Showing posts with label anxiety. Show all posts
Showing posts with label anxiety. Show all posts

Thursday, 10 May 2018

My Relationship With Food & Alcohol

*Trigger Warning: If anything food, alcohol or weight related is triggering to you, please click off of this post now*
We are constantly surrounded by 'thinspiration' posts on social media and social pressures to have abs and a tiny waist. I myself have battled with confidence issues since a young age; I was always the outcast at school and was picked on for my size. Looking back on it I was tiny, but at the time I was considered 'large' for my age within society. Growing up I have always jumped from clothes sizes and weights, but I have always been somewhat healthy. 

Thursday, 1 March 2018

How Sharing Your Story Can Empower Others || Uni Mental Health Day 2018

With it being University Mental Health Day, I thought I would take this opportunity to give you an update on how my university journey is going, and as the main aim for this year is to 'empower', I hope my story empowers you to keep fighting on!

As my time at university comes to a close, I can't help but go into 'panic mode' and worry about what the future has to hold. Recently, I have been struggling to cope with not having a plan and a path for my life, as in a couple of months' time I will be unemployed and on the job hunt! This is normal to feel like this, but for someone who has a mental illness, it can be ten times harder.

If you have followed my university journey since the beginning, you will know that it has not been easy for me. When I began in 2015, I felt like a tiny fish in a massive pond; I was not quite ready for the jump from my small school, to a university with over 20,000 students. During my first year, I struggled to cope with the work load and my mood dropped dramatically. I hated going there every day. I live at home, so I also missed out on the Freshers events and I found it hard to make friends. This left me feeling very isolated and depressed.
It was in the summer after my first year where I was 'officially' diagnosed with social anxiety and depression. Even though it was great to get a diagnosis, it did leave me with that 'now what' feeling. You've suddenly got this label that you have to live with. Going into my second year of university was scary! The pressure built and suddenly everything seemed a lot more difficult, now that I had the diagnosis. For the majority of the time I was fine, but then other days I couldn't even leave my bed or show my face in a lecture. I would be crippled with anxiety or dark thoughts.

However, going into my last and final year, things have improved massively! I am now no longer in a relationship, where looking back on it, I felt like I was not able to be myself and I became very unhappy. I am now independent, strong and ready for the future (however scary it may seem now)!

So, you may be asking how I managed to improve so much this year.

Well, I am going to give you my 5 top tips to coping with life stress whilst at university:

1. Don't look at the year as a whole!

Every single year at university begins in a blind panic. I list all the deadline dates for the whole year and completely overwhelm myself. This is definitely something that you should NOT do. Break the year into terms, weeks or even days if you need to. Take it deadline by deadline!

2. Give yourself a break!

Admittedly, I did not give myself enough breaks in my second year of university. I would work pretty much 24/7. Any free time I had was spent writing assignments. This left me having a lot of sleepless nights and panic attacks. This year however, I have noticed that I am letting myself have a break, if I feel like I need it. When I feel myself getting too stressed, tired or anxious, I stop, close my laptop and go to bed. Pushing yourself, will only make things worse.

3. Ask for help!

In my first year of university, I felt ashamed to ask for help. I would suffer in silence. However, halfway through my last year, I began cognitive behavioural therapy and told my lecturers about my mental illnesses. This helped massively! It took the pressure off and the CBT trained my brain to think more positively!

4. Make time to do things you enjoy!

When you're at university, you can isolate yourself in your work and forget that you do have a life outside of your studies. Make sure you do things you enjoy! Keep your brain active and engaged in leisurely activities. This could be something simple like having a bath, seeing some friends, writing a blog post or going on a run! Don't lose who you are!

5. Talk to people!

When I shared how I felt about university at the end of my first year, I had such a massive response. So many people felt the same way as me, including one of my friends at university. Everything you are feeling and experiencing, might be how someone else is feeling. The best thing I ever did, was share my story and talk to people about how I felt. This opened up so many doors for me, as well as allowed me to meet new people and make so many friends! I no longer felt isolated and it helped me rationalise my thoughts and stress!

This last tip in particular is something I am very passionate about. I have been blogging for 5 years now, starting off as a beauty blog and now developing into a lifestyle and mental health blog (with the occasional bit of beauty). When I hit 'publish' on my first post about my mental health, I did not think it would open as many doors as it has done for me. I have become a sub-editor and press ambassador for Student Minds, a media volunteer for Time to Change, I have been featured in the Guardian, BBC Newsbeat, The Mighty and filmed a documentary with the BBC, which should be hitting your screens very soon *squeals.

However, one recent thing I am particularly proud of, is my work with Samaritans. On one day in the Summer when I felt particularly depressed and wanted to do something with my day, I emailed Samaritans my story and they decided to make me and my story, the face behind their February Appeal Campaign! I did not expect it to happen at all! Samaritans have helped me a lot in the last 6 months. As some of you may know, I went through a lot of personal issues in the summer and I'm still going through a lot of them now. However, Samaritans were there to help me through it all.
On days where I'd wake up feeling helpless, I'd give them a call or email and they'd give me a reason to fight another day! This is why it was such a privilege to work with them on their recent campaign! We had been working on this since around September, so it was so nice to see everything come together, and the feedback we have had so far, is so heartwarming! I was even more proud at the fact that, I did this all off my own back! I can't wait for everything else I have planned with them for this year... so, keep your eyes out for future projects!
Sharing my story has also inspired me to create my own mental health project, Student Stigma. I was awarded £250 funding from O2's Go Think Big, in which I have used to set up this project. I still have a lot of plans in the works, but it is doing well so far! By starting this project, I have allowed others to have a safe place to share their story and help others in the process! I am so proud to say that I have given people this opportunity, and I think it is so important to raise awareness about student mental health, in schools and all the way up to university!

So, if you are starting university in September and you're feeling anxious and worried about the whole process, PLEASE look after yourself. Talk to people, ask for help... do whatever you need to do, to make your university experience worthwhile and rewarding!

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Having A Mental Illness Doesn’t Mean I’m Unemployable

As I approach my last few weeks at university the job hunt has well and truly begun. Perfecting my CV and head hunting anyone I physically can on LinkedIn, it is all becoming very real! 

One thing that is always playing on my mind, is the fact that the employers may look at my volunteer work with mental health charities and read my blog, and automatically think that I am ‘unfit to work'. Even though, under the Equality Act 2010 it states, that it is against the law for employers to discriminate against you, if you have a disability/mental illness. 

So, to any future employers reading this post, these following statements have either been said to me, or to others. This is why I am NOT unfit to work. If you are currently looking through people's job applications and wondering if they are suitable for the job, due to having a mental illness, please take the following into consideration.

“You won’t get out of bed for work, because you are always depressed and stay in bed”

Just because I have had the odd day off of university due to anxiety and depression taking over, this does not mean I am not able to get out of bed and go to work. You have had a day off for a simple cold or flu, does that mean you are going to have a day off everyday? No! So, why do people think it is so different for people who have a mental illness? Is it because you cannot always see the physical symptoms of our illness, because we usually hide behind a smile? Or, is it because there is still so much stigma? I will let you decide. 

“You won’t be able to handle the work load and stress” 

Anyone, regardless of their mental health being ‘good’ or ‘bad’, is going to get stressed. We are all still human! Believe me, I have been under A LOT of stress and pressure, even when my mental health has been at its worst! But, surely someone who can still overcome all of the stress and pressure whilst having a mental illness, is just as capable, if not more capable of doing a good job than anyone else! We are able to complete the work, whilst having dark thoughts telling us we’re not good enough, or anxiety ridden nights. Give us a chance! 

“You are letting your mental illness hold you back” 

Yes, this may be the truth sometimes, but that does not mean I have chucked my whole life away because of my unwell brain. If anything, sharing my story and speaking so openly about my mental health, has opened doors for me that would usually be closed! I am able to say that I have worked with Samaritans on a direct mail campaign. I have been featured in the Guardian and on BBC Newsbeat. I have filmed a documentary with the BBC, I have set up my own project and been funded by O2, and I have a lot more plans for the future!

By doing all of this, I have built contacts, seen first hand how campaigns are put together and strategically planned, I have shown my abilities to publicly speak, despite having social anxiety. I have also shown my creativity and have created a brand for myself. 

Employers need to stop having this warped view of people’s capabilities when they have a mental illness. If someone applies for a job and they say they have a mental illness, do not dismiss them. By them applying for the job, they have shown that they are capable and want to succeed in life. If someone felt that their mental illness would get in the way of a job, they would not apply for it in the first place. 

I asked on Twitter, how many people felt they were unable to disclose that they had a mental illness when applying for jobs, due to the fear of being rejected. Out of 55 people, 84% said yes! This proves that this stigma is definitely still there to some extent. 

Why should we feel afraid to show who we truly are? Having a mental illness has not held me back at all. I have achieved a lot in just the last year alone. So please, when you’re employing people, do not dismiss them when they disclose an illness. Do not label us as “the one who has... x,y,z” like we are the next episode of Friends. 

Give us a chance to show you what we are capable of, despite our brains telling us that we are not good enough! Having a job or even just being accepted for an interview, can be a big achievement for anyone. It may even be that little glimmer of hope, that someone with a mental illness needs. I am in no way saying that people with illnesses deserve some kind of special treatment, but I am fed up of feeling like I have to be someone else, in order to succeed! 

What are your views on this?
Have you ever felt like you have been looked down on, or rejected due to disclosing a mental illness? 

This is not a collaboration or sponsored post with Time to Change, but I thought it would be fitting to add the 'Employer Pledge' at the end of this post, if you and your company want to get involved!

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

'Why can't I rewind to when my life was ok?'

Do you ever sit there and think 'yep, this is it. My life is finally ok'. No? Well, me either!

A year ago, my life seemed pretty perfect. I thought I was happy, stable and planning my future. Turns out I was miserable, isolated, unstable and the future I had planned, was not going to exist. Fast forward a year on, I can now only see how unhappy I was because I am now out of that situation. This all proves that we are maybe never actually *that* settled. 

That however, does not stop me thinking, 'Why can't I rewind to when my life was ok?'. 2018 is the year of big changes for me. In 8 weeks time, I officially finish my formal lectures at university, with only months until my graduation day (where have those 3 years gone?). I am already applying for jobs. I am back in the dating game and just generally having fun. But there's still that uncertainty of life and what it has planned for me. 

I wake up everyday with a pit of anxiety in my stomach, which is something I had not had for a while. I am constantly worrying about what is coming next, like waiting for a jump scare in a horror film. 'Am I saying the right thing?', 'Should I have sent that message?', 'Will I get a job when I graduate?'. EVERYDAY. It is tiring and I know it is never going to end. Life is full of uncertainty. 

Basically, what I am trying to say is that, life is never going to be stable. Even the times when I thought my life was stable, it turns out it was far from it. Life will never be plain sailing. There is always a wave to ride over or storm that will drown you. BUT, if you take it day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute, or even second by second; life will work out. 

Hang in there. In the words of Ronan Keating, 'Life is a rollercoaster just gotta ride it!'

Thursday, 12 October 2017

"I felt dirty, I didn't feel like 'me' anymore."

A year ago today I became the girlfriend of a man (if you can call him that) who I thought, I was going to be with for a very long time. As you will know, I'm now no longer with this person due to their selfish and thoughtless acts. Since about the age of 12 years old I have really struggled with my confidence. I was picked on at school, called fat and ugly and that stuck with me for a very long time. Around April last year when I was going through another break up, I took it upon myself to change my attitudes and my body and begin to love myself. I accepted that I wasn't going to be the next Victoria Secret model, I accepted that I wouldn't have men falling at my feet, but I did accept that this was me and I loved myself.

When someone has been cheated on, they often seek for revenge or send hate to the person in question. However with me, I just did not have the energy to stoop as low as he did. We rarely talk about the other factors that come with being cheated on. Yes, we've lost someone who we loved and cared for. Yes, we've lost the future that we had planned and imagined. But, the main thing I've lost is my own self love and confidence. As I'm writing this, my eyes are beginning to tear up because at the moment I feel as if I'm never going to get that self confidence and love back. He has taken that away from me and that is one thing I will never forgive him for. He spent the last year telling me how beautiful I was, how lucky he was to be with me (which he definitely was)... even the morning after he slept with her, he was looking at me while I was looking at myself in the mirror and he was telling me how pretty I looked... knowing full well what he had done to me the day before. 

When I found out what he had done, I felt physically sick to think that I kissed and touched him after he had been with her... I didn't know where she had been and neither did he, he put my health at risk. Which makes this even more confusing for me because it was difficult for us to even sleep together because of what he has, yet he managed to jump into bed with her in a heart beat. That made me feel like I wasn't good enough, like I was doing something wrong and he can tell me time and time again that it wasn't my fault; but there has to be a reason for him to do what he did and I still haven't got an answer. A lot of people have said to me that this is a reflection on him and not me, which I'm trying so hard to believe but my mind does not want to accept that. 

For around a few weeks after everything had happened, I could barely look at myself in the mirror, I couldn't sleep alone in my bed and I had to have my mum sleep next to me, I could barely touch my own body because I felt like they were both on me... I could have endless showers but I'd still feel dirty. I didn't want to put makeup on for a while because all I could keep thinking was that this makeup was on my face when it had 'her' on it. I know it may sound stupid but I know that Rich, if you're reading this, you can definitely understand how this feels... I don't want to make you feel even more guilty than you already feel but the thoughts you've struggled with for a very long time, are now very similar to how you have made me feel. I am in no way saying that I'm suffering in the same way you do, because I've lived with you and I know how hard it is for you... but the same feelings are still there. I can accept what you've done with her because you were clearly very desperate for whatever you did with her, but I can't accept how you have made me hate every single inch of my body. 

I spent hours doing what I could to try and feel clean again. I scrubbed and scrubbed my lips until they were red raw, split and bleeding. I just wanted to get them off of me. My lips used to be my favourite feature about myself, now whenever I look at them, they just look dirty. When I knew every single detail of what they did... from the moment they got naked, to the point where they finished, all I could think about was where I touched him or where he had touched me a few hours after he had been with her. I scrubbed my body to the point it was painful to touch, I didn't feel like 'me' anymore, I lost a sense of who I am. 

I now get too scared to talk to guys and when they compliment me, it just makes me feel sick. I can't trust what they say and I feel like I'm being lied to all over again. I know I shouldn't hate all men for one man's stupid actions, but that is how I feel. It has made me feel vulnerable and lost. 
I'm now at the point where I want to love myself again. I want to spend time doing my hair and makeup and to leave the house feeling confident. I want to get to the stage where talking to a guy, doesn't fill me with anxiety and fear of getting hurt again. I want to wear things I wouldn't normally wear and just have fun with clothes, hair and makeup and just create a new 'me'. I am beginning to lose weight and feel a bit more confident in clothes, which I guess is one good step towards recovery.

It's time to get Sophie back...

If you have experienced something similar, please don't hesitate to comment on this post or message me on Instagram or Twitter. It'll be nice to know I'm not alone.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Student Stigma || WMHD17

With today being World Mental Health Day, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to highlight the importance of mental health awareness and spotting the symptoms early. As many of you may know, I have recently launched a project called Student Stigma which has been funded by O2's Go Think Big. The reason I set up this project is to highlight the importance of student mental health. 

I feel that there is a lot of stigma surrounding students and their mental health. When I say that I'm a student who suffers with depression and social anxiety, I get the odd comment stating that what I am experiencing is just the 'normal' stress and worries that a student faces. Comments like this is the reason why Student Stigma is so important. I know that I definitely have social anxiety and depression and I'm sure my doctor agrees considering I've been backwards and forwards to her for the past couple of years now.

When a lot of people say the word 'student' they immediately think of university students, however we forget that children in primary school, secondary school and college are also students. The reason why I wanted Student Stigma to be for people of all ages, is because my 'mental health story' began at the age of 7 years old when I had my first ever panic attack. If you would like to know more about my story, you can either watch my , read my story on Time to Change or my interview with the Guardian

At the time of my first panic attack, I was unaware of how I was feeling and what was happening to me however *luckily* my dad had experienced panic attacks before, so he knew how to look after me. If my family did not have the knowledge of mental health and illnesses, we would not have been able to see the early signs of my anxiety. 

One thing that I think needs to change, is the lack of mental health education in schools which is why I hope Student Stigma can allow me to go to schools and campaign to raise awareness of mental health. Being able to see the early signs of a mental illness can be life saving and it definitely makes the process a whole lot easier. Growing up can be a traumatic, exciting and a whirlwind experience for many children and young adults, so it's no surprise that many suffer with a mental illness later on in life. 

This is why I thought this would be the perfect day for me to encourage you to share your story and raise awareness! 

If you would like to share your experiences of having a mental illness throughout education, whether that be past or present, please join in campaigning with Student Stigma. Share your story, share your advice and chat to others! This is a safe place for everyone and especially for students who may need more education about mental health. 

Lastly, do not be dismissive of students when they say that they're struggling. Unless you have been in their situation, you do not know how tough it can be!

Share your story here!

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Dear Stranger

Dear stranger, 

You may see me laugh and smile online but what you don't see is when I'm crying myself to sleep or when I'm trying to get through a panic attack. You may see me out with my friends having a good time, but what you don't see is the anxiety and worry that is going through my mind.

You may see me tweet saying I feel better, but what you don't see is the struggles I'm still facing, the battles I'm fighting. Just because I'm having a good day, it doesn't mean my problems have completely disappeared. 

What you see online isn't always what is going on behind closed doors. I'm not saying I'm being two faced or fake. I'm not saying I'm not happy, but what I am saying is that you really don't know what people are going through by just reading a few of their social media posts. 

Lastly, I really hope you think twice before the things you say. You may mean well, but when someone is vulnerable and sensitive, the smallest of things can affect them.


A fellow stranger. 

Monday, 18 September 2017

'Just because I have a mental illness, it doesn't mean I'm a nice person all of the time'

I've often heard the phrase 'mental health community' being thrown around a lot and one of the main things being said by a few people is that, people in a mental health community need to be supportive and kind all the time. There's something about this that really annoys me. Just because we suffer with a mental illness, this does not mean we are not human. We will still be bitchy and we will still speak up when we don't like someone/don't agree with someone. 

Why should we be nice all the time? Yes, this would be the case in an ideal world, but it's just never going to happen. I have social anxiety and depression and yes I will be sympathetic when I want to be but just because I have these illnesses it does not mean I am not going to hate the people who have hurt me. If I have been hurt by someone, I will do what any other human being would do and I will hate them for what they've done to me. It's natural and normal to feel this way. 

We, as mental health bloggers/advocates always say that we will not be defined by our mental illness. So why are we being told that we should be kind and caring all of the time because we are advocates for mental health?

I personally know people who have suffered with their mental health, but have still had the power in them to hurt me and do something so beyond horrible. This is proof that just because mental health is a big part of your life, it doesn't mean you need to be best friends with everyone. 

Of course, it is lovely to have a community to turn to but this does not always necessarily mean that everyone is going to be supportive and kind. But of course, I am not saying to go and hate on everyone who is struggling, they need help!

It's a tricky one... 

What are your thoughts? 

Saturday, 16 September 2017

A single moment...

In that moment, everything changed.
Everything that was planned was suddenly no longer happening.
The future I would have spent with someone is now simply just a thought and no longer a reality.
I felt everything go numb.
The whole world had stopped. 
I was no longer aware of everything around me.
I was vulnerable but I couldn't bring myself to care.

Everything that had just happened, overshadowed all of the happy memories.
In that moment I was lost.
Struggling to grip on to reality, like water falling through my fingers.
Stuck in a whirlwind of emotions; anger, frustration, panic, betrayal, fear, grief, love and worry.
Not knowing where to turn to next.
Fighting to take the next breath, make the next move.

Alone, with the person who I loved next to me but feeling as if they had died and are no longer there.
The person I thought they were or knew them to be didn't exist anymore.
They became a stranger to me, but a stranger who knew every last little detail about me.
Not wanting to leave them because I don't know if that's the last time I'm going to see them.
They've done the worst thing imaginable to me.

Nothing can prepare you for that moment.
In that moment, what I thought my future would be, suddenly slipped away...

Monday, 8 May 2017

Going in Slow Motion

Recently I have been feeling a bit lost, a bit distant and out of touch from the world. So many things are happening all at once. So many changes. I don't know how to feel about it all and how to keep up with it. It feels like the world is carrying on around me at lightening speed and I'm going in slow motion. I've got my exams at the end of this week and next week and I have been cramming in as much revision as I physically can. But what am I going to do after that? I've my birthday and my sister's to look forward to and a holiday but that is about it!

I've got this sudden fear that I'm actually going to have time by myself to think (overthink) about everything. Last summer was tough... I had just finished a stressful year at uni, my ex dumped me and I had little to no friends. If it wasn't for Nicole and Katie (And Jack) I would have had one of the worst summers ever! I pretty much spent 4 months home alone, trying to find things to do during the day but had zero motivation to actually do them. 

I'd spend hours in bed just staring at the ceiling, thinking about life, endlessly scrolling through Twitter and Facebook until my fingers cramped up. Crying over my break up, feeling miserable day in and day out. I spent hours exercising (literally 2/3 hours on my exercise bike non-stop) just to fill the day up and to keep my mind active, so I didn't overthink every little detail and put myself in a bad mood. 

I know a lot of students feel like this, especially once they graduate and they are left to fend for themselves. I am dreading that feeling and I am praying that I'll be able to find a job as soon as possible. I guess I get the same sort of feelings as graduates do. I long for a break, uni is so intense and there is always something going on. But when you have time to actually stop and think and to have a bit of 'me' time, it isn't always a good thing. You're so alone in your own thoughts and you don't know what to do with yourself. I know my sister felt like this as well throughout uni and when she graduated, so I know it is all normal, but it still doesn't make it easy. 

A lot of people say to me "Enjoy your summer, you finally have a break and nothing to worry about" but the thing is, I can't fully enjoy it. Yes, it is nice to not have any guilt for chilling on the sofa and watching a film but at the same time, your mind is so used to being active and on the go 24/7, that your whole body just crashes. Like a deflating ballon, slowly shrivelling up and losing all motivation (air) to go through another day of being home alone. This year I have been actively looking for work experience/Internships to fill up some time and to gain some experience and possibly earn money, so I am hoping that I get something. However, I still need a break... I am really struggling to find the balance. 

Last year was tough and the lonely days got the better of me, to the point where one day I just broke down and told my parents I needed to see the doctor about my mental health. I was so consumed by own thoughts that I just wanted to speak to someone different. Which brings me on to talking about how important Mental Health Awareness Week is. From today (8th May) until the 14th May, it is Mental Health Awareness Week. A week of spreading awareness, supporting each other, opening up to loved ones or someone you trust. Share your story and help other people to share theirs. Don't let your thoughts consume you like mine did. Make this your week to open up and get help, or to just talk to a friend and feel less alone. 

You're brave, you're not alone, you can beat this!
Speak up and get help!

Thursday, 6 April 2017


I constantly look at life in black and white. Success and failure. For some reason over time I've created this ideology of, if I have a good day then I have succeeded, but if I have a down day or something happens that was not part of the 'plan' I've failed. If I've had a bad day before I'll force myself to have a good day the next day. But life just does not work like that. You can't force yourself to feel a certain way. 

I need to start telling myself, that if a plan does not go the way I imagined I have not failed and the day has not been bad. When I get it into my head of how a day should pan out or if I look forward to going to an event but then have to cancel at the last minute, it feels like the world is ending. It feels like all the walls are crumbling down and I can't control anything. 

I don't know why I'm like this. I just build up a massive expectation in my head and if it does not compare to what I had imagined, then it ruins everything for me. You might think I'm exaggerating or I'm a drama queen... maybe I am?! I mentioned this on Twitter a few weeks ago and some others said they felt the same way so it's nice to know I'm not alone! 

I had a little cry this morning about life. I know many university students probably do this, so I know I'm not alone. I've gone from being busy 24/7 to now actually having time for myself. I was the exact same last year so I kind of knew it was going to happen again. I spend the whole year wishing I could just have some time to rest and not have to think about anything, but now I'm actually at this stage, all I want is to keep myself active (physically & mentally). 

I put way too much pressure on myself and feel the need to succeed in everything I do, which is good because I'm always working hard to succeed, but when I fail it feels like all of my hard work is wasted. I know this is normal, isn't it?! So why do I beat myself up so much? 

I need to start telling myself that it's ok to have a crappy day and those crappy days are a small amount amongst the millions of happy days I have! I basically wrote this post to just get everything off my chest, so sorry for the long ramble. But if there's one thing you can take from this is; it's ok not to be ok and you do not and will not succeed all the time. It does not mean you're failure in general, or at all. 

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

" I have bad Anxiety because..."

Fighting Anxiety on a daily basis is harder than you think. Everyone has the feeling of being anxious but it is when you differentiate the feeling of normal anxious emotions, to having an Anxiety disorder. It is normal to get the occasional anxious feeling every now and again in understandable situations for example, before an exam or public speaking! 

BUT... when you suffer with an Anxiety disorder whether that's general (GAD), social anxiety, agoraphobia or panic disorder (which in most cases comes with all types of Anxiety) it can be debilitating, crippling and you honestly feel like you are dying. I constantly see comments being thrown around on social media and TV saying "It's giving me anxiety", which can be understandable if someone actually has anxiety, but when it is used in a light hearted (ignorant) way for example, when you're watching a TV show and there's a tiny bit of suspense, you don't just magically get diagnosed with Anxiety.
Don't get me wrong, you do not have to be formally diagnosed to have Anxiety, I was only diagnosed last year but I have suffered with it for most of my life, having my first panic attack at around the age of 7. However, when people make comments about having Anxiety when they clearly do not have the illness (Yes, it is an actual illness, a chemical imbalance in the brain) it can be so frustrating for someone like me who has to fight the battle every day sometimes (the majority of the time) struggling to even leave the bed and get on with the day, after a sleepless night of having panic attack after panic attack. 

I was diagnosed with Anxiety (GAD/Social/Panic Disorder) and Depression July last year, so believe me when I say I STRUGGLE! 

Rich inspired me to write this post after he wrote a similar one about OCD >>> Read here! But I wanted to do something slightly different and get some other people involved... so here are some of mine and other Anxiety sufferers statements:

"I have bad Anxiety because..."

  • I can't leave the house without feeling like something bad is going to happen to me.
  • I can be up for the whole night having endless panic attacks, to the point Rich feels the need to call an ambulance. 
  • I can feel so lonely and isolated even when I'm surrounded by people I love.
  • I feel like the whole world is closing in on me whenever I'm in a situation I can't control.
  • I have to go outside to get air and to calm down on nights out because I don't like being in a crowded place, especially when intoxicated. 
  • I feel so disconnected from everyone... I feel alienated.
  • I can feel anxious to the point I feel physically sick, but when someone asks why, the words just don't come out. 
  • I immediately become paranoid when I see a tweet and think it's about me, even though I haven't even mentioned what they're tweeting about. 
  • I can't remember the last time I've gone through a day without a panic attack or feeling anxious. 
  • I feel like I have a herd of elephants standing on my chest stopping me from breathing.
  • I feel like I'm in a constant nightmare, where I am running and shouting but I'm not moving anywhere and the words are not coming out. 
  • I have the constant battle between wanting to do well in life and not caring at all, but when I don't care I start falling behind and failing, resulting in my anxiety getting worse. 
  • I want to socialise but it's like someone has chained my feet down so I can't move and my voice in non-existent. 
  • I constantly go over past conversations either from the day or 10 years ago just to check whether I said anything I shouldn't have said. 
  • I immediately want the ground to swallow me up whenever I walk into a room and hear people laughing, because I immediately think they're talking about me.
I could honestly go on forever, but this gives you some idea of what I (and many others) have to go through on a daily basis! Now for some other people's statements:

Others who wanted to stay anonymous: 

Since being officially diagnosed with Anxiety and Depression it has been one ol' struggle! Both illnesses run in my family so I've literally grown up with it. It takes over your life however, you can get help, see your GP, talk to a loved one... do anything you can do to ease it! 
I was kindly sent this book by the author  to help with my Anxiety. "The Anxiety Solution" is all about Chloe's experiences with Anxiety and how she overcame the illness. The book includes different techniques to help manage your Anxiety and to hopefully overcome it, including meditation tips, a self-care diary and breathing techniques. I am yet to start reading this (thanks to endless amounts of uni work) but from what I've heard, it sounds like it's going to help me a lot! 

If you struggle with Anxiety and need a little bit of self help, then I strongly urge you to go and purchase this book! Links listed below of where you can find it:


Sorry for this long rambling post but I hope it helped you to understand the difference between feeling anxious and having anxiety!

Thank you to everyone who contributed to this post, I hope you're all doing ok and kicking Anxiety's ass! Love you all x

*Thank you to Chloe for sending your book, I can't wait to get time to properly read it!

Sunday, 29 January 2017

My Little Noggin

I am so grateful for having the chance to live my life, think for myself and be who I want to be, but with anxiety and depression looming over me this can be much more of a task. I've had anxiety for as long as I can remember, from being a little 6 (ish) year old having her first ever panic attack, to now going through everyday battling and fighting on. Anxiety can take over your life. Every single little thing you do can cause some sort of fear and panic. A lot of people brush anxiety under the carpet... panic attacks are apparently just hyperventilating and shaking... oh how this is soooo wrong! Panic attacks come in all shapes and sizes and affect people in different ways. I've had the kind of panic attacks where I hyperventilate to the point of exhaustion and I collapse, to ones where I feel like I physically cannot move, but I'm not shaking or breathing uncontrollably. I could be having a panic attack and no one would ever know! 
Unfortunately, Rich has only seen the kind of panic attacks where you can physically see I am not ok and he's yet to experience all the others I could have. Nevertheless, he has been my rock these past few months, university has really taken its toll and I've become mentally and physically ill and exhausted; I've pushed myself to breaking point. He stays up with me pretty much every night when I feel panicky or when I have a full blown panic attack. But as nice as this is, my anxiety and overthinking takes over and I begin to doubt everything. Can he handle it all? Am I a nuisance? Does he still love me the same way he did at the beginning of our relationship? Is he going to break up with me? 

My little noggin has a lot of thoughts spiralling around 24/7. Anxiety and depression never stops! Recently, in particular I've really struggled with relationships and friendships. I am constantly doubting myself and questioning every little detail possible; it is mentally and physically exhausting. I've recently heard a lot of people say "Anxiety does not physically affect you, it's all in your head", Yes, it is a chemical imbalance in the brain that is causing it, but that does not mean I can just switch it off and ignore it. It is physically debilitating to the point it can affect my every day life. I've had quite a lot of time off of uni this year due to exhaustion and mental health. I've had nights where Rich has been up with me all night whilst I have a panic attack, and I wake up the next morning without any physical or mental energy to get out of bed and go to uni. To make matters worse, when I do have time off uni, I can't just relax and recover... I'm sitting in bed literally crying and panicking whilst tackling the mountain of work in front of me. It has got to the point sometimes where Rich literally has to tell me to stop because he can see it's affecting my health! 

Which brings me on to my next point. The 'help' at uni for mental health is dire! I do not need a 'Positive Thinking' workshop to 'get over' my anxiety and depression. When is the education system going to take things seriously and treat mental health the same way as physical health? Students who battle with mental health alongside the 'normal' stress of uni, need all the help they can get otherwise it all gets too much! 

I feel like sometimes because I have the most common mental illnesses, I'm not taken as seriously. I'm just following the crowd according to some people. Yes, there are millions of other mental illnesses out there that need the same, if not more recognition and understanding but can some people stop bashing people who are really struggling with anxiety and depression, just because they have a 'common' illness. 
I don't really know where this post is going but I just wanted to chuck a few of my thoughts down... 

People need to stop classing anxiety and depression as the 'norm' and treat it the same as any other mental illness. 

People need to realise that having anxiety and depression does take over your life physically and it is NOT all in my head! 

The education system really need to up their bloody game and help us mentally ill students out! 

People need to understand that anxiety is not just panic attacks, it's self doubt, doubting relationships, questioning everything you do and say, feeling uncomfortable in situations and having a panic attack without any one knowing... the list goes on! 

I'm at the stage where I feel I'm back to square one with my mental health, mainly due to the pressure from university. BUT I know that I will get better, I will push on and my little noggin will be less cloudy one day! 

Thank you for all the continued support on Twitter and on here! You are all lovely humans who I have the privilege to call my friends :) Feel free to share your views and your stories in the comments below! I'd love to find out what you all think <3 

Soph x

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

What Now?!

Over these past few months since everything went tits up shall we say, I have had one question going around and around in my head... WHAT NOW?! My relationship made me so happy and I finally felt like life had sorted itself out; but clearly I'm not allowed to be happy for longer than a few months. Obviously, it wasn't just my relationship that made me happy, but it did play a massive factor in it all and it helped me get through the last stretch of uni. 

As you know, I've recently been diagnosed with Anxiety and Depression and I have been battling with that. I am not going into detail but that is why I have been MIA on here... if you want to know more about that then read my previous post.

I go back to uni in less than month and I'm kind of looking forward to getting back into that, so I'm always busy. That's my problem... since I've finished uni I've had SO much free time! I've been off since May so finding something to keep me busy has been a struggle. I have had no motivation, inspiration or a want to blog. I really really hated it for a while... I would pour my heart and soul into a post and get absolutely nothing back (compared to other people). I've started to focus on my health and fitness by watching what I eat and exercising more. I want to get back to a state of mind where I feel at least 90% happy all the time. 

I have no idea where this post is getting at...

So... WHAT NOW! 

My relationship ended and I've been single for 4/5 months now; I feel stupid for not being fully over it yet but I guess everyone takes different lengths of time to get over things... how do I get back out there? 

I'm going back to uni... I'm starting another year... will I find it as bad as first year or will I be ok?

My mental health is stable but I'm not actually doing anything to help change it... will I ever be 'me' again?!

And as for my blog... where is it going from here?! I'm so bored of it now... what do I do?

I feel like I've just lost all purpose sometimes... I feel like I'm stuck, like I can't do anything. Like I have lost all ability to function and someone has just plonked me down somewhere and I keep thinking; what now?!

My blog is up for an award and I'm working with some massive companies, so it seems a but stupid to just give up now and never come back. I will be posting as an when I feel like I want to, but I'm not going to be uploading weekly like I used to and that is ok! I don't want every post I do to be a 'Life Update' or some half arsed post with absolutely no purpose to it... I have a post planned for after this one and I'm going to try my best to make it an interesting read. 

I just want to say thank you again for the continuous support! Hopefully I can begin to stop thinking, What now?!

Just bear with me people...

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Taking A Break || Life Update

The past month or so has been a bit up in the air for me (quite literally)! I've gone on two holidays to Ibiza; one with my friends and then a few days after, one with my parents. This was my first ever holiday with friends and it was one of the best things I have ever done so far in my life! We are certainly not the type to go out clubbing every night... that would literally be my idea of hell. However, this doesn't mean we did not get drunk and have a good time... I mean, c'mon this is me we're talking about... I will always have some sort of alcoholic beverage in my hand haha! 

Most nights ended in my friends and I having some sort of drunken emotional breakdown/conversation (as well as laughing till I cry at a sticker... don't ask); thanks to the large measurements of vodka the hotel barmen decided to give us. This is when I realised, I wasn't just being emotional about my breakup with my ex and general life stuff, I was generally feeling 'mentally unwell' and yeah the vodka did not help haha! 
When I got back from my first trip to Ibiza I managed to 'open up' to my parents and sister about how I was really feeling. Coming from a family who have suffered with anxiety and depression before, I knew something wasn't quite right with me. I'm usually the 'happy one' in my family so to tell them I wasn't feeling truly happy was quite an ordeal for me. My mum had sort of guessed something wasn't right for a while because she would constantly ask if I was ok because I wasn't being my usual self and I was being quiet all the time. 

The next day (the day before I went to Ibiza again) I went to see the doctor to get some sort of 'confirmation' about how I was feeling. Deep down I already knew I had anxiety and depression purely for the fact I had to grow up with my dad and sister having it, so this was just for me to have peace of mind knowing what was wrong with me and how I can find ways to somewhat overcome it. I had struggled for a few months now to find the motivation to even get out of bed in the mornings; which if you know me, is easy to believe because I LOVE my bed however, I was spending an unhealthy amount of time in it just over thinking everything! I have completely lost interest in most things... people say "Take your mind off of it, just read a book" but believe me, it is not that easy. You can't concentrate on anything at all... let alone reading a hundreds of words on hundreds of pages! 

I decided to write a list/letter of things that I was feeling, which I then gave to the doctor to read because I am useless at explaining how I feel. She read it and then asked me to elaborate on a few points, then gave me a little 'depression/anxiety' questionnaire to do, in which I had to score out of 5 (5 being the worst/highest) according to the statements being asked. I scored quite high on that which concluded, I was right, I do have anxiety and depression. The next step was to find out how to deal with it. I knew a few methods already because of my family having to deal with it themselves in the past... so I knew I had good support. 
The hardest thing for me was finding what 'triggered' all of this. I don't think it's down to one particular thing but I have a few things in mind that might have contributed to it. If you have read my blog this past year or two, you would've known how much I struggled with my first year of uni. I won't go into that now because you're probably all bored of hearing about it haha! Then in April my first 'proper' boyfriend and I broke up; he was the first person who made me feel like I meant something and he meant a lot to me... so I have been accepting that and trying to get over him. I then started YouTube and got really into that and my blog was finally getting somewhere after years of working on it... I'm up for an award in the Beauty Blogger Awards, which you can still vote in (use the button on the end of this post).

Things were starting to get a bit better; but what I think truly happened was that I was 'hiding' behind my YouTube and blog. I wasn't being 'me'. I was using that to take my mind off of how I really felt. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing because I kept my mind active but you shouldn't hide away and shut your feelings off, because that's when you bottle it all up like I did and one day it was explode out!

I went to the doctor again on Friday and we just had a general chat and update about how I felt. She is one of the most supportive doctors I have ever met in my life. At my doctors, you only get a 10 minute slot however, she would let me be in there for 20-30 minutes each time and she wouldn't let me leave until she felt I had opened up about everything. She is letting me 'use her' as a counsellor so I don't have to go on one of those massive waiting lists and I won't have to open up again to another person. She is letting me go back to her whenever I feel like I need to talk to someone who isn't my friend or a family member. She can give me a medical point of view... which I like because I feel it explains it more for me. 
As you may have noticed, I have been a bit MIA on my blog and YouTube... I'm not putting any pressure on myself to upload every week on both platforms because even though I have the time... I don't have the motivation and quite frankly I'm not enjoying many things at the moment. I just wanted to do this post to explain why I am not being 'me', why I might miss a few uploads here and there... why I might be a little paranoid bitch on Twitter haha! But bear with me; I need this break and all I want is to not have the pressure of uploading every week because I think that's what is making me not enjoy as much anymore. 

I hope this is ok and you don't all unsubscribe and unfollow and that you stick by me even in my 'meh' times! 
Thank you to all of you on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat for all of the support and love you have been giving me... you have no idea how much it means to me, especially when I'm feeling like this. At the moment, I have no idea why but I feel like everyone secretly hates me on Twitter and any shady tweet is about me so this kind of reassurance is what I need haha! 
I love you allllll <3
I don't know when I'll be uploading next but I'll see you when I see you ;) 

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Why it's ok not to be ok...

Recently I have been feeling a bit 'overwhelmed' with life... and I know that it is going to get harder as I grow up. I worry about things A LOT and I can get easily stressed, so sometimes I need to take a step back and 'get my life back on track'. Most of you, if not all of you reading this, will have some sort of worry at the moment, if you don't then that is fine as well! 

I am in my last year of school and in September I will (hopefully) be going to Uni to study advertising and marketing. This is all new to me and at the moment I don't know how I feel about this big change, but what I do know is that I am going to be ok, and in a few months time after I start Uni, I'll be questioning why I worried so much! 

If you are worried, stressed, upset, confused about absolutely anything, just remember that you are only human and "If it's not ok, then it's not the end". Life is an amazing thing but sometimes it can get a bit much... take a step back, weigh out the positives and negatives and find the thing that is making you feel a certain way. Once you find the problem, then you can begin to solve it... which I know sounds easier said then done... BUT it is doable <3

I highly recommend talking to someone about how you are feeling, whether that's someone in your family, a friend you can trust, a teacher, colleague... ANY ONE! Opening up about how you feel does help... even if you find it hard to open up completely, maybe try to just tell someone that you are feeling a certain way, just so they know and they can be there for you. The last thing you want (well the last thing I want) is to feel alone and isolated! However, sometimes the solution to your problems, is to be alone and have some 'me time'... this gives you time to think for yourself and to be able to get yourself back on track. 

We unfortunately need to go through s*** in our lives, in order to be prepared for the future. One thing I will always remember when watching one of Zoe Sugg's videos, () is when she was talking about her anxiety, she mentioned; whenever she was feeling panicky or anxious, she would say to herself, "It's ok that I am feeling like this." ... this made me realise that it was ok not to be ok and I was obviously feeling a certain way because this is how my mind and body wanted to react. 

We have to listen to ourselves and pride ourselves over other people sometimes. You are not weak because you are having panic attacks, or you are self harming etc ... this is a sign that you have been strong for too long, without a break! "Crying doesn't indicate that you're weak. Since birth, it has always been a sign that you're alive." In the words of one of my bestest/strongest/kindest/loveliest friends (You know who you are) Life goes on.... You can either sit back and not enjoy it, while it goes on without you, or you can pick yourself up and enjoy life <3 

Let yourself be happy, don't put yourself through more stress and sadness, you don't deserve it. You need to remember and understand that we are all human and you are not perfect.... no one is.... there is no such thing as perfection. (Yes, I know that probably makes me sound realllyyyy hypocritical because of my blog name but no one is perfect... even petals haha) What even is the true definition of perfection?! No one knows.... 

All I really want to say is... remember that you are not alone and positive times are coming, even on your cloudiest days <3 

"Don't cloud your mind with negativity - with positivity comes sunshine!" 

"Don't worry about the future, be excited!" 

"The first and most important person you must believe in is yourself!" 

"Sometimes good things fall apart, so better things can fall together!" 

"If you can dream it, you can do it!" 

I love every single one of you reading this... you are all lovely, kind, strong people and you all make me so happy <3 

I also wrote a post about exam stress last year... I hope that this can help some of you.... also leave comments below to help each other/anyone reading this post... share it and remember that it's ok not to be ok <3 

Saturday, 10 May 2014

EXAM STRESS: Tips to relax and relieve stress!

As it is the time of year when you have a million exams and coursework hand ins, you are most likely going to become increasingly stressed. Being stressed is a natural thing and no one should worry or feel like they are not normal if they get stressed.

However, it is when stress is taking over your life and stopping you from doing things you love the most, when you need to take a step back and think about things. When I was doing my GCSEs this time last year, the main thoughts I had in my head were;
"What will happen if I don't pass?!" "I will completely screw my life up" "How am I going to find the time to revise for 14 serious exams?!"

All of these horrible thoughts were going through my mind! When in reality, I was making myself more stressed because I was worrying non-stop!
One key tip that I think is vital to becoming less stressed or not stressed at all is; "If you do the work you are stressing about, then you will become less stressed." Also; "Use the time when your stressing to actually do the work you are stressing about!" You can argue that this is easier said then done... but to me, that saying is just an excuse. Everything is going to be hard work before you actually do it... the only thing that is holding you back from doing anything is psychological thoughts like ... "What if!?..."

You need to train your brain into banishing these psychological thoughts and helping yourself overcome these barriers and stress.
It is also vital to take time out of work and revision and give yourself a break. If you are constantly doing revision, then you're not going to benefit from it at all. You need to give your mind a rest in order for it to maintain the knowledge and facts you need for your exams. It's like your mind is in a marathon, if you do not have a little rest from running, then you are going to just get out of breath and pass out, that is the exact same for your brain regarding revision. I know that one thought that goes through my mind at all times when I have exams to revise for is... "I should be doing work, not relaxing!" You begin to feel guilty if you are not looking at a text book and relaxing instead... but then you have to think to yourself... "I am only human and when I think I need a rest.. I need a bloody rest!" It's your bodies way of saying... you need a rest! 

So follow some of my tips to relax yourself and relieve yourself from stress... think about the exams after.. just clear your mind and relax :)

My tips to relax and relieve stress:
  • Have a bubble bath with candles and soft, quiet music... maybe even pamper yourself with a face mask!
  • Relaxed breathing: when you begin to feel stressed, your chest will start to feel tight and it will feel like you can't breathe at all. This could be signs of a panic attack, so you need to treat these signs immediately in order to reduce the risk of a panic attack! It is really simple, JUST BREATHE! Get comfortable, sit up, close your eye and breathe deeply in and out at a slow and steady pace. Concentrate on your breathing. 
  • Be active: If you are feeling stressed exercise can help. You don't have to do a marathon, just simply go for a nice slow walk outside... clear your mind and just walk. You'll be surprised how much this actually helps! 
  • Self empower: Take control of your thinking! Do not let your passive thinking take over your life... Think less of "I can't do it" and think more of "I can do it, it may take some effort but I can!" 
  • Share your problems: Talking to people helps. Literally talk to anyone you feel comfortable with... unload your problems.... a problem shared is a problem solved.
  • Eat healthily: A happy healthy mind will do some happy thinking!
  • Lastly, BE POSITIVE! Just smile and soon enough you will see the light at the end of the tunnel! 
I really hope this has helped in any way! Stress is a horrible thing, which everyone experiences, so you are not alone and there is always light at the end of the tunnel! KEEP SMILING, BE HAPPY AND LIVE THE ADVENTURE OF LIFE! 
:) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) 
Older Posts Home