Overcoming Sad Days

I often have days where I feel sad. There’s no other way of describing it other than just feeling sad. I don’t particularly want to go outside, talk to anyone, or do anything. I know this is just a massive side effect of my anxiety/depression but it never gets any easier.

Today was a sad day. I didn’t go to my lecture. I didn’t speak to anyone, and all I ate was a Pot Noodle. I cried a lot, but I couldn’t tell you what it was specifically about – just sadness. There are a few things that can make me feel better on days like this.

Reading

For me, there’s nothing that calms me down more than getting lost in a good book. Reading helps me to completely switch off my mind, to forget all the things constantly racing through my brain at 100mph. To become engrossed in an anxiety free world.

Music

I’ve mentioned on this blog before how much music helps me, from the atmosphere of a good gig, or getting lost in a good album. When I put on my headphones, it’s as if i’ve been teleported to a different place, bad thoughts are gone and replaced with good music. When i’m sad it helps to listen to sad songs – a good cry always makes me feel a little better.

researchers found that music releases dopamine, the feel-good chemical in your brain

Mind (Mental Health Charity)

Walking

Long walks, often with headphones in my ears, is always a massive stress reliever. Getting out of the house and clearing my head, observing the world around me, coming up with imaginary scenarios, people watching, fresh air, exercise. It’s not good to surroud yourself with the same four walls. I admit it’s hard for me to do this while i’m at university, i’m very close to London, and as you can imagine there aren’t many scenic walks to go on around here compared to the countryside where I grew up.

Talking

It’s good to talk to somebody about how you’re feeling. I’m lucky I have a supportive network of people around me – some of them don’t fully understand, or know what to say, but they do try and that’s enough. My boyfriend is my ‘rock’, he’s been through similar things and always knows the best things to say, whenever I’m having a sad day I talk to him.

It’s also good to try and talk to someone who’s not directly involved in your life, someone who will be able to give you impartial advice. I feel an idiot giving this advice myself, as I’ve not even been able to- it’s hard to talk about your feelings to a stranger when you struggle to even talk about it with people closest to you.

I’m going to finish with some mental health help lines. Nows a better time than any to talk to someone.

  • ANXIETY UK – Charity providing support if you’ve been diagnosed with an anxiety condition http://www.anxietyuk.org.uk
  • MIND – Promotes the views and needs of people with mental health problems www.mind.org.uk
  • NO PANIC – Voluntary charity offering support for sufferers of panic attacks and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) www.nopanic.org.uk
  • PAPYRUS – Young suicide prevention society www.papyrus-uk.org
  • SANE – Emotional support, information and guidance for people affected by mental illness, their families and carers www.sane.org.uk/support

Annesar x


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Tips on Making Friends at University

I was never nervous about starting University, which is werid. I wasn’t nervous about living away from home.

The day I left for university I cried in the car, I finally realised that I wasn’t going to have any of my home comforts anymore, I wasn’t going to have my mum, or my bed, or my dog.

For someone with severe social anxiety it’s weird how, when I need to, I can throw myself into terrifying social situations.

When I started uni I didn’t know anybody, but I knew I didn’t want to be alone with no friends, away from home. I found myself confidently going into the communual kitchen to socialise with my flatmates, I found myself agreeing to go to the local club that night.

That night I found I didn’t have a lot in common with these people. I even managed to message my course group chat, which is so petrifying for me, messaging a group of people I’ve never met – but am going to be spending everyday with very soon. A girl replied to me, she came and met me – and three years later we’re still close friends.

This is one of the proudest moments in my life. Being able to overcome my social anxiety to go out and make friends, even when I didn’t have anybody to fall back on. It’s something I had to do – for me. And I’m so glad I did. University would have been so different for me if I hadn’t of thrown myself out there like I did.

Tips for making friends at university:

  •  Don’t try too hard – if someone is acting like they don’t want to talk to you, go find someone else.
  • Join group chats – you should be able to find some to join on your university or accomodation facebook pages. If you’re like me and don’t enjoy messaging group chats; try finding someone in the group and messaging them individually.
  • Dont worry – you’ll make so many friends during freshers week, but don’t be upset if you don’t find your new bestfriend straight away, good things come to those who wait.
  • Patience
  • Don’t be upset if you only have one or two close friends – sometimes that’s all you need
  • Societies – find one you’re interested in and go socialise!!
  • Course friends – don’t confine them to juse ‘course’ friends, invite them to hang out outside of lectures and seminars.

Annesar x

Mindfulness Journey: Week 1

I’ve read from many people online that ‘mindfulness’ really helps them rationalise with their anxiety. I had no idea what mindfulness was, or what it entailed until I decided to look it up myself.

From what I gathered, it’s about being present in the current moment, your current emotions and things around you.

“It’s easy to stop noticing the world around us. It’s also easy to lose touch with the way our bodies are feeling and to end up living ‘in our heads’ – caught up in our thoughts without stopping to notice how those thoughts are driving our emotions and behaviour,”

Professor Mark Williams, former director of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre

I decided to try it for myself. For some people it doesn’t do anything, and others say it’s changed their life. So I figured it was worth giving a go.

I have a app on my phone which I use almost daily (I try), where a man talks me through a Mindfulness excersize. The app I’m using has a course specifically for anxiety – handy.

I’m currently 5 days into the course, I have to say it definitly helps me to relax and calm for a few hours after. I’m yet to see any long-term effects, but I am only 5 day in so I’m willing to keep going.

I’ve found somedays I find it super easy to switch off my thoughts and zone out, usually these days my anxiety has been at it’s highest. Somedays I find it hard to switch off, all I can do is think about random things ‘what am I going to wear tomorrow’ ‘Maybe I should wash my hair’. I’m hoping I can get better at it all eventually. Afterall, mindfulness is like any other skill, practise makes perfect.

Obviously I’m going to be writing weekly updates on my progress on how, and if it’s working for me.

Annesar x


The Vaccines – Combat Sports

Something that has always helped me with my mental health has been music. I just plug in my headphones and everything seems to be so much better. I love live gigs, which for someone who hates crowds can be quite tricky at times. Each week I want to share some of my favourite artists, albums, gigs and songs with you.

I had never really listened to The Vaccines before this album came out early 2018. I remeber listening to I Can’t Quit on the radio and instantly falling in love with it.

On whim I decided to listen to this album on a monday evening, I was probably procastinating my uni work. Two hours later I had convinced the boy I was dating to come with me to see them at Alexandra Palace in London, and we got tickets that night.

Alexandra Palace has to be the most beautiful music venue I’ve ever been to, it was an incredible gig, an amazing live band.

Even after having a little freak out because of the amount of people, and becomming grumpy, (for some reason when I get very anxious I can become very moody and take it out on those closest to me)  The boy who I was with, and dating, asked me to become his ‘official girlfriend’.

We’re still together and have tickets to see The Vaccines again next year.

Whenever I am feeling down, or missing him, I stick on this feel-good album and I am instantly taken to a happy place with happy memories.

Annesar x

My Symptoms

I recently read “Reasons to Stay Alive” by Matt Haig. This book is now like a bible to me. He wrote about many things that I’ve never been able to find the words to describe. He made me realise that the feelings I’m having are normal – I’m not the only one feeling this.

Throughout the book he writes lists. I love lists. So, I’ve taken inspiration and adapted his lists to fit my own personal journey.  This is list one.

My Symptoms

  • An aching sensation in my legs, hands, chest, throat and at the back of my head
  • An inability to contemplate the future (a constant feeling that I’m going to die young)
  • Scared of going mad
  • Separation Anxiety
  • Constant sense of dread
  • Mental and physical exhaustion
  • Like I’m useless
  • Chest tightness
  • Lost
  • Sad
  • A sense of being cut-out from another reality, disconnected
  • Claustrophobic
  • Like I’m constantly on the verge of a panic attack
  • Shaking
  • Overly emotional
  • Always wanting to nap/sleep
  • Always worried
  • Overthinking
  • Feeling of falling while standing still

Annesar x

Here I go

One week today I’m going to speak to a stranger about my anxiety for the first time ever. I’m terrified.

I don’t know how long I’ve had anxiety (or depression), and I don’t know when it first started. I feel like it’s always been a part of me that I’ve struggled with. When I started school, I would be too nervous to answer the register, so I would just raise my hand, if a teacher picked on me to answer a question I would just silently stare at them and cry, I would only speak to one or two people. Everyone said I was weird and shy, but maybe this was the beginning of my social anxiety.

Everything went bad when I was at college, during these two years I had no friends at all, my grandma died, and I had absolutely nobody to talk to about it. All I did was go to college and then come home and sit in my room and cry, I was at the lowest point in my life, suicidal, and very very alone.

Today, as a 21-year-old, the worst two years of my life are over, I’m studying at university and living away from home, still trying to cope, but doing a lot better. I have friends now, so that’s good progress.

My anxiety stops me from doing so many things that everyone else around me finds so easy. Nobody else seems to fall silent during group conversations, avoid going to lectures because the thought of socialising is terrifying, vomit before doing a presentation, or cancel an evening with friends at the last minute because you have an awful feeling something will go wrong.

A few weeks ago, I decided, with a lot of support from my boyfriend, to start getting help. I emailed the university health and well being centre, and my first meeting is next week. I’m beyond nervous but also excited to finally be a step closer to living an easier life.

I know I’ll probably never be completely anxiety or depression free but being able to cope with it better and make daily life easier are my main goals.

You’ve probably gathered what this blog is going to be about. I want to log my journey and also share it with others going through the same thing. I want to share the good days and the bad. The ups and downs. What helps me cope and what triggers my anxiety attacks. If nobody reads, that’s ok, I want to be able to write and process my feelings.

Let the journey begin.

Annesar x