Tuesday 21 August 2018

Life Update: Anxiety

It's been almost 18 months since I wrote my blog post about anxiety. The Year I Stopped Laughing is by far my most popular blog post to date and I thought now, over a year on, would be a good time to do an update post. 

Mental health for many people is an ongoing battle. Anxiety isn't something that always goes away completely; it often lies dormant for months if not years and rears it's ugly head when you least expect it. Most people I know who suffer with it will have long periods of time feeling absolutely fine, however a trigger can occur at anytime and their struggle starts all over again. This is what makes it so hard to deal with; it really can take you by surprise.  

I'm pretty lucky that I've not had a relapse since the last time. I am going through a different kind of anxiety though which is based on my age and the time I'm at in my life (for more info head over and read my Freaking Out About the Big 3-0 post). Because I've had experience of anxiety and coming through it, I've got a lot of coping techniques that I'm using to help me. Most of which are centered around training your mind. Here's where I'm at with each of them, and how I feel they are helping:

- M E D I T A T I O N -
I recently downloaded an app called "Headspace". The app in it's basic form is free (you'll need to pay monthly for the full version) and provides you with daily guided meditations of 5 or 10 minutes in length. I love it, mainly because the guy who's narrating it isn't cringey at all; just a normal man talking you through it. But also because it incorporates some great videos to help you understand your mind a little better. I can't recommend this app enough; it's helped me manage my own personal head space and be a lot more at ease with what's going on in my life. 

- S E L F  H E L P  B O O K S -
I've recently started a trial with Audible and downloaded a book called The Power of Now. I've been listening to it for an hour each day where I can and I've found it's really helped. It helps teach you to live in the now instead of worrying about future or past events that you can't control. The shift from reading an actual book to listening to an audio version makes it a whole load more accessible too: I can listen in my car, or whilst at work for a quick 10 minute pep talk. The message the book is trying to get across is similar to the Headspace app too so the two work really well together. 

- C O U N S E L L I N G -
I've started going to counselling twice a month to talk about the things that have happened in my life that could be causing me to feel the way I do. I know lots of people who have had therapy of some kind, whether that's through the NHS or booked privately, and everyone I've spoken to has said it's helped them massively. I am of the opinion that we should all be open when it comes to talking about our feelings and battles. The more we talk, the more we feel that people are listening and in turn, we reduce the stigma that surrounds mental health. If you are considering going to any kind of therapy but you aren't sure, my advice is to go for it. Many private counsellors offer a free hours consultation where you have no obligation to book any additional visits so what have you got to lose? I've started an Instagram TV channel over at sophy_victoria where I do a quick 5 minute video after each of my sessions. If you're wanting some more info then I'd recommend watching these. I'll be as open as I can be without basically telling you everything I spoke about in my session... Cause you know... Privacy :)

If you're reading this and currently struggling with any kind of mental health issue, just know you're not alone. Hundreds of thousands of people (if not more!) across the world are feeling just the same as you right now. The best thing you can do is take back control of your mind and speak to someone about it. Knowledge is power and the more you educate yourself about why you're feeling the way you do the less scary it will feel. 

I'm always here if you need to talk so feel free to DM me over on my Instagram account. I'm no health professional but I'm happy to give advice based on my own personal experiences. 

Sophy x

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