If you’re a regular reader of this blog or you follow me on Twitter, you’ll know that I suffer with anxiety. It’s quite obvious really, I’ve spoken about it enough and I’m always as open and honest as I can possibly be with my mental health because I know that so many other people suffer too. My anxiety journey has been a long, complicated and quite frankly, weird one. I won’t go into the details here but you can find out more about my personal anxiety journey throughout my Mental Health category if you wish to know more! Going about my day to day life has become increasingly more difficult since I developed this condition. I get anxious about almost everything but over the years I’ve pushed and pushed myself and I’d say I’m in a semi-decent place at the moment in regard to my mental health.
If I’ve learnt anything this year so far, it’s that we could all do with giving ourselves a bloody break once in a while. It’s okay not to be “on it” every minute of the day, it’s okay not to be productive every single day of your life and it’s certainly okay to feel like crap – for a multitude of reasons or for no reason at all – every now and again. One of the main changes I’ve made to my life this year is listening to my body and mind and giving myself what I need or want at any given time rather than ignoring it and powering through when I really shouldn’t be.
I don’t mean to sound awfully dramatic but this is a really difficult post for me to write. I’ve opened up about my mental health and self-esteem problems before so if you wanna catch up with all that jazz, then check out this post and this post. But today I’m writing something I never thought I’d write and something I actually don’t really want to write but feel like maybe I should? I dunno. It’s complicated. Basically, I’m going to try and wrack my brain for some things I sorta kinda possibly might like about myself and explain why.
Anxiety sucks. There’s no two ways about it. It can be overwhelming, entirely consuming and completely life-changing and I’ve certainly experience all 3 of those feelings since I developed Generalised Anxiety Disorder in 2011. I wrote about my experience in more depth here but since then (goodness me, it literally does seem like a lifetime ago), my anxiety has chopped and changed quite dramatically. And it’s no surprise really because things change all the time. There was a point in time where I had to eat sort of, every hour because I was terrified I was going to faint. Which stemmed from an episode of the flu where I almost actually did faint and voila, I have anxiety and I’m terrified of everything. Funny how the brain works isn’t it?
I blog about mental health a lot and I’m totally open about my anxiety and how it affects me. Which is bad. Sometimes. I think during my anxiety journey, I’ve learnt a lot about how to deal with both anxiety and stress. I’ve probably learnt more coping mechanisms with anxiety than I ever would have if I didn’t develop it in the first place. Which, thinking about it, I suppose is one benefit to come out of having my mental health disorder. Of course we all need coping strategies when we’re stressed. Because we all get stressed and we’ll all have periods of more stress than others. You know how it is, everything’s fine for months then 12 problems come along at once. I’ve recently had a bit of a episode like that, which I’m not going to go into but it’s important to reiterate the point that everyone goes through it. It can help to know we’re not alone, if nothing else.
This time of year can be magical and joyous and sparkly and happy but for a lot of people, including myself in the past, it can also be miserable and depressing and sad. Literally SAD. I’m talking about Seasonal Affective Disorder which is a very real condition which can affect anyone in the Winter months, when daylight is shorter, darkness creeps in at 4 p.m and ultimately can leave people feeling, well, miserable.
*** Trigger warnings: Suicide, suicidal thoughts and mental illness ***
Review: This doesn’t really have a blurb so I’ll just explain myself what Project Semicolon is all about. Basically, Project Semicolon is a suicide awareness organisation, founded in 2013 by Amy Bluel and is dedicated to preventing suicide. The idea of the semicolon is that in a novel, when an author uses a semicolon, it signifies that the sentence isn’t over and using a semicolon in this instance is to signify that your own personal story isn’t over, especially if you’ve been affected by severe mental health, suicidal thought or suicide attempts. This book is a collection of short paragraphs and short essays from people all over the world with a whole spectrum of mental health conditions and stories where they share what they’ve been through, their darkest times and how they’ve come through the other side. Continue reading “Book review: Project Semicolon by Amy Bluel”