Being a woman is very interesting. We go through phases, periods and hormonal changes. Our menstrual cycle is complex. I feel like it’s even more challenging when you suffer from anxiety.
I could divide my cycle into three parts. During the first part I feel amazing. I almost forget that I suffer from anxiety. I feel good, I’m positive and I juggle daily tasks amazingly well. The second part of my cycle is still fine with a small difference, I begin to experience anxious thoughts. They hang over me and don’t want to go. I also overanalyse happenings in my life. The third part is bearable but can be daunting. It’s often combined with a state of being overwhelmed, anxious including having intrusive thoughts.
What do I do? I live and thrive. I’ve read multiple articles about ‘relaxing’ with anxiety during monthly cycle which is absolutely fine but I’m not a well paid TV reality show celebrity but an average human being who needs to get up, suck it up and go. Off course I try to eat & sleep well and exercise as much as I can ( excersicing works wonders- physical effort takes the edge off) but I also don’t change my routine. I simply ignore my symptoms doing everything which I would normally do with ONE exception- I listen to my body & mind. ‘Listening to my body & mind’ doesn’t mean to avoid running errands. My anxiety always tries hard to tell me to stay at home because the outside world is a dangerous place to be. When I actively listen to my body & mind:
* I wisely choose of what I have planned for today
* I adjust plans to my mental and physical state ( not a delusional side of anxiety)
For example, If I have planned to go to the shop and meet a friend for a cup of coffe but my anxiety has been really bad making me want to stay in the safe spot I think about my physical state first. If I feel strong enough to move around the house then I’m ready to face the big, scary and ugly world by making small steps and seeing how I feel about them. If I manage to take shower, dress and leave the house then it’s great. I can think of what should I do next… go shopping or meet a friend. I always remember if I start feeling unwell, at any point, I can return home to just relax and take it easy. I’ve had already succeeded because I’ve made an effort of not staying idle. That’s what counts.
When it comes to job, I focus on work and related tasks to it- it’s surprisingly relaxing because my mind solely circles around the subject related to my profession. I keep in mind, if don’t feel like socialising with my colleagues then I simply have a quieter but still productive day. If I mentally can’t stand being at work I go home. I’ve still succeeded ( AGAIN) because I’ve made an effort.
As you can see it’s about freedom of choice and finding the inner strength. By making small steps you still accomplish your goals without feeling pressured. You allow yourself to break the chain of anxiety and negative habits.
Don’t be afraid of talking about your anxiety and feelings related to it. It’s ok to not feel well and it’s also ok to take a break and rest.
The talk of taking ones life has hit my senses more often than i can take. I feel for the families and friends of those who have experienced the loss of a loved one. What hurts the most is sometimes the simple question – Why? Why make those plans with me? Why leave me? Why didn’t i see this?
Truth is and it hurts the most to know that no one will ever know. People will say they were selfish for taking their own life but the reality of it is that they believed that the world was better of without them. They were not being selfish. They were hurting. They were blocked from happiness and anyone who calls it the easy way out does not understand the reality of living with a mental illness.
I once came close it being a statistic myself. I once believed that my existence had lost all meaning and value and that their was no reason for me. Even with a supportive Mother and Father, two loving sisters and pets that would stay awake with me long hours into the night i still couldn’t see it. I didn’t plan my attempt. It was spontaneous. Just a normal night on my own just craving someone to talk to. Craving for my partner at the time to acknowledge that i am me and i just need support. I felt no one outside of my house was there for me and that i was becoming too much of a burden for them.
Within a few months of that i was back to work. I begun building my life back. Becoming sociable again. Starting a new role at work and laughing again. That time was a dark time for me but it didn’t last forever. It was a phase and if you can get through the “phase” of the see-saw tipping too much then you can become stronger for it.
It is important to read information from the link above as they can help. I have copied some points from the article below for what you can do to help improve your mood step by step.
There are lots of things you can do to help yourself
Make time for yourself, relax and do things you enjoy – Don’t work yourself into the ground.
Eat healthily; get plenty of sleep and exercise – Junk food and alcohol are massive triggers for affecting your moods. A healthy body helps promote a healthy mind.
Spend time with people you love
Talk about your problems with people you trust – And ideally someone you know who will understand.
Be proud of what you’re good at, as well as aware of what you struggle with – Just because you struggle doesn’t mean you have failed. It means you are learning and trying and on a road to improvement.
Pay attention to what you’re feeling. – This can help you identify an anxiety trigger. Where you are, What you are doing and who you are with.
Don’t aim for big steps as that will only set you back. Focus on something small on move on from that. Every step forward is a big success and its okay to have the off day, we all do. But don’t lose sight of the goal. And don’t lose yourself. You don’t need to be suicidal to talk to anyone and if you see someone showing the signs you can get advice yourself. Open up before you hit a brick wall and before you know it you will understand why you feel what you feel and know that this is just like a cold. It comes, it goes, sometimes its worse than other times but at the end of the day you will get over it.
Today, I would like to talk about intrusive thoughts.
If you have ever suffered from anxiety, depression ( maybe both) or any other mental condition you will be able to relate to what I’m about to say.
First, how would you define ‘intrusive thoughts’ ? Let me give you my definition of it. If it was possible to present intrusive thoughts in the physical form they would look like a tangled mayhem of cables (which you can see in the picture below). There are many cables and cords of different types all mixed together. They represent your thoughts about the past, present and future. As you may know, if you are under the attack of intrusive thoughts you may feel like you’re lacking of the clarity of reality. Most likely, you are experiencing the feeling of going insane. You are under this impression because your brain tries to process so many thoughts from various areas of life at the same time. They are all misleading because they show a negative outcome or a scenario. It instantly paralyses you and motivates you to have an exit plan which will falsey save you and protect you from upcoming ‘disaster’ ( which has been solely created in your mind by anxiety).
Now, let’s move on to roots and reasons behind your state of mind. You have probably experienced multiple heartache and negativity in your life. You may have been deeply affected by a traumatic event or mistreatment which hasn’t been dealt with in a way which would prevent the build up of a toxic defend mechanism. Your mind simply tries to protect you by reaching to depths of your past. It links the past with the presence and all the available information. For example, if you were neglected & bullied during your childhood, cheated on by your partner, mentally manipulated and abused you would probably feel very insecure in a healthy relationship. You would feel this way due to your past experiences provoking your anxiety and demanding misleading & false protection. In return, the anxiety would keep you constantly on high alert.
What can you do to help yourself? Ignore it. Yes, it’s simple like that. Live your life the best you can allowing negative thoughts to be. They will come and go. Don’t fight them but try to treat them as a 2 year old who is just being very unreasonable & stubborn. They will stop at some point and they will come back, especially when you face a situation in your relationship which reminds you of the matter from the past. The matter from the past went toward a completely different direction and carried some heartache.
Remember, if you feel that your anxiety becomes overwhelming preventing you from living your life ask for help.
Talk about it. Don’t keep your feelings inside. Express yourself. You are the winner not the anxiety 😊
I would like to give you a big emotional hug and tell you of how wonderful, unique, loveable, funny and clever you are.
Next, I would encourage you to embrace your figure and body every single day. I would stop you from obsessing about the food, binging to the point of being sick, starving and exercising to maintain the same weight.
I would try my best to befriend you and motivate you to make you proud of yourself. I would stop you from analysing all the conversations you had with people in your life. You frequently managed to give to yourself pressure headache. Can you remember it? Pressure headache was the result of your brain begging you to SLOW DOWN.
I would encourage you to listen to your beloved music, draw, sing very loud, paint, write and read whatever you like without constantly criticising yourself. I would ask you to cinfidently and willingly spread the word of you creativity to others without feeling inadequate of doing it so.
Most of all, I would tell you that life is a journey. You fall, you rise and you learn from every single experience in your life.
Remember you are like this flower- you are unique , weird and perfect in your own and wonderful way !!!!
Your life is precious. Don’t neglect it but always strive for more to improve it. Remember, improving your existence doesn’t mean to gain more of the materialistic possessions. It means to acknowledge the present moment. The present moment is
– what you hear
– what you see
– what you smell
– what you physically sense
Stop for a moment and just look around you. Notice details of objects, people and nature surrounding you. Feel the ground under your feet, if you are holding a rail on a bus think about its colour and its surface. It’s very simple. This is what we call active meditation, by actively meditating you are allowing your mind to rest for a while.
When you live with anxiety for many years you get use to it. It becomes your partner for life. It’s not the most pleasant acquaintance of all times. I would say you treat it as a very annoying colleague from work who happens to sit next to you. You can’t get rid of them (obviously) or completely separate yourself from their presence. You just work out your own clever ways to exist alongside them leading fairly good & satisfying life ( if you’ve already learnt to appreciate it). At times, you don’t even notice them anymore. You treat them as something completely acceptable and relatively easy to deal with. Until…. until something unexpectedly unpleasant happens. You come up against the problem like a champion leaving others amazed of how well you handled the issue. You are proud of yourself but deep down you know that you are about to be kicked hard in the softest spot of your spine. Twelve hours go by and you start feeling effects of your bravery appearing out of nowhere. You would like to ask-
Why, oh why am I feeling so restless and tired?
Why is my heart beating so fast?
Why does my chest feel so tight?
Why am I anticipating the worst?
What AM I AFRAID OF?
It’s JUST anxiety- your beloved and annoying colleague from the next desk who has just decided to annoy you by their foolish behaviour AGAIN.
If you are a bigger person in this situation you will take it easy. You will take care of yourself by :
I was raised as a person who was meant to follow the path of the Roman Catholic Church. I refused to adhere to it and as a result of my decision I faced fair amount of prejudice. When I was a teenager I searched for people who would soothe my battered soul and who would understand me.
Unfortunately, I searched and I experienced faiths but I didn’t find any fairness and understanding which I was looking for.
I do believe in God because it gives me comfort but I also follow my own path of being a decent human being. I adore Buddhism and its principles and values. I’m not a Buddhist and I will never label myself as one but Buddhism has a special place in my heart. It has helped me to understand the true beauty & meaning of life. Thich Nhat Hanh is my hero. https://plumvillage.org/about/thich-nhat-hanh/
You might be reading it and thinking – Oh well, this post suppose to be about mental pain & suicide and instead of it she is bragging about the religion.
Well, in my experience, mental pain & suicide is linked to faith ( atleast some aspects of it). It has created a stigma among people who regard themselves as true believers. Religions such as Roman Catholicism, Judaism and Islam condemn suicide threatening their followers with pain & hell after death.
Mental health is a taboo topic. It’s considered to be a shameless ailment which not taken care of may lead to suicide. Mental pain is the inseparable part of the mental health subject. Some among the readers who have experienced it may agree with me that mental pain is considerable to a serious physical wound. The mental pain paralyses your mind, it leaves you feeling low, numb, sad, in despair, and severely depressed. If I wanted to put it in simpler and more descriptive words I would say – it feels like your heart is being ripped out of your chest and torn apart under the pressure which tightens your throat, your brain is being gnawed on and devoured piece by piece. It feels unbearable and it makes you tired. On the top of that you want to give up, you think that you don’t have strenght to fight anymore, you don’t want to be a burden to others and most of all YOU FEEL OUT OF CONTROL OF YOUR OWN BODY & MIND. You can’t see the way out!
THERE IS A WAY OUT! NOT THE SUICIDE BUT TO STAY ALIVE!!! THE REASONS BEHIND YOUR MENTAL PAIN ARE VALID BUT THINK ABOUT THE CAUSES OF THESE REASONS!
-NOT BEING UNDERSTOOD
-PRESSURE AT WORK
-PRESSURE AT SCHOOL
All of the above mentioned reasons have their deeply embedded causes which have put you in the position of suffering. The SHIT you are in right now is only TEMPORARY.
I believe that you are brave enough and have strength within yourself to make this first baby step towards conquering the mental pain & suicide thoughts.
ONNCE YOU HEAL YOUR MENTAL WOUNDS AND RECOVER THERE WILL NOT BE ANYTHING THAT YOU WON’T BE ABLE TO DO OR ACHIEVE.
Don’t be ashamed of your problems, talk about them out loud. You are a unique human being who deserves to feel comfortable, and whose pain can be erased IF YOU ONLY LET OTHERS IN.
WE ARE HERE TO LISTEN !!!
DON’T SUFFER IN SILENCE
LET IT OUT
I had suffered from an eating disorder for many years. I used to emotionally overeat (binge), starve myself and exercise in order to burn the calories I had consumed. It was impossible for me to eat in public places as I felt constantly observed and looked at by strangers. I hated my body and I felt ashamed of it. I avoided mirrors at any cost because in my opinion I didn’t meet the beauty standards. I mentally abused myself by calling my body & inner-self names-” Ugly pig”, “Disgusting fat monster”, “Fat retard”, “Fat looser”etc. I didn’t feel worth of being loved and cared for. I had isolated myself from the world and let the abuse from myself & my ex to take over my life.
It took me a long time to overcome horrible thoughts and overwhelming emotional state which encouraged frequent and regular binge eating sessions. I used food as a safety point when I needed comfort and reassurence. It was difficult to stop. I’d had ups and downs during my recovery but I had always repeated myself that it’s better to take one step backwards and then two steps forwards rather than fall into abyss of the eating disorder.
What helped me in the healing process was this app – https://www.recoveryrecord.com/ ( this post is not sponsored and is solely based on my personal experience). I had used it for around 4 years. It features forum, tips, mental exercises, eating diary and it can be linked to your therapist to review your progress.
In my case, the anxiety, depression and eating disorder was triggered by my childhood, puberty (bullying) and later abusive marriage which had lasted for 5 years. The hardest part in my recovery was changing my mental self – image. I needed to do it in order to accept myself for a person who is truly unique and beautiful inside out. I began to fight my demons during the failing & abusive marriage which I successfully left when I was mentally strong enough to stand against the abuse.
I still have negative thoughts e.g. Just few minutes ago, I wanted to eat a sandwich for lunch on a train ( the train was full of human beings). I felt discomfort and thoughts of people starring at me flooded my mind. I simply ignored it and devoured the ham & salad goodness 🙂
Remember you are a wonderful person who deserves the best from life. You are unique & beautiful they way you are. Don’t change it- just be happy- BE YOURSELF !!!