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

A Letter To My Younger Self

I’ve seen videos relating to this on YouTube, so I thought I would write a blog post about it. I’m basically going to write a mini letter as if I was writing it to my younger self. Things I wish future me could tell young me and things I wish I knew back then.

What would you of told your younger self?

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Dear younger self,

Where do I start? There is a few things I would like to tell you and reassure you about before things spiral out of control for you. I know your worried about germs and washing your hands and always have been growing up, but I just want to tell you to not let this worry rule your life. Being sick isn’t very nice but honestly the next time you are it will expose you to this fear and you will be fine I promise you. I also want to warn you that later on you might notice weird feelings of NEEDING to do certain tasks, you will feel like this will stop you from being sick and also stop bad things from happening. When this happens I need you to stay strong and not give in. Carrying out tasks until they feel right and counting things etc won’t help. In fact you will thank me later if you don’t do the things. What you do can’t control if your ill or if something bad happens, trust me. You will go through 5 years of hell trying to beat OCD if you let it in, you’ve got to get control of it before it controls you. Try and get help as soon as you notice symptoms, educate yourself so you know about it. I know it feels really scary but you can do it.  If  OCD does take over your life for a while you will be ok and you will come out the other side, so hang in there please. Another thing that is going to really bother you when your older is your weight and eating habits. Please listen to people when they tell you not to over eat, this will become a huge problem for you and your confidence one day. Try to keep a healthy relationship with food, this will save so much time later on when you have to try to lose the weight to become confident again.

Another thing is, don’t grow up too quickly, your only young once and being grown up isn’t as fun as it sounds. Enjoy being young and don’t take school for granted, some of your fondest memories will be from within that school building you wish you didn’t go to. Which leads me to another thing, I know your naughty at school but try harder to behave. It doesn’t seem important but eventually you will end up on a 3 hour time-table barely seeing anyone, doesn’t seem like a bad thing? well you will drift apart from your friends and leave school feeling slightly out of the loop with people who you were once close with, leaving you feeling slightly alone.  When you first start going to party’s and drinking, try not to drink so much, I promise you will only wake up with regret and guilt, although you can learn from these mistakes just go easy!

Back to some things related to anxiety. I know you probably have already, but you  will have many more times to come where you feel scared of doing things. Scared that your going to embarrass yourself, please try to realise that you will miss out on things if you let the fear stop you. Try and face up to things that make you scared and try not to let the fear of what others think of you stop you. The more you do this now,  the more later on in life you will be likely to do things! Also, growing up doesn’t have to be so scary, talk to people around you about your worries but also talk about your normal problems and concerns everyone goes through growing up. You will grow to be able to talk about your problems openly and I promise you will wish you hadn’t been so embarrassed and shy about everything. Your parents will become your biggest support through any problems regarding your anxiety. You will be able to talk to them about anything you need to, so why not start now?

I just want to tell you everything is going to be ok, but to also tell you that things should be a lot easier now you know the things I’ve mentioned above. Keep being wonderfully weird, funny and creative. Last but not least don’t let OCD rule you, I know its scary but its harmless, so don’t even give it the time of day. The sooner you realise that the better.

Love from, an older, wiser version of you

 

Letting Go Doesn’t Mean You Don’t Care

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Something I’ve struggled with for a long time now and still do is letting go of scary OCD thoughts. I feel like if I just let go of OCD thoughts or rituals where I worry something bad could happen, it must mean I don’t care about the consequences or if I can let them go easily it must also mean I don’t care. I am starting to accept and learn that this is not the case and you have to give yourself permission to let go of things, it doesn’t mean you don’t care. Easier said than done right?  When your emotions are telling you letting go of certain thoughts and worries is bad and if you let go you’re a terrible person it’s really hard not to listen. I know OCD will try to do anything to try to keep me sucked in by it, because that’s what OCD does it wants to control people. Which is exactly what it’s doing by making me think if I let go and don’t perform a ritual that I don’t care and also that something bad might happen.

The reality is as soon as you get that thought ‘If you don’t do such and such something bad could happen’ and you then feel anxious or worry about not performing the ritual, that is the sign you do care. The fact you’re worried about letting go of that OCD thought or ritual, means you care if you didn’t you wouldn’t be thinking about it or worrying about it. You don’t need to carry on thinking about the subject or perform a ritual to know you care. You need to allow yourself to let go and become free because you deserve it. You can acknowledge the fact you’re feeling anxious about not performing a ritual or feeling anxious about not trying to work out what that bad thought you just had meant about you and accept that is you caring.  You don’t need to torture yourself any more than that, you’re  allowed to move on, you just need to let yourself.  Thinking about things more and more or performing rituals is keeping you stuck in the place you are right now, stuck being controlled by a pest called OCD in your head. One of the steps to freedom is to know if you’re worried or upset about letting go you care, but you don’t need to hold on to things or perform rituals. Allow yourself to fear letting go and allow yourself to recognise you care. Then let go because you don’t need to be afraid you don’t care because you have proved to yourself  you do.

Stay Strong,

Anna

Feel Good Friday: Your Day And Clouds That Get In The Way

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So on today’s Feel Good Friday blog post I’m going to talk about not letting small negative things ruin your whole day. I’m not talking about serious, life changing events because I know this can’t be applied to certain situations  I know all to well that sometimes we let ourselves get so down and effected by little things that go wrong from day-to-day and forget all the good stuff. It’s really easy to do, your be going about your day and one thing will happen such as you break something, someone’s nasty to you, you eat that fattening piece of cake or you’re late for work etc and you let it effect your whole day. I really like this quote I found on Tumblr, I think its such a good way of looking at things, and decided I wanted to make a little picture to go with it and write about it. Think of the whole sky as your whole day and the cloud as that bad thing that’s gone wrong. You wouldn’t look at the whole sky and see one cloud and think today’s weather was awful, you would think at least it’s not blocking the sun, at least it’s just one cloud, at least it’s not raining or at least it’s still warm etc. If it was raining would you let it take over your whole day? No you would think ‘oh well it will pass and the sun will come out soon’. The same thing goes for bad things that happen within our days, those little annoying, inconvenient things that get you down. Why let one thing or a few small things completely take over and ruin your whole day?

For instance just today I have binge eaten on all sorts of bad foods whilst I’m trying to lose weight, I instantly feel like a failure and that I have ruined my diet now. But there is also some good things that have happened today, its sunny, I’m healthy, my family are well, I have had a productive day, I had a delicious Costa, I cuddled my dog and my anxiety isn’t too bad today. These are all good things that seem to get overlooked by the one bad thing that happened. Another the example is I will have had a good day and then in the evening a OCD thought makes anxious and scared and suddenly think what a bad ending to a good day or well that’s ruined my good day! It’s such a negative way to think, the good day still happened and one bad thing shouldn’t affect your whole day.

We often tend to have the mind-set of ‘okay yes today has been a good day BUT that bad thing was worse and ruined it’. The only reason that bad thing ruined or over powered the good things were because we allowed it to, we pay it too much attention to the bad and not enough to the good stuff.  We are quick to notice the bad things but not quick enough to appreciate the good things. No matter how small those good things still happened and having some bad things can’t change that unless you let it.  Just imagine that bad, inconvenient thing as a cloud passing by in the background of your blue sky (which is your day. When I look at the picture above I don’t notice the little grey cloud first, I notice the pretty daisy, the bright green grass and the vibrant blue sky. Notice the beauty and good things surrounding you and start paying less attention to the negative things, don’t let them ruin your whole day. Acknowledge them but don’t give them your whole days worth of emotions, allow the good emotions to be the ones you focus on that’s how we learn to appreciate the little things.

Happy Friday beautiful people,

Anna

Lets Talk Brows..

Brows, bushes, caterpillars, slugs whatever you nick name your eyebrows we all have them and we need to make sure we pay attention to them during are daily make up routine! For a long time I was one of those girls who thought ‘What’s the point?’ ‘Will it make any difference?’ ‘I can’t be bothered etc I didn’t think they we’re any big deal. I used to over pluck my eyebrows and never bother to fill them in but I’ve realised what a difference giving your some TLC can do. Eyebrows play a massive part in how our eyes look and they frame our faces,  so I thought I would share my latest eye brow routine with you and show what a difference your eyebrows can make to your face!

Eye Brow Routine

Maybelline Brow Drama Sculpting Mascara In Medium Brown

The Vintage Cosmetic Company Slanted Tweezers

Soap & Glory™ Archery™ Brow Tint and Pencil in Brownie Points

First of all I would recommend seeing a professional to either wax, thread or pluck your eyebrows into a tidy shape, without a tidy shape its hard to fill in your eyebrows as there’s not much of a guideline. I get mine waxed and its one of the best decisions I made and its definitely worth paying some money rather than plucking them yourself and risk over plucking and loosing your natural eyebrow shape! In between waxes I just pluck out any really noticeable hairs with my Vintage Cosmetic Tweezers.

I brush my eye brows through with an eyebrow brush before doing anything to my brows, so the hairs are smooth and going in the same direction, this makes it a lot easier to fill in your eye brows and follow your natural shape. To fill my eyebrows in I use the Soap & Glory Archery Brow Tint and Pencil, this is a rather new purchase and I am really enjoying it. One end has a pencil for any bigger areas you may want to fill in and the other end has a very delicate precise felt tip like end. I start with the felt tip end and concentrate this on outer thinnest area of my eye brows and around the edges as I can get a really precise application with this. I use little brush strokes to apply this creating an almost hair like texture, giving your eyebrows a more realistic less drawn on look! I then go in with the pencil to finish off any larger areas or where there are any gaps, the great thing about this eyebrow duo is the colour is very faint which means you can build the colour up making it easy for you to control how much colour your applying so you can achieve a natural result, without them looking to harsh and drawn on!

Last but not least I take my Maybelline eyebrow mascara and apply this to my brows. I start at the thickest part of my eye brow and brush the hairs  in there natural direction and up slight at the arch of my eyebrow then taking it down the thinnest area of my eye brows, this will make sure your eyebrows will be looking neat and tidy all day, also adding a little more definition to the hairs and shape of your eyebrows. You can also apply a little bit of highlighter just on your brown bone to make your eyebrows appear lifted and your eyes more awake!

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Down below I have taken some pictures to show the real difference between filling your eyebrows in and not. On the left side of the pictures my eyebrows will be natural and on the right I will have done the above steps to them!

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The right where I have filled in my eyebrows, makes my eye look wider, more awake and lifts the whole of my face. On the left side you can see where I have’t filled them in, my eye looks much smaller, less awake and that side of my face doesn’t look at lifted.

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 Above is the finished result of both eye brows being filled in, it really does make a huge difference to the shape of your eyes and framing your face!

Comment if the word eyebrow looks and sounds weird now I’ve written it so much, does to me!

Anna

Recognising YOUR OCD Thoughts

One of the biggest steps to recovering from OCD and dis arming OCD is recognising your OCD’s topic. When you have OCD your fears, thoughts and compulsions usually stem from a particular topic, wether it be harm, contamination or relationships etc to start recovering from OCD you have to learn what this topic is and how it comes into your mind, so you can then recognise these thoughts and feelings as OCD and label them exactly that so you can work on refocusing on anything but that topic. It’s not easy to recognise OCD when your brain is so busy with thoughts and doubt, and then you doubt its OCD which leads you to give in to your OCD and complete compulsions and ruminate over and over your thoughts and feelings!

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 When I went to intensive therapy I learned  a lot of my thoughts come in as questions about my particular worry ‘What if?’ ‘Could I?’ ‘Do I want to?’ ‘Am I?’ and before this I just thought that was me trying to work everything out, but my OCD makes me feel like I have to answer these questions and if I can’t there is something wrong with me and that I need to find an answer because without it how will I ever know I’m not bad, this is a compulsion. I now know any question, thought, image, urge to do with my topic of OCD, I have to ignore and immediately label it OCD and try refocus my attention on anything but what I’m experiencing anxiety over.

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Once you know your triggers, don’t question if its OCD, 99.9% of the time it will be, OCD might kick you and try to get your attention by giving you more anxiety and making you feel like you have to answer the questions in your head or you have to do the compulsion but you have to be smarter than OCD.  You have to trust your knowledge, which can be very hard because of the doubt OCD creates, but when you can  trust yourself and your therapist, you will notice the better you get at recognising OCD the easier it becomes and eventually it will be second nature to do so!

When I was facing this problem I had to just trust myself and think ‘from now on until my OCD isn’t so strong I’m going to have to trust that ANYTHING to do with my OCD topic is OCD, no matter what the question, thought, feeling or urge is, if its to with my particular fears, I have to label it as OCD’ . I am getting so much better at it, I do sometimes get lost in my head and caught up in OCD’s traps, but each day I feel like I am becoming stronger than OCD. When you become an expert on your own OCD it becomes easier to fight it and you no longer fear this awful disorder your suffering with.

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Its hard but with the right help and knowledge on OCD you can do it, I am doing it and if I can you can too, I belive in you. Become an expert on your OCD and be mindful of what your OCD involves and how it comes into your head and by mindful I mean just be aware of your thoughts and feelings but don’t think into them and get lost in them.

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Check out my other OCD, Anxiety and Depression posts to read more about my experience with OCD and tips on recovering from OCD!

Stay Strong ♥

Anna x

Depression is NOT a flaw in character

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When you suffer with depression and you lose interest in everything you once we’re interested in and even lose interest in living your life it can be a tough thing to go through, not only have you got all those negative emotions and feelings going on, you also tend to develop A LOT of negative feelings and thoughts towards yourself. It can make you feel as if you just a ‘weak’ person for not getting up and getting on with life because you see people get upset and just pick themselves up you feel as if you should be able too. But that’s the problem with depression, it’s a chemical imbalance within your brain that you have no control over, it is not a flaw in your personality and it definitely doesn’t mean your weak. If anything it makes you strong for never giving up on your life, when you felt like you wanted to the most.

I think depression knocks a lot of confidence depression out of people, i know it did with me, I used to have questions and negative thoughts running through my head all the time ‘Why can’t I be like everyone else?’ ‘Maybe I’m just lazy’ ‘I know this is upsetting my family, so why can’t I just get on with it, I’m so selfish’. You feel as if you’re a burden on everyone and that your such a let down because you can’t hold down a job or can’t cope with getting up and having a shower or you feel like you can’t get out of bed and face the day etc, it makes you feel stupid and pathetic.

I think an important thing to remember when you or someone else is going through depression that it is NOT a choice and it is not a flaw in you or your personality, it is purely a chemical imbalance of hormones and emotions in your brain. Below is a brain scan comparing difference between someone’s brain suffering with depression and without, still think depression is a choice or a flaw in you or someone around you and not a chemical imbalance with hormones in the brain?

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It’s important you don’t blame yourself for something that’s not your fault and don’t label yourself with negative labels about you and your personality ‘weak’ ‘pathetic’ ‘burden’ ‘useless’ ‘stupid’ ‘lazy’ none of these hateful names are going to make your depression go away, it will only take you down a more negative road. You have to seek help, talk to someone and seek help, there’s therapy’s, books, medication and ways of treating depression, it’s not easy but you cannot deal with this on your own, you need love and support around you.  Always remember ‘Depression is a flaw in chemistry not character’.

Stay strong, your strong and beautiful, no matter what you think ♥