I was struggling to come up with a topic for a blog post, so a while ago I asked if anyone had any questions for me that would allow me to do a Q&A. I know, original right? I always promise to be as open as I can and very honest about mental illness on twitter because I believe honesty is what people will relate to the most. I get so many questions from people either starting their journey, or struggling with it, so I thought this might be a good idea.
I was shocked to be completely inundated with 10 questions and although I’ve now found myself with more topics to cover, I still wanted to answer the questions people kindly asked. So here they are:
Q: Have you ever felt left behind and if so, how did you deal with it?
A: This was probably the saddest thing about having a mental illness for me. I felt friends left me behind but through no fault of their own. Having anxiety stopped me doing a lot of things, and as a results I came across as ignorant/miserable so didn’t seem to spend much time with friends and list touch with them. How did I deal with it? I guess I didn’t really, but I’m slowly building a new friendship circle with people that are actually good people who don’t mind that sometimes I can’t quite meet expectations. Sometimes, things happen for a reason 🙂
Q: How do you cope being in a job where you can’t discuss anxiety, and any tips on how to escape?
A: Work and mental illness went hand-in-hand with me. In fact, it’s part of the reason I developed a mental illness in the first place. I lasted around 5 and a half years before I decided I was tired of struggling, and left to pursue a career as a self employed designer. My tip is always do what feels right. If you’re escaping because you hate your job, find something you love and that inspires you every day. It won’t get rid of work related anxiety, but it will make coping with it worth the while.
Q: How do you get on with your day when you wake up first thing in a morning anxious?
A: Oh we’ve all been here haven’t we? To be honest, I don’t really struggle with general anxiety and it tends to be around a trigger. For example if I have an event coming up I can be anxious for 2-3 days beforehand. I cope by taking my time, adding no pressure and structuring my day with small goes i.e. Goal 1, get to the office, goal 2, stay until 10am, goal 3, stay until 11am.
Q: My symptoms seem to start in my stomach and builds up from there, and that’s what I know an attack will happen. When you know an attack is en route, what is your coping method?
A: When I first developed anxiety I would just hide. Lay in bed and close myself off. After having therapy, my perception of it changed. Anxiety is something we create. It’s in our bodies and controlled by our minds. So for me, if I thought ‘I’m going to have an anxiety/panic attack’, I’d have one. I created it, in other words. So now, I focus on what’s actually happening and pick it apart. I know I’m light headed because I’m hyperventilating, I know my stomach is churning because I’m anxious, I feel sick because my stomach churned. I break it down and understand it.
Q: Do you ever struggle to do anything from anxiety, and do you struggle to concentrate?
A: Oh god yes. If I’m anxious my concentration isn’t great, however if I’m having a panic attack my focus is solely on getting through it and I don’t care about anyone or anything else. I can’t say I have a coping mechanism for this. I’m not really at fault, I can’t stop it so I just get through it until it’s passed.
Q: How did you get diagnosed, and what were you diagnosed with?
A: I was diagnosed by my CBT therapist and currently have anxiety and a panic disorder. From research I believe I have a certain level of OCD, though this is undiagnosed.
Q: Do you think twitter is good or bad for mental health?
A: This is tricky. Obviously twitter is known for trolls. I’ve seen people be relentlessly bullied and targeted (follow @ourrachblogs for one, she has some stories to tell!). However, I do think it’s a small percentage of what twitter can be. I’ve had some negativity recently from people which did affect my mental health, but I’ve since dusted myself off and now I just won’t engage or interact with those people. Most of the time, Twitter is amazing and the mental health community on there is so supportive. I would genuinely consider people on there to be my friends.
Q: Does your IBS affect your anxiety?
A: They both go hand in hand. Anxiety causes IBS, and the IBS causes anxiety. It’s difficult to live with sometimes. Today is a bad day, haven’t been able to go too far from home etc, but most of the time it’s manageable.
Q: Where are you from?
A: I live in sunny Sheffield, but originally from Derbyshire
Q: What is your name?
A: I’m very open with everything mental health and physical health, but this is a part of me that for now, I keep to myself and up to now people have been really understanding of it which I appreciate it. For now, call me Anxiety Warrior.
There you have it. Any more questions, add them to the comments 🙂