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.

Depression: A Little Reminder

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As everyone has probably heard now,  it came to light yesterday that Robin Williams passed away after suffering with years of depression which sadly resulted in him taking his own life. I wanted to write a blog post relating to this sad subject but for positive reasons, to remind everyone about the tragic effects depression can have on ANYONE and spread awareness.

I think one thing that amazed some people was how someone who was such a funny, talented and successful person could have depression in the first place. He had a beautiful family and an inspiring career. I think this goes to show how ANYONE no matter the amount of love, success or money surrounding them can fall into the grips of mental illness. People don’t choose to have depression, yes a sad or stressful event can trigger it but genetics can also play a part, but it is a chemical imbalance in your brain. Just because you can’t see what the person has to be depressed about, doesn’t mean they can’t be.

Another huge thing to remember with someone suffering from mental illness is. they may not talk about how they feel or events in their lives they found distressing and you don’t know the ins and outs of their life. So to judge them on the small parts of their lives you may be able to see or know doesn’t make what they’re going through any less real.When I was at my lowest point I could still joke and laugh around people, it was only my family who knew the true extent to how I felt. Someone can seem fine but inside they might not be, which is why we should be kinder to those around us, we don’t know what battles they are fighting today. Would you decide someone diagnosed with heart disease was over reacting because you can’t see what’s going on inside their body and you see no reason they would have got heart disease, no. I wrote a blog post on ‘The Controversial Topic Of Attention seekers’ which you can read HERE. Often when people can’t see what’s going on inside someone’s heads think they are exaggerating or attention seeking.

 I think we need to remember there are people around us all the time suffering from depression and suicidal thoughts. Someone can seem fine but inside they might not be. If someone tells you they suffer with depression or have thought about harming themselves, break down their walls, talk to them, advise them to seek help and most importantly be there for them. If you notice any signs of someone becoming depressed or you yourself have depression, please seek help, I promise you people only want to help you. I have been there and got help, I promise it’s not as scary as you think. Go to your GP and if they aren’t sympathetic, try another GP, talk to other people who have suffered with depression or are, look into private help.

Just because one person doesn’t understand or you don’t get the help you need, don’t give up and keep trying and fighting, you deserve to get better. Depression is a serious illness that can make people feel so awful they no longer want to keep fighting for their own life. We need to spread awareness not only when a celebrity sadly passes away because of the illness, but all the time. We need to stop the taboo surrounding mental illness, so people are able to openly talk about their feelings without fear of being seen as crazy and weak.

Below are links to places you can find out more information and help on depression and suicide. I have also linked some websites where you can confidently talk to people when you’re in a crisis, without needing to ring them. You can even message me on Twitter,  anonymously on Tumblr or on my Facebook page if you want someone to listen and talk to, all are linked on this page!

Links

www.samaritans.org

www.imalive.org

www.7cupsoftea.com

Depression .Vs. Sadness: What Is The Difference? 

Don’t Hide Your Mental Illness

Depression – My Story

Depression Is NOT A Flaw In Character

Stay strong,

Anna

Depression .Vs. Sadness: What Is The Difference?

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Until experiencing depression myself I never would have realised the huge difference between actually suffering with depression, and feeling generally sad. Not everyone, but some people have a couple of days or a week or so where they are very down and alone, and say they are ‘depressed’ or think they have depression. The thing is Depression isn’t something you suffer with for a week or so then return to your happy self, and its also not just being a little bit unhappy with life for a while. We all have ups and down and patches in our lives where we feel lost, alone, upset and like our lives aren’t going to plan, but depression is different. Its not say falling out with a friend or breaking up with your other half and not being able to stop crying for a while. Depression is something that usually takes a long time to recover from.

There is a drastic difference between normal sadness everyone experiences and depression. No I didn’t sit around every day and cry, but it did make me susceptible to crying over things would be seen as trivial. Some days I felt ok and like I was on the mend others were just awful, but I never felt truly happy, just less down than other days. You feel like there’s a black cloud floating over you. My mind felt gloomy like I couldn’t process anything and nothing could change it. Some people also experience suicidal thoughts or attempts and self harm whilst suffering with depression. Check out my blog post The Controversial Topic Of ‘Attention Seekers to read more about a topic related to that.

 I used to get so frustrated with the way I felt like doing nothing at all, I couldn’t understand why most people get tired or down and manage to carry on as normal. It made me so angry that I couldn’t just carry on like other people did. No matter how upset and worried everyone around me was about the way I was acting, I couldn’t seem to bring myself to do even the smallest things. Which I think is a big difference, normally sadness doesn’t effect your life that much, you are still able to hold down a job and carry on with things. Although its important to add people with depression aren’t completely emotionless. Everyone is different but someone can laugh, have some fun or smile etc with depression. Its just not quite the same because the depression is still there, like I said you just feel less down. You might have some ‘good times’ but looking back at them you didn’t really feel that good deep down.

Another big difference is, people with depression usually don’t go out for fun things or for boring things. I would have so many chances to get out, see people and do fun things but I just didn’t want to. I didn’t just choose not to do boring things like go to work or cleaning etc I literally didn’t want to do either.  Like in my picture above, normal sadness is where an annoying cloud is temporarily blocking the sun. Once the cloud passes the sun will be back out again. Unlike the person with depression they have a cloud above them with no sun behind it. It stops raining every now and then but the cloud is always there. I hope that makes sense to you? It did to me!

Its taken me at least 3 years to finally feel like I am getting over depression, although I am still on Anti-depressants which do aid the way I feel. If you think you or someone you know is suffering with depression contact a doctor and get help. Its one of the hardest things I have had to deal with along with my OCD. I hope this blog post helps people understand the differences between normal sadness and depression and I really do hope it made some sense! Check out my blog post  Depression – My Story to read more about my experiences. Don’t forget to check out all my other blog posts about OCD, Anxiety and Depression!

Stay Strong,

Anna

Etsy: ZennedOut Jewellery

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So I was browsing Etsy for jewellery with quotes and came along a little shop called ZennedOut. I immediately fell in love with the rustic, handmade designs and inspiring quotes and symbols. As you know I suffer with OCD, Anxiety and have suffered with Depression which I am thankfully recovering from. I was looking for some jewellery that has some kind of meaning and inspiring quote that I can look to as a little reminder. The jewellery is handmade by the owner Cassie and has 3 other assistants doing jobs. There is so much choice on the shop from what metal the item is made out of, to the quote you want, followed by the symbol and even the finish on certain items. She stocks bracelets, necklaces, rings and earrings all which are absolutely lovely, I may have to make another purchase sometime soon.

The only down side to buying from here is it’s based in the USA which means shipping, VAT and custom fees, that being said I think the jewellery is 100% worth it. The costs were not as bad as I thought and the delivery was straight forward as I opted for priority shipping. Which is a little more money but Cassie recommends this for outside US buyers because your order is less likely to be lost and held up in customs. Another thing I want to add is the owner (Cassie) is lovely, I asked so many questions and changed my order etc and she was nothing but willing to help and answer any of my questions, so if you do have anything to ask her about purchasing an item, shes the gal to ask! You can see from the pictures above how well packaged the items are, everything comes in a little box with her shop cards and a magnet in a little bag, too cute!! So on to what I bought, I literally received this today and took the pictures straight away because I was so excited about opening it!!

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Constellation necklace,Scorpio constellation, zodiac necklace, Pisces, Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra,Scorpio

I wasn’t planning on ordering a necklace but when I saw this, I fell in love with the whole concept of it, I often think star sign jewellery can be a bit tacky unless done well. I love how the first little disc on the necklace is your star signs constellation which in simple terms I think is your zodiac star formation. On the second disc which is a brassy/gold colour it has three of your chosen traits from your star sign along with your star signs symbol. I love how personal these necklaces feel to you and I think the design is perfect. I love how the edges of the first disk are rough, it gives the necklace a more rustic less polished feel. You can decide which length chain you want, which personality traits you want and of course which star sign you want. I cannot wait to wear this, simple, personal and cute!

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Breathe secret message ring, hamsa hand ring, lotus flower ring, secret message ring, yoga ring, customizable ring, breathe, yoga

I love rings and I saw this one with the quote inside and thought it would be perfect for me. I chose to keep the quote that was in the picture of this ring, although you can change it if you want and there are many design variations and quote ideas on her other items. I think ‘breathe’ is a good one for me personally though. When you’re in the mist of anxiety and OCD you can find your heart racing which obviously makes you breathe faster and you can get in such a panic, which is why I think this is a good quote for me, to remind myself to keep calm and take deep breathes and just breathe. I like how secret and personal the message is and even though everyone can’t see it when you look down at the ring on your finger you will know it’s there and it will remind you. You can also pick the symbols you want. I chose a lotus flower because they grow in muddy ponds signifying what I’ve been through as the mud and the lotus flower as recovery and blossoming! I then chose the ‘Om’ sign because it’s the sign for meditation and although I don’t meditate, I should partake in mindfulness to help with my anxiety and it also just signifies peace.

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On the other side of fear lies freedom Custom cuff bracelet, secret message bracelet, bird bracelet, inspirational gift, personalized gift

I am in love with the simple look of this bracelet. The quote inside should be my motto ‘On the other side of fear lies freedom’ anyone with OCD will relate to the meaning of this quote and  of course anyone in general. It’s in the hammered finish and has a little swallow symbol on the outside! I couldn’t be happier with this bracelet, the quote makes the bracelet mean so much to me and makes it so  personal to me!

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The extremely cute magnet that came in the little bag, this is now on my radiator!

What is your favourite item I got?

Anna

 

Feel Good Friday: Hello May!

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I do not understand where the months go, at the start of the New Year I wrote a blog post about what I want to achieve this year and how months and years go by,  then before I know it nothings changed, you can read that  post HERE. I can’t believe it’s already may and I’m starting to notice how nothing has changed again. May isn’t a significant month like the January is because of the New Year, but I will be turning 20, which I’m not going to lie scares the crap out of me!! I remember turning 18 and it only feels like 5 mins ago, not a lot has changed since then. This is a ‘feel good Friday’ blog post so I don’t want to focus on the fact my life hasn’t moved on much, instead I want to focus on starting to achieve things I want to. To get the ball rolling I’m going write a mini may list of little things I want to start achieving  or that I am looking forward to this month. Obviously these achievements and aspirations are not only for the month of May but it’s almost a little to do list to remind me, get me started and motivate me! So here goes..

  • Firstly although turning 20 scares me, I am excited its my birthday. Who doesn’t like having a whole day dedicated to celebrating your birth where you receive present, eat too much cake and spend time with your family!

 

  • May is usually slightly warmer than April, which is always something to look forward to. Although, its been raining and thundering in England the past couple of weeks, oh the joys of an English spring/summer! The sun seems to not only brighten up the sky’s, but my mind also feels brighter and fresher when its summer!

 

  • More weight loss, so as some of you may know I am a Weight Watchers member, I managed to lose 3 stone but then I fell of the band wagon and put some of it back on. I have recently started getting back in to it and I’ve started doing my ‘Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred’ Work out again. So I am hoping the month of may, is going to be a good one on the weight loss front (plus all the other months to)!!

 

  • Now here’s a big one for me, this crosses my mind every month and is probably my biggest challenge. I haven’t had a long-term job pretty much ever due to my OCD and Depression, I have had short-term jobs but due to the problems I was going through,  I would quit. I am getting stronger at managing these problems and know I need to start looking for a part-time job soon, yes I probably am putting it off. It’s a big deal to me though, its scary and Its going to be out of my comfort zone. During May I want to start to just look around for jobs and maybe apply for a couple of part-time ones. I feel almost ready, but fear is stopping me, but I am hoping turning 20 will motivate me into taking the plunge, I don’t want to leave it much longer if I can help it!

 

  • I don’t thank my blog, readers and followers enough. It means so much to me that people take the time to read my blog posts and even find help and comfort in some of my mental health posts. I am looking forward to my blog growing and having lots of lovely new followers and seeing where this blogging journey takes me!

 

  • Another thing that’s on my to do list is cooking and blogging Weight Watchers recipes! I always say I’m going to do this but I never do. I have already started trying some new ones out, I recently made banana oatmeal pancakes, kale chips and a pesto and mascarpone filled chicken breast with home-made bread crumbs, yum! Here’s to many more!

 

  • This is a stupid one, but I am looking forward to it none the less, I love Catfish the tv show and there is a new series starting on the 12th of may on MTV. Does anyone else look forward to new series of TV shows? I don’t think I am the only one! TV has really been boring me recently so I hope some new series will be coming out. I miss My Mad Fat Diary already!

 

Let me know in the comments what you’re looking forward to in may, or things you want to start achieving. Also let me know if you decide to write a little reminder list to!!

Happy Friday and Happy May!

Anna

Medication Myths

A lot of people seem to think that if someone is or has taken medication for a mental illness like depression they are weak or mad and should have tried harder to fight it by themselves. I never thought I would have to take medication, but due to my depression and OCD I have been for a while now and honestly it doesn’t bother me. Its two tiny pills that help me every day what’s the big deal? Some people say they don’t want to rely on a medication or they want to fight it by themselves and not resort to taking tablets, which I think can make people like me who do take medication feel like we’re weak because we do.

 Just because you take medication now does not mean you have to rely on them, you can come off them when your ready, there not something you HAVE to take for the rest of your life. I think people think medication is addictive and that once you take it you will never be able to go without, which isn’t true medication can give you withdrawals if you stop them suddenly but so can a lot of other tablets, if you have a lot of caffeine stop having that in your diet and you will get withdrawals.  At the end the day everyone’s illnesses affect them differently and no person deals with something the same, if someone feels like they can deal with what they’re going through without medication then good for them but if you can’t then that doesn’t matter either, there are varying degrees of mental health and you know how bad you feel and how much your mental illness is interfering with your life!

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People take medications for physical health problems all the time, you wouldn’t tell that person they should try to cope without medicine for there diabetes or whatever the illness may be. You would tell them if it helps you then take it, which should be the same for someone taking a medication for a mental illness. If someone has tried therapy and other means of help then why shouldn’t they take medication. I know when I was told to take medication I was relived something might finally help me or aid me to feel better. Sometimes its a last resort, you’ve been strong for too long and taking medication doesn’t make you weak it means you realise your limits and when you need help.

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 Never feel weak for accepting offered and recommended help. You deserve it. Never let someone try to tell you that ‘they had depression and managed without medication’ everyone is different.

The Controversial Topic Of ‘Attention Seekers’

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Its come to my attention (no pun intended) that some people have the view that anyone who self harms, makes a suicide threat or tries and fails to commit suicide is an attention seeker. I guess sometimes that can be the case and some people do these things because they want any attention. I don’t think that makes them a bad person, believe it or not there are reasons some people do these things in a non direct way of ‘attention seeking’  I don’t even like using that word to describe it.  It’s hard to understand unless you have been through it yourself. One thing I need to clear up is I am not saying everyone who does self harm or attempts suicide does it for attention, there are many reason why someone might self harm such as: self hate, a way of seeing the pain they feel inside on the outside, a release,  a coping mechanism or despair, there are so many reasons.

I am not saying that its okay and a good idea to do these things because you have a reason, I want people to realise sometimes people go to such lengths to show people how bad they really feel. If someone is doing it purely for attention then they must be lacking attention in an area of their life, so again I think saying their an attention seeker is a strong statement that’s of course in SOME cases, they are still struggling. Most people who self harm hide their scars, but eventually someone will see them and find out, or some times someone might want people to see them because of reasons I will be giving below but then when they do feel embarrassed and wish they hadn’t! Which I’m not going to deny I have experienced before, kind of wanting to tell or slyly show someone but being scared and then if it happens hating it and feeling stupid. Often its mixture of  a cry for help and one of the above reasons e.g release. Sometimes people are looking for someone to care.

I DO NOT condone someone showing off and promoting self harm, there’s a difference.

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Sometimes when you feel so much pain on the inside, self harming is a way of showing the pain on the outside not necessarily displaying your scars to everyone but unfortunately a lot of people don’t realise how bad someone can be feeling mentally because of a lack of understanding. People understand physical pain and hurt a lot easier, than mental pain. A person can feel so low and so alone and like no one understands how bad they feel so they don’t get the help they desperately need. But they know if someone accidentally or purposely sees or finds out they want to or do hurt themselves they seem to take more notice of the problem. I wouldn’t call them an attention seeker I’d say they are desperate for help because they can’t take how they feel for much longer! Ironic that people will call someone an attention seeker if they don’t understand a mental illness yet, when people around them fail to recognise how bad that person feels, they go to such lengths to make people realise but then they are again an attention seeker!

I have often heard people say ‘if someone wanted to die, they could have easily committed suicide properly’ and I think that’s the bit people don’t understand, I have been there, felt so low where all sorts of things go through your mind. When I think deeply about those thoughts and feelings I  was experiencing I didn’t want to die and be gone from the world and everyone I love forever, I just wanted the pain inside to stop. People are willing to attempt suicide to stop how they feel there and then, others yes may genuinely want to die, but I think a lot of the time its despair, because I do think its true if you really wanted to be gone you could do it. But I don’t think a lot of people suffering genuinely want that, they wan’t to be heard, understood, helped and to get rid of what emotions they are feeling.

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At the end of the day calling someone who is clearly struggling with an internal battle whether it be for ‘attention’ or another reason an attention seeker is unfair and helps nor you or that person, take it seriously. There will be a reason behind what they are doing and one day that cry for help won’t be a cry for help, they will take the self harm too far or succeed with their next suicide attempt, don’t let the person get that far. I was worried about writing about this subject as I know it’s a very sensitive and controversial topic and I didn’t want to give out the wrong message. I wanted people to see that ‘attention seeking’ doesn’t always mean someone’s not suffering.  I do hope someone out there related to what I wrote about, if you have ever been called an attention seeker yourself or just found this  informative and helped you understand this topic more.

Stay Strong,

Anna