12 Signs You May Have An Anxiety Disorder

There are 12 signs you may have an anxiety disorder which has been highlighted in the infographic below. As an anxiety sufferer myself, I think it is important to be aware of the signs. Several times I have shared posts about my own anxiety as well as tips to help others here & think this information is highly important.

Anxiety disorder is a serious condition that should be treated immediately. When you see signs that you or your loved one is under this mental condition, you have to seek for professional help the soonest time possible. Not doing so may lead to a more serious situation or condition that may not be treatable or may already deteriorate your or your loved one’s quality of life completely. But before you finally decide to seek for a professional help, you have to understand that anxiousness is different from an anxiety disorder. To help you in assessing your condition, read on the 12 signs you may have an anxiety disorder.

12 Signs You May Have An Anxiety Disorder

12 signs you may have an anxiety disorder

 

If you relate to most or all of these symptoms, you can get help & you are not alone! There are approximately 3 million people with an anxiety disorder in the UK. Anxiety disorders are manageable with professional help. Anyone who relates to the signs above, I urge you to seek help.

Treatment Options

If you need help there are plenty of treatment options to manage an anxiety disorder, from therapy to medication. Talking about your symptoms with your GP can help work out the best options. Counselling or CBT may be extremely beneficial. I know how hard it is to live with anxiety day to day & I am on medication to help control both my anxiety & depression.

Having support & professional help can be life-changing for anyone with anxiety so please, check on your friends & family. If you feel you have an anxiety disorder let someone close know if you don’t feel ready to face a GP. By having a close friend or family member aware of your symptoms they may be able to accompany you to appointments.

Helplines

There are many different organisations available & helpful to anyone with an anxiety disorder. I have put together a small list of helplines & services for anyone relating to the signs in the infographic who feel they need help. Most of the sites offer a range of FAQs you may find helpful along with local service locators.

Anxiety UK

03444 775 775 (Monday–Friday 9.30am–5.30pm)
anxietyuk.org.uk

 

No Panic

helpline: 08449 67 48 48 (10am–10pm)
nopanic.org.uk 

 

Mind

MindInfoline: 0300 123 3393

mind.org.uk

 

Anxiety Alliance

Helpline: 0845 296 7877 (10-10 daily)

anxietyalliance.org.uk

 

Do you relate to the 12 signs you may have an anxiety disorder? Please do reach out for professional help if an anxiety disorder is disrupting your life. Things can get better!

 

 

Recovering From A Low Patch

I’m slowly recovering from a low patch. Having felt great following my personal month of blogging challenge, losing my ESA award was a huge blow. It left us struggling financially, we spent every single day and weekend focused on finding a solution. Trying to writing the right letter and applying for the right benefits with 2 kids around can be hellish.

Recovering From A Low Patch

Benefit Changes & Accepting I Need A Carer

DWP Assessors acknowledged all my health issues and agreed they impacted my health. However, I was basically told I could work if I used a wheelchair. Sod my mental health too, just get on with it basically. Luckily I receive PIP and with the Mr spending so much time at home caring for me, doing things I can’t, reminding me to eat regularly, take my medications on time etc allowed him to claim carers allowance which also entitled him to claim income support for us.

Having a Carer

I’m not going to lie, whilst accepting that I do need a carer was hard, it was also a relief. Passing on the burden of having to fill out the form correctly made things less stressful. After 2 months of barely any money to live on, we received the benefit awards the same day as our eviction notice. Luckily that meant we could notify the council and avoid being evicted.

Getting Back On Track

I still struggled for a while, kicking myself for putting us through 2 months of hell because of my health. After a few weeks spent catching up on bills though, things finally turned around. Being able to treat the girls to what they need plus a few extras have been lovely. I felt so selfish when we had nothing, the whole family suffered because of my assessment.

Slowly picking myself back up I’ve managed to get back on track with finding out what’s going on with me. I missed blood tests after losing my award as I felt it was pointless. So what if I was ill? Everyone else was barely able to eat. Obviously now I see it probably would have helped me to carry on with the tests so I have been back to the Dr and getting back on top of it all.

Instead of pushing myself through frustration I’ve slowed down, picked up my crochet hook more and read, having more me time has helped. Recovering from a low patch can be quite wobbly, I’ve had some low days reflecting on these last few months. I’ve also been trying to make the most of being in a better situation and accepting I need more help has helped me feel better about having more me time, something the Mr is always nagging me to do!

Having A Life Again

Knowing the Mr can pick up a few beers to relax after a day of school runs, shopping, clothes washing, reminding me to person and general tidying is a huge relief. The poor bloke barely has a social life, he spends so much time at home helping us. It’s nice he can sit and relax after a long day with a cold beer.

I’ve had the chance to finally try Contact Lenses with a push from the Mr and eventually decided to go with Daily lenses instead of monthlies without feeling hugely guilty. The benefits have outweighed the costs and as the Mr is now officially my Carer he is using it as an excuse to make me listen & treat myself more!

Contact Lens

Months of apologising to the girls because we couldn’t afford to do this or buy that was hard. Luckily we were able to get out to the Dickens festival & spoilt them slightly. We made the most of being out for the first time in months which felt great. Mum guilt is horrible when you are the reason your kids are going without so it was lovely to finally say YES. Izzy was ecstatic to see The Lamplighter and he sung the Charlie Mops song just for her even though he hadn’t planned to sing it!

Eva spent some birthday money and I treated her to a few extras too. Something I hadn’t been able to do for a while! As she has become a huge Harry Potter fan we picked her up some awesome bits like this box and sign!

Being Robbed By Royal Mail & Fonegiant

The Mr made sure I finally have a working phone (LG G5!) too which was a huge relief after months of phone stress. With Fonegiant and Royal Mail both failing spectacularly with Fonegiant sending out a locked phone, in the wrong colour, followed by Royal mail losing the £180 phone.

Royal Mail can only refund the person who paid the postage which is down to Fonegiant who refuse to claim and instead keep resending me the Royal Mail Claims site page. I certainly wouldn’t recommend buying a phone from Fonegiant as there is no guarantee you will receive a working phone and clearly they are unwilling to help once they have the money safely in their account.

Royal Mail did eventually give me £60 compensation and accepted they have lost the phone. They refused to refund me the £180 for the phone as Fonegiant have to chase it.. Which of course Adam who owns Fonegiant is refusing to do. Having been robbed by them both in the middle of all this just made me feel even worse. I felt suicidal for the first time in years.

That refund could have fed us when we had no money coming in! Without a phone, I couldn’t book the appointments needed or answer calls from DWP which helped my assessment fail. I was immensely grateful when Mandy offered to send me a phone to help me out. She warned me it may not work with a big crack in the screen. The phone worked enough for me to make those necessary calls and I honestly can’t thank Mandy enough!

The Mr eventually bought me a G5 for £40 less than the one from Fonegiant. It arrived working, the correct colour, on the correct network! Such a relief!

Recovering From A Low Patch

Since things fell back in place, the Mr has bought me a new (working!) LG G5, allowing me to feel connected again. I can keep up with everything again, I can moan on twitter and harass Martyn and Hannah on Whatsapp (Sorry guys but you kept me sane) again. I can call and book appointments and keep in touch with my brother again. All things I felt lost without!

Hopefully, now I’ll find my blogging mojo again. I’m determined to set myself a few goals over the coming months. Blogging definitely keeps me sane, whatever I’m sharing. From sharing cool products, covering my mental & physical health, crafts, books, it all makes me feel happier. Jibbering moany rubbish helps me get everything off my chest so my head can attempt thinking logically. Sharing our ups & downs has been a massive help to me & it’s lovely to look back & see how far we’ve come.

Looking back over the last few months, we’ve been through quite a lot but there are so many positives to focus on! I have realised I have some fantastic friends I can genuinely rely on, talk openly with and feel supported by.

Going through this has shown me we can get through so much as a family. The last few months have been so stressful for us all yet we still come out stronger than ever! When you aren’t worrying so much about where the next meal is coming from everything feels amazing. I’ve been in agony at times but still, I feel grateful to finally have everything back in place.

If you are ever having a low patch, reach out, there’s always someone willing to listen. My DM’s are always open! Sometimes things like this hit us hard & small things on top can tip us over the edge but we can recover from a low patch!

Affordable, Safer Skin With Altruist Dermatologist Sunscreen

For affordable, safer skin this summer we’re using Altruist Dermatologist Sunscreen. Formulated by two inspiring, ethically motivated altruists with the aim of producing the finest quality UV protection for the lowest possible price. Making safer skin more affordable and encouraging us to apply more sunscreen to reduce the risk of skin cancer.

Affordable, Safer Skin With Altruist Dermatologist Sunscreen

I make sure to cover the girls in SPF 50 sunscreen and top up regularly whilst we’re out. I have to admit, I do tend to forget about applying any sunscreen myself though. No doubt there are plenty of people like me who forget. It got me wondering so I had a little look around to see if I could find out just how many of us don’t wear sunscreen. According to YouGov’s research last year, almost 1 in 4 brits weren’t using sunscreen! That’s quite a shocking statistic really and one that needs to change through awareness and affordability of sunscreens.

 

Altruist Mission

Altruist aims to reduce the incidence of skin cancer with increased use of quality sunscreen along with better education and awareness. Conceived by a UK skin cancer specialist and top European scientists to provide premium quality sunscreen at an affordable price. Tinosorb A2B has been added for enhanced protection. Alongside providing an affordable sunscreen, Altruist also supports charitable causes supporting children with Albinism.

“Cost should never be a factor when decidinfg whether or not to wear sunscreen, or how much or how often to apply it. Everyone should have the basic right to take the necessary precautions to reduce their riss of developing skin cancer” – Skin Cancer Specialist and Altruist Founder DrBirnie.

Affordable, Safer Skin With Altruist

Why Should I Worry About Sunscreen?

Sunscreen prevents UV radiation from reaching the skin. UVB (ultraviolet radiation) causes sunburn and UVA cause wrinkles & brown spots (photoaging). Both UVB and UVA can contribute to the development of skin cancer so sunscreen is highly important. Dermatologists advise to cover up with clothes and a broad-rimmed hat when outdoors. They also recommend applying Sunscreen generously 20 minutes before going out and reapplying frequently.

Affordable, Safer Skin

The new Altruist range has some fab, affordable products to help you keep your skin safer this summer. It is also high in UVA and UVB protection, fragrance-free, non-sticky and water resistant. Suitable for all skin types with fast absorption leaving no residue. Altruist sunscreen is dermatologically tested and recommended and all products are available exclusively at Amazon.

The range includes:

Sunscreen Invisible Spray – 250ml for both SPF 30 & SPF 50 – RRP £5

Dermatologist Cream – SPF 30 200ml – RRP £4

Dermatologist Cream – SPF 50 100ml – RRP £3.75

 

Do you wear sunscreen?

Daily Contact Lenses Over Monthlies – End Of My Contact Lens Trial

Choosing Daily contact lenses over monthlies isn’t something I honestly thought I would do by the end of my contact lens trial. I previously had it in my mind that due to the price difference I simply couldn’t justify it.

Contact Lens

2 Week Contact Lens Trial – Monthlies

Having spent 2 weeks trialling monthly contact lenses I slowly changed my mind. Whilst monthlies weren’t uncomfortable I did occasionally notice I was wearing them, especially by the afternoon.

I was mostly happy with contact lenses over my trial. Over a few days, I found them easier than I first thought to put in and out. My overly leaky eyes leaked less and less as the days went by. I could suddenly open the dishwasher or wash up without my glasses steaming up or sliding down my face.

Realising just how blind I am was a bit of a shock. Suddenly I could see clearly everywhere, no blind spots under/over or around my frames. Taking Izzy to the park, I felt less anxious as I could see her at all times.

I picked up a cheap pair of sunglasses just because I could and could finally see without squinting and coming home with a migraine! I’m sure I will find a much nicer pair but I could see so happily shared pictures on Instagram regardless.

I noticed plenty of benefits but I did have a few small issues over the 2 weeks. The girls shouted a few days in and I pinched my eyeball! Ouch! It was fine luckily and an eye check at the end of my trial showed no sign of damage. Phew! Also quite common during the first few months of wearing contacts apparently.

I also got smoke in my eye at the Birthday BBQ and managed to blink a contact out. Luckily I was overly anxious something would happen and had my solution and case on me. I managed to clean the lens and put it back in until later that evening.

Monthly Contact Lenses

Considering Daily Contact Lenses

Living 11 floors up when it’s warm can be great thanks to the breeze with the open windows. Until you need to clean your contact lenses. Then you suddenly realise how much dust and pollen is blowing in through the window! Also realising that I have a dust allergy by asking the Mr to completely hoover and dust our room. I spent two days feeling great, contacts fine, then boom! Dust everywhere, itchy skin, sneezing and contacts are near on impossible to rinse clean.

Which brings me on to my next point. If you have long, sharp nails then cleaning contacts can be a pain. I split my right monthly contact the day before the end of my trial when cleaning it. Luckily Belson & Sons Opticians were great and had a spare which the Mr picked up for me so I could complete my trial appointment the next day. Of course, I cut my nails down to save ruining another lens.

Had I been on my last pack of monthlies and I couldn’t get a spare, I would have to go without for a few days. I would also have to order 3 months worth of lenses each time making it a larger chunk to pay out at once.

Pros of Daily Lenses

With daily lenses, it does cost more but as you can buy one month at a time it’s an easier cost as and when I can afford it. I see contact lenses as a luxury if I can’t afford it for a while then so be it! The fact I don’t go out much also means dailies are more practical. One month’s worth could potentially last me 3, whereas once you open a pack of monthly lenses, you have exactly four weeks to use them.

I am rubbish at remembering dates. I’m regularly run out of my meds and panic at the Mr who goes and picks them up for me. Another thing I was a little worried about is forgetting when I have opened a pack of lenses.

With so much dust floating around, the girls being curious and my occasionally ridiculously sharp, long (natural!) nails, being able to put fresh lenses in each day will have me worrying a lot less about damaging my eye in any way.

End of Trial Appointment

When it came to the end of trial appointment I had made up my mind. If the optician was happy my eyes were suitable for lenses then I would continue but swap to dailies.

I had to wear my monthly lenses for at least an hour before my appointment. This gives the lenses a chance to settle on your eye and gives the optician a chance to check your vision and how the lenses sit. Afterwards, I was asked to remove the contact lenses so my eyes could be checked again to make sure the lenses weren’t causing any issues.

With the all clear, we discussed how I had got on with the contacts for 2 weeks. As Well as the points above, I also mentioned that I felt my left eye needed a slightly higher dioptre at the beginning of the tests and we agreed I did need the next lens up. The staff at Belson & Sons are lovely, they really listen to you which I really appreciate having had bad experiences elsewhere. Any question I ask is answered, everyone is happy to help and the whole team always have smiles on their faces!

Daily Contact Lenses

I was pleased to hear my eyes were healthy and I could continue wearing contacts. Having discussed my worries with monthlies we agreed daily lenses sounded like a good option. I was given a trial box of dailies to get me through and asked to put a set in to check they were comfortable. Daily lenses have a slightly different fit and are slightly thinner too as they are single use.

Daily Contact Lenses

It took me a little longer to put the thinner daily lenses in but they went in ok. After another quick check that they were ok and felt fine, I was pleased to notice a difference. Because the lenses are thinner I felt nothing after about a minute. They fit comfortably and I knew instantly I had made the right decision. I had a few days of contacts as well as my monthlies to help me decide what I preferred. Having noticed such a difference though, I decided to order a month of dailies there and then.

Having spent a few days wearing daily contact lenses I am so relieved I ordered more. I haven’t noticed that I’m wearing them. Even when I think about the fact I am wearing my contact lenses I can’t feel them! Going to the Dickens Festival on Saturday was lovely, I could see everything perfectly, I could wear my sunglasses whenever I wanted without having to keep swapping back to my normal glasses constantly. Daily contact lenses are definitely the way forward for me.

I would definitely recommend talking to your optician if you’ve ever thought about contact lenses. I think trying them is a game changer, they might not suit everyone but it’s worth a try, at least it was for me.

Have you tried Contacts before? Do you prefer Daily Contact Lenses or Monthly Contact Lenses?

Trying Contact Lenses For The First Time At 27

Trying contact lenses for the first time wasn’t something I expected to do at 27. It’s been on my to-do list forever but in all honesty, I thought at this point it would stay on that list forever more.

Trying Contact Lenses For The First Time At 27

The last few months have been stressful and at one point because of my ESA being stopped. I honestly thought we would end up homeless panicking about bills and rent. Luckily the Mr being recognised as my carer has got us back on track but If you had said a month ago I’d be typing this up I would have laughed at you. Having struggled these past few months, the Mr has been treating me to various things. From secretly ordering an LG G5 for me and making me stop at my local opticians to enquire about sunglasses. Two things that we just haven’t been able to do & kept getting moved to the bottom of the never-ending list.

Booking A Contact Lens Trial

My lens prescription is quite high and requires a lot of thinning. The cost of that plus frames for sunglasses almost had me running out the door. Contacts seemed a cheaper option as I can then buy any sunglasses I like. I asked a few questions and the Mr cheekily asked to book me in for a trial. I’ve said I wanted to try contacts for so many years

I have to admit I was extremely nervous. Even talking about eyes has mine streaming! The opticians were fantastic though and it really helped. First I was talked through the trial before putting orange dye in my eyes. This id to check my eyes were suitable for lenses. I worked through a good few tissues just doing these tests but everything was fine. Luckily for me, the streaming eyes should prevent dry eye haha!

Money-Saving

We decided monthly lenses would suit me best as I don’t intend to wear them all the time. I mostly want them for when I go out so I don’t spend all day squinting. The cost is roughly £60 for 3 months worth and just under £40 for the trial. Wearing contacts means I can buy a few different pairs of sunglasses instead of just one with prescription lenses! My vision has changed quite rapidly over the years and it can be quite costly to keep up with so this works quite well for me.

Once the optician was happy that contact lenses were a suitable option she went ahead and popped some in for me. When they do this you are told to look up then down to your knees so the lens fell into place correctly. This happened easier than I had expected to be honest.

Trying Contact Lenses For The First Time

We talked about the contact lens solution and how to care for the contact lenses whilst my eyes adjusted. It felt a little odd after almost 23 years of wearing glasses! I was told I may feel a little dizzy/light headed but I felt ok. I could feel my eyes slowly adjusting and everything coming into focus.

It reminded me of the first time I wore glasses at 5 years old, my world had always been blurry and suddenly it was much clearer. It felt amazing trying my first pair of glasses, everything was so bright & colourful. Suddenly there were so many shapes instead of blurs, trying contact lenses felt the same. I kept trying to adjust my glasses though, it felt odd not having anything surrounding my face. After a few minutes, I was taken through to another lady who took me through putting contact lenses in and out.

Putting Contact Lenses In & Out

I freaked out a little bit at the thought of taking the lenses back out and it took a few attempts for the nerves to settle. Having finally managed to take one out, I felt much more confident. The other came out much easier. I possibly owed the opticians half a box of tissues at this point though! To make sure I was confident putting the contact lenses in and out myself I was supervised another 2 times. By the end, I felt quite confident and felt when the lens suddenly needed repositioning before I left, as my constant tears made my eye a little too wet. Managing to pop the contact lens back in easily enough, reassured the optician I was confident (and myself!).

I spent 4 hours trying the lenses out on the first day and have to increase by 2 hours daily until I reach 10 hours per day. I go back on the 31st May to finish my trial and order my first 3 months of lenses if I am happy with these ones. It felt fairly normal wearing contact lenses even though I could feel my eyes adjusting. Taking them back out and wearing glasses was a whole different story! Suddenly I had blurry areas looking over/under or around my glasses making me very aware of my lack of sight.

The After-shock

Having worn glasses since I was a child, being short-sighted felt normal and whilst I joke about being blind it made me realise the severity. I’m lucky to have some vision left but over the years it has rapidly changed and until now I hadn’t realised quite how much! I’m really pleased to have finally been able to try contact lenses out and looking forward to being able to see properly this summer and not panic about where the girls are when my vision is off from squinting!

Surprise!

I kept it quiet that I was booked in for a trial because I was nervous it would go wrong. As soon as I knew everything was ok I shared a picture after my ‘secret mission’ was finished, asking people to figure it out on Instagram.I was quite pleased most people didn’t twig straight away that my glasses were missing as I was also nervous that I would look weird without.

Mummy Looks Weird!

Eva burst into tears when I showed her the photo though, saying I look weird, typical haha! Once I had shown Eva the lenses and explained I will still be wearing my glasses a lot, she calmed down. I can understand why she got upset, she has always found changes hard to cope with. Showing her the lenses really seemed to help, the unknown is quite scary at 8! Plus if I was nervous and not sure what to expect, its no surprise she felt the same.

Explaining The Benefits

I think it helped to explain the benefits of me wearing contact lenses. I can do so much more without the worry of glasses falling or getting knocked. Walking home in contacts and sunglasses felt like heaven. Usually, I end up with face ache from squinting all the way home. Realising I was less anxious with Izzy as I could see her constantly without squinting was a huge relief too. This seemed to really help Eva understand why there was a need for a change even if it seems strange to her at first.

Adjusting

Hopefully, with time we will both adjust and contact lenses will make life a little easier for me. This morning I let Eva watch me put the contacts in and she seemed ok. When I spotted she had chocolate on her face afterwards and wiped it off for her she teared up asking if I could see her clearly. When I told her I could, it seemed to make her really happy.

As the Mr was feeling poorly I took Eva to school (yep we were late, yay for broken lifts, not!). I decided whilst we waited for the one working lift we should take some selfies to help her get used to seeing us together without my glasses. That really cheered her up and I think she will slowly begin to accept the change, after all in 8 years she has only seen me without my glasses a handful of times!

Second Day

After my second day of wearing the contact lenses, I’m confident the trial will go well. I can finally stop hiding behind glasses all the time & buy nice sunglasses. I felt much more confident leaving on the school run. Being able to wear sunglasses and not be blinded was lovely, AND Eva said I looked COOL!

Have you tried contact lenses before or is it something you would like to try out too?

Mental Health Awareness Week 2018

It’s Mental Health Awareness week 2018, organised by the Mental Health Foundation. This runs from 14th – 20th May and focuses on stress, a key factor in mental health problems. Research shows 2/3 of us experience mental health problems with stress being a key factor according to the Mental Health Foundation.

Mental Health Awareness

Mental health awareness week 2018

Stress

Stress can cause or worsen anxiety, depression, self-harm and suicidal thoughts. Anyone of us can experience mental health problems throughout our lifetime and we need to openly talk about this to help beat the stigma and raise awareness. Stress in the workplace is the Mental Health Foundations main focus this mental health awareness week.

I have written several times on the blog about mental health awareness & my own mental health. From struggling with chronic pain at 25, my anxiety, having a carer at 27 and more. I know I’m not alone as there are some wonderful bloggers & readers out there who have opened up too.

Mental Health Affects Everyone

Young children and teens are also at risk of stress with the pressure to maintain high standards in school, friendships, overloaded with school work, homework and endless tests. Adults have so many different stressors from overworking, lack of wor/ability to work, financial strains, family issues and more, it can be difficult to cope in this hectic world. The more we talk about this, the easier it will be for those suffering mental health problems to speak up. I used to bottle everything up myself and it made things so much worse!

 

Beat The Stigma – Talk!

Talking about my mental health through the blog at times has been extremely cathartic for me. I know from comments left that opening up has helped others to do the same, it’s a chain reaction. Whilst most people may not feel comfortable to write publicly, talking to close friends and family can do the same. The more we talk about mental health and make changes to lessen day to day life stresses, the easier is to admit how we feel and that we need help. The more we talk about mental health and make it everyday conversation the quicker we can beat the stigma and support one another better.

Get Help

If you need to talk to someone my DM’s/Email is always open if any of my readers ever want to chat. Sometimes we need a little more than that and the following charities are here to help, should you need it.

Mind

https://www.mind.org.uk/

Email – info@mind.org.uk

Infoline – 0300 123 3393

Text: 86463.

Lines are open 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday (except for bank holidays).

Samaritans

www.samaritans.org.uk

Phone: 116 123 (free 24-hour helpline)

Sane

www.sane.org.uk/support

SANEline: 0300 304 7000 (daily, 4.30-10.30pm)

Textcare: comfort and care via text message, sent when the person needs it most: http://www.sane.org.uk/textcare

Peer support forum: www.sane.org.uk/supportforum

 

YoungMinds

Information on child and adolescent mental health. Services for parents and professionals.

www.youngminds.org.uk

Phone: Parents’ helpline 0808 802 5544 (Mon-Fri, 9.30am-4pm)

Did you know it was mental health awareness week?

 

 

Having A Carer At 27 Years Old

Having a carer isn’t something I expected to happen at 27 years old. I suffer from Chronic back pain, Sciatica, Depression, Anxiety & apparently (yet to be diagnosed) PTSD.  Due to my ESA being refused after 2 years receiving it, we have had to look at other options. I simply can’t cope with a tribunal, talking to strangers, going through my weaknesses yet again. It is honestly soul destroying, my mental health isn’t at a point where I can fight a battle like that.

For the first time in almost 8/9 years I felt suicidal again. I genuinely felt my family would be better off without me. I  thought about facing a tribunal but because I know it will be a struggle to attend, explain myself & I didn’t want to put the whole family through several more months of stress. Instead we have had to look at other ways to get by & as part of that, the Mr is now officially my Carer.

Having a Carer
Photo by lalesh aldarwish from Pexels

My Carer

Anyone that knows me well will know the Mr has been caring for me fully for the past 3-4 years. We never made that official on paper but it has been the case since Izzy was around a year old. I began to struggle to lift her, the pain would cause me to lose my vision. Things got worse & I know me fighting it & trying to appear healthy did more damage. It took a long time for me to accept I couldn’t manage a lot of daily tasks.

The Mr has done so much for us over the years, kept me going during my lowest points, making sure I take my medications, book & attend appointments, reminding me I have to eat at least twice a day, helping me up, chores I can’t manage, shopping, school runs & so much more that it makes sense for him to finally be my Carer on paper. I often joke about being useless without the Mr & it’s completely true, we’ve had our ups & downs but as my health has declined he has gone above & beyond to help me any way he can.

A Shock & Relief

Receiving the award letter was both a relief and a slight ‘oh’ moment though. As I said to the Mr, ‘This means you’re officially the adultier adult!’. I panicked slightly then, realising I had fully admitted I need help & a carer for at least 35 hours a week. It’s one thing having that help, it’s another seeing it written down on paper.

Once I calmed down it made me realise a few things. Whilst the DWP left me feeling useless & worthless, I do genuinely need the help and whilst ESA may be a nightmare to have awarded due to the shocking state of the system, we are entitled to something! It’s been a rough 2 months with barely any money coming in so it was a relief for the Mr to be awarded & paid carers allowance. I realised I am not admitting defeat like I first thought. Instead, I’m accepting help to enable me to get through day to day life smoothly.

Daily Life

Since my ESA was refused daily life has been a bit upside down. I’ve really struggled to do anything I enjoy, including blogging; feeling guilty for letting the family down. Now we have another solution I don’t feel so bad. I know we are on a low income because of me, my mental & physical health but knowing the Mr’s help is now at least recognised I feel a little less like it’s all on my shoulders. Knowing we have some kind of income other than my PIP is a huge relief. Even though I make it difficult because neither of us can work, I feel a little better. It’s tough being ill, it’s even tougher asking for & accepting help but I think in a way I will find it a little easier to ask for help now & not just from the Mr.

 

 

DIY Daddy

 

 

Rustic By Marney – How creativity helps me manage my anxiety and depression

Rustic By Marney was set up by Melissa Marney who crafts the most beautiful pens! Like many of us Melissa suffers anxiety and depression but found crafting and letting her creativity flow very therapeutic. I’ll be sharing my thoughts and images of a gorgeous purple flower pen she made for me, on the blog tomorrow! Keep an eye out! Until then here is Melissa’s story in her own words.

Rustic By Marney – How creativity helps me manage my anxiety and depression

Looking back on my childhood I now realise that I’ve always suffered with anxiety and depression. At the time I didn’t know anything about mental health issues, and I just thought it was normal behaviour and everyone felt the same way, but I just struggled more with my emotions. I covered my emotions and symptoms well, and looking back had a number of coping strategies, which I wasn’t aware were helping me, to cope at the time.

Hobbies

My favourite hobby when I was younger was ballet. I used to attend two classes a week and looking back now it was a way to shut my mind off, detach myself from uncomfortable feelings and emotions and silence those scary, intrusive thoughts.

As the years went on and I grew older I stopped dancing and didn’t replace this with another hobby. Having nothing to focus my energy on, my negative thoughts became louder and more uncomfortable and my symptoms worsened. Dealing with day to day life – working, paying the bills, maintaining relationships etc. It all became so consuming, and I knew something wasn’t right at the time but tried my best to conceal it (and I did a fantastic job at it!). I didn’t want anyone to know how I was truly feeling or that I was struggling to cope. There were times where I just wanted to scream out for help, but always remained silent and carried on with life.

Shutting Down

It wasn’t until a year ago, Steve and I got married in Cyprus, (which was the best day of our lives, very cliché, I know!) things changed. I pretty much arranged the whole wedding myself and in the lead up to it was unaware of how much stress I was putting myself under. Having perfectionist tendencies I wanted everything to go well, and was deeply involved with the all or nothing thinking. I also wanted to ensure everyone was happy and was having a good time.

While I was busy thinking about everyone else and my ‘perfect’ day I neglected my own needs my health was suffering as a consequence. When Steve and I returned from our wedding I didn’t feel myself at all. I put it all down to the ‘come down’ from the high I had been on the past few weeks. Nevertheless, I powered on and tried to get back into the real world. Unfortunately my mind and body had other plans. Two weeks later I had a breakdown, I completely shut down physically and mentally, I became an empty shell, I was just existing and not living. I knew things weren’t right and something had to change.

Recovery

It took me a while to accept what was happening. It took approximately six months to dig myself out of that ‘hole’ and get myself back on the right track. I’m still in recovery now, but having the right support, and a change in my thinking and attitude has helped me to accept it’s now just a part of me, and adjust to living with anxiety and depression.

During my recovery I found a new love in crafting. Throughout the years I’ve always told myself I’m rubbish at arts and crafts, I can’t do it and I believed it! It wasn’t until I started crafting my own place cards, guest book pens and jars for my own wedding where I realised this was all total rubbish! Silencing that negative voice in my head was a great victory.

Crafting To Cope

I’ve always been ambitious and dreamt of owning my own little business, and finding a purpose in life. During my breakdown Steve had mentioned to me about crafting again, however at the time I didn’t have the energy. As I slowly started getting better I took his advice and I started making my flower pens again. Slowly in time my passion and creativity started coming back, I was starting to feel my bubbly, confident self again. Crafting has been my biggest inspiration and I truly believe it has helped me cope over the past few months. Crafting has refocused my attention and reignited my passion.

Now whenever I feel anxious or have a bad day, however hard it is I grab all my crafting gear, sit down and get stuck in. I’ve found crafting extremely therapeutic and a way to ‘shut off’ from the stressors in the world. Turning my hobby into a business has given me great comfort as I now believe in myself. Having a passion in crafting and weddings, and combining the two is the perfect combination and therapy for me! There’s also that extra bonus of helping other brides have the best day of their lives. When they do then my mission is accomplished!

I recently saw the quote below which sums up my whole experience and filled me with comfort:

 Rustic By Marney - How Creativity Helps Me Manage Anxiety & Depression

Rustic by Marney can be found over on Facebook & Twitter. Whilst she does focus on weddings her gorgeous pens will brighten up any desk. You can find out more about Rustic by Marney and see the gorgeous pen she sent me too!

Do you find crafting therapeutic too?

Burnished Chaos

How To Be A Courage Queen Book Review

How to be a Courage Queen written by Rachael Alexander, a behavioural change psychologist, is a helpful guide to help change your life. This strategy-packed guide is available for £29.99. Anyone who reads my blog will know I suffer anxiety. The tiniest things can get me ridiculously worked up. I struggle to say no, feel guilty about small things and tend to feel like everything is my fault and will go wrong simply because it is me.

Courage Queen

Courage Queen

I figured How to be a Courage Queen was worth a read and wondered if it would be helpful. Often I struggle to see the positives in life and focus on the negatives. I’ve been trying over the last few months to make postive changes and help myself. If I want things to improve I have to work on my issues and accept I will have bad days without putting myself down for it.

This book helps you cope positively with what is going on around you. It helps you reflect on your life and take action to think or behave differently. Rachael Alexander suffered anxiety too until she began to learn about herself and it changed her life for the better. This gave Rachael the confidence to share these ideas with others in this book knowing it will benefit the reader.

Contents

This guide is broken down into 3 main sections. Each section is then broken down into manageable sections for you to complete. Each section contains different strategies to help you feel more positive and in control.

The guide begins with a declaration to yourself to commit to a journey of overcoming fears, living a life of courageous action where you can learn to love and be loved. You declare to commit to living a life of love, peace, purple, passion and joy which you sign and date.

A lot of sections ask you questions with boxes provided to fill out your answers. This is great for going back and reviewing your answers and seeing the progress you are making. The guide helps you seek out the answers and solutions to your own problems with simple questions and exercises. Filled with inspirational quotes along the way, you can’t help but feel a little more positive each time.

Others

This book covers issues that many people face and definitely feels like it is a helpful book.

 

Do you think How To Be A Courage Queen could benefit you too?

 

Improve Finances And Reduce Stress Using Technology

Want to improve finances and reduce stress using technology? I love technology and always welcome anything that reduces stress and helps improve finances due to my own mental health. Here is some advice* to improve finances and reduce stress levels using technology.

Improve Finances Using Technology

 

Use Technology To Reduce Stress And Improve Finances

A recent study has revealed that 14 million people worry about their finances every day. A shocking statistic which rings true for many. Mental health concerns affect many Brits. Whilst you shouldn’t pin everything on how much money you have or haven’t got, it’s difficult not to get stressed about money when the cost of living continues to rise. However, there is good news for the millions of stressed Brits worried about their finances. The key to taking control of your money is to reduce your stress levels. Technology is a great tool to help alleviate stress and there are such great mental health apps available to help you achieve just that.

Utilising technology

Wherever you turn, you’ll find yourself surrounded by some form of technology. Your home is probably full of gadgets such as smartphones, tablets, voice-activated home assistants and game consoles. Whilst over-use and over-exposure to technology has been linked to stress, there are ways in which you can effectively use technology to boost your mental health and reduce your stress levels to allow you to make smart financial decisions.

When stressed, individuals often make poor financial choices, such as purchasing high priced goods to make themselves feel better, only to instantly regret it when the item arrives, thus increasing stress. However, technology can be utilised in these times. If you’re staring at your online bank account and are worried about the balance, ask your voice-activated home assistant to play some calming music, such as whale music which is known to reduce stress levels.

Reading technology

Reading has been proven to reduce stress levels. Before you make any spur of the moment purchases, grab your electronic reading device and lower your stress levels. You can reduce your stress levels by as much as 68% by taking time out and enjoying a couple of chapters of a good book. Just six minutes of reading can make you feel calmer and more relaxed. Be sure to carry reading material with you wherever you go.

Debt and technology

Gadgets allow individuals to check their bank balance wherever they are and at any time of the day. This can be both a blessing and a curse. Students are often knee deep in debt which can cause them much stress. If you’re a student looking to consolidate your student loan, be sure to use organisational software first to get everything in order. That way you can review your finances with a clear, stress-free head.

Stress is a factor which people across the UK and around the world contend with every day. We face a lot of stress especially when it comes to sorting out finances. However, technology is a great tool to use to stay calm, reduce stress levels and stay on top of your finances.

Do you think you could Improve Finances And Reduce Stress Using Technology to?

*In collaboration with Chrissy Gladstone.