Many people love reading personal blog posts, and after an hour of researching into the best vegan makeup brands in the UK, I’m feeling a little distanced from the personal side of my blog and the real reason I started publishing what I was thinking. So, after uploading a photo and asking my Instagram followers and Facebook pals to share some mental health-related questions, I’m writing this now. Although it is a personal post, some of these questions may also be useful for you and give you some advice on what to do in a few difficult situations, so scroll down for what I think about mental health. If you have any other questions, are worrying about something or just want someone to talk to (about anything) then pop over to my email and hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What advice would you give someone with anxiety who hadn’t told their parents?
I would encourage them to speak out! Your parents should always support you (unless you kill someone or rob a bank) and if you’re really worried about something, they’re the first people you should talk to. However, if the idea of talking about your anxiety to you parents is somewhat daunting, there are online sites and forums such as Childline that can give you advice in situations like that, if you’re unsure about your parent’s reaction. You can also email me at email@example.com for a chat or simply for advice, and I will always reply to what you have to say – don’t be scared! Suppressing feelings of anxiety or sadness that you can’t control is difficult and sometimes talking about it can be scary, but in the long run, it will help solve things faster and allow you to speak about your problems before they become worse.
How did you tell your parents about your anxiety?
I actually started addressing my anxiety as such quite recently, but it has been an ongoing issue for around 4 years now, and although it comes in spells, it definitely affects my life. After having nightmares and sleep paralysis at the end of last year I told my parents and suggested getting help for it and my mum phoned the doctor who gave her some alternative ideas, including the counselling program I use currently. If you need some help telling people, I recommend reading Explaining Anxiety To Someone Who Doesn’t Understand where I talk about how to address the issue and ways in which you can explain how you’re feeling to those who may not perfectly understand it.
Do you get laughed at?
No, because I only tell the people I’m most comfortable with and tend to stay within my comfort zone with people I don’t want to tell. For example, I try to challenge myself and try different things quite frequently but I would always make sure I was doing it with someone I trusted and who knew about my anxiety to avoid any awkwardness or difficulty. If there are people who laugh at you for being worried, you should ignore it and stop thinking of them as a friend because true friends would always accept what you were dealing with and not worsen the situation.
What is the worst thing about being anxious/having anxiety?
I think when people say ‘Oh my god, this or that gives me major anxiety’ or ‘I literally had a panic attack’ or ‘I probably have anxiety or something’ to describe something completely insane, and they seem to make fun of those who actually do suffer with anxiety and are prone to having panic attacks. They don’t understand and it’s just so disrespectful, as well as being super dramatic!
Are you constantly anxious?
Saying it like that makes having anxiety seem so awful; yes, in a way, but also no. There are definitely ways I can reduce stress and anxiety and saying I am always anxious isn’t healthy. However, yes, I would say a feeling of discomfort, nervousness or fear is common to have, and the difference between people with and without anxiety is those without anxiety will only feel this at times where stress and anxiety is very widespread; for example, going to the dentist, before a public speech or presentation, before a sports event you are competing in or an exam you’re taking. These all have connotations of worry, especially before the event, but that is common and everyone will experience it in many different forms. If you find yourself feeling like you are about to go and make a speech in front of 5000 people when you should be relaxed or happy, then that is a definite sign of anxiety. Often, there is no reason you should be feeling like this, and when other people ask what the problem is, it can be really difficult to explain.
What do you do to relax?
So much! I have a few pamper routines for quiet Friday nights, as well as reading a favourite book or going out with a friend. One of my favourite ways to relax and unwind after a stressful week is having a pamper routine, a bath and completely switching off! It feels great and your body will be thanking you in the morning. However, I think blogging is another great way to switch off and just concentrate on you for a bit! I like cuddling in bed and writing a new post or simply scrolling through my WordPress feed and seeing what others have been up to.
Does social media have a positive effect on your own mental health?
No! I know it can often make people more anxious or even cause bad mental health but I think starting this blog and focusing on creating a super positive space online has helped tremendously. I also try to surround myself with positivity, which means often logging off the personal accounts and concentrating on this one (a little self-promo, but follow my Instagram) as it is less focused on beauty and looking good constantly and more on helping and supporting others! I’ve made some really lovely friends with some people as well, and they are so sweet, so I think social media has a good influence on me rather than a negative one.
If I think I have anxiety, should I start blogging about it? I think it would help and I’d love to have followers to talk to about it.
Yes! But rather than using a blogging platform to voice your thoughts and self-diagnose, I would definitely tell a parent first and go to the doctor to make sure you’re okay and to get a proper diagnosis from a professional – if you want a clearer idea of anxiety, you can read up on the internet and find out more. There are so many online tests and exams you can do to help you self-diagnose, but it is important to see a specialist if you’re worried about it, and not to trust a diagnosis from the internet as your main evidence. Counselling may help you and sort out any anxiety, and you can read about Preparation and Expectations of Counselling if you need it. But yes, a blog may definitely help you focus on positives, connect with other bloggers and find your stress reliever! If you want to reduce the amount of anxiety you’re feeling on a daily basis, I also recommend reading Lifestyle Changes For People With Anxiety to make minimal changes in your lifestyle but see big improvements in your mental health. And finally – if you do start a blog, you can always email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for advice, a chat or some tips (don’t forget to follow me too).
How did you tell your friends about your anxiety?
I actually don’t really remember! I only tell close friends to avoid any judgment or special treatment and to be honest, I’ve always been an anxious person but I guess they found out after counselling sessions and those amazing sleepovers where you talk about anything and everything.
Is counselling awkward?
Nope! I recommend reading a few expectation posts beforehand, but the sessions aren’t awkward and they definitely become less awkward the better you know your therapist. It’s best to speak out and tell the truth, too, to minimise any awkward blanks! I prepared some notes and pointers about a few things I wanted to discuss, such as specific worries and triggers as well as any physical or mental symptoms, which made things easier and sped up the pace. If you want to know what will happen at your counselling session, you can read Counselling: Preparation, Expectations and Help.
Does counselling help?
So far I’ve only had one session but yes! Counselling is the easiest way to solve any mental health disorder, and by talking to people and to properly get everything out is definitely important. I guess it will be more useful for some people and it may even seem like a waste of time to others, but if you are worried about your mental health then yes, counselling should be a safe place to provide help.
Do I have anxiety if I am always worrying about something?
Although I cannot, of course, give you an accurate diagnosis, I would say that maybe having a proper diagnosis would help out; however, constantly being worried about things may indicate you being anxious. There are a lot of online tests you can take that might help you get a clearer idea of anxiety and if you have it, but the only way to properly determine it is by visiting a doctor or specialist. You can also email me (read up!) if you’re in need of someone to talk to.
I think my mum has anxiety because she often worries too much and is very tearful and stressed. How can I help her/talk to her? She works late so I don’t get a lot of time with her but I’d love to help.
I would recommend writing a letter or even an email saying how you’re feeling, asking if she’s okay and when she has some free time to have a chat. If she is anxious then there are plenty of ways to help and support her, including just being there for her and offering to talk or suggesting a form of help such as counselling. Try not to stress too much about it, though, as that could affect your mental health too! I would advise trying to talk to her about it or another close family member and then go about helping her from there. Good luck!