The reason I’m writing this post is because so many of you ask me to speak about my experience with anxiety and I’ve been putting it off (as it’s not something I like to talk about) until I last visited my PO Box and found letters from some of you who suffer with anxiety and panic attacks. I actually felt quite emotional reading them, a few of you said that even knowing that I have suffered with anxiety has helped you, as you can see how I stay positive and that it comforts you in some way knowing that you’re not alone.
Lots of you asked me to film a video about it like my friend Zoe did, but I'm just not ready to speak on camera in detail about my experience. I respect Zoe for having the strength to talk about her anxiety so openly, but I thought I would do a blog post as it's a bit less daunting for me. I must just give Zoe some credit here, as since knowing her, I have felt so much more “okay” with being open about anxiety. None of you will probably know this, but her and I actually made friends because of it. I read Zoe’s blog and found I related to her so much that I messaged her and asked to meet for coffee, (little did I know Zoe hates coffee!) We sat in Bills in Covent Garden and chatted for hours about anxiety, panic attacks and life, it was the first time I’d spoken about it in a really long time and felt like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders.
This is such a different side to me that you guys don’t see, you see me on camera, usually for 10 mins once a week being very happy and smiley. Of course I’m not really anxious for the whole rest of my week, on the whole I am a really positive, bubbly, happy person, but I have my ups and downs just like everyone else in the world, and my downs are usually related to the fact that I sometimes struggle with anxiety. The only reason this came up in a video recently is because I was daily vlogging in LA at Vidcon and had had a panic attack that day. 1 in 4 people suffer with some kind of mental illness like anxiety and depression. So even if someone seems perfectly happy on the outside, you never know what’s going on in their head. Each persons’ struggle is totally unique to them, for example, although Zoe and I can relate to each other a lot, the things that make us panic are totally different.
For those of you who don’t know, anxiety is a feeling of worry, for me I find it easiest to describe as feeling unsettled. Everyone in the world feels anxiety, it’s a normal emotional state, just some people have an abnormal amount of anxiety and feel anxious when there’s nothing to be anxious about. A panic attack is a sudden rush of adrenaline caused by an uncontrollable level of anxiety. The scariest part for me was when I was younger as I didn’t speak to anyone about it properly and I felt totally isolated and thought I was crazy. It totally ruined my self esteem.
I’m not going to go into the depths of my personal issues today, I want to write this blog post purely to help those of you who have similar issues and maybe help you to think positively. What I will say though, to give you a bit of background, is that I have had anxiety for as long as I can remember. I mentioned in my Draw My Life video that I thought it started at the age of 13, but after seeing a hypnotherapist I realised it’s something I’ve had since I was a child and it just started to get a lot worse at the age of 13. Earlier this year I was suffering with anxiety quite badly and it was making my everyday life very difficult. On May 20th, I couldn't take it any more and reached out to a hypnotherapist I was recommended. It has honestly been life-changing. Not only is she working on my fears and worries, but she’s also making me become aware and mindful of the influence that my thoughts day to day have on my life and teaching me to work with my thoughts rather than resist them. I know some people hear the word 'hypnosis' and think about some one dangling something infront of you and saying 'you are feeling verrrrrryyyyy sleeeeeeppppyyy' - well just thought I should let you know it's not like that at all! It's just a lot of talking really, not traditional hypnosis. I wanted to briefly talk about my story to give some of you who may be at your lowest point some hope. A few months ago I was really struggling with my anxiety on a daily basis and it was stopping me doing things I would usually enjoy doing. I was making every decision based around my anxiety. A few months later, after working with a hypnotherapist (but also working with myself) I am feeling so much better. It is October now (I am now adding to this post that was initially written in late August) and I really believe I have kicked the main part of the anxiety and I want to let those of you know who are in a low place that you can get to a good place again. Something the lady I see says to me is “Be kinder to yourself, it starts with you.” It would take me all day to explain the way my therapist works, but it's about creating new neural pathways in your brain. I had learnt to be anxious from a very young age (subconsciously of course) and she has taught me (through hypnosis so reaching my subconscious and just general therapy) a different way of thinking and new neural pathways. I obviously still have my ups and downs, but I'm so much more balanced and can handle so many situations I wouldn't have been able to earlier in the year, I'm also feeling anxious a lot less, which is so great. I have seen therapists on and off since I was about 13, but had never stuck with one before, I would just do the odd session and expect it to work first time. All I can say is, stick with it guys! I am so so happy that I did and I wish you the best of luck.
Obviously my hypnotherapist has helped me massively so if you are struggling with anxiety please tell someone whether it be a doctor, friend or parent, just please don’t feel alone. I just want to tell you guys a few little things that I use to give me a bit of “space” when I’m feeling anxious.
I ask myself “what if?” so whatever I’m worrying about, I ask myself “what if?” and then answer it and if I’m still anxious I ask myself “and....what if?” and keep going until it feels better in my head. It’s kind of going down the “what’s the worst that can happen?” route and reasoning with yourself.
I remind myself that this is an emotional state I’m in and that nobody ever has been stuck in the exact same emotional state forever, so no matter how anxious I’m feeling, I know I won’t feel like this in a few hours, or the next day.
I do simple things like relax in a warm bubble bath and read a book. Never underestimate how valuable time to yourself can be.
Music is amazing too, it can totally uplift your mood and help you think positively. It doesn't necessarily have to be a song about how great life is, just a song that you enjoy. My favourite at the moment is Sonnentanz by Will Heard.
I use positive affirmations and quotes to help me feel stronger and remind me to think positively. I have lots written down, some I've found in books and online and some I’ve made up, (a little tip is to only make up your positive affirmations when you are in a positive mindset, don’t try and do it when you’re already feeling anxious or down as you'll find it much harder.) Here are two things I say to myself a lot, it's incredible how much of a difference a few words can make if you really listen to them...
I feel like I’ve been typing for ages even though I said I wouldn’t go into too much detail with this post. This has been really tough for me to write and I am extremely nervous about clicking the publish button so please be nice in the comments. If this post helps even just one person, I will be happy. Although I’m not sure how my ramblings will possibly help!
I love you guys so much and want to thank you for always supporting me and being the best friends a girl could have :)
Hey guys, I felt like doing a bit more of a personal blog post today! I've seen lots of other bloggers do this post and I found it really interesting, so here are 25 facts about me:
1. I love baking
2. Following on from number 1 - I love sweet food, my perfect afternoon snack would be tea and cake :)
3. When I was little, apparently I used to go around saying "Daddy made it!" to everyone, because my Dad used to make things out of wood as a hobby (like tables, bowls etc.) I thought he made everything in the world! haha
4. I'm afraid of the dark
5. I love anything that sparkles
6. I had piano lessons from the age of six, but stopped when I was about 16 and I'm worried I will forget how to play one day as I don't have a piano in my house at the moment to practise on
7. I am a very positive, happy person (apart from when I'm worrying!)
8. I love Summer, warm weather makes me so happy and the only thing I like about Winter is Christmas
9. I'm a dog person, not a cat person
10. I can't catch, if you throw something to me, 99% of the time it will land at my feet
11. I love seafood, apart from Octopus...even writing it freaks me out! Ew!
12. I have a sister and a brother
13. Family time is my favourite. Jim and I both have such busy lifestyles these days that we really value our time together and with our families
14. My favourite colour is blue
15. Before YouTube and blogging etc. I worked as a makeup artist. I worked on a counter part-time and did wedding & prom makeup jobs too. I also did makeup backstage at London Fashion Week. I do miss it, but I love the work I do online now <3
16. I am a real foodie, I love trying new restaurants and different cuisines and although I like sweet things like cake, I HATE junk food! Like food out of a packet or processed stuff. I like home-baking :)
17. I'm really claustrophobic and can't go in things like lifts (elevators) unless they are glass so I can see out.
18. My birthday is on June the 9th, I get really excited for it!
19. I love fairy lights, I think they can make any room look pretty
20. I love being outside, even if it's not a warm day, I like to lie in the garden with a blanket and a hot chocolate and read
21. I really enjoy playing Tombraider on the Playstation
22. I am quite easily pleased and a very excitable person
23. I'm never late for anything, maybe this comes from me being anxious, but I always leave in plenty of time so I never have to rush
24. My favourite subject at school was Classical Civilisation (history of ancient Greece and Rome) I loved studying the mythology
25. I am terrible at most sports, but every time I watch the film Wimbledon, I want to be a tennis player
So there are 25 facts about me! I hope you found this post interesting! Please leave me a comment telling me random facts about you - I would love to know some :)