The honest truth about seeing a counsellor

whats it like seeing talking to a counsellor therapy

If your GP has put you on a waiting list to see a counsellor then you should definitely see one.

Many people brush off the notion of talking as a form of medication , and just want to take pills and power through their illness until they feel ‘normal’ again.

Medication is great. Medication can help alleviate symptoms of depression in order for you to be a little more productive, take better care of yourself and attend important appointments.

But you may find that talking about your problems is the thing you need to fully resolve any ongoing mental health problems you have. If you think it isn’t going to work for you then ask yourself; what have you got to lose?

It’s a process

If you physically recoil when you think about sharing ‘feelings’ with a stranger then this will seem like an uphill struggle from the start. I didn’t want to talk about my depression. It was mine, my burden and sharing it with others didn’t feel natural or helpful.

I learned over time that sharing my burden was a gift. The best thing is that your counsellor is an outsider.

They are not a family member who thinks you’re taking life too seriously. They aren’t a friend who thinks you’ve got nothing to be sad about. They aren’t an employer who thinks you need to knuckle down and get on with it. They are an impartial person with your best interests at heart.

I found my counsellor especially helpful during the phase when I was returning to work. She was able to give me answers to some of the questions that I didn’t have myself. Should I work full time or part time? What level of responsibility should I have? She also gave me the strength to stand up to my friends and stay away from alcohol when I was feeling the urge to abuse it.

It’s awkward as hell

Everyone reacts differently to awkward situations. And if sitting down to tell a complete stranger about your inner turmoil isn’t the worst kind of awkward, then I don’t know what is.

Some people laugh, others chat nervously, but I sat in silence. Going into that claustrophobic room, crippled with anxiety and depression was the absolute opposite of what I wanted to do during that period of my life.My body downright rejected it and I had to force myself to enter.

I spent most sessions staring at the floor. I avoided eye contact. I gave one word answers. I said “I’m fine” constantly, to try and fool the woman into letting me out of the painful scenario. My muscles tensed to fiercely that I was physically exhausted from every session I completed. But I completed them.

whats it like seeing a counsellor therapy depression

You have to commit

As difficult as my weekly meetings were, I never missed a single one. Even when I felt like it wasn’t helping, or that it was making me feel worse, I kept going. I knew that this kind of treatment was hard to come by so I didn’t want to lose my place in the programme.

I slugged it out even when I didn’t want to. Part of being depressed means that a lot of the time you don’t have control over your actions, and you might not be able to show up every week. I get it. Sometimes leaving the house just isn’t an option.

But if you can find the will to go then I urge you to do it, and do it consistently. If you show up regularly – even when you don’t want to talk – it lets your counsellor take note of your mood and your ability to cope. This is all helpful information that can be used to track your progress, even if you feel like you’re not progressing much at the time.

You need to be honest

Having a mental illness is draining. You often walk around pretending to be OK for days, weeks or months at a time because you think it’s what you’re expected to you. You tell employers you can cope with extra work, you tell friends you’re happy on a night out, and you tell your partner your just having a bad day because you haven’t been sleeping well.

It’s a vicious cycle where you use so much energy putting on a brave face for everyone that you have no strength left to truly take care of yourself.

Talking to a counsellor is an amazing opportunity to actually tell the truth. Be totally honest. Tell them that you dread getting up in the morning, you hate your job and you don’t want to socialise with anyone. Tell them you can’t find enough hours in the day to wash your hair and match up your odd socks. In fact, these small tasks are so overwhelming that you sob uncontrollably at the thought of doing them.

Nothing bad can come from opening up about these thoughts. They are more than just thoughts. They are symptoms of your illness, and once you’ve got them off your chest I guarantee you’ll feel the benefit. Trained professionals understand them in a way that your friends and family might not be able to and that is an invaluable tool in your path to recovery.

Do you have any experience with seeing a counsellor?

 

 

Why you need to stop apologising for your mental illness

stop apologising how to talk to people about mental illness

One of the most prevalent emotions that tears you up inside when you have depression is guilt.

Guilt about being sad. Guilt about letting people down. Guilt about not being good enough and guilt about always relying on others to help you get through the day.

I’ve had to rely on others for money, transport and food as well as emotional support especially in social situations where I feel very vulnerable. Not being able to go out to meet people without a chaperone is a pretty shitty feeling let me tell you. But I believe there’s no good reason why you should have to apologise for your mental illness. Here’s why…

It’s not your fault

You probably think apologising for your behaviour is the right thing to do. You’ve not been yourself, ignoring people and been a bit of a recluse in fear of upsetting anyone with your unpredictable mood swings.

It’s easy to think that people don’t want to see when you’re like that, but rest assured that it’s your mental illness talking and not the truth. When mental illness takes hold it’s so overpowering that you can’t control it. If it was a choice wouldn’t we all just shake it off and get on with life? Of course we would.

Your friends and family might not think you’re a bundle of fun when you’re going through a bad spell with your mental health, but they still love you anyway. Apologising and talking yourself down all the time is honestly just a waste of energy at this point. Energy that you need to conserve and use for more positive tasks. As much as possible, you should try and remember that your situation is not a direct result of any actions you’ve taken.

It’s more inconvenient for you than anyone else

Have you ever felt that you’ve let someone else down as a result of your mental illness? Me too.

I started a new job and on my second day I burst into tears on the way there and screamed that I couldn’t go in. It was the easiest job in the world with the friendliest people I’ve ever worked with but I just couldn’t handle it. I made my mum go in and tell them that I wouldn’t be in that day and I didn’t go back.

I later had it confirmed by a health professional that I was indeed unfit for work, but at the time I felt like a total failure and a time-waster. I’d left someone to work on their own in a situation that would’ve been incredibly stressful, but me being there in floods of tears unable to cope with my existence wouldn’t have helped the situation.

Why do you think your happiness is less important that someone else’s? If you let someone down and they’re mentally stable then they can go on with their day regardless. You, on the other hand are unable to do something because you’re unwell. You’re not fit to do some tasks at the moment and whilst that might be inconvenient for someone else for a few minutes, you’re dealing with the painful inconvenience of having a mental illness every single day. You come first.

Making other people uncomfortable or making things slightly awkward once in a while is something others will just have to deal with whilst you work hard to recover. Trust me, they can handle it.

It’s OK to be selfish

One of the reasons I got myself in a mess was because I was trying to please too many people too many times. I was scared to say no to anyone because to be honest, I didn’t realise I could. One of the best things you can do for your happiness is practise saying no more often.

I’m not talking about avoiding things that make you happy, but being confident enough to know when you’ve taken on too much. Don’t do something just to make someone else happy when you know that it’s causing you pain or making your anxious. Be honest with people. When someone is asking you do do something they’re asking you because there is more than one possible answer; make sure you choose the one that serves you.

The day I started being selfish with my time was the day I started to truly realise what I was capable of doing without putting my health at risk.

Are you going to stop apologising for your mental illness?

My top 10 self-care tips for quick and effective anxiety relief

mental health blogger UK self care quick tips

Finding time for self-care can be a bit of a mission. I know after I’ve done a day’s work, a sweaty gym session, scribbled down a blog post and done the fastest food shop in history I rarely manage to do anything other than flop onto the sofa with a bowl of leftovers for dinner. I’m often a jittery mess and find it hard to fall asleep at night.

I’m trying to make a conscious effort though, to stop and take a few minutes out of my day to slow down and check in with myself. If like me you get easily stressed and overwhelmed, then you might find these quick self-care tips easy to fit into your day.

Drink some water

Aaaah, the solution to all life’s problems. Got a wound? Chuck some water on it. Feeling faint? Splash on that water! Annoying boss? Dunk ‘em! In all seriousness though, I find my mood is greatly affected when I’m dehydrated. I get tired, anxious and cranky and it’s so easily avoided by simply drinking enough water!

Have a shower

I have a love/hate relationship with showering. When I’m depressed or anxious it’s the last thing I want to do. It feels pointless, a waste of energy and frankly just too much to handle. But when I do muster up the strength to jump in for even a minute or two, I have to admit that I always feel better afterwards.

mental health blogger UK self care

Listen to your favourite song

Music can have such a profound affect on our mood that you should really try incorporating it into your self-care routine. Start by creating a playlist full of uplifting songs and add to it whenever you find a new tune that makes you feel good. My current favourite are Thunder by Jessie J, Moments by Tove Lo and Dancing On My Own by Robyn.

Write stuff down

Sometimes we don’t realise how much is going on in our subconscious everyday. Whether it’s remembering to call someone, make an appointment or look for a new job; these thoughts can play on our minds without us even noticing. Try doing a ‘brain dump’ regularly. This basically means writing down everything that’s on your mind. It’s NOT a to-do list (although it could be used to create one afterwards). Instead just a way to get your thoughts on paper, freeing up your mind to become a little more relaxed.

mental health blogger self care

De-clutter your space

I love to set a timer for 10 minutes and go around my flat with a bin bag. I throw out all the rubbish, empty the bins and fill a basket of dirty washing. Before I know it I’ve got a wash on, dishes done and I’m dusting and sweeping the whole flat. When my space is cluttered it often plays on my mind and I procrastinate because I just hate doing housework. The 10 minute trick is just enough time to get the basics done and make me feel a little more organised.

Change your bed sheets

For me, good personal hygiene goes hand-in-hand with effective self-care. I love the feeling of getting into bed when the sheets are clean, and it’s even better after a long bath. I try to change my bedding once a week but you can do it more frequently especially if you have pets who like to snuggle.

Read an inspirational blog post

When I feel lost and worried, I like to read about how other people are coping and what they’re doing to learn more about themselves and their mental health journey. I love this post by Grace called Accepting Who I Really Am and this one by Emily on The Pressure of Happiness. Somehow knowing that I’m not the only person with anxiety makes me feel better.

Phone a friend

Living away from home has made me appreciate how important it is to have the right people around you and on call when you need them. I try and surround myself with positive, creative, can-do people who inspire me to do better. It only takes a few minutes to call a friend and catch up, and talking to someone who really gets you can remind you of what you want and what you believe in, things that we often forget when we get caught up in daily life.

mental health blogger UK self care

Get some fresh air

We all know that getting moving outside is good for our mental health, but so many of us just don’t make time for it. I honestly think that just 20 minutes outside everyday can give you a noticeable boost in energy, especially if you work sitting down in an office for most of the day. I also find it improves my creativity and helps me think through problems without distractions.

What quick self-care tips can you recommend?

How talking on the internet helped me overcome social anxiety disorder

social media mental health recovery uk blogger

Did you know that February 2nd is Time to Talk Day? It’s a great opportunity to start conversations about mental health all over the UK, from schools to homes to workplaces.

About Time to Talk Day

Sadly, many people who suffer from mental illness feel ashamed to talk about how they feel and this just simply shouldn’t be the case. It only takes one small step to ask for help, and just a quick chat with someone who understands can have a huge impact.

time to talk

If you know someone who might be suffering, or if you have a mental health issue yourself; I urge you to use today as a chance to open up about the real issues surrounding mental illness and help end the stigma surrounding the subject. With that in mind, I wanted to share my own personal story today.

Many of you already know my history with depression and anxiety, but what you may not know is how social media has helped me overcome social anxiety in the past few months. Don’t get me wrong; it took me years of therapy and medication to get to this place, but every piece of social interaction online added up to help me along the way too.

Snapchat

If you follow me on Snapchat then you’ll know what I’m about to say. I LOVE TO TALK. Not to other human beings of course – that would be way too much interaction – but to myself on my mobile phone.

When I moved away from Glasgow I realised Snapchat stories was a great way to keep my friends updated with what I was up to everyday, as we now live hundreds of miles apart.

Whilst everyone else is pouting whilst using the puppy dog filter (OK, I do my fair share of that too) I’m giving my viewers the low-down on my mental state as it changes. Sometimes I’m laughing about haggis in an American drawl and other times I’m just talking about my low self-esteem.

It’s a great form of talking therapy, and lots of people have told me they find it helpful to see that other people are going through mental health issues too. It’s made me more open to talking about these subjects in social settings and basically owning my mental health problems instead of pretending they don’t exist.

twitter logo mental health blogger UK

Twitter

Tweeting was not something that came naturally to me. I’m not quick-witted enough to construct jokes that fit into the strict character limitations and my spelling has let me down on more than one occasion.

In 2016 I started using it to promote my blog, and before long had been sucked into various communities (mental health, blogging and Birmingham) and was having conversations with total strangers on a daily basis.

I’ve used it to find new friends, decent WordPress training and a local social media seminar that I would otherwise never have known about. It’s made me go out and make real-life connections with people I’m met online, and without that initial meeting online I honestly don’t think it would have been possible.

I’ve also created my own chat on Twitter where we talk all about body positivity. Plucking up the courage to do all of these things has been a total revelation for me after several years of avoiding social outings and talking to new people.

Instagram

I spent a lot of time taking photos of my food before I realised it’s not really the best use of my Instagram account. I have a history of disordered eating and was obsessed with food for about two years whilst I ate a very restricted diet to lose weight.

I still love food and taking pretty pictures of my salads (I’m a blogger, it’s basically compulsory) but I’ve loved using my Instagram as a way to showcase random thoughts and emotions that happen throughout my day. I’ve tried to spread positivity through my account and that’s had a knock on affect on my mood, meaning I’m generally a little happier thanks to the interactions I make online.

I’ve conquered my fear of talking to camera thanks to Instagram stories and I even did a live stream a few weeks ago. This has made me more confident about talking about mental health in public and I genuinely think I could talk to anyone about it now!

social media for anxiety mental health blogger UK

Blogging

The most powerful tool in my quest to shake the shackles of social anxiety has ironically been the thing that I do all on my lonesome. I sit quietly in bed, at my desk or in my local coffee shop and tap away on the keys of my laptop writing for no one but myself.

During this time I feel free to say what I want. I can explain in detail how I feel about the world, how depression has affected me and how painful yet important my journey has been.

I can do all this from the comfort of my own space; without worrying about how I sound to others, stumbling over my words or trying to maintain eye contact whilst I divulge my deepest and darkest thoughts. I can express myself on my own terms and although it may seem like a one-side affair, it’s really not.

I regularly receive comments and private messages from women who understand exactly how I feel. It’s a wonderful, comforting feeling to know that we are all struggling in our own way and that we’re not alone.

The process of exposing myself online has given me the fearlessness to say many of the things I write about on here in real life. I can now introduce myself as a mental health blogger without the fear of ridicule, because I’ve successfully created a community of supportive people online who I know resonate with what I write about.

The chances are that many of the people I meet in real life will also understand so now I can proudly state who I am and what I stand for, and that is a wonderful privilege.

Have you found an unusual way to overcome social anxiety? Head over to Twitter and use Time to Talk Day as a way to share your story with me!

3 ways the beauty industry has affected my mental health

mental health blogger UK beauty industry

I’ve spent years rejecting the idea that the beauty industry can have a positive affect on my mental well-being. How can a lipstick make you happy? Why are young girls caking their faces in concealer when they don’t even need it? It’s taken me until by thirties to understand how the beauty industry has shaped the thoughts I have about my own body, and how I can reclaim them and make them positive.

It helped me develop a self-care routine

I don’t believe that possessions can make you happy, and for years I refused to spend money on beauty and skincare products because I believed I didn’t need them to feel beautiful. I definitely DO NOT need them to feel beautiful; but taking care of my physical self is something that I’ve done more in 2016, and something that’s sincerely helped me feel less worthless when I’ve been going through a bout of depression.

When I spent weeks primping and preening myself for my wedding day in 2015, I remember thinking there was no way in hell I could keep up this level of attention to my body. Who has the time? When I stepped out in my wedding dress, I felt so happy with myself from the inside out, that I could finally see the value in carrying on a few of the beauty routines I have developed in the run up to the day. I don’t spend much money on make up, but I do have a favourite cleanser, serum and moisturiser that I use religiously and a few face masks that I reach for when I need that extra special care. I don’t think this is the only way to practise self-care, but for me it’s a daily addition to my coping strategies that I do without thinking and gives me a regular lift.

Make-up can help me feel confident

There’s no denying that wearing make-up can make you feel more confident. In the same way that a new haircut and your favourite dress can make you feel like you can conquer the world, I’m not ashamed to say that a smokey eye and bangin’ highlighter make me feel sassy. But I also feel confident when I DON’T wear make-up and I think that’s important.

Washing my face and slapping on some moisturiser is all I do when I’m going to the gym. I like to look in the mirror and see my true self. For me, the gym is a place for honesty. It’s where I’m alone and focused with my own thoughts, listening to and observing my body to see how far I can push myself as well as when to rest. I find it’s healthy to have time without make-up, to appreciate the impact it can make when you really want it.

I realised need representation in the media

I grew up reading the same magazines as everyone else my age – Mizz, Shout, Smash Hits, Bliss – so I believed that to be beautiful I had to be white, thin, blonde-haired and blue-eyed with big breasts. I began dieting around 15 and didn’t stop until I was approaching 30. The penny dropped for me when I saw Ashley Graham on the cover of Sport Illustrated. She’s by no means a fair representation of the millions of ‘plus-size’ (whatever that means nowadays) women who look to the media for inspiration, but for me she’s an inch closer to that dream. In that cover I saw someone with a body shape vaguely like mine, and I’d never seen that before.

That’s when I realised I’d been conditioning myself to believe that my body shape, hair and face was all wrong by consuming the images that were handed to me. Now, I actively seek out women who have bodies I can identify with and a style which I can understand. I feel You Tube is particularly helpful when it comes to the beauty aspect of this, because it’s really relatable for me to watch a woman by age talk about what skincare and make-up brands they use in their everyday lives instead of relying on magazines which are heavily biased towards advertisers.

Check out this podcast called Unsorry, in particular their recent episode talking about feeling beautiful.

 

 

The stress of a GP appointment when you have a mental illness

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I’m currently sitting in Starbucks with a mug of tea; my humble reward for doing the thing that I hate the most. The thing that still fills me with fear every few months, even though I’ve had this debilitating illness for almost 5 years now.

I successfully attended an appointment with my GP.

I didn’t cry. I didn’t crumble. When I sat up in bed this morning thinking of ways to avoid the situation I still managed to get up and get dressed and show up. I did it.

For many people, a visit to the doctor is merely another note on the calender and nothing to get upset about. For me, it’s an ominous reminder of all my flaws and weaknesses. Whilst everyday I try to remind myself of how far I’ve come with my social anxiety, food issues, low moods and use of alcohol, there is nothing that makes me feel more of a failure than sitting in front of a stranger and asking for help.

The fear starts weeks before the appointment, knowing that the day is coming when I’ll have to use the phone.  In the UK the health service is under so much pressure that the thought of just making an appointment is enough to send me spiralling. Most practices prefer the ‘on the day’ system where you phone at 8.30am and stay on hold until you’re lucky enough to speak to someone on reception, who will then assign you a slot which more than likely doesn’t suit you. If you dare to suggest another time slot then you’re made to feel as though you must not really need the appointment so generally you have to take what you get and pretend to be grateful. This often leads to more anxiety as I might have to ask for time off work to get there in time.

The whole affair makes me feel like an animal being herded to the slaughter, and all the while I’m trying not to have a panic attack because talking on the phone is one of the things that triggers my anxiety.

One of the things that really helped me when I was first seeing my GP regularly about depression was seeing the same person every time. Finding someone who I felt really empathised with my situation was a great comfort to me for years when I was feeling at my worst.

Do you know how exhausting it is having to tell someone you’ve just met about the most painful period of your life over and over again? The hardest part was knowing that the more detail I could give the better, and that meant rehashing all the gory details about how awful I felt for such a long time. After waiting for weeks to see a doctor and spill my guts about this stuff, I was often met with a blank stare and the usual “Come back and see me in a few weeks if you feel any worse”.

Since I’ve moved to Birmingham I’ve had to register with a new practise and find a new GP. I’ve been avoiding it really, but when I ran out of medication I had no choice as they won’t issue anti-depressants as a repeat prescription. I’ve seen two GPs since I’ve been here and neither of them seemed particularly kind or caring, but maybe I’m just oversensitive.

Recently I was put on a new contraceptive pill and it’s affected my mood quite dramatically. Today I had to explain to the doctor that it was making me uncomfortable because of the fact that I already have depression, and she asked me what I thought the solution was. This is probably a great technique for most people who google their symptoms before a visit and turn up with a list of what drugs they want, but for me – someone who struggles to make decisions on a daily basis – it wasn’t helpful.

I walked out with a new prescription and as I felt a sense of relief wash over me, I glanced down at the printed slip crumpled up in my hand. One month of anti-depressants. That’s just one month until the process starts again. I slipped out of the surgery with a small sense of pride and a head full of anxiety for my next visit.

How do you cope talking to your doctor about mental health?

 

5 easy ways to feel more calm

ways to feel more calm less sressed and manage anxiety throughout the day
I’m pretty stressed sometimes. Did I pay that bill? Did I leave the oven on? When is that doctors appointment again? These are the thoughts that plague most of us throughout the day and they tend to build up and can feel a tad overwhelming at times. I’m working hard to make sure I don’t let unnecessary stress into my life as it’s a trigger for my anxiety and depression. If this sounds like you then read on for my tips for a calmer day…

Prepare the night before

I like to empty my mind in the evening by planning what I need to do the next day, and doing any preparation possible to help me feel a little more organised. For example, I like to lay out my gym clothes to make sure I get up and go work out without too much thought. I also like to make sure my dishes are done and my bathroom is relatively clean. For some reason starting the day with an organised space makes me much more relaxed from the get-go. I’ll also put any bin bags by the door so I can quickly grab them on the way out. Doing small things like packing my handbag, preparing my breakfast or laying out clean clothes are all small tricks that make my day go more smoothly.

Write a to-do list

This is pretty obvious but I’m always surprised at how many people don’t do this, especially busy people who have a lot of multitasking to do. I have an ongoing to-do list which I’m always adding things to, even if they don’t necessary need done straight away. Every evening I use this ‘master list’ to write a specific list for the next day. I prioritise what needs done first and then add anything else that I’d like to tackle, then if it doesn’t get done I can carry it over to tomorrow’s plan without too much panic.

Schedule in some down time

When I look at my to-do list it can be easy to go full steam ahead and keep going until it’s complete. I’ve learned from experience that this normally ends up with me freaking out around 4pm, struggling with a pounding headache, an empty stomach and the need to nap. For this reason I try to break up tasks with something enjoyable. For me this is often something simple like watching my favourite You Tubers for an hour or popping out for a coffee and some fresh air. I find scheduling in this time makes me more productive for the rest of the day and helps me relax in general.

Eat a good breakfast

Missing breakfast is guaranteed to stress me out, because my blood sugars will get low when I least expect it and then I start making irrational decisions based on hunger pangs. In order to avoid major mid-morning meltdowns I start my day with a protein shake or scrambled eggs on toast. This usually helps me stay satisfied and focused on whatever the day brings instead of feeling distracted by my rumbling belly. I love this post which has a few handy mood-boosting meal ideas. Don’t forget to keep an emergency snack in your handbag such as a banana or some cashew nuts, and drink plenty of water.

Exercise

Apart from writing, my other true love is exercising. I know not everyone has the same passion for working out (I will admit my passion can be absent at times too!) but I defy anyone to not feel great after a morning exercise sesh. A brisk walk with the dog or a run around the block before breakfast gives you time that no one can take away from you. It’s a special time to take a deep breath in and appreciate the day before it gets too hectic. It gets you warmed up, produces endorphins and creates that kick-ass “I can take on the world!” mindset that we all dream of having.

What helps you have a calm day?

Thoughtful gifts for people with anxiety 

what to buy people with anxiety for christmas

I’m doing it. I’m mentioning the ‘C’ word.

It’s not that I’m particularly excited about this time of year (is anyone with depression really looking forward to Christmas?) but I am aware that the shopping for gifts is well underway for most people, so I wanted to offer some advice to those of you who may be struggling to find the perfect Christmas gift for an anxiety sufferer.

The problem I have with anxiety is that is makes me feel depressed, worthless and unable to function. If was asked what I wanted for Christmas I would say ‘nothing’, because often I feel like I don’t deserve any presents. It’s not a cry for attention or a way to get sympathy. Anxiety messes with your confidence and your self-esteem and makes you feel like no one cares about you and that they’re right to do so.

With that in mind, I understand how hard it can be to find Christmas gifts for friends or family who suffer from anxiety. When you hand over that lovely little package on December 25th, I want you to be confident that you’ve chosen something that could potentially make their lives easier or at least offer some comfort at a difficult time. None of these gifts are going to be a quick fix for mental health problems but they can act as a subtle reminder that your support is always available.

Subscription boxes are still going strong, and this Buddy Box from Blurt is a well thought out addition to the selection with a focus on mental health. Although they specialise in boxes for depression sufferers, you might find that your friend could still benefit from a box of treats tailored to mental well-being in general. You can purchase a one off box or sign up for monthly deliveries with a different set of gifts delivered throughout the year. Check out this review from Hannah for an example of what comes in each box.

Pins and patches are the currency of the modern mental health sufferer. This pin duo from Diglot Etc is incredibly cute and this one from Blurt can act as a reminder that you’ve got someone’s back.

what to buy someone with anxiety

I find when I’m anxious I tend to fidget a lot – I bite my nails, constantly fix my hair and readjust my clothing. I also habitually play with the rings on my finger; twisting them around and taking them off just to put them straight back on again. I didn’t realise this was so common until I spotted these Spinning Rings on Etsy. Not only are they helpful to those with anxious habits like me, but they are absolutely beautiful in their own right.

what to buy someone with anxiety

I know that ‘self-care’ is really popular at the moment, and to be honest I think that can only be a good thing. Yes, it’s a tad cheesy to talk about taking care of oneself but it’s something that so many of us let fall by the wayside. I can’t afford to spend a lot of money on skincare and make up and if someone gifts me some luxury bath products I really appreciate it. It also encourages me to take more time to relax, have a bath and give myself a treat or two. Pretty much every girl I know would be grateful for a gift box from Lush  and this one is particularly good for winding down as it features a lavender scented shower gel and several soothing bath products. To really secure a good night’s sleep why not add in this Great day, good night duo from This Works?

what to buy someone with anxiety

I know from personal experience that it can be really frustrating when people suggest various ‘cures’ for your anxiety. Yes, I’ve tried yoga and getting more exercise and there’s no need to patronise me! If you want to offer a suggestion to someone you know who as anxiety then Christmas could be thr perfect opportunity. Although I’ve never tried colouring for mindfulness this Alice in Wonderland colouring book could tempt me to give it a go. I also love The Mindfulness Companion book which has sections for writing down your current mood, feeling and has colouring pages included too.

If you’re affected by anxiety would you like to receive any of these gifts?

what to buy someone with anxiety christmas present

10 positive intentions for a better state of mind

positive intentions better state of mind fiona mental health

How do you shift from victim to survivor?

How do you cope with the life-long repercussions that result from being abused as a child?

This is something that Lisa Cybaniak has dealt with personally, but over time has learned to value her own existence and prove to her abuser that she isn’t a victim of her painful past. So much so that she now coaches others on how to overcome their past, have a positive outlook and have improved self-esteem. One thing that she believes strongly in is the power of positive intentions. Here is a an excerpt from her latest blog post on the subject:

“Positive intentions are a great and simple way to begin shifting your mentality. You can begin by using one intention per day and repeating it whilst you get ready in the morning. Eventually, you should try to find time to meditate each day on several different intentions. If you have instantly giggled at the thought of ‘finding time’ each day, then I’ll gently remind you that shifting your mind set begins with you. You are worth it, and you deserve this. People always make time for the things they really want to do.”

Here are 5 positive intentions that worked for Lisa:

1. I am a strong, vibrant man/woman who deserves the best life has to offer

2. I see the beauty in every part of my day, wherever I am and whomever I’m with

3. I have survived my past and am proud of my accomplishments. I honour past accomplishments and recognise new ones as they occur

4. I will recognise opportunities to grow, and take them

5. I am worthy of success and abundance

positive intentions

This got me thinking that maybe I should start incorporating positive intentions into my own daily life. Although my blog is focused on mental health I do try hard to make this a positive place and avoid negative talk as much as possible. So here is a sneak peek at a few of the positive intentions I want to start honing in on to improve my mental state.

  1. It’s OK not to do it all

2. You are stronger than you think

3. Do good things and good things will happen

4. Don’t be afraid to fail

5. What’s for you won’t go by you

I’m going to write these down and look at them every morning. I also like to put positive thoughts in my notes app on my phone, so that whenever I open it to type in a reminder I catch a glimpse of them. It’s a great way to subtly reinforce the words without having to do too much work. To read more about the positive intentions that Lisa has used to overcome negativity read her blog post in full HERE.

A final note from Lisa:

“These are all suggestions to get you started. As you begin with these intentions, you will gain the confidence to adjust them, and add to the list, to suit your needs. This is just a step along a path to shifting your mentality. If you’d like help along your journey, visit Life like you mean it for more information on the wide range of services Lisa offers. Better yet, book a complimentary call so we can chat!”

When you think I’m being rude, here’s what’s really going on 

appearing rude mental health how do i pretend to be OK

I’ve just returned from a busy weekend in Scotland. It was our first visit back home since we moved to Birmingham and I was really excited to see my friends and family for the first time in 4 months. Unfortunately for an introvert like me, being constantly on the go for 72 hours turned out to be kind of a drag. I knew my time was limited with everyone, but after the first day my mind was so exhausted that I could barely hold a conversation or stay awake.

Combine my solitary nature with mental health issues and you’ve got someone who appears to be extremely moody and rude for a lot of the time. I’ve said I’m sorry again and again. I feel like it’s out of my control. When I feel a low mood creeping in, it climbs onto my back and digs its claws in. It doesn’t let go and then I feel anxious about how I appear to other people.

I know there are people who can’t understand this at all. But I also know there are people out there who know exactly how it feels. Here’s what’s going on in my head most of the time:

I don’t have the strength to talk

Holding a conversations when I’m drained, depressed and on edge with anxiety is near impossible. I’m caught in that horrible contradiction of being fatigued but my body is often producing a lot of nervous energy. Sometimes making small talk is just too hard.

I have nothing nice to say

When my depression sets in I feel like the world is a bad place. I suddenly think I can see everyone for who they really are; they’re all pretending to be happy, nothing is worth the effort and we should all just give up immediately. If I’m in this frame of mind and you ask me what shade of lipstick looks best then I won’t have anything helpful to add to the discussion so I try to just keep my mouth shut.

I’m concentrating on not freaking out

It might look like I’m just grumpy and quiet but secretly I’m scanning the room for potential anxiety inducing situations. Where are the toilets? Are those drunk people going to talk to us? How are we going to split the bill and do I have enough money? Are you going to ask me something I can’t answer? Am I going to look stupid?

I feel like I’m not enough 

If this scenario continues on for more than a few hours and I feel like it’s obvious to other people then I tend to feel like a bit of a failure. Why can’t I just fake being polite for one day? Why can’t I think of one single thing to talk about? Why do my friends and family even want me around? I don’t deserve them. I’m such a waste of space.

I’m feeling guilty

When I start to feel like I’m cramping everyone’s style I am plagued with guilt. I feel like I’ve ruined the day, wasted everyone’s time and been a crappy friend/daughter/sister. Even when people tell me it’s not my fault I find a way to convince myself that I should be able to control my moods better or get better at pretending to be OK.

If I come across as rude to you, I’m so sorry. I’m working on it.