Some part were awesome, and those were the bits I chose to share with you. It has been both good and bad, in equal measures. This post is a bit personal, but I think it’s a good way to end the year this way – be open, and to put things behind us. A new year, a new start!
For two years, I never felt right and I genuinely thought I was dying. I really did. Those painkillers I was taking were not doing my insides a favour, either! It eventually gave me stomach pain for 3 months (eeeks) During those three months, my anxiety went in to over-drive, I began to think there was something seriously wrong with my health.
Part of me knew I was absolutely fine, I was being a hypochondriac but the other half of me would convince myself that there was something seriously wrong. Either way, it kept triggering panic attacks. The kind that makes your heart beat faster, convincing your brain that it could be a heart-attack, making you feel paranoid that something inside your body was malfunctioning and that you will suddenly stop breathing just from all the terrible paranoid thoughts that was going through your mind.
It was a constant battle with myself. And it made me feel stupid and awful because I knew that there are people in the world with bigger problems. Real problems.
In my panicked state, I would stupidly google the symptoms (NOTE TO ALL. Don’t ever do this to yourself. Do yourselves a favour and NEVER google your symptoms) and started to fear from what I was reading. As a result of this, I became too scared to see the doctor, but when my stomach pain got too bad, I booked an appointment. Of course, the problem was common, they gave me a course of tablets and all was fixed.
But there was one more thing. They suggested putting me on the list for therapy sessions to help me with my anxiety. With an open minded and a determination to beat it, I took their advice. They are the professionals and who am I to reject this offer of help?
I went for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for six months and I completed the sessions in June, this summer. The coping methods the therapist taught me were simple things. Things I had forgotten how to do because I’d been in the bubble for so long. Things like learning how to breathe in order to stay calm and reduce the fight or flight mode that makes us panic (a totally natural reaction).
I was reminded of how to organise a balance of work and leisure, re-training the brain to think positively, and learn how to deal with negative thoughts. I recognised that one of my problems was that I didn’t have a healthy balance between work and play. All the pain and aches I had was due to stress. If I could find a way to manage this, I would be able to relax and breeze through it day to day.
I’m already quite shy too, so I developed a bit of social anxiety aswell but it got worse because I was avoided things. I felt like I couldn’t go out by myself and do things on my own, I always had to have someone with me. It never used to be like this.
At the beginning of the year, I decided that this year would change, I would take time out for myself; To go shopping, buy things for myself, visit friends, and just chill out. In my head, I still sometimes think I “can’t do things”, I do still avoid doing things if I feel like it might give me a panic attack but whenever I challenge myself to do it, I feel better for it. A bit like going to the dentist, it’s never as bad as you think!
During Spring of this year, I took time off to do some fun things and took a few trips. I wanted to blog about it as a distraction from work. I considered blogging as a new hobby, and a few months in, I became so comfortable with it that I wanted to try doing style posts! I was actually excited at the thought of a brand new challenge!
I felt so proud of myself that I managed to have won the Look Magazine blogging competition later down the line. A lot was beginning to happen in a very short space of time and I took it all in like a sponge. Even when I got to London for The Look Show, I really started to panic. I got nervous and wondered how many people would be there, how I would handle it, and how I would be perceived, how I would cope in general. I just handled it and learned from the experience.
This time of year is difficult for a lot of people. Anxiety is really scary, especially if you don’t talk about it because it makes you feel like you’re alone. Talking is therapeutic, it will help you, even if it doesn’t feel like it at the time. And you are certainly not alone, I promise you.
Anxiety can stem from the tiniest of concern, which you then you begin to obsess about. Suffering from anxiety can hinder your thought process, and it’s a paranoia cycle which can spiral out of control. I guess that what I’m trying to say is that no matter how bad things may seem, we can always get ourselves out of the situation. Help is always available, from friends and family, or professionals.
We all have a blip, but with the right mindset, it is totally and 100% possible to work it out turn things around.
This time last year, things were so different. I’m not one of those lucky, land-on-your-feet kind of person who gets things handed to me on a plate and in the past, I haven’t dowsed myself in a lot of self-belief but I know that if I want something, I can work hard to achieve it.
You have all helped me in your own little ways to get better this year, and you did it without knowing. Thank you. I am so grateful that everyone in the blogging community has been so nice to me. I am SO excited to see what’s ahead and where blogging will take me.
Let’s all welcome the brand new year in with positive thoughts and a fresh start!
Wishing you all the very best in 2012! I’ve lots of exciting things to share with you all in the new year! Enjoy the new year celebrations and the rest of the festive season! x