So, About Those Tablets

Many keys, many doors, many routes!

Because I’m trying to keep this blog short and sharp so that you don’t have to focus for ages when you’re tired or stressed, I wanted to return to the idea of taking prescribed medication for anxiety. Please bear in mind that I’m talking about non-medical anxiety at this point!

Tablets are good

Much as I preferred not to take tablets, I took that decision for the very good reasons that my anxiety wasn’t medical, it was driven by the state of my life. I also didn’t have children – except two cats who were my saviours – which meant that I didn’t have to keep going in the way a working parent, particularly a single parent might, or a carer. I’ve seen friends who are parents and carers and I can tell you now that in order to keep going they needed a lot more support than me.

If your life is hectic, and the idea of you laying in and relaxing whenever you can, sitting down to relax or meditate, taking time for a lovely long hot bath with soft music, candles, and a glass of wine, is quite bluntly ridiculous, then you will more than likely need more support than someone who can create time to relax and reflect. That’s perfectly right and sensible. Some people might sneer at you and tell you that everyone can find time to relax if they want to; frankly that’s supercilious crap (I was nearly more blunt there).

Being realistic is a big help

If you say you can’t do something, bosses, councillors, coaches, maybe some ‘friends’ will more than likely jump on you and say why not? Challenge every word you say. Make you feel worse. This doesn’t help, as I’m sure you know. There you are, doing your best, fighting your own mind, and they’re telling you you’re just not trying hard enough. Blank all that.

I would never encourage anyone to give up, sit in a heap, and let things deteriorate, you are in a battle and you do need to dig in and plod on. By the same token refusing medical help when you’re not coping will not lead to a recovery.

My suggestion, and that’s all it is, is that you accept the medical help you need, but, and this is a BIG BUT, also create a plan for changing what’s wrong in your life. Use the medication as you would a crutch for a leg injury. You need it to move forward, but you don’t need it forever. At the end of the day if you don’t solve your problems and take control of your life, then your recovery moves one day further away, every day.

So talk to your GP, take the help you need, but make a deliberate decision that it’s only whilst you work out what you need to do to create a life that doesn’t drive you to distraction. Get your GP to keep you on track.

In the case of a loss, family illness, etc., always give time for the grief, fear, and loss process to work it’s way through before you put any pressure on yourself. If you have gone through those hard situations, I would suggest that 18 months after the event – if you haven’t felt better before – you start thinking about your future. But grief and shock must be worked out, get help with them, and take it one step at a time.

Whilst I have suggested time-frames, being in control of your own mind and life means that you do everything at a pace that feels right to you. Modify what I say to work for you.

My little saviours, Marby left, Geris right.
They gave me a reason to get out of bed!

Don’t Be Ashamed to Need Help

Everyone needs support sometimes

One thing that surprises me is how long people struggle before they ask for help, and some don’t. For some it’s an admission of defeat, and if you’ve felt this way remember, you’re more likely to be defeated without help than you are if you knock down every door until you find the person that can help you.

I was a support seeking junkie!

Once I realised I needed help I didn’t stop, I had a mentor who used hypnosis to help me calm my mind and find my truth; I had a GP that I could see any time, and although I tried not to take too much advantage, I did seek her help. I read books, I gathered new ideas, I went to events with some of the top inspirers that I know of.

The reason I did this is that the person you are now has been programmed by others, and in order to become a happier, confident, strong person, which you undoubtedly can, you need to change the way you look at life and make your viewpoint and mind your own.

Stick with your mind if you can

I would never recommend that anyone refuses tablets if suggested by their general practitioner, but I have a good reason for suggesting that you see yourself and your own mind as the final solution to this problem, as it were.

I had a medical condition going on and the consultant wanted to to a major operation at the age of 29. My GP and I both agreed that I was far too young, and we didn’t think it was necessary. She suggested that, as I was going on a fortnight’s holiday with my ex (which was stressful at the best of times), I try a form of anti depressant. I did not want to! She pointed out that if the cause of the condition was stress, as we both suspected, then the tablets should ease or stop the symptoms. I reluctantly agreed but made her make an appointment for the first Monday I was back to take me off them.

I was certain I didn’t want them as my father had become addicted to Valium when I was young, and it had affected him very badly. Please note that this was in the early days of that kind of treatment and they know much more about how these drugs work now.

So, I went on holiday. I had to take four tablets a day, and I’m not going to lie to you I looked forward to the next tablet, counting down the minutes until I could take it. I felt so much more relaxed. They did work so I also knew that the condition was caused by stress.

When I went back a fortnight later the GP kept her promise and took me off the tablets, except that having been on them for 2 weeks it was going to take 6 weeks to come off them. I was furious! But she had proved an important point so I was also tactful. The consultant was wonderful about it too.

She asked me for my take on the tablets, and this is why I suggest that if you possibly can but have no shame about it if you can’t, you consider taking them very carefully. As I said I felt wonderful, I was relaxed, at ease, smiling and laughing, but…it was as if there was a glass ceiling in my mind, and below it I knew, I just knew, that nothing had changed. When I came off the tablets I went right back to where I was.

Important!

I mean this. If you’re struggling with your mind and emotions and you’re a single parent, a full time worker, under a lot of pressure, all of those things! If you’ve lost someone dear to you, or a beloved pet. If you’ve been made redundant, someone you love is ill, all these real life things that are so hard, and more so in this busy, pressured world, we now live in. Ask for help, see your GP, and if they suggest tablets listen and try them.

You can ask your GP to do what mine did and promise to help you get off them. The next GP I went to in a mess said if I didn’t want tablets I had to see a community psychiatric nurse, boy did I flinch at that one, but it was an either/or (and he had eyes like my mother in a strop), so I chose the psychiatric guy, and that was one great move!

I never refused help, I listened to everyone I could, and although I didn’t want to take those tablets for reasons I think you can understand, I never regretted taking them…because they told me that I was capable of feeling good!

I was embarrassed to need help though, bothering doctors when it was ‘all in my head’, which it wasn’t. See the next blog. But I’ve never ever regretted taking all the help I was offered because it was the only way I found out what worked.

Even more important!

If your condition turns out to be clinical, caused by some sort of imbalance in the body, then you will need tablets or some sort of treatment, and you must never feel bad about that. You wouldn’t apologise for the flu or a broken leg, and no one, no one, ever needs to apologise for having a compromised mind, medical cause or life cause.

Visualisation to Negate the Past

Is the past whirling like a cyclone in your mind?
Want that to stop?

In order that this blog isn’t just a number of ideas, I wanted to throw in the odd visualisation or exercise that might help you. If you’re unfamiliar with visualisation, this is how I see it. In meditation you relax your mind, in visualisation you use and direct it. A good thought or idea, programmed into the mind, can be useful. Try this one.

Your Hall of Memories

Imagine that you’re in a park, it’s a beautiful summer’s day, the temperature is perfect for you. Birds are singing, butterflies are swooping from flower to flower, bees are gathering nectar. The grass is a wonderful green and feels soft and warm beneath your feet. As you walk through the park you see a path to your right, you take it, and in front of you there is the most beautiful building. It’s a place of light and happiness. You approach the building, mount the steps, and open the door.

Inside there are many, many, shelves, and on each shelf are beautiful boxes with your name and dates on it. This section is your happy memories. You may be surprised how many boxes there are, but for children there is so much wonder in the world to be discovered, that your first butterfly, sight of the sea, rainbow, are all stored there.

At tables in the centre are angels and spiritual beings, collating your latest memories ready to store them for you, they wave and smile. As you look around the room you see a door on the back wall, there is a sign ‘room of bad memories’. You don’t want to go near it, but your feet draw you there. To one side of the door, hanging on the wall, are a key and a doorstop. You take the key, open the door, and push the doorstop under it so that you can definitely get out again.

There are tall shelves reaching high up to a ceiling with a beautiful glass dome. The boxes on these shelves are cardboard, bland, and some are broken and papers are spilling out. It doesn’t matter how many boxes there are, it’s irrelevant, because you’re about to take the power out of your bad memories.

You see a switch by the door and wonder what it does, you push it and the glass dome opens and the sun pours in. It sets fire to the boxes on the top shelf, and it quickly spreads down the shelves. You notice that in the floor there is a drain hole, and the ashes are floating down through the air, and drawn into that hole. You feel lighter.

You turn back to the door, take the key and put it on a hook inside the door, kick the doorstop down the central drain, and let the door close. You will never need to come in here again. If ever anything difficult does happen, visualise a piece of white paper, a gold pen, and write down what happened, place it in an envelope. Return to the hall of your memories and push that envelope below this door, it will slide down the slope and into that drain. Know that you have released the energy and taken the power out of that memory. Yes, you know that certain things happened, but no they don’t affect you.

As you leave the beautiful hall of your happy memories, you note that there are many shelves yet to be filled, and you make a decision that you will focus the rest of your life on filling those shelves with wonderful things. Copy this link for an audio of this visualisation (sorry it wouldn’t let me embed it).

https://anchor.fm/dashboard/episode/edlcee

Don’t forget, what the mind believes to be true will work. It’s your mind, make the decision to embrace this positive, healing, idea.

Love Your Negativity

You will be aware of the word negativity, you’ve been warned against it, scolded for being it, and probably told over and over again that if you were just more positive everything would magically be better. If I may be so bold – garbage!

Our minds are a jigsaw puzzle
of our thoughts and experiences,
all of which are useful.

Who’s your best friend?

Negativity is. When you suppress your negativity and pretend it isn’t there, battling on with a determined smile on your face whilst inside you’re falling apart, you don’t heal anything, you don’t change anything. When you face what people call negativity head on, when you listen to yourself ‘moan’, when you write that down in a journal and reflect on it, then you’re taking back your power.

Who’s your greatest teacher?

Negativity is. The negativity you express is the problem, or problems, that you have. It’s telling you plainly and simply exactly what is wrong, so stop being afraid to be ‘negative’, stop bottling your feelings up until you explode, grab that journal and make some notes about what upset and troubled you today. It will become your road map to mental health. Think about things such as:

  • What triggered that outpouring?
  • Did someone say or do something that reminded you of a bad thing that happened?
  • Did someone speak to you in a disrespectful way?
  • Did they speak truth? It’s important to know if what they said was right even if you don’t approve of the words or tone – you can deal with that later as I did the mocha!
  • Was it a song, music?
  • Was it something medical? There is such a thing as medical anxiety.
  • Is there a difficult anniversary coming up?

There are many questions but that should get you going. Just don’t forget…

NEVER WASTE A MOAN!

You Weren’t Born This Way

There are reasons why you are the way you are now, but you’re probably so exhausted by trying to cope that you have no real idea how all this happened.

Butterflies represent transformation
see them as the bad thoughts leaving your mind

The thing with stress and anxiety is that it grows on you, there is a sliding scale: stress, strain, anxiety, acute anxiety, depression, and it’s so easy to slide down that scale without realising that you joined it in the first place.

You start as a perfectly normal person, coping with your everyday life, then suddenly you feel frightened, tired, anxious about the smallest things, and you have to turn the light on and off 3 times every time you use it in case some bad, unknowable thing happens if you don’t.

Journal to take control

Find the Reasons

Forget everything else that anyone says about you and your state of mind, and start keeping a journal noting what’s happened to you in the past, and what’s happening now.

It’s really important that you understand this yourself, and don’t take other people’s words for what happened. It doesn’t matter what would or would not affect them, or how they perceive your life, how they think they would have handled, or handle, it, it only matters that you have been affected by it.

Trust Yourself First

You may not feel like a highly reliable person as you cower under the bed clothes unwilling to face another day, because life is just too much, but you are the authority on yourself, and you need to respect that idea.

I was constantly told I was an idiot, and when I went through this process I’m suggesting to you, I was stunned by how many real things had happened. It was years later that someone who had known me almost my entire life told me that I’d had the hardest life emotionally of anyone they’d ever met, and I didn’t deserve a moment of it. Hold on to that idea too.

So…

  • Create a journal, focus on what has happened to you, but be bland about it, don’t get into the emotions, look for the facts.
  • Then start writing in that journal daily, note where you’ve struggled, what has happened, and how you felt about it.

None of this is negative, this is information, it is knowledge, it is power. Just don’t use the journal as an excuse to dwell on what’s happened. If you dwell on the past it becomes your present and carries the attitudes, feelings, and decisions, that will become your future.

“The past isn’t just over, it literally no longer exists.” Gregg Braden

You’re Not Weak

If, like me, you’re anxiety isn’t a clinical issue, and you’ve been made to feel stupid, weak, a nuisance, a burden, and other equally unsupportive things, just because you’re battling your own mind, let me tell you why that thinking is wrong whether it comes from others, or originates inside.

When I went to a GP for help he said something that I’ve never forgotten. “You think you’re weak and stupid don’t you?” I nodded into my sodden handkerchief. He said “You’re not, far from it. Every single person I’ve ever seen in the state you’re in has been strong for too long, you’ve been strong beyond endurance. People like you have come to the end of their tether, reached for more inner strength, worn out that tether, until the point where they just can’t do this anymore.”

I have never forgotten those words and nor should you. This goes back to the previous post where I said you weren’t born this way, something happened. You may know what that was, and if you do then take a moment to reflect on the fact that it was a real event that hurt you. If you don’t remember, it doesn’t mean that nothing happened, if your anxiety isn’t medically based, then something did happen.

It doesn’t matter that when you find out it sounds unimportant, it meant something to you at that time, especially if you were a child without an adult’s ability to translate meaning and add it to words. Don’t second guess your younger self. Knowledge is power, it’s a tool for change, use it! Puberty alone has a lot to answer for, so does school bullying, and even work bullying.

Here are a few questions for you to consider:

  • Do you know when it started and how?
  • What is your first recollection of anxiety, how did it manifest?
  • Does it have a particular pattern (agoraphobia, flying, travel, food, etc.)?
  • Is it there all the time, or do you have quiet moments?
  • Does something specific set it off?

That’s just a few questions to help you get to know your anxiety, in order for you to start taking your power back. Until you understand it you can’t beat it. Imagine being put in the pilot’s seat of a large jet aeroplane and being asked to safely fly 500 people to the other side of the world? You wouldn’t have a clue where to start (unless you’r a pilot, in which case think brain surgery), yet someone who knows how to fly a plane (or a brain) wouldn’t even be phased by the problem. As such, you need to become fully informed about your issues.

I hope these ideas are starting to help you feel that you can take control of your mind back.

Just never forget – you’ve been too strong for your own good for too long!

Stop Listening to Others

As I’ve hinted, and will explain when I pop my story on here, the words of others can be hurtful and damaging to someone suffering from anxiety. Either they don’t understand, or they start to struggle because they can’t help you. Either way, if you’re not feeling helped by people who don’t understand or can’t help, read on…

You know they don’t understand…I know they don’t…

But they do not. Anxiety from the outside in is a completely different experience to living it from the inside out. It has to be. Anxious people feel trapped in their own minds and bodies, but to the outside it can appear that you keep talking about the same things all the time.

I liken it to doing an escapologist act where you’re chained up and you have to undo all the padlocks or you’re going to fall into a vat of piranha fish and get eaten alive and then drown, and you’ve dropped your carefully hidden escape key! No one who isn’t an escapologist would know how to unlock the padlocks, but it would make perfect sense if all you kept saying was “where’t the key…where’s the key?!” Unless you’ve been trapped by anxiety you won’t understand the focus on the things that bother you, because those are the things that need solving! Just like the whereabouts of that key. So never ignore yourself when you moan! More about that later.

Many voices make hard work!

Much as you may be fed up with your own voice, by the same token you don’t want to invite too many different opinions into your head.

There will be people who know you well, and their words will always be helpful and supportive of you. They get you. They probably saw this happen. They might feel helpless but they’ll always work to understand. They might give you a well placed kick up the butt when you need it (my mentor certainly did), but they’re on your side and you know it. Then there are the pull yourself together brigade.

These are people who get short tempered with you, tell you to snap out of it, criticise your behaviour, and generally behave as if all your mind needs is a sticking plaster and a bit of gumption!

This might be your boss who has deadlines to meet, your children who need something of you, an exhausted partner, your parents who simply can’t cope with you being this way, anyone you meet. If their attitudes aren’t positive, if their words aren’t respectful, if they trivialise what you’re going through. Time to stop listening.

I worked through acute anxiety for 22 years – not a hero, I didn’t know what else to do, it was with me every day, all day, so I had to keep going. You know how it is. When I finally crashed because just too much happened at once, my GP gave me 2 months off, and it was the finest thing that ever happened to me. I had time to think. I wasn’t in the middle of the battle all day every day. I could sleep in. I could rest. I could recuperate. I didn’t have loads of opinions around me.

When I went back to work there was a new coffee machine that dispensed Mocha. I asked a (supercilious) manager of mine “what’s mokker?” He promptly said “mosher is a mixture of coffee and chocolate, don’t you know that?” Without even thinking I replied “have you ever seen the Oxford English Dictionary? It contains thousands of words, and I make no apology for not knowing every word in it”. He immediately apologised. The important thing is that the break, the rest, the opportunity to think and reflect, had put me back into my own personal power.

Have you ever had a break?

Written to help people like us
Available from Amazon

A Lighthearted Blog on Anxiety?

The light of heart can do more!

This saying says it all. The lighter you feel in mind and emotion, the healthier and happier you feel, the more easily you will move forward into creating a better life on your own terms.

I don’t write or speak in dramatic language when I’m trying to help people solve problems, nor do I try to demonstrate my genius by complicating them. One thing I learned on my long journey is that the lighter you make a problem the easier it is to bear, and the simpler you make it, the easier it is to solve.

As you read this blog just remember that I’m spending my time writing this because, even though I probably don’t know you, I care about what your feeling, what you’re going through, what you’ve been through. I care enough to seek the simplest solutions, because that’s what took the burden from me and helped me to change, and offer them to you in case they’re useful.

I will try to write in amusing images so that maybe you smile the next time something happens instead of cringe. I’ll use imagery that you’re meant to remember easily, so that you don’t have to struggle to recall. I’ll use straightforward words so that they require no effort from you and reading them becomes a break from the complication.

I hope that you’ll go on to live your life that way. Simply, easily, looking for the fastest, least complex solution that you can, so that you move forward from okay, to better, to wonderful, with fewer tears and ongoing hurts. Fewer wasted years!

I write lightheartedly because – as you know – laughter and sleep are the two best medicines, and I definitely don’t want to send you to sleep!

I want to help you to feel light and untroubled enough to move forward and start really living again!

Hi and Why!

You are my why, and I’m yours. I’m writing this because there was a time that no one understood me, I had no support. In truth only people who’ve had anxiety really get it, really understand the replacement of the self with someone you never wanted to be. Only we know how much it hurts, how tiring, sad, lonely, and bewildering it is. I know the way out and I’m here to offer those ideas and techniques to you.

Take a deep breath

Okay, so you’re suffering from this difficult condition, maybe you have been for some time. It’s dragging you down, you’re probably tired, you’ve lost your sparkle, you may be verging on depression. The important thing to remember is that many people have felt as you do, and they have recovered. These people were no cleverer, no more intelligent, no more capable than you. It’s just that somehow, one way or another, they bought themselves back into balance, and changed their lives by changing their mind and attitude. I am one of those people.

I’ve put a little about me here, but the important message for you to remember is that I was not special, I was simply prepared to change in order to recover. you can too. So take a deep breath, try and relax, because I’m going to tell you how I did it, and the techniques are easy, using them will be as hard as you make it. Choose simplicity!

My life started off badly, mum and I nearly died the day I was born, and I was told 3 things when I was old enough to remember them. My father’s first words to me were, “ooh you, it’s all your fault”, my mother’s were “very nice, now take it away”, and when I was still a young child my father told me that when asked if the surgeon could only save one of us, who should he choose. My father told me he said “my wife of course!” As an adult I understand that, as a child I did not. I would probably have said “both, no choices!” Things went downhill from there until I was completely broken, a laughing stock, a hypochondriac (turns out I wasn’t, but more later), bullied, 3rd best in a family of 2 children, in a miserable marriage, miserable job, house I hated, with a fractured mind, wondering what the heck had happened to the real me!

So that’s the flavour, enjoy the rest of the posts, and here’s your first tip:

Anxiety puts you into fight and flight, breathe in for a count of 5 and out for a count of 8, and it will help you to calm down.