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Thursday, 9 June 2016

Overcoming Anxiety

Hello beauties!

As I think I have been quite beauty and fashion orientated recently, I thought I would write about something that I have personally gone through and experienced. Anxiety is a horrible thing and it can affect you at any time or place, and it can happen to anyone. Most people might not understand that it can really lower your self esteem, stop you from going out with even the people you are closest to, and stop you from having fun. Both Sophie and I have experienced anxiety and panic attacks in the past and we hope to help any of you reading this who are going through a similar thing.

For me, I was scared to sleep at night in my own home - in the school holidays, I would dread bedtimes as I hated sleeping and being alone in my bedroom. I can't explain it because it was honesty so irrational but at the time I felt like the world was ending and I would panic about it in the day, hours before the sun went down. I must have only been about eight or nine - and I remember I was Easter, just after my brother's birthday - but I cried and cried for hours before I had to go to bed because I was just terrified of what would happen. Coming home from holidays after staying in another house made it even worse. On the journey home, my tummy would be twisted into knots of worry, waiting for the moment we would arrive home. It got so bad I couldn't eat, I just worried the whole way home about having to sleep in my own room again.

I think the real reason I didn't like it was because I was further away from my parents and my brother, who not only gave me security but also consoled me if I was feeling worried and gave me something to talk about and be distracted by. Also, I have never really liked the dark; the fact you are unable to see what's centimetres in front of you definitely scares me a bit, and that added to my fear. I would cry, get worked up, go upstairs after fighting with my poor parents and then read to myself or with my family as I always felt a lot safer when I was around them and felt as if nothing bad would happen. Then I would get into bed and lie down, and as soon as whichever parent was putting me into bed had left the room, I would start panicking; I don't know what it was, but I would immediately start crying and would go downstairs. As a result, I slept on a mattress in my parents' room for the duration of a summer holiday one year.

Any of you suffering from a similar thing? Do you have a fear that you can't shake off, even though you know it's irrational to worry about? If you do, I completely understand and we both want to help you overcome this fear - so there may be a few of these posts popping up every so often! The first thing you need to know is that it is NOT your fault and you are NOT being stupid or silly or weird. So many people don't tell anyone because they are scared of their opinions and because they think their anxiety isn't normal. Not everyone suffers with anxiety, of course, but that doesn't mean your feeling aren't normal. They are, and the best thing to do is simply talk to someone - a parent, a close friend, a sibling, you choose. Talking about how you feel is a great way to relieve any stress you are feeling under, and may well diminish your anxiety completely.

Symptoms
Anxiety affects different people in different ways, but the main affect is usually similar. Panic attacks and moments of intense anxiety can happen at any time, usually caused by something others don't worry about and don't mind doing. However, the sufferer can experience a range of symptoms including:
  • Headaches 
  • Nausea 
  • Sweating and shivering at the same time
  • Tiredness
  • Faintness
  • Increased blood rate/heart rate
  • Tummy aches
  • Feeling as if the walls are closing in 
  • Catastrophising 
Panic attacks usually happen suddenly or when you are faced with a fear. For instance, as soon as my parents left my room at night, I would feel my heart start to beat much quicker than normal and I remember sweating in the winter and shivering in summer out of fear. Also, feeling sick and even physically throwing up is another common side effect of  anxiety - I used to stay in the bathroom, crying, trying not to throw up.

Overcoming It 
Overcoming anxiety and stopping these panic attacks sounds impossible, but with some hard work, you can stop feeling like this. I have beaten anxiety and now feel generally happier and more relaxed in day to day life, and although I am still a very conscious person and definitely do sometimes panic about little things, I have learnt how to control it and can calm myself down quite efficiently. It may be hard, it make take months, but in the end, it is worth it and you will be able to control your anxiety and help others with the same problem.

Firstly, you should understand

The message of our post is to reassure you all that anxiety is normal and other people do think the same way as you; up to 1 in 10 people experience a panic attack in their life. If you think you are suffering with anxiety, talk to someone and tell them! Remember the saying a problem shared is a problem halved - it's completely true! My parents knew some of what was going on, but one Easter, after having to sleep in their room because I couldn't face my own, I recorded all my thoughts and feelings in a secret journal and then showed them; they understood how hard it was for me and the panic that I was feeling and since then, so many problems have been solved.

I remember having a 'worry time' allocated each day that I would sit down with mum and just talk about anything that was on my mind. She bought a book that dealt with anxiety called 'How To Worry Less' and we would use the tips from it, flipping through and reading random pages. One of the best tips that worked really well for me was imagining your worry as a bug, and then visualising locking your worry bug into a chest inside your brain and storing the key away somewhere very safe. Think of this whilst in school, having dinner, doing any of the normal things you do - the golden rule is you can't open the chest until worry time where you can discuss it. Whenever you feel the familiar bubble of panic or anxiety rising or you start to think about your worry, immediately tell yourself off and lock the chest again. Then, at worry time, I would open the chest and talk about my worry with mum. She would talk about it as well and I would tell her everything on my mind; talking to someone is like writing a journal, it helps get all the feelings out, and will hopefully stop you from hiding your anxiety.

Another thing that helped me whilst I was dealing with panic attacks was imagining my worry was a black dot - black and colourless, big and fuzzy, distracting me and bugging me. I would tell the bug to bug off before I would go to bed and whenever I started to feel the panic rising again, I would picture the worry inside me, growing bigger and bigger as it made me feel smaller and smaller. There is something very satisfying about diminishing the bug from you whilst telling yourself that it's just a stupid bug, bugging me, annoying me, trying to get attention. After around a year of being scared to sleep in my room in the holidays, these methods helped and I realised I wasn't scared anymore last year. Since then we have been on man holidays and I haven't panicked once about coming home and sleeping in my own room, which is a huge improvement.

I still worry, about small things rather than bigger things, but my anxiety has been controlled and sorted out - and now I want to help you. If you feel scared inside all the time and you don't know why, email me at becca.hammett@sky.com  or comment in the comment section below for a chat. I would be more than happy to help, so please don't be shy! 

Sophie will be posting another upload on worry and anxiety and panic attacks soon, so keep reading to understamd her story as well. 

Thank you all for being so lovely and understanding! Sorry for such a miserable post - I will be uploading a beauty tutorial later so be sure to read that! 

Lots of love, 
Becca xxxx


Hey beauties!
Sophie here xx Becca wrote this post, which I wasn't aware of and I must say everything she sayd is so trust-worthy, reliable and true. Currently, I'm suffering from anxiety or panic attacks daily, over the tiniest of things. I wanted to add in a few things Becca didn't mention.
First of all, if you don't suffer from anxiety, and you're just reading this because you like our blog, the best advice I can give to you is to watch this video:
Anxiety is a horrible feeling. I once read this article, in hope it would give me support with my attacks. I really liked the message they gave: Anxiety doesn't make you properly ill (in the past it has caused me to vomit or faint, but that's beside the point!) it's just uncomfortable. For those of you that do suffer from anxiety you'll know exactly what I mean. Anxiety can make you feel ill, and that's a natural instinct from your body. But, chances are you won't actually be sick. You might be sat in a classroom, and randomly a wave comes over you and you want to get out. You either feel uncontrollable hot or sick. I often find the noise level around me changes, either everything gets louder and makes me feel stuffy, or it gets quieter and I just hear my thoughts, usually saying something like 'Get out! What are you going to do? You can't go out. But you need to!?' It's like devil and angel.

I suffer from separation anxiety, where I feel specifically safe around a small handful of people, but when I'm alone in these scary situations it makes it much harder. For example, the bus often triggers my anxiety. I know why. It's because I can't get out. I need to get the bus, I have no choice because my school is 20 miles away. I also have no choice to get off at the next stop, like I might on a public bus. Finally, it leaves me alone to panic before the bus at 4:00, when school's out for the day!

I know my little section was super short, and Rebecca's was far better, but I just know how serious and deeply I feel about it, to the extent I've had to go to the doctors about it, so I thought it was important I played a part in this post. Rebecca really inspires me, because I know if she could she would be able to let her anxiety grow to be a major as mine, but because she's so resilient and strong, she manages to get on with things she might find difficult, and make the most of amazing situations. This post was called 'Overcoming anxiety', because Rebecca has overcome it. Unfortunately, I still find it creates obstacles for me in life. For any advice, comment below!
Sophie xxxx