How To Be A Good Friend To Someone Suffering With Mental Illness

 

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As someone who has suffered with Depression, Anxiety and OCD, I feel like I can safely say this has led to some detachment, from my friends over the years. Especially when things were really tough for me. Getting ready to go out whilst suffering with depression, and feeling as if I had no energy for the smallest of things. Pair that with the added struggle of it taking me hours to get ready due to my OCD, it was just all too much. Too much to do the normal things and also too much to do the fun things, for example go out with friends like a normal teenager/ young adult would have. So what did I do? I just stopped. I stopped saying yes to things and I detached myself from people. Unfortunately at the age I was I felt not many people understood what I was going through, but that feeling is something everyone going through a hard time can experience at any age.

Can I really blame people for giving up on me when I’d said no to going out again and AGAIN. I understand how frustrating it must feel to constantly be trying with someone who doesn’t seem to want to do anything especially if they don’t explain and you don’t understand. At the same time that person needs someone more than ever even if they push you away and only want you from a far. So I thought I would try to write a list of a few things, that I think are good ideas to help you feel as if you are being a good friend to someone you may know is struggling.  You can feel so useless when its a matter of the mind, no plaster, tablet or trip to the doctors is going to fix it. That doesn’t mean there aren’t things that can be done to make that person feel loved and supported, it’s just a little trickier. This can also relate to family and partners to.

 ♥ Talk to them. Let them know that you are always there to talk to and you’re not just saying it. Check in on them if you’ve not heard from them or they’ve gone quiet and you know they’re going through some stuff. This will let them know that there not a burden and you really do care and want to listen. It sounds obvious but sometimes they won’t come to you, from fear that you won’t understand or you’ll be dragged down with their problems.

♥  Invite them places but don’t be too pushy. Don’t just give up on them after they’ve said no. Try to understand where they’re coming from, and even ask whats making them not want to go out. Ask if there is anything that they would be comfortable doing if it’s not the thing you’ve suggested. I know it may feel pointless but still inviting them out even if you are expecting a no shows you’re still here when they’re ready. Perhaps they don’t want to go to that party or group event but would prefer a smaller social setting with just you and them. Keep trying but give them space too, find the balance of caring but not making them feel forced.

 ♥  So they don’t want to go out? Suggest a cosy night in, in your favourite comfies with films, face masks and comfort food. That kind of evening doesn’t require much energy or preparation and is the perfect time for you both to vent to each other and have a laugh.

♥  Confide in them about your own personal struggles if you have any that relate. Just hearing someone around you has had similar struggles, thoughts and feelings can be such a comfort when you feel alone.

♥  Talk to them about getting help if they aren’t. If you think your friend is suffering with a mental health problem, and they’re not talking to anyone about it or receiving help, you should encourage them to. If you also think that person is in danger of hurting themselves or isn’t able to see they need it desperately, it’s best to confide in someone close to them like a parent or teacher.

♥  Let them know you’re thinking of them by popping round their house spontaneously, you could even take some flowers as a little pick me up. A lovely thing I recently came across is something called a buddy box, you can send them to someone who’s going through a rough time or even buy them for yourself. There full of little cute and comforting things, which they call a hug in a box. You can find out more about that here (https://www.blurtitout.org/). Sometimes when your feeling low and happiness seems a distant memory a little thing like that can mean so much. Even if it’s just for a moment, they will feel so grateful and happy to have you in their life.

♥  Send them a positive quote, I love a good quote and they’re everywhere on the internet. It sounds cheesy I know, but I could really relate to some of them when I was struggling. It can help you see things in a positive light for a change and give someone a different way of thinking about their situation.

At the end of the day you aren’t that persons carer and they don’t expect you to dedicate all your time and self to making them better. Only they can do that. I think some of these are a lovely way to make a gesture to show your there for them in that time of need.

 Keep smiling,

Anna

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Update: Where Have I Been?

Why hello there my lovely readers, long time no blog post, its been far too long!

This blog post is simply going to be a little update of whats gone on since I last wrote and also explaining a little bit about whats going on with me and why I haven’t been around! Since my last blog post I turned 21, so its official  I am a legal adult in every country. I had a lovely Birthday where I felt extremely spoilt, loved and grateful to have such amazing family around me. I received so many amazing gifts and went for my first ever wagamama’s which I can confirm lived up to its hype. The famous katsu curry was delicious and the katsu banana with salted caramel ice-cream pudding was perfection to say the least. Not only that I then got taken out again, this time for afternoon tea for the first time, with my mum.

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So why haven’t I written a blog post in so long? I think that’s due to a number of things, let me try to explain the best I can without giving away too many personal details. I hadn’t realized until recently how disconnected I had become to everything around me and it’s hit me hard realizing what I’ve become like. I’ve become self-destructive, lazy, depressive and someone I don’t like very much, a tired, negative and depressed girl who stopped taking care of herself. I’ve been in my own little world and not a positive one. I became uninterested in blogging and most other things around me. Blogging has been one extremely positive thing I’ve kept going until recently and I miss it. I miss channeling my creative thoughts, communicating within the blogging community and doing something I enjoy, but temporarily forgot I did. I want to better myself now and return to reality as I feel like I’ve been running away from my problems, saying I’m trying, saying tomorrow or next week or next month I will try to sort my self out, when in reality for the last 5 years I’ve been saying the exact same thing.

Instead of my OCD being the problem or my anxiety, I had just become self-destructive in many areas of my life that I hadn’t noticed until recently when it’s all hit me and I’ve had some home truths from people around me. Even writing this post I can feel my eyes filling with tears because I feel like I’ve been so lost and still am but finally realizing this and taking steps to better myself. Its upsetting me realizing how vacant I’ve been, living a life that is mainly on my computer and slowly self-destructing and losing my self-worth on a downward spiral. Its like I stopped caring about looking after myself.

I suppose we all lose ourselves sometimes and until we realize we have, we can’t change. If you are feeling lost in life like me, please know that you are not alone and you can and will find yourself just like I will soon. No more negativity, I can and will find myself this time, as can you, you just have to believe. I’ve stopped brushing everything that’s wrong with my life under the carpet now, and if you know you’re struggling you have to as well. Just know that it may hurt and be hard to deal with thinking about, accepting and acknowledging these problems you’re facing and changes you need to make but once you’ve done that you can finally start to heal and take steps to change just as I am. If anyone is struggling and feeling lost always feel free to contact me via my Tumblr ask box – anonymous or not, my Facebook Page or my twitter, all links will be below. Your not alone, I am here for you and will support you.

I’m ready to start making changes now, are you?

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I’m back ready to blog, I don’t know if anyone actually noticed I was gone but I want to thank any of my followers and new followers who have stuck around even though I have failed to write recently.

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Stay strong,

Anna

A Letter To Myself | Weight Loss

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If you have followed my blog for a while now, you will know I have done a couple of blog posts I call ‘Letters To Myself’. You can read these in the links just below, to familiarize yourself with the concept, as this one will be very similar:

A Letter To My Younger Self

A Letter To Yourself For When You’re Struggling

I have wanted to lose weight for a long time now, to make myself happy and gain confidence. I really struggle with cravings for naughty foods and tend to binge eat. I lost 3 stone so I know I can do it, it’s just sticking to it. Which is when I came up with this idea incorporating my ‘Letter To My Self’ blog posts. I am going to write a short ‘letter’ to myself for when I am desperately craving foods I know I shouldn’t have or when I feel like going on a binge.

 When your mind is telling you, you REALLY want that piece of cake, that burger or take away its hard to take control and say NO. It feels like there’s a magnetic force pulling you towards the foods you know you shouldn’t eat. I think during those moments you lose sight of all the reasons why you want to lose weight, having that cake seems like a better idea, until afterwards. This is something you reading this can do to, write it down or type it out and print it off, to read when your on the verge of breaking your healthy eating plan. Reading a letter you yourself have written when in a positive mind set is the perfect reminder you need. This is your very own personal letter containing all those reasons you want achieve your weight loss goal, its not a quote or picture off the internet.


 Dear Me,

Let me guess you’re craving multiple bars of chocolate, cakes, sweets, sugary drinks and fatty foods? well let me remind you why you don’t want to give into these feelings.

♥ Cravings will pass. I know it feels like torture not to allow yourself to have something you really want to eat, but that feeling will pass. Wait an hour or two before you give in to these cravings and impulses, it may have been and gone by then. If you really can’t resist picking on something, choose a healthier option such as, apple or banana with peanut butter or a healthy cereal bar. Have one thing only, you know more than one of something is excessive and these are the habits you know you want to break.

 ♥ Remember why you want to lose weight. You know you need to do this for yourself, you want this so bad. Think of the confidence you will gain and think of all the things your weight stops you doing, because of your lack of confidence. Imagine walking into a room and not instantly thinking ‘I bet people think I’m fat’, but feeling good instead.

♥ Imagine going shopping for clothes and not getting into the changing room and feeling upset at the sight of yourself. Imagine all the clothes you could buy and feel amazing in, no restrictions on styles of things you think will suit your body shape, just pick anything you like and try it on with no qualms.

♥ Not only will you look good, you will feel good. Imagine how much lighter and healthier you will feel.

♥ This time next week, month or even year, where do you want to be? Will that naughty food or multiple chocolate bars be worth it? Or will loosing another pound, another half a stone or being at your goal be 100x more worth it. I think you know the answer. A month or year down the line, don’t let yourself be wishing you had kept going and wondering how far you could have come by now. Do it and you’ll see.

♥ Only you can make it happen, why dream about how amazing it would feel to lose weight, when you can make that dream come true!

♥ That work out you are dreading is going to get you where you want to be  faster, make you fitter and its only one hour out of your whole day.

Love from,

postive you x


Let me know in the comments if you plan on doing this or if you think its a good idea?

Anna

5 Tips For Anxious Minds & Panic Attacks

Today’s blog post will hopefully help some of you who suffer with severe anxiety or panic attacks. If you don’t suffer with those above things, this may be something to remember in case you ever find yourself in the situation, where you need to calm yourself down or someone close to you. The terrible thing about panic attacks is that there is no quick fix solution, no one can say ‘just calm down’, ‘do this or that’ and you will feel instantly better, unfortunately that’s not going to happen. What you can do is find ways to cope through a panic attack until you come out the other side and to try ease the symptoms. Never feel alone or embarrassed about having anxiety or a panic attack, it can happen to anyone.

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Anxiety and panic attacks have so many symptoms and they can appear different for different people from mild to severe. Here are some of the main symptoms…

♥ Intense overwhelming feeling of panic, fear, dread and anxiety.

♥ Feeling sick

♥ An uneasy churning feeling in your stomach

♥ Heart palpitations (racing very fast heart beat)

♥ Difficulty catching breath, fast breathing, shortness of breath, tightness of chest.

♥ Ringing in ears

♥ Hot flushes and chills

♥ Shaking

♥ Feeling of loosing control or going ‘crazy’

♥ Feeling faint or dizzy

♥ Pins and needles

♥ Sweating

♥ The need to remove yourself from your current surroundings

Here are some ways I think can help you through a panic attack and calm you down..

1. Take some time alone with yourself. If you’re the kind of person who wants to be alone and escape from the situation you’re in then do it. Take a second out to gather your thoughts and compose yourself.. Forget about what people might think etc, if it helps you to calm down that’s all that matter. You might recover faster and be able to return back to the situation calmer, if not that’s okay you win some you loose some. It’s okay to say ‘I’m feeling very anxious, I’m going to take a second on my own, please nobody fuss over me’ you’re human, do what you need to do to help yourself, don’t worry about everyone else, taking yourself away for a second means you may be able to calm yourself down without feeling self conscious of others watching you and being fussed over by them.

2. Take headphones in your bag and when things get too much on a train, bus, walking, in a car where ever it may be, put those headphones in and shut out the world. Play relaxing, soothing music or sounds. There is a great app called ‘Calm’ where you can pick a live, realistic scenery with sounds and music to go along with it. Focus on that scenery and the sounds, imagine you’re here, Ignore your racing thoughts and bring your mind back to the scenery and sounds on your phone.

3. Slow your breathing down. I know this is hard when your heart is racing and the panic is building up inside you making you breathe faster, but take control and breathe in and out slowly. Holding your breathes in and slowly breathing out. Another brilliant app for this is ‘Relax Lite’ the free version has a breathing counter, where you can focus on your breathing and watch a little pie chart telling you how long to hold and release your breaths and how often. You can even change the settings if the timings set aren’t right for your breathing. Forget how fast your hearts beating and focus on how much slower you can get it, don’t rush, slow everything down.

4. Take a second to take in your surroundings WITHOUT using your thoughts. Use your 5 senses, eyes, touch, smell,  taste and listening. Look around you, where are you? is there any real danger in front of you? or is your brains fight or flight responses miss firing again. No matter how scared your brain is telling you are and how scared you feel, is there danger in front of you? don’t let your brain tell you you’re in danger if you’re not. Your eyes won’t lie to you, if there’s no danger you see, your brain is miss firing. Touch something and focus on what it feels like, smell a sweet lip balm you have and focus on what it smells like and reminds you of, anything along those lines. If you’re at home light a candle and watch the flame flicker, notice the smoky smell, the warmth and how it moves. Have a warm bath, shut your eyes and focus on the feel of the water against your skin, the smell of the bubbles and the sound and warmth of the water. When your brain sends you tons of thoughts, let go  and refocus on your senses.

5. Remember you’re ok, no matter how frightened you feel during the mist of anxiety and panic. It will pass, emotions can’t last forever. Your body and brain is simply trying to keep you safe by triggering your fight or flight response, our brains can do this when there is no danger. It’s just a chemical reaction within our body’s and brains, it can’t hurt us, it can make us feel temporarily terrified but that’s all. The less fearful of what you’re feeling you are, the calmer you will become and the quicker the emotions will leave. Fearing it will undoubtedly bring more fear. Out logic your brain, you know your gong to be ok, thank your brain and body for keeping you safe when it’s not even needed.

 Don’t get frustrated with yourself. I know sometimes you feel angry about what you’re feeling because there is no reason to be feeling scared, frustration will raise your heart beat even more and stress you out. It’s okay to not know why you’re panicking, don’t try to work out why you are, think less and breathe deeper, when all those rushing thoughts pop into your head ‘why am I panicking’ ‘your stupid’ ‘this or that might happen’ ‘people will think I’m weird’ etc, ignore them, don’t entertain them this will only make them stronger and raise your anxiety levels, notice them, let go of them, refocus on breathing or any of the above steps. Being able to try to control your panic and anxiety won’t happen over night, practice makes perfect. I hope this helps someone even a little bit.

 If you have any good tips for panic attack and anxiety sufferers, leave them in the comments, lets help each other!

Stay strong,

Anna

 

 

 

A Letter To Yourself For When You’re Struggling

A while ago now I wrote a blog post on if I could write a letter to my younger self what I would tell young me from what I’ve experienced so far, you can read that HERE. It lead me to this similar idea that may be helpful for when you struggling. You can write a letter when you’re happy for when you are next down in the dumps e.g depressions getting you down, anxiety bad or OCD is being a pain, whatever the reason as a reminder that these feelings can pass and it’s not as bad as it feels right now, to give you hope when you’re lacking it. Little tips of things you’ve learnt/ know how to deal with but in that moment find hard to remember and turn to.

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Dear Me,

I take it you’re having a tough time as you’re reading this letter. As you are writing this you are feeling quite positive, you’re OCD isn’t that bad and you have been dealing with it really well. You’ve been succeeding in not seeking reassurance so much and that’s a really big step for you. I know you’re probably feeling like crap but what you’re feeling will pass. I mean those feelings aren’t that bad for you right now as you type this which means they can pass again. Remember everything you learnt at therapy and remember no matter how scary OCD is being, it’s just the disorder and you know how to beat it.

♥ Remember anxiety and panic can’t hurt you, it feels awful but it’s just a chemical reaction in your body. Try to stay calm and If you can’t it will pass, you’re not losing control, your panicking.

♥ Remember Anna ‘the more you think, the deeper you sink’ – Sharon Davies from The OCD Treatment Centre. You can ruminate about that scary, uncomfortable OCD thought you just had but you’re only going to make yourself feel worse, feed OCD and never come to an answer on whether that’s your true self speaking or if it was just a random OCD thought. You cannot think yourself into inner peace, inner peace comes through living in the moment.

♥Remember to practice Mindfulness, to calm you down when the anxiety is too much.

♥Remember there is no such thing as the thought police, there is nothing wrong with the thoughts themselves, it’s the belief you have attached to the thoughts. E.g certain thoughts mean you’re a bad person, if you don’t do such and such something bad will happen.

♥ Any compulsion you feel compelled to do relating to your OCD’s topic, ignore, it WILL be OCD. No what if’s, buts or maybe’s it will be. Any thought that makes you feel anxious relating to your OCD topic, will also be OCD, no ‘what if this time it isn’t OCD’ that is OCD speaking. A thought, followed by anxiety, followed by feeling the need to do something a certain way, seek reassurance or ruminate WILL be OCD.

Remember everything you’ve been taught and try to teach everyone else,  you can get through this.

Love from,

Positive and  currently at peace, You.

Feel Good Friday: You’re Exactly Where You’re Mean’t To Be

I want to start this blog post by apologizing for not writing a Feel Good Friday blog post for a while now. My OCD has been getting in the way of my blogging but I am back, not that anyone probably noticed there had been a shortage of blog posts (haha).

Today’s blog post is going to be about something I read on Tumblr a while ago, that really made me think. You know when you’re stuck in traffic, behind a slow car, in a que, late for something, missed your bus these are just examples of annoying and frustrating things that happen from day-to-day, the list could go on. I am here to tell you why these frustrating things are ok and why they could end up being positive, because you were exactly where you were supposed to be at that moment in time.

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Here is the eye-opening quote I found on Tumblr..

The head of a company survived 9/11 because
His son started kindergarten.

Another fellow was alive because it was
His turn to bring donuts.

One woman was late because her
Alarm clock didn’t go off in time.

One was late because of being stuck on the NJ Turnpike
Because of an auto accident.

One of them
Missed his bus.

One spilled food on her clothes and had to take
Time to change.

One’s
Car wouldn’t start.

One couldn’t
Get a taxi.

The one that struck me was the man
Who put on a new pair of shoes that morning,
Took the various means to get to work but before.
He got there, he developed a blister on his foot.
He stopped at a drugstore to buy a Band-Aid.
That is why he is alive today..

Now when I am
Stuck in traffic,
Miss an elevator,
Turn back to answer a ringing telephone…
All the little things that annoy me,
I think to myself,

This is exactly where
I’m meant to be
At this very moment.

Try to remember this when little things happen and you can feel that frustration bubbling up inside you and let it go.

Happy Friday beautiful people,

Anna

6 Useful Things To Remember During Recovery

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When I talk about ‘Recovery’ I’m on about the process one goes through when trying to ‘recover’ from a mental illness. I wrote a blog post a while back now about my thoughts on what recovery is which you can read HERE. During recovery there are going to many times when you feel like your slipping back or are struggling, it’s not going to be a pain sailing journey. I thought I’d write a few bullet points of things I think its important to remember, do or tell yourself during recovery.

Remember we all have bad days. You’re human and that means you will have bad days/weeks, where the problem you are/have recovered from will rear its ugly head again. Try to be ok with this, you are the one whose in control of that problem now, so remember what you learn’t to get rid of that problem and keep it in check.

If during your recovery process you do slip back for longer than you’d like, remember how strong you are. You have over come this problem so you can do it again. Pick yourself and the little broken pieces up, put yourself back together and regain control. You are so strong.

When you feel like giving into something that your recovering from e.g self harm, OCD rituals, avoiding anxious situations whatever it may be, remind yourself of how far you have come. Really take yourself back to how you used to feel when you used to do these things. Think about how you’re going to feel after giving in, will it be worse than not giving in, in the first place? You’ve gone so long without doing this thing that made you feel broken, keep going.

When you’re struggling and feel like giving up because recovery is too hard. Think about how far you could be this time next year if you keep going. Imagine how much easier recovery will feel this time next year, what you might be doing, what you might have achieved and don’t lose sight of it.

This applies both to giving into old habits and having bad days. Remember feelings pass. Just because today you’ve felt depressed or extremely anxious, doesn’t mean its going to last forever, feelings come and go, keep reminding yourself this and keep going until they pass. The same for wanting to perform a ritual or self harm for example, try to put it off, hours or a day later that feeling may not still be there. Its worth being temporarily uncomfortable, if it means an even bigger step to recovering further.

Help someone else who is in the mist of their struggle. Helping others and talking to people who are suffering like you once were makes you feel good. Talking about it can also be a great reminder of how far you’ve come, of what you’ve been taught and a help to someone else.

I hope this is useful to someone.

Stay Strong,

Anna