Am I Always on Edge?

It’s come to my attention, rather unfortunately, that I find it almost impossible to relax.

Yesterday, I spent the day with Jasmine. It was a fantastic day; I went to her house, and I might as well run through a quick summary of what happened.

I went to hers via train (which took about 50 minutes) and arrived at her house after she picked me up from the train station (she waved at my dad across the road, and I remember feeling horrifically nervous and rubbing my hands together again like a mad villain on the train). Her foster mum is still lovely as ever, and we hung out in the living room before going upstairs. As I said to a friend last night: “Shit happened, we went on the bus to get lunch, got back, shit happened, then we went home.”

Well, because I’m Elm, I’ll give you more of a rundown. We went for lunch in a place reasonably close to her house (I mean it wasn’t really lunch; we had it at 5:30). We arrived there an hour before the restaurant – a Chinese place – actually opened, and so we went to a cafe and had an oreo milkshake. If you guys haven’t had them, they are beautiful and the best thing to ever happen to my life. Well, not the BEST thing to ever happen, but you get the picture.

When we were having food, I still felt very free because it was just her and me, whilst we were talking. I mean, I could barely eat much, but I was having a day where food wasn’t sitting very well with me.

After we returned home, we watched some TV and sobbed with laughter, before going to her music studio. There we played music, sang, and… Oh god I have to talk about this, don’t I? This is the whole point of the post. Aaarghh.

Physical things happened. I won’t go into too much detail, but it was a lot; like my experiences on Wednesday, I felt entirely comfortable. No disgust, apart from a situation that happened before we went to lunch that is possibly the most horrifying and embarrassing thing that has ever happened to me. That’s one thing I point blank refuse to talk about, because no one except her knows and it’s just too horrendous; I still can’t think about it without feeling gross, even though she wasn’t annoyed or anything. Okay, that’s enough of that.

In the music studio and in fact, all throughout the day when stuff happened, I just… Couldn’t relax. It wasn’t that I didn’t WANT to do anything, because I did; it wasn’t that I hated it, because I didn’t. Over the years, I’m so used to tensing up for anything – I’m ridiculously unflexible, probably because I hardly ever stretch or do exercise. Before I get sick and disgusted with myself, I need to remember that I still have time to become more fit. It doesn’t stop me from panicking, though.

At one point I got so frustrated and upset, but I think she understood. I thought she was somehow upset with me, because we just sat there silently with the worst kind of fear and worry growing inside of me, with our faces close but not touching. I almost felt like crying, because I thought that there was something wrong with me; now I know that I was just tense. SO tense.

Ever since we ate “lunch”, she’d been looking at my eyes. Because of the blindness, I can’t control them very well; they do their own thing and it took me a long time to look to the left, or up, and actually keep my eyes there. I’m still not good at it. In the studio, or at points throughout the day, she’d say, “OH! You’re looking at me!” or “Hey, they’re syncronised now.” No one’s ever payed that much attention to them before; either that, or they just haven’t mentioned it to me, and I think it was fascinating to both of us. After I got angry and frustrated because I couldn’t seem to relax, we were sitting there (as I said) and she just whispered, “You did it again – you looked at me, Elm.”

I’ve never come that close to crying at something so insignificant. We spoke about how I couldn’t relax – on many occasions she said, “Don’t tense up – it’s okay.” and I made my muscles believe her.

Not being able to properly let myself rest is really bothering me; the situation with Jasmine just emphasised that. Though she understood, I didn’t: she said, “Well I’m lost,” on one occasion, which made me almost feel guilty that I COULDN’T loosen myself up. Why couldn’t I?

I’m so used to stressing. Pretty much every day, I find a new thing to worry about; right now, I’m worrying about me stressing too much. Yesterday, I worried that she hated me. The day before, it was holiday homework. You get the picture, and said picture annoys me.

It was about 9:00 then, when my dad came to pick me up. It turns out that he and Jasmine’s foster mum get on really well, causing me to feel incredibly bad about lying to him. Jasmine and I were in the living room whilst they were talking, just sitting next to each other (kissing occasionally but obviously not doing anything too serious). It made me feel like I was actually a good person, or that I was valued AS a person. I could tell that she really didn’t mind that I couldn’t relax earlier, but I was still worried about it.

Yesterday was a great day, and I laughed a lot, felt happy and got emotional because she actually wanted to listen to me speak. During our lunch and an impromptue shopping trip, I felt almost like I WASN’T blind, that I was”normal” in quotation marks, even though I know that normality is subjective. With her next to me, it made me feel that way. However, the stress was a low point.

If I never relax, where does that leave me? I can’t think of the last time I let myself unwind properly, just sat down and didn’t think of anything. That doesn’t really work for me, and now I’m becoming a little panicked. I need to find a way to de-stress, but whenever I think about that, I feel guilty once more as I always think there’s something I MUST do, and if I de-stress, I won’t give myself time to do that thing and I’ll worry about it later.

It’s illogical. In the long run, I’ll be MORE stressed and less relaxed if I do everything right now, because I won’t be able to do it as effectively. If I show myself that calming down, doing something relaxing and chilling out is okay, I’ll have a better mindset.

How do I do that, when I’ve never really done that in the past?

Today, I may go on a walk with my dad. To give myself a starting point for calming down, I created a playlist on my phone literally called “Relaxation”, which contain songs with no drums or shrieking guitars, so that I can listen to them quietly and sort of immerse myself in them. I’ll take 10 minutes out of my day to stop for a little while, not do anything and just breathe. Reading might be an option, too.

In addition, exercising could be good for me. Maybe that’ll make me feel like I CAN do something: going on walks, going rock climbing, swimming perhaps (even though I hate it).

I hope Jasmine will be able to help me, directly or indirectly. My friends, too, simply by being there. Sometimes, you just need a place to be yourself.

It’s a starting point. If I can stop being so tense, I’ll hopefully feel better. Honestly, everything about me is tense, even my hands.

Do you get stressed easily? What kind of things do you do to calm down, because I really need tips!

From Elm 🙂

Guest Post – Relaxation? What’s that?!

Relaxing, we don’t have time for that?

We do I promise!

My name is Ellie and I am a guest writer. Today I’m going to discuss the importance of relaxation in your mind, body and soul. Having struggled with anxiety for nearly 6 years, I have learnt a thing or two about keeping calm in stressful situations. The whole deep breathing thing was complete baloney to me and also, how the hell is counting to ten going to help me not have a panic attack?! So, after a few years I found an actually found a helpful therapist who gave me a few relaxation techniques for when I feel stressed. You can use these any time; before exams, whenever you feel upset, unsafe or whenever you’ve had a long confusing day! Here are my favourite, easy techniques which will make you slightly less stressed again!

There are three types of relaxation:

  • Autogenic- Something that comes from within you e.g. Thinking happy things
  • Progressive Muscle Relaxation- Tensing and releasing muscles to feel better inside
  •  Visualization- Imagining senses that make you feel safe

To be honest, knowing which one works for you isn’t important. I use them all, Autogenic exercises are the easiest to perform though.

To relax, start by slowing your heart rate:

  • Splash your face with very cold water (ice cold is best)
  • Sit or lie down if you can
  • Breath with your belly! This may sound strange but when breathing very deeply your tummy should follow your chest, focus on this.

Think of the nicest place you have ever been to, this could be anywhere. Literally, anywhere, as long as it makes you happy.

This final one can calm me in any situation.

  1. Start by taking something smooth in your hand, a rock, a eraser or anything that feels as if it has no sharp edges
  2. Ask yourself, where did this thing come from?
  3. Visualize this place, unless it’s stressful!
  4.  Let other thoughts come into your head, dismiss them
  5. Go on a journey, where was your item before you found it? How many people have touched it before?
  6. Once you feel ready, slowly bring yourself back to reality

You should feel much calmer now.

I understand we can’t always be calm and collected, we all know how amazing it feels to have a long sustained scream into a pillow at the end of a stressful day. However, when you need it (before a exam for example) these can be lifesavers! I hope you enjoy this guest post and I hope you find some of this helpful! I would be extremely grateful if you could have a peek at my blog maybe drop a follow?? 😉 (You con find me at  https://wordpress.com/stats/insights/ellieblogsx.wordpress.com)

Lots of love, Ellie xxxxxxxxx