This week in honour of Mental Health Awareness week and as my ambassador role at The Princes Trust, I and 4 of my best friends are posting about the topic on my blog. Come back every day for a new post. I met Kirsty a few years a go through social media which seems slightly ironic when you read her beautiful post. However our friendship does highlight a positive aspect of the online world. Kirsty has become like a big sister to me and we met at a time when we both probably needed a new sister. Thank you for opening up on my blog this week big sis…
Anxiety. Just one word, seven letters, still with a stigma in our modern world. I am here to say, in fact shout out that WE NEED TO START LISTENING TO PEOPLE WITH ANXIETY. No. they are not needy, or sensitive, they have anxiety and they are suffering in silence because they are afraid of what people may say or think….I was one of those people.
The first time I realised I had anxiety was when I was 25, I genuinely had the most amazing childhood and time at university. I moved to London when I was 21 and had so much fun. I met the best people but then as I turned 25 something changed. Maybe it was the pressure of modern day society on women and starting to feel like my youth was disappearing. Maybe it was feeling I should be working harder or earning more money but I remember the first time vividly. I was on the tube to work, as usual, and I felt a huge pain in the pit of my stomach, I felt like I couldn’t breathe and my hands were shaking. I got off the tube and just ran out of the station. I called in sick and walked home thinking I was just unwell.
It then got progressively worse over the next four years (maybe even with a link to social media pressure) I would have sporadic attacks on the tube, I would think irrationally about mediocre situations, such as why someone hadn’t called me back? Why my friends had gone out and not invited me, or maybe they had but I wanted to spend all my weekend indoors alone. It was during these four years that I learnt that I had anxiety, I spoke to a doctor and counsellor at one point when I had an incredibly tough time in my life. But I am not one to take medication as I want to be in control of my feelings and mind, and when I start to feel that way I know what to do. Recognise that the way you are feeling is due to anxiety, accept it, own it and move on.
Now I am 32 and I am incredibly happy, I wonder maybe if it was a phase of my life or if I will always have it. But I do know that even if I do its totally cool and I have a few pointers that may help you if you feel the same. My best advice I would give to my younger self… the two days you can do nothing to change are yesterday and tomorrow, so just live for today!
My Top Tips:
Just take an absolutely massive deep breath. Breathe as deeply into your belly as you can and just exhale it all out. Try this anything from 5 – 20 times.
Yoga. I know I am biased but truly yoga is my drug. It’s a way of life for me and the minute I leave a class I feel back to myself.
Cut out the coffee!
Start writing down what you are grateful for. Try and write it in the morning to give you something for focus on if your mind starts to play tricks on you.
Kirsty is a Yoga Instructor in London, visit her website here.
Lottie: I’m also cycling the Palace to Palace bike race for The Prince’s Trust who support 13-30 year olds get their lives back on track after tough starts in life, trauma and abuse. You can sponsor me here.
If you want to find out more about the support that The Prince’s Trust offers then see their programmes page here.