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An anxiety-reducing blanket?!

The other day I received a blanket in the post. However, it's not just any normal blanket but one that claims to help with anxiety. I don't know about you, but I have seen these blankets advertised around for a while and they seem to be fairly new to the market in terms of anxiety remedies.The blanket that I received weighs 15lb which is just over a stone and about 10% of my body weight (which they recommend) These claim to reduce anxiety by making you feel safe, calm and acting as a hug. I did begin to wonder how a blanket was able to do all of this and I wasn't the only one, my partner was sceptical too. But, I'm always willing to give things a try. 

I was completely surprised. I had the best sleep in a long time after using the blanket for just one night. I must admit that it is first of all, extremely comfortable albeit being very heavy. It has improved my sleep immensely and keeps you warm, especially at this time of year. It's not noisy either, if you're a person who moves around a lot like myself. I've been using the blanket for around two to three weeks now and I still definitely notice an improvement in my sleep and the comfort of such. My partner also agrees - it's often difficult to get him out of bed when he's wrapped up in it. The blanket also provides another function; to make you feel calm and relaxed, which not only can I attribute to my improvement of sleep but it certainly does help when you begin to feel anxious. It's hard to describe but the weight of blanket gives you that feeling of safety which in turn makes you feel less anxious - just trust me on this! 

I would definitely recommend the blanket as it certainly has improved my sleep, comfort and anxiety. It's not a cure to anxiety, as of course you can't take the blanket everywhere with you...but it does certainly give you moments where you can relax and be comfortable. If anything, it is a superior blanket and for it's price, I'm not sure you could find something similar. 

If you're interested, you can find out more, here and purchase the blanket via amazon, here.

Amy Xx

My year in review 2017!

Ever since I started my blog, I have done a year in review - basically where I look back at this past year. 

This year has had some big periods of change. Back in January I was in my final year of university and president of my university's mental health society. At that time too, my Mum got the news that they had found a kidney for her and that she was to go ahead for her second kidney transplant - this was two days before my first exam! It was a period of high stress for obvious reasons, but safe to say both Mum and I made it through, even though we had to be miles apart during this time. 

I continued to study for my exams throughout the year and as a result I graduated with first class honours in Law. I cried when I saw this result and so did Mum! I was so proud of myself and all of the hard work I put in. Graduation day was one of the best day I have experienced too. Now, I'm onto another course to help me advance in my career. 

I got my second paid job over the Summer, in a customer facing role which I am still in now, whilst I go through the process of my dream career (soon to be revealed!) It's not exactly where I want to be in terms of a job, but it is a process I must go through whilst I advance in my career. It has broken down many anxiety barriers too, which I am grateful for.

My new job has allowed me to move into my first flat with my partner, which is an entirely new experience; bills, council tax, food shopping, sharing a small space...it's all a learning experience, but I'm glad I made the decision as I wanted to be independent. 

Amongst other small achievements, family issues and mental health blips, it's been a pretty good year. As I grow older, the better I feel I can handle past life events. It hasn't been a year without depression and anxiety and other mental health issues, but it hasn't been one of the most severe in terms of this either. Next year is full of uncertainty and that is why I am taking it one day at a time because if I think too far ahead, then my brain goes into meltdown! 

I just want to end this post by wishing you all a lovely Christmas and the best in your recovery. Mental health can be extremely tough at times, especially at this time of year, but please hold on to the mystery that is life and the wonderful things that can happen. Remember that you do have the strength to get through the hard times - you've survived every bad day yet. I know these words may be fluffy, but I too have experienced the darkest depths and know that it's possible to be on the road to recovery, so hold on!

What are your big moments of this year?


Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! 

Amy Xx

I'm finding it hard to talk

I've spoken so much about mental health over the past few years that you'd think that I'd be totally comfortable with the notion - and it's fair to say that I am. I'm not ashamed of it and I'm certainly not afraid at speaking out about it to raise awareness. I'm quite happy to share advice from my personal experience and help others with tips and tricks that have helped me. However, I feel my words don't seem to touch the people who are closest to me. Over the years, many friends and family members have opened up about their struggles with mental health which is great. 

The other day however, my friend had told me that they had just been put on medication and had been struggling with anxiety and depression. She was always the friend that I thought would be okay, but it just shows that anyone can be affected. She was clearly upset at the time and I could just tell how low she was and how raw the illness was at that time. It's strange though, because it was so raw it made it harder for me to find the words. I think it's because I knew exactly how she felt and how I only could hope that I could drag her out of what she was feeling. I almost felt as if I knew that whatever I said wouldn't make things better there and then. All I could do was comfort and explain that things do get better, to ask more about any support, friends and family, how she was feeling and that I have been there too. Perhaps that was all I was meant to say, but I felt much less confident in my replies. 

It's important to remember that there is no right way to comfort someone who is going through mental health struggles, but it is important to be sensitive, responsive and compassionate. When someone is in the midst of the most severe days of their illness, it does feel hard to find the words to help them through, but you just need to let them know that you are there for them and suggest any help that they can get. It's when we don't support each other that we can slip through the cracks. Talking about the most important things in life are going to be hard, especially if it takes you by surprise but it is key that the opportunity isn't missed. 

How do you feel are the best ways to talk?

Amy Xx

The dreaded 'E' word

I'll be honest, I can't stand it when I go to see a doctor about my mental health and the first thing they say to me is; 'have you tried exercise?' Now I know that they're not trying to do any harm, but from personal experience and from hearing many other people's stories, exercise is not the answer to a mental health condition. In fact when you're in a dark depressive episode and you exercise I don't find that it helps me much, if I can even get out of the door at all. 

However I have included exercise into my daily routine for a few years now and although it isn't a cure, it can make you feel a lot better. I have found that exercise too much can give you the opposite effect of what you want it to have, but including exercise into your daily routine can make you feel more awake and happier in yourself, as well of all of the benefits inside that you don't see.

What I don't agree with is people thinking that exercise is the answer to all mental health conditions, because it's not. But I do think including it somewhere in your week will make you feel a little better. Exercise can be hard, but you can also make it fun and meet new people. You don't have try and be an athlete - working at your own pace is good enough to feel the endorphins! 

Let me know what you think,
Amy Xx

I told my boss

A few months back I transferred to a new store because I moved to a new place. Settling in again is always hard. After a few weeks there I wasn't settling in as well as I thought I would.   There was always content feedback and for someone with anxiety, that can make life particularly hard. I thought that my previous store would have forwarded all of my details, but I soon found out that my new store knew nothing of my mental health condition. 

On one particular shift, I had gotten to the point of not being able to take the feedback anymore. After my boss asking how I was doing and me putting on a brave face, I broke down there and then. Now, if you know me I never cry in front of people and I had no idea that this was going to happen either, but I just couldn't hold back the way I was feeling. I explained to my boss about my condition and thankfully my boss responded with positive action that she was going to talk to the other senior members of staff to change the way in which they approached me. Over the following weeks I was happy to feel more comfortable in my job, not necessary because of my mental health being out in the open, but because the way in which I was spoken to and approached was a lot more sensitive, which has helped a lot.

I haven't seemed to feel much 'radio silence' as it were, but I do feel that there is an elephant in the room. I feel as if people don't know how to bring it up or feel awkward in doing so. But funnily enough in talking to other members of staff, they have been very open with their mental health conditions. It never fails to surprise me that someone has a mental health condition because you never see it, so you never expect it even though it is so common. 

I am glad that I recognise that I am person, who deserves respect regardless of my mental health condition and that nothing is worth worsening my mental health for. 

Amy Xx