Mental health

Mental health

Going to try and take a more vulnerable approach to this one, which I am not used to doing as I mask many things with my #bantz. Like I just did there. In this post I am going to open up about my battle with anxiety and finish it with some tips for dealing with anxiety.

My battle with anxiety started from a really young age (I call it a battle because most of the time that is what it feels like, a constant battle in my head with myself). I was always an anxious child, could not be left alone, thought crisps were going to kill me and thought every family member was going to suddenly die while I was at school. (It is also ok to have a little chuckle at those anxieties, I do now when I look back).

These got a little better in my teenage years, I was still anxious but it was linked more to social anxiety and just general teenage worries. I was very shy and had to really work myself up to be around people. When I went to college I completely blossomed and I will forever be grateful for my friends there, that helped bring me out of my shell and help me become who I am today.

University was a fresh start for me and in the first term it really was incredible, could not have asked for more – well I could have done with a bit more money as I spent my money on 2 pound wine and nights out and then lived off pasta and cheese strings but yano commitment to le sesh is key at uni.

It was when I got into my first ever relationship that my anxiety took a turn for the worst. I have always struggled with ‘self-love’ I never fully accepted myself (image wise) so getting into a relationship was a big deal for me, to be fully exposed to a person, emotionally and physically was really hard work and took it out of me. Not only this the person I was with had many toxic traits and was very emotionally manipulative. It sent my anxiety wild, I gained tonnes of weight, lost a lot of my hair, and was just generally down. Everything constantly felt too much, the smallest thing felt like the biggest deal. It effected all areas of my life, luckily I had amazing people around me who supported me always and were always there to help. But being at uni when in a bad way with anxiety was hard, the hangovers made me so down and it was on those days that I just simply did not know what to do with myself, I felt trapped, scared and angry at everything.

I could carry on down the timeline of my anxiety but I feel like I could be here forever writing a very long, very emotional blog post.

Anxiety is a part of my life that takes over at times and then sits on the sidelines at others. When it takes over it feels like a blanket is smothering everything I do; I feel on edge always, overthink everything, struggle to communicate with people, want to be alone constantly and so much more. Everything feels like it takes every piece of energy and along with that you are convinced by all the negative thoughts in your mind. When my anxiety becomes high functioning in stressful times, my OCD then starts to tag team in with it, wanting to be part of the party. Meaning not only is my anxiety there fighting against me, my OCD is in the background telling me if I don’t brush my teeth in a certain way while doing 3 spins, something terrible will happen that day. It is EXHAUSTING, but over the years I have to learn to cope with that rather then trying to distract myself from it, because being real, there is no real distraction, you have to just face it head on.

There are days when I admittedly lie in my bed for so many hours wanting to get out and be productive but just not being able to face it, then feeling an overwhelming sense of guilt. I don’t get that as much now, but those days do still happen and that is ok.

I wanted to do a post on this because it is something I deal with daily, I am a loud, confident, happy person on the outside and have built myself a lot since I was that scared timid child/teenager, I am proud of who I am becoming. However, although that is me on the outside I still struggle on the inside. People never truly know the struggle people face inside. For example: I am very sociable but every single social event I go to I will have a really bad stomach the day before and I will barely sleep because I am so nervous of what people will think of me (even though I am with my besties normally). Equally, I love the gym but will sit in my car for like 15 minutes some days before I go in because I have had to hype myself up so much as I am so nervous of people seeing me working out. Even going for a food shop, some days I will see there is not a self checkout open, will leave my shopping and walk out because I cannot face being face to face with someone.

It really is exhausting, you feel it all over your body. Some days your anxiety will give you crazy energy where you just have to do some crazy moves around the house to try and burn it off, but other days it will have you stuck in the same spot for hours, because the enclosing feeling of dread is encapsulating not only your body but your mind.

You will have a million things to do then your anxiety knocks on the door like ‘hey, I know you are super busy right now but I wanted to remind you of a really bad event that happened 11 years ago’ and that is that, you are biting your nails, stressing out and then before you know it you are irritable, unfocused and tired. It can feel like you are self sabotaging yourself for literally no reason.

My main anxiety trigger is body image. I have a lot of trigger words/events that happen that really set me off. The start of the day is the hardest for me because picking an outfit for the day is so tricky as when I am anxious, my belly bloats, I see a completely different person in the mirror and I want to not be seen by anyone, it just can start my day off on the complete wrong foot. My other trigger is a long to do list, my mind can never cope well in busy times in my life.

This is why I am a big advocate for being kind and understanding toward everyone, everyone has their own triggers, you really do never know what people are going through.

I am so proud of the progress I have made through the years, I still struggle but nowhere near as much as I used to. I have challenged myself constantly and fought down massive barriers to live the amazing life I live now. I have never felt more proud of the journey I have been on then when I look back on how I have climbed my way out of some pretty dark holes and came out stronger, braver and more confident and ready to take on the next challenge.

I want to end of a more positive note after all that heavy shit! I want to end on some ways to help anxiety, these are things that I have tried and tested and have really helped/help me:
1. GYM – even though it is such hard work to get there some days, working out clears my mind, resets it and transforms my emotions so much
2. Meditation – this calms me down when I am feeling particularly nervy
3. Self-affirmations – this is mega hard when you are feeling anxious but I feel it can be so beneficial to ignore those negative thoughts and say something nice to yourself
4. Journal it – I have my journal where I write all my thoughts and feelings down (all be it is the MOST dramatic journal ever but hey I am an actress at heart, what do you expect?!)
5. Tidy your room – The quotes are true messy space, messy mind. When my anxiety is bad you can tell because my room is carnage, stuff EVERYWHERE, when I tidy it I instantly feel better
6. Self-care – Have a bath, use a face mask, wash your hair, paint ya nails, small things but help me feel good
7. Do something you enjoy – anything! I dance and act and that makes me feel instantly uplifted and happy.

FINALLY, be patient with yourself, don’t be angry or resentful at yourself for feeling this way. You are human. Mental health is never anything to be ashamed of, learn how to deal with your mental health in a way that works best for you. Know you deserve the best and fight a strong fight against those negative thoughts. Always talk to someone when you feel down, sharing a problem or worry can be such a relief sometimes. Be kind always and if anyone ever needs anyone to talk to then please do message me on Twitter @20_somethingyearold or at Instagram @20_somethingyearold1 . (That is not promo, that is genuine.)

Long one this time but I felt it was time to open up a bit, show you a different side to my writing and to me.

Thanks! L x

Advertisement
Self-care

Self-care

Phwoar, I don’t know about you but I feel like being in your twenties is stress central. Like excuse me, where is my open return back to care free childhood plz?

Now plz appreciate I am writing this as a mid twenty something year old – if you are older or younger then some of these may not apply – but here we go.

Work seems to be manic and tiring and just well… stressful. You also always seem to be in a weird sort of second guessing stage of being like hmmm… Is this what I REALLY want to be doing with my life? Even if this is the job you had dreamed of your brain seems to do that crazy little thing of going ‘buuuuuuuut what if I changed my mind and want to now do a job which is the polar opposite to this one, that I have 0 qualifications for?’ Super fun when it does that.

Alongside that your social life is hectic and you are in the middle of do I go and party the night away or do I sleep non stop for a solid 2 days? (I normally go for the party, normally regret it when I am dry-mouthed, anxiety ridden and 10x more tired than before.) But YOLO, right?…

Single people are stressed about finding a partner, taken people are stressed about if their partner is ‘the one’ or if they are just settling.

You also have this constant looming anxiety of soooooo when does a million pound drop out of the sky so I can buy a house, get 10 dogs, own my own car, pay off my debt, blah, blah, the list goes on.

And just Brexit…
(You can’t be an english person without throwing a brexit comment/joke into the mix.)

STRESS, STRESS, STRESS.
With a cheeky bit (lot) of word vomit thrown onto your screens there. If you were not stressed before, I fear I might have just made you a little. Soz.

ANYWAY onto the good stuff. Self-care ahhhh.

Self-care is so important, I cannot say it enough. With all the stresses we all face everyday it is so important to take some time for ourselves and really touch base and look after ourselves. We deserve it after all…

I know when I have had a really tough time I take time to just relax and do things that make me feel happy and calm. So below are my top self-care go to’s:

  • A long bubble bath with candles and chilled music
  • A face mask (I love to do this one when I am meant to do something important because it makes me feel like I am procrastinating in a ‘positive self-care’ way.)
  • Go for a walk
  • Listen to my favourite album
  • Blog
  • Go to the gym
  • Put all my fairy lights, candles and salt lamps on and meditate
  • Journal – to help me process my feelings and thoughts
  • Sing

These things really do help me feel more relaxed and zone back in with myself. I also read a lovely quote the other day which stated how you must treat yourself how you treat your friends, with kindness and patience. This is so key, yes being a twenty-something is stressful, I think just being a person is a bit stressful at times but ensuring you look after yourself is the key to feeling calmer and happier. Remember to slow down and do things that make you happy. Your mind and body will thank you for it!

What self-care strategies do you use? x

Body shaming

Body shaming

First ghosting now body shaming, it seems my blog is really tackling some joyful subjects! On the ghosting note thank you SO much for all the wicked engagement with the post, I was overwhelmed by how many of you reached out to talk about it with me!

Ok, so I felt inspired to discuss this matter after listening to quite a few podcasts discussing it recently. It made me think about my own experiences of body shaming and how it had affected me.

Bit of a background on myself with this, as it is a topic really personal to me and I have written and deleted this post SO many times. Anyway, at the ripe old age of 12 I discovered a deep love of eating not even food but eating, I LOVED it and ate ALOT. I became very chubby, often I would be called ‘fat’ by the mean girls. I began to see that as my identity, a part of me. I did not take it like some amazing people do, I did not own it. Everytime it was said to me I wanted to crawl into a ball and just disappear, everytime I felt absolutely disgusted by myself – not the people saying it (who now I see are the disgusting ones) but no, I saw me as the gross one. I was called fat even when I was not that fat! But that happened from 12 until 22. I know it was this amount of time because I used to remember it was always said at least once every. single. year. Everytime I would feel happy or confident, my mind would take me back to ‘you’re fat’ and the confidence would drain out of me. Deep stuff.

Now I turned to my Bff in these times (food obvs – cheese and bean pasties to be particular) so naturally then it became a vicious cycle. I also entered an extremely manipulative relationship and I ended up putting 3 stone on and the fat shaming came in thick and fast from strangers all around. The key there being strangers, these people never knew me. I remember so vividly once my pal trying to wingman me and the boy turning around WHILE I AM THERE and going ‘nah she’s fat’. I remember thinking…how can someone be so cruel?

These comments left such an imprint on me, I remember everywhere I went I thought people were staring, judging my weight, it made my confidence so low. It took such a toll on my mental health. Now, I still think about those comments but I do not view them as a part of my identity anymore but more as motivation to not let myself slip into the trap of believing them.

I ended up losing 3 stone after my break up and felt healthy and happy for the first time in a while. It was a monumental time for me because for the ages 23 and 24 I was not called FAT! Amazing. 11/10, an award goes out to all the dickheads that body shame…not. But for me this was HUGE I finally felt ‘normal’ how mad is that.

Ironically on my 25th bday I was drunk in Cornwall eating a subway living my best life and BAM a random man on a wall yells out to a taxi ‘DON’T RUN OVER THE FATTY’. What a caring man trying to save me from a taxi, shame he mispronounced ‘fitty as fatty’. Jokes aside, my world came crashing down (soz to be dramatic it’s that degree creeping in again) I threw my (delicious) vegan sub to the floor in upset thinking don’t need this food then obv I am back to fat L. Which obv is not the case, I have worked hard to feel good in my skin, I am not there yet but I am able to brush those comments off easier now.

Now lyf story over, thanks for sitting through that.

Get ready for sassy L again ppl…
The moral of this whole post. Body shaming is NOT ok, anyone affected by this knows how detrimental it can be to somebody’s confidence, mental health and well being. It is a disgusting thing, absolutely inexcusable. What gives somebody the right to comment ANYTHING negative about somebody elses looks? It is the lowest of the low. It also says so much more about that person than it does about us. People like that are just wrong ‘uns and what gives me piece of mind is that karma is a bitch, if you are (sassy, pouty click of the fingers with a uhhhuuuuhhhh). People need to understand that these off the cuff comments about peoples bodies stay with them for years. I still lay there at night sometimes replaying comments, believing those comments. It is so sad and I really don’t think people understand the severity of the subject. Body shaming can cause so many health issues. It is vile and never ever ok. We live in a social media world where people do it constantly. We live in a world where people want to constantly change their bodies with filters or surgery because somebody has shamed them for being who they are. Often people see body shaming as people being fat shamed but that is just not the case. People are body shamed for being too thin, fat, tall, small, the list is actually endless.

So here is my message to all those who have been body shamed:
Do not let those idiots bring you down or dull your sparkle. Those peoples comments mean nothing. They will mean everything for a while but that will soon fade and what once knocked you down will empower you. Your body is yours, do what you bloody like with it, if you want to eat 5 bean and cheese pasties because its a Monday DO IT! (Talking from personal experience though 5 might tip you over the edge and make you a feel a lil ill). Anyway back to the empowering stuff; Be proud of who you are, you are you and that is something to be proud of. Bellends will always be there to try and knock you down but shrug their comments off with pride (they hate that!) and carry on with your day. Your body is amazing and is with you through all the good and bad times, appreciate that bod of yours! Quite simply guys: You are unique. You are beautiful. And most importantly You are You. Rock it, slayyyyyy sistaaaa/bruvvvaaaa.

I also am not claiming to be a guru here and deffo need to read that paragraph at times when I think about body shaming comments but the fact is we are all here fighting the body shamers as ledge heads together.

You have got this, I promise.

L x

The pressures of social media

The pressures of social media

So being a twenty something I thought ahhh my care for social media will pass in due course. Long story short – it. did. not. I feel like I am more obsessed with social media than I ever have been before. I thought Bebo would be the height of social media then instagram came along…

I will set the scene for you – walk into a beautifully designed London floral cafe, you look around and see everyone posing, snapping pics of themselves or the surroundings. You can’t even judge them because you know you are about to whack huji out to get that perfect ‘candid’ shot of you laughing of to one side having the ‘best time ever’. When in reality you are out of breath from sucking in so hard, your face hurts from the fake smile and you feel a little embarrassed about any onlookers witnessing the ‘behind the scenes’ of your gram.

It is a fikkle game social media, it gives you a weird high when you get a load of likes and weird low when your photo bombs. Like why do we still care about this online acceptance of our lives? I hate that we care so much – that I care so much, it can become quite draining.

I feel for twenty something year olds instagram can be really disheartening, as we are seeing people our age or younger getting beautiful houses, getting engaged, going on amazing holidays, sharing their INSANE bodies and just in general showing off how great life is. We are at an age of uncertainty of where we are going in life, a false sense of security a lot of the time and when we log into our gram we see other twenty somethings who seem to have their lives in order.

I am guilty as sin for caring too much about my social media presence. One of my first thoughts when I have an event is hmm what am I going to wear, can’t wear something I have already worn on the gram. How mad is that?! Like c’mon L get a grip. I feel so much pressure if I am in a cool place to get a picture of myself looking like a #model. And if I do not get the shot I actually feel so rubbish about it. Again WTF? When did I allow my life to revolve around an app.

I know friends who have deleted the gram for a few weeks to help their mental health or self esteem. How crazy that we are having to delete something to help our own mental health because the pressure of an app is too much. It makes me very sad and so, so sad to think those in generations after us will have this take over their lives from such a young age. At least we all had our childhoods of playing out these children now days do not have that, they are eaten up by the pressures to look good and have nice things all the time.

It is a mad world we live in. But what is important is to remember that social media is not real life. People don’t post those photos of them laying on the sofa, ice cream around their mouth, mascara running because they had a break up or argument with their perfect insta husband. Maybe that’s what the gram needs, a bit more honesty? I can be the first to say I probz would not be uploading any ugly pics anytime soon. Vicky Pattison is great for keeping it real on the gram, love her hungover pics!

But anyway moral of the blog, people only post the life they want you to see. Those down days, those ugly breaking out days, those I haven’t got dressed and smell today pics happen in real life they just arn’t shown. Try to not compare yourself too much and try to remember life is there to be enjoyed, not instagrammed. I also am not claiming to be a guru here and I myself need to follow those morals also so yano this is a pep talk for us all.

Also, I do love instagram and seeing pictures of everybody’s lives, it is a great way to keep in contact with people also. I just wish I/we did not feel the pressures so much. Obv I know other platforms of social media are tough too but I feel instagram is the one that gets people the most.

Have a lovely week all!

L x