Mental Health: Little Steps Are Better Than No Steps

When you suffer with a Mental Illness and you’re trying to recover and get your life back and track you tend to be very hard on yourself, you want to get better over night even though you know it’s not that easy. Whenever I used to achieve something small even if it was as small as getting up and getting dressed, walking one way down to the shops or resisting performing a OCD ritual etc which can all seem so huge when your depressed and anxious, I never gave my self credit for it’s because I felt like it wasn’t good enough or I hadn’t done as much as I’d hoped. If I had done a couple of good things during the week and one day didn’t go as planned and I didn’t resist my OCD or whatever it may be, I felt like a let down and forgot all about the little things I’d achieved. It’s easy to let the negative areas of your days to become your main focus rather than looking at the little steps you’ve taken to try to get better. When your dealing with a mental illness your going through a hard enough time as it is, focusing on the negative things will only decrease your mood and self-esteem even further.

When you achieve something that you normally find hard, write it down so when your feeling negative or things aren’t going to plan you can see that you have achieved something even if you feel like you haven’t. Little steps are better than no steps, no matter how small it is better than not doing anything, give yourself some credit for just getting through the day when you felt as if you couldn’t that in itself is an achievement, feeling depressed, like self harming, anxious or like OCD is controlling your every move is one of the hardest things someone can go through, the fact your strong enough to take that on every day is something you should be proud of!

Your not exactly where you want to be but that’s ok with little steps you will get there whether its tomorrow, next month, next year or in 3 years time, just keep taking those baby steps and never tell yourself that ‘little’ achievement wasn’t enough or wasn’t good enough.  The amount of times I think I’m doing good and achieving loads then the next week I’m back o square one, eventually after trying and trying you will achieve what you want to and move on to the next struggle, just because it didn’t work out the first time it doesn’t matter the fact you tried is a step in the right direction and is better than when you couldn’t even face trying to get out of bed, shower, resist your rituals and thoughts etc!

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If you yourself doesn’t suffer with a mental illness but your friend or a family does, don’t be hard on them, I know from my parents watching me go through what I have, they only get frustrated with you because they hate seeing you like it and want the best for you. Tell the person you are proud of them when they do something that may seem so easy and small to you. Let them know they’ve done good, when you’re battling with your mind and you think negatively its hard to see that from yourself and hearing it from someone else is really lovely, sometimes people need to be told they’re doing a good job and to know someone else has noticed there achievements. If the next day or week they’ve taken a couple of steps back that’s ok too, that doesn’t make what they achieved before that any less, they still done it and they will do it again and again until they achieve something new and bigger.

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I am proud of you. Stay Strong.

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

Growing Up

I was listening to the song ‘Never Grow Up’ by Taylor Swift, and if you’ve not heard this song yet, check it out, it’s really beautiful and it never fails to get me thinking about growing up and how much I miss being a child. So that’s basically what this post is going to be about, growing up and how I’ve struggled maturing and growing up with a mental illness. When you’re a child or especially a teenager, you wish those years away, wishing to be an adult so you don’t have to listen to your parents, we all do it! I am now 19 and honestly all I can say is, don’t wish those years away, it may feel like you’re a child or teenager forever but trust me those adult years will come round quicker than you think and once there gone you miss it!

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I think growing up in our society is harder than ever, there is so much pressure on you to know what you want to do career wise and feeling like if you don’t achieve good GCSE’s (which is an exam you take in england, in your final year at school) your future will be nothing. When I was suffering with OCD during my final year at school, I was so confused about myself and what was going on with me, how could I possibly know what I want to do as soon as I leave school, I think teachers should be preparing us for adult life, not just for GCSE’S. They should tell us its ok, if you don’t know what or who you want to be at the moment there’s no rush take your time.

I think I thought I was all grown up during school and I feel like when I finally left school at the age of 16, it shocked me, I’d spent my whole life in education and suddenly I had to choose what I wanted to do for my future, it scared me. I knew I was going to leave school at some point but It was like I never expected it to come, perhaps I pushed it to the back of mind not realising I was scared. I now look back and realise I wasn’t as grown up as I thought I was, I was suffering with OCD and I didn’t feel ready to leave school and start planning for a career.

I think what I’m trying to say is, remember to cherish your school life and child hood, and that its ok to be scared, so what if you don’t know what you want to study and be when your older, there’s still time to discover yourself and the best way to do this is by studying and looking for things that you LOVE, without trying things how can you know what you want to do, some people do, but I am for sure not one of those.

I wish I had stayed young and innocent, for much longer than I did, but at the time I didn’t want too, these days you get into boys or girls at an earlier age, wear more revealing clothes at a young age, see explicit music videos by celebrity’s you look up too and the list goes on. I’m pretty sure at some point my parents would have told me not to rush into growing up but you tend to not listen and think ‘what do you know’ as if they we’re never a child that grew up themselves.

I’m 19 and if you are 16 and under, take it from me who wasn’t long ago 16, cherish every moment you have left in school, and to anyone who’s leaving school, stay strong and don’t be pressured into knowing what you want to do, you have time to decide, when you stop over analyzing and forcing a decision upon yourself you will be more likely discover what you want from life and who you are!

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I wish I was more educated on growing up, and prepared for how hard I may find it and that everybody finds growing up different, some find it easy, others like me it will take time and it will seem scary, but its inevitable so stay strong and you will find yourself, whether it takes you 5 years and the other person 2, you will find your place in this big world just don’t rush!

Why are we taught unnecessary things at school we never use once we’re left, yet we’re barely educated on things like finding who we are, buying a house, budgeting, finances, moving out, standing on our own two feet, cooking meals, being confident with ourselves  and our abilities etc. There are so many things I still don’t know and I am having to learn, yet I can’t remember the last time I needed to remember that algebra equation I got taught in maths class!

I mean of course I’m not a teacher and know nothing about the curriculum and why they teach us what they do, but I feel like we should focus on learning its ok to grow up slowly and instead of putting huge amounts of pressure on someone to achieve GCSE results to make the school look even better, we should focus on producing happy and well-rounded pupils, that don’t leave school feeling scared and lost.

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Let me know if you felt like this when you left school or if you agree with anything I’ve talked about?

Make Your Own Road

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Just a quick post, found this picture and quote and it really made me think, so you guys get the pleasure of me babbling on about it!

Life is full of ups and downs, so is a road, but in life we have the choice of where are road is going to take us. There is never one route, we can build our own roads and futures, it might not be easy to turn around and take another route but when you get on that road you want, you will be proud of how far you’ve come and finding your way will mean the road you built for yourself, from all the hard times will be the best. Never follow someone else’s road, be yourself and create your own road, create your own future. Make your own positive road and if you’re not happy with the current road your on, take a different route, learn and gain strength from it!

Anna ♥

Staying Strong 365 Days A Year: Demi Lovato

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I recently bought Demi Lovato’s book ‘Staying Strong 365 Days A Year’, I love Demi she is such an inspiration to me.  For anyone who doesn’t know who she is she’s known mainly for starring in Disney channel TV shows and for being a singer,  she’s also known a lot for her mental health struggles she voiced about not very long ago. She has struggled with eating disorders, self harm and bipolar.

She is probably one of the first celebrity’s near my age to be so open about the problems she has gone through, I respect her so much for being so brave too speak out about her struggles and the treatment she went through for the mental health problems she was suffering with. As you know I suffer with OCD, anxiety and depression, so I know how hard it is to speak openly about mental health problems, with the stigma that can be attached to it and thinking ‘will they think I’m crazy?’. She has recently started going through recovery and has a particular phrase she is known for ‘Stay Strong’ which she also has tattooed on her wrists.

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 I always wanted her to bring out an auto biography because I find her so inspiring and easy to relate too, so when I heard about this book I had to buy it.

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I usually hate reading and if your a person like me that struggles to finish a book, this book will be right up your street. Its mean’t to be read a page a day as its dated at the top for example ‘February 4’ and each day it has a quote with a little bit of writing about the quote and what it means to her  and how it relates to life, then it has a goal to achieve to do with the quote.

I think its a really lovely concept and is the perfect way to start your day, reading a positive quote and seeing a goal as a little reminder to try and achieve what the uplifting quote says. Its such an easy read as its literally one page a day for 365 days, as staying strong and positive all year round is not easy, whether your battling with mental health problems or not. Not only do I love the contents of the book, but the cover and design is so lovely and its a hard cover book,  You can buy the book HERE.

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I would also recommend watching the MTV documentary called Demi Lovato: Stay Strong, where she talks about her story and struggles with mental health and goes into a lot more detail about her journey, treatment and her time currently going through recovery. It’s very inspiring, so if you can find it online I’d really recommend giving it a watch. Also check out her music, she’s very talented and I love her songs as a lot of them we’re written during her struggles and treatment so there very strong , inspiring or touching songs, especially the songs ‘Sky Scraper’ and ‘Warrior’.

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 ♥

 

 

Feel Good Friday

So for today’s Feel Good Friday post I wanted to do something a bit different rather than me just writing about a topic. I have chosen a song that I really like because of the lyrics,  there’s not much else I need to say about the song as the lyrics speak for themself, it’s just a really positive lovely song, I hope you like the song as much as I do and I hope you guys are feeling good on this Friday and have a lovely weekend ♥