for you, then set yourself some little ones or write out a list. Do what you know works for your own mind, rather than what you’ll think will work.

Yesterday, I had a breakdown in which I cried for hours and was unable to distinguish between what were lies and what was truth. It was one of the most terrifying things that has happened to me in a while and this morning, I told myself that I refused to let today be like yesterday. As cheesy as this sounds, that hope was what forced me up; that plea to myself along with the thought that the present was all I had made me realise that even if I didn’t feel like it, doing something might break the awful pattern to which my mind is now accustomed. I’m very much someone who hopes for things but if you like facts and certainties, let that be your driving force: that by getting up and doing something, you will make things more concrete in your head.

It’s not easy, especially if you’re suffering from a mental health illness such as depression or an anxiety disorder. I won’t pretend to know how that feels because I don’t suffer from one myself; however, I know that taking things slowly and not rushing yourself is important. After the first step – whatever that may be to you – take things one day at a time. Yes, it’s good to think about the future and your plans but don’t let it consume you.

If only the present is entirely certain, it’s best to make the most of it. There’s a whole world of moments out there to experience. You can’t do everything but you can take control of how you feel about it, even in a small way. I know you can do it and I might not be perfect at any of it but I’m getting there. The most you can do is try and when you try, you’ve got a high chance of letting yourself be happier.

You are strong and you are in control of how you feel, although you might not think it at the moment. If, tomorrow, you’re struggling to want to move or do anything, remember this: neither your mind nor anyone else rules you. Only you do.

From Elm 🙂

Circular Mind | A Poetic Representation of My Mental Health

You hate me
Because I said the one thing that made you
Pause-
"I'm sorry; forgive me," I gasp,
I should staple my mouth shut with a silver clasp
When I said no words-
And that is why
You hate me.

You laugh at me,
With my soul as pure as steel,
My spider's web of broken feelings-
I know this because I hear it,
In my mind,
You as I cry.
That is the reason why
You laugh at me.

You lie to me,
Twisted, words falling from your lips
A lie to satisfy the terror which rips
At me – you don't care,
The creeping fingers of doubt
Claw at me
So it must be that
You lie to me.

I am fake,
I must be happy
If the tears do not fall constantly
My mind conniving, scheming
Because I must be fine
Even when my soul pines
For help-
But no, shut it down because
I am fake.

I cannot think
I cannot feel,
When my mind screams that
Not one thing I think is real-
I collapse, pieces of me
Floating,
And so I know that
My thoughts run in endless circles.
I cannot
Think.

Sometimes, the only way to get my thoughts out is through poetry. This is a short poem but to me, it illustrates how I sometimes feel and think – such as the thoughts that go through my head. I wanted to show, in my writing, that I know these thoughts to be irrational and not based off concrete evidence.

If you ever feel like this, I understand a little of how it is. It's not wrong to want to seek help for feelings of anxiety that you may experience. Feeling anxious or paranoid shouldn't be labelled as attention-seeking – they're very real feelings that affect you; it's okay to accept those as fact. It isn't always just a "phase" or something to "get over".

I'll always be here to talk if you need it.

Love from Elm 🙂

Change of Email and a Quick Update!

Hi!

Over the past few days, I’ve started to email bloggers from a new email and it’s going to be the one I use from now on to talk to bloggers. It’s much more connected to my blog and because it’s linked to my account, I prefer to use it.

You can email me here>/a> with the email address being elmblog2403@gmail.com. I’ll still be using my old email address for those who don’t know about the change but if any of you get an email from that, it’s not another Elm – it’s me.


Now that’s out of the way, I wanted to update you on what’s been happening. I’ve felt restless and jittery over the past few days, not least because of the GP Appointment I talked about in this post. I’m still waiting for the call from the counselling service; it’s put me entirely on edge. I can’t relax, worse than usual, but I know it’s a by-product of some sort of anxiety.

Earlier, I went from feeling light and airy to feeling this awful, weighty sadness and lack of motivation that I can barely explain. It’s a sense of unfounded guilt at things I can’t even control: I feel bad for thinking, sometimes, and if it weren’t for my friends I’d be screaming. They, along with those who read my blog and who inspire me, are what help me through whatever it is I’m feeling.

I told my friend that I had no idea if what I feel is true or false, which is pretty accurate. However, I don’t feel that bone-deep weariness I did feel before. Things are getting better, if only in a small way. I’m thankful for those small ways, despite my continual terror that every single person I know is lying to me or hates me. Although I convince myself that at the slightest thing, people will never speak to me again – as I did today – I know it’s illogical. That shows me that I’m getting a little better. I’m not perfect because I still tell myself that people are going behind my back but I’ve improved.

Tomorrow, one of my closest friends is coming to stay until Saturday. I’m looking forward to that; she’s never stayed over at mine before and with her, I can be more independent. She doesn’t make me feel stupid for the things I say or like I’m some sort of burden.

I may not be able to post over the next few days. I want to enjoy myself; I want to live my life without feeling constant fear.

Your support and comments have really helped over the last couple of days. Seeking prvessional help, I think, is one of the best decisions I’ve made for months. Even if these feelings are only temporary, I want to be able to sort them out rather than screaming them out to no one in particular.

Sorry for the abrupt nature of this post; I’m exhausted and so overly paranoid that talking to anyone much will make me feel even more worried.

From Elm 🙂

An Update On My Mental Health

I am so tired.

Sitting here in the evening, with everything around me silent, I can’t help but think I should feel calm or somehow rested. I don’t. I feel sad, annoyed, frustrated but yet somehow disconnected. This is how I’ve been feeling for the past few weeks and I want to talk to you as frankly as possible, in the only way I know how. For me, blogging about it is the only way I feel comfortable even thinking about my jumbled mind.

3 days ago, I had what can only be described as a mild panic attack in front of my mum. It was over something small: my sister had moved my hair removal cream and had used it. I now no longer knew where it was. I utterly flipped out at about 9 o’clock in the evening: it slowly evolved from me getting agitated about my lack of ability to understand that because my sister has a mental illness, she can’t realise that what she’s doing makes me anxious to me gasping for breath and wailing about how terrible I feel and about how, sometimes, I hate myself. I felt selfish and needy for doing it but in some ways, it was a release of pent up anger and emotion.

I honestly can’t remember all of what I said. I downplayed it but made sure to truthfully tell her that I didn’t always feel like this, that there were days where I was fine but that I did feel anxious pretty much all the time. Standing on the landing, I got upset at how my mum tried to make excuses for both me and my sister. I told her that I didn’t tell my dad much at all (a lie) and that I’d been seeing my head of year about how I felt (a truth but I didn’t tell her what I spoke about). At this point, I was miserable and whenever she tried to hug me I flinched away; I really didn’t want anyone near me, especially not her at that moment because she was so incredibly surprised that I was having this “meltdown”, as she phrased it to my dad in a text later.

My mother is incredibly difficult to talk to and so I hardly ever do; however, afterwards, she suggested I spoke to her more – I think I will. More importantly, she said I should go and speak to the GP and maybe get a referral to a counsellor, or something such as that. Bringing her own experiences into it didn’t help me as much as, I think, she hoped it would because my mind flashed back to the points where she didn’t feel sympathy for me at all and, years and years ago, treated my sister terribly. I had to let it go, though; I don’t hold it against her any more because she did help me by putting things into perspective.

The fact is, I feel like I’m seconds away from falling apart utterly. I’m so sad now that I can’t think properly but I’ll try. Here’s a list of all the things, or as much as I want to say, that are making me anxious, panicky or that make me feel numb.

• I literally have no motivation to do anything at all
• I haven’t read blogs and I have this irrational paranoia that I’m an awful blogger – I know this isn’t founded in truth and may look like I’m crying for attention but I know I’m acting stupidly; you guys have always supported me
• I have feelings for someone currently but whenever I think about it, I want to just sob because it wouldn’t work out; trying anything would be a waste of time and would make things painful and complex
• I’m scared of seeing the GP because if I’m having a bad day and am especially erratic, they may refer me to something which is too serious and if I say the counsellor or any other person, they may think it’s worse than it is – I explained this to my mum
• I don’t understand if many of my thoughts are real or based on truth; I always get scared that I’m making stuff up in my head
• All my work that I have to do is too much, too huge and even thinking about it is panicking me
• I never follow my own advice; I’m a hypocrite
• I feel bad but I’m sometimes unable to deal with people who even irritate me slightly
• The self-depreciating dialogue inside my head has grown so much worse but I never know if I’m just putting it on or what I really feel towards anything
• I’m so, so confused

I don’t know. I need sleep but I don’t know if this sleep will leave me feeling refreshed or if my thoughts are going to crowd in on me again. I don’t know how to write this post so that it’ll alleviate some of my worry; am I going about this the wrong way?

This evening, I also spoke to my sister about it; I’ve barely told anybody else because I just don’t want to think about it. She was great but did point out to me that with my mum, I can’t lash out because that’ll make it worse. People know how sad I’ve been but it’s so hard to go into the extent of why: that I feel blank sometimes and sad the next; that one day I won’t do anything productive for hours and hours and the next I’ll have such good intentions but only complete a few of them.

Now I think on it, writing this post has helped, if only because I’m a little relieved that I can get this out there. This isn’t supposed to make sense; my mind’s whirling and I can hardly think for the worry that I’m running out of time in every single aspect of my life.

I just want to be happy. My head of year said that I need to start actively doing something, just little things to help. On the other hand, before I do anything I have to acknowledge that there’s something wrong. I have to accept that I’m not feeling good and why – or try to piece the reasons together by writing the “stream of consciousness” that this has turned into.

Only when you truly know what’s happening with yourself can you start to implement little things to help. That might involve sorting through your thoughts – something I’m not good at so I understand – but once you have a little idea, you can start to help yourself a bit more. If you can’t do that, others can help; it’s almost good that I had the panic in front of my mum because even for the way she handles things sometimes, she can do something to help.

You can be in control of your own mind; it takes time and effort and it won’t be easy but it can be done. If you feel unexplainably bad, perhaps start trying to work through the reasons. That can be triggered by an event like I had or a sudden realisation: this is you and so I can’t dictate to you how it’ll work. Only you can do that.

Things will get better but it won’t happen overnight. I’m so exhausted but I have to give it time, effort and a willingness to get a little better, slowly. I think I can do that.

From Elm 🙂