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5 things anxiety has taught me

1. You are stronger than you think - Anxiety can make you feel weak. It can make you feel worthless and that you can't do things like others can but this is not true. Anxiety is just part of your body's biological process and sometimes it can get out of control. However with all of this anxiety comes triumph because every time you learn and find a way to cope, even if you feel that you haven't. Each experience makes you stronger.

2. You're not going to die - Anxiety is your body's way of keeping you alive. Even during a panic attack when you feel you're not going to survive, it's actually the reverse that's going on in your body. I once remember my counsellor telling me that you can't actually die from a panic attack because your body is actually doing what it needs to do to keep you alive.

3. You survive, every time - Ever had a really bad anxiety episode? Well, you're here now and through it. You got over that anxiety fulfilled moment and made it through the other side when you thought you wouldn't. A weird thought, huh!

4. The mind can get confused too! - Anxiety is present to keep us safe, but sometimes our anxiety attaches itself to things that aren't actually dangerous. In a way, our minds are confused. Our body thinks there's a threat when in fact there isn't and it's about splitting this up and trying to understand the reality from what our mind believes is happening. 

5. You're not alone - Anxiety is extremely common. Everyone experiences anxiety but it just so happens that some people can have it so severely that it makes them ill and even in that case, you could name people within your group of friends with some level of anxiety disorder. You're not the only one facing this.

Stay strong,
Amy Xx 

DSA

I want to put this out there for all of those who are attending university. Unfortunately it is often not very well known, that DSA is available for students whom have long term mental illnesses that affect their daily lives, including the likes of anxiety and depression. I was a part of my university's welfare committee and when I brought it up at the meeting, the staff themselves were not aware that such a thing existed. 

DSA stands for disability student allowance and in a nutshell provides with all of the things you need to help you through university if you have a disability. In the UK this can be done through student finance. In my case, I applied through student finance before I got to university, but it can also be done during university. You have to provide them with evidence of your condition which is usually in the form of a doctors note, attend an assessment and amongst other correspondence and depending on budget, you should get the help you need. 

Amongst receiving a laptop, printer and some other things the most helpful thing for me was having access to a mental health mentor. My mentor was outstanding and was the best mentor and counsellor I have had in all the many people I have seen. It definitely helped me immensely and I would strongly recommend it because often university counselling services do not provide the in-depth service that is needed. 

I strongly recommend that you get in touch so you can get the help you need. Please don't be ashamed, it's for your benefit to get help.

Amy Xx

Anxiety poetry

Here is a poem from a reader:

Definition 
 
“What's wrong with you?” they say,
“Can't you calm down for just a moment,
Take a deep breath--
Slow down,
Get centered and
Relax.
Stop being so damn negative,
What's the worry,
What's the hurry?
You can't solve every problem,
Let it go--
Hey not so fast.
Maybe, yes just maybe
If you stopped being so damn frightened
Well then maybe for a moment 
All those fears would dissipate,
If you just stopped your overthinking 
Your hypotheticals,
Possibilities,
If you let life flow all around you
You'd have that peace you say you crave.”
 
But they are wrong.  
 
Anxiety isn't nervousness.
Anxiety isn't cowardice.
Anxiety is a call to those 
Whose eyes are open to the fight. 
 
It is a certain sensitivity
An alertness;
A war machine never idle
There’s a buzzing below the surface, 
There is no calm before this storm. 
It is the constant sentinel
Vigilant in clash with 
Paralysis,
There is no honor, 
No heroism in this struggle
Whose burden countermands reward.
 
It is not the soldier’s nature to relax.
 
It is an instinct,
It is concern for you, for me, for others,
It is a special steadfast mutiny
When
Psyche fights the soul.
 
You say it is a weakness.
You subject me to societal court martial,
Though you cavalierly create conflicts
You say I am afraid.
But those consummate in combat,
Introspective and insightful,
True veterans of life’s battles
Know,
It's fear defines the brave.

Josh Mayesh

Puppies!

Today I am publishing something a bit different. It's national dog week and for me, animals are a great help for reducing anxiety. Here's a post by puppyspot. 

If you’ve ever pet a dog before you know the instant calming effect that comes over you. It feels like that dog is specifically there to see you and they know just what kind of attention you need to feel better. Well what if I told you this wasn’t just a feeling, but that dogs are actually improving your health. That’s right, aside from being ridiculously adorable, dogs have evolved to become acutely attuned to humans behaviors and emotions. As a result, this means positive benefits to our mental, physical and spiritual health. So let’s break this down.
            Mental Health Benefits:
·       Reduce anxiety and depression
·       Higher self-esteem
·       Reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness
·       Improve emotional and social development

These benefits all stem from the companionship dogs offer. As human beings, companionship can help prevent illness and even add years to our lives. While the basic act of caring for another living thing can help make you feel needed, distracting your mind away from the tribulations going on in your head.

                        Physical Health Benefits:
·       Boost immune system
·       Increase oxytocin levels and lower cortisol
·       Increase exercise frequency
·       Lower blood pressure and cholesterol
·       Reduce risk of cardiovascular disease

Of course having a dog means increased exercise as dogs require daily walks. These walks, runs, and hikes not only keep you and your pup fit and healthy, but also send off mood boosting endorphins through your system. So win, win.

This graphic by PuppySpot goes into further detail on these benefits, as well as the incredible abilities dogs can be trained on. Including identifying seizures and certain types of cancers in humans.


Pretty impressive right? Well they don’t call dogs “man’s best friend” for nothing! Speaking of which, if you’re on the hunt for your new furry bff make sure you take into consideration which breed fits best with your lifestyle. Picking out your perfect puppy is an awesome experience, but it’s important to keep in mind your needs and theirs. Things like yard size, other pets in the house, allergies, kids and budget should all be considered. Or if you’re not quite ready for a pup of your own, check out your local shelters looking for volunteers or the good dog park. Fortunately a friendly pup is never to hard to find!