THAT ANXIOUS FEELING. 

THAT ANXIOUS FEELING. 

 

It’s difficult to explain the feeling of anxiety, but I’m going to try. I’m not a fan of things that I don’t understand and even less of a fan of things that I can’t explain. I’m also pretty sure I’m not the only one, so here’s to those who want to undertand.

You know that feeling you get when you reach for your phone in the zip pocket of your bag (because that’s where you keep it, that’s where you always put it) and it’s not there? Your stomach drops. You feel tense and agitated. Your mind starts racing through the last few hours of your life wondering what you could have done resulting in you putting your phone down somewhere that isn’t that zip pocket in your bag. It doesn’t matter if seconds later you find it hiding in the other zip pocket, in that second it was gone. You panicked.

Now, extend that feeling. For a few minutes. For a few hours. For an entire day. 

That’s what anxiety feels like. Apart from the fact that some of the time, there is no reason. There is no misplaced phone. Just that gut wrenching feeling that something has gone (or is about to go) wrong.

The good news is, once you know it’s just anxiety, you can start to cut it off there. Yep, I feel anxious, I’m just going to have to ride it out. It’s not quite as easy as that, but I’m working on it. Hopefully one day it really can be that easy.

I know I’m writing a lot about anxiety and not very much about other things, it’s just that it’s such a big part of my life at the minute. I start back at work tomorrow – I’m looking forward to it. It’s a really big step towards getting things back to normal. Hopefully then I can write more about gin and food and all the other things that make life great. 

That’s more than enough crappy feelings for a Sunday afternoon so here are a few feelings that are just lovely: 

Until next time,

  

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BE BRAVE. ACCEPT RADICALLY.

BE BRAVE. ACCEPT RADICALLY.

Acceptance: it’s a word that’s thrown around a lot, isn’t it? Radical acceptance is simply accepting things for what they are. No what ifs, just taking the situation as it is and moving on. Doesn’t seem too radical, does it?

It may not seem radical, but it does take bravery. It goes against everything your brain wants you to do.


I’ve just sloshed black coffee all over the new cream carpet

There’s no good in thinking I shouldn’t have taken the coffee into the bedroom. What if I’d just put it down on the table rather than trying (and failing) to place it on the floor. What good will that do? It certainly won’t stop the black coffee from seeping into the nice, new, cream (IT’S CREAM ELLEN, WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?!) carpet. It will actually make it worse; the longer the coffee stays there, the harder it’ll be to clean.

Radical acceptance is taking the situation as it is.

I can’t reverse it, I can’t turn back time. It’s happened. Better start cleaning. Then probably make another coffee.

Radical acceptance is the way to take any situation, whether it’s something small or something much bigger and life altering. Reflection and hindsight are essential for learning, but dwelling on something that has already happened isn’t helpful and isn’t healthy. It causes unnecessary stress and unnecessary worry. If you start practicing radical acceptance (this is irritating me – is it really that radical?) with the small stuff, it might be a little easier when something really big comes along and screws you over.

Be brave, accept radically. It may seem unnatural at first, but just give it a try.

Until next time,

(Flower graphic courtesy of welivedhappilyeverafter.com)

10 CONFESSIONS FROM AN ANXIOUS MIND. 

10 CONFESSIONS FROM AN ANXIOUS MIND. 

One of the reasons I’ve been writing this blog is because anxiety isn’t uncommon, and I hope that just every so often I write something that makes you think yea – me too. Some of the things I’m going to write about in this post I’ve known my whole life, but others have been a little more difficult to come to terms with. I hope that it gives you a little more insight into my anxiety. Quick warning: this is going to be quite a long post, I do quite like to babble. 

So here we go, 10 confessions from an anxious mind:

  

 
 There are two main fears that contribute to my anxiety and they just so happen to completely contradict. I have a fear of things going wrong (things beyond my control) so I try to take control of them. But then, I have a fear of getting those things wrong, which makes me doubt myself, and I’m right back to the fear of things going wrong. The self doubt is going to take a bit of work, but I’m seriously working on not feeling  responsible for everything and reminding myself that things do go wrong – that’s just life. 

  The self doubt means that I really am my own worst critic. And sometimes I can be quite mean I don’t tend to give myself the benefit of the doubt that I would give to anyone else. This is where my perfectionism kicks in, sometimes I really feel like why bother doing anything if it can’t be spot on? And guess what…IT’S SO COUNTER PRODUCTIVE. I’m never going to get anything done because 99% of the time things won’t be perfect, and I’m starting to learn that that’s okay. 

 
 These are the what ifs. They are dangerous, they lead to me catastrophising (I’ve mentioned this word before, isn’t it a great word?) and they lead to me over analysing everything. Turns out, I don’t always have to be as prepared all the time, sometimes it’s not even my job to be prepared. Being prepared is great, but being scared of being unprepared (to this extent) is silly.  

   Sometimes, I get anxious about the most ridiculous things (and I do mean ridiculous). I know it’s stupid, you don’t need to tell me, but in that moment it’s the most important thing in the world. All I can do is to understand that in the scale of things, it’s probably not that important. I can calm myself down, and just let the anxiety pass. I know that I’ll feel different when it’s over. 

  If something makes me really anxious, in that moment it consumes me. You can have a solid, logical proof that we will be there on time – if I’m convinced that we’re going to be late, there’s no shaking that feeling.     I WANT TO STOP. I WANT TO NOT CARE SO MUCH. I WANT TO BE ABLE TO SWITCH OFF. If only thinking, you now what, everything will turn out okay was enough. But it’s not, which is why I’m trying so hard to stop the worrying from ruining my life. 

 
 Sometimes, there isn’t even a reason for my anxiety. Unfortunately for me, that doesn’t quite sit right with my wonky brain – there has to be a reason for feeling this way. This is when I make up problems where there aren’t any, which doesn’t make a happy Ellen. I can convince myself that the the world is ending just because my body says something is wrong – there doesn’t have to be anything wrong. Just ride it out. 

  As we’ve already established, not much can stop be worrying and feeling anxious once I get myself into that frame of mind. Telling me it’ll all be fine doesn’t help – I know deep down that you’re right but the anxiety keeps on taking over. But it does tell me that you care, and that you want me to be fine, and that’s really comforting.  

 Even if I look like there’s nothing going on up there, chances are there’s actually a million different things going through my mind at any one time. I’m probably looking a little vacant because I’m struggling to work out where to start. My mind is like one gaint to do list that is constantly being added to and constantly needs prioritising.

 
 It is perfectly possibly to be a raging extrovert and still suffer from problems with anxiety. I am living proof. I’m outgoing, I don’t often get nervous in big meetings or interviews and yet I still spend my life living in worry. I love to get out of my comfort zone and challenge myself on a daily basis, but my mind betrays me by making the way I want to live my life intolerable

 

PHEW

I’m not going to try to tell you that these confessions are in any way representative of every person suffering from anxiety, but they are representative of me (and I’m sure plenty of other people too). It’s important to remember that it’s these realisations that have pushed me to get some help as well as trying to work through these insecurities on my own (of course, with the help of my wonderful friends & family).

I also didn’t realise all this at once, it’s taken most of my life and a good few therapy sessions to even come close to understand what’s going on in my fuzzy, jumbled head.

Until next time,

  


A LETTER TO MY 16 YEAR OLD SELF. 

A LETTER TO MY 16 YEAR OLD SELF. 

Let me start with the eyebrows. One day, in the not too distant future, you’ll discover the eyebrow pencil. At first, you’ll go a little (a lot) over the top, but you’ll settle down, and by the time you’re my age, you’ll have nailed it.

And while we’re on the subject of makeup – stop using bronzer. Let me just repeat that so it goes in… stop using bronzer. Bronzer is not your friend. Hurry up and discover blusher. Please.

Everyone knows you’re wearing extensions. You’re not fooling anyone.

Glad we’ve got all the appearance stuff out of the way nice and quickly. There’s much much more, but I’ll leave it here for today.

I know what’s happening – I’m you, remember. And I have six years on you. You’re forcing yourself to like coffee by drinking cup after bitter cup. You’re an adult now, adults like coffee and it’ll help you stay awake even longer to Tumbl until the sun comes up. Stop. Give it up. Coffee is a trap – once you like it, you’ll never give it up. 

I know your GCSEs were great, you think you can do anything right now. You do let it slip with your A levels a little, but you will redeem yourself with a first class degree. Way to go.

University will be okay. No, it’ll be good. But don’t believe all the hype – for some people, it’s not necessarily the best three years of your life. People need to stop saying that, it just sets you up for disappointment. You will work hard, get a great degree and meet three people who will be in your life from then on (yay Alex, Danté & Sophie).

You’ll move away to Manchester for uni. You’ll love the city. You’ll want to stay. But let me tell you this, and you might not believe me right now, but Sheffield is where it’s at. You’ll move back here and it will be the best decision ever. You’re currently building a life here. GO SHEFFIELD.

The friends you have at the minute aren’t your forever friends (wow, doesn’t that sound tacky? Tacky but true). Your proper help-you-hide-a-dead-body-friends are just around the corner. You’ve known most of them individually for a long time, but it all comes together next year.

Don’t worry, he’s just not in your life yet. That’s not for another four years so you’ll just have to hang in there for a while.

Stop worrying about not knowing what to do with your life. I know right now you think you might want to do French & Law, but just cut the crap. That’s not you and you know it. But it’s okay, you’ll get plenty of opportunities, and then you’ll fall into a job you’d have never expected – and you’ll love it.

Speaking of worrying, in five years time, your appendix will almost burst because of your worrying. Turns out, those stomach migraines – just your appendix grumbling. It’s out now, no more problems there.

Finally – you’re not just a worrier. It’s not normal to worry that much and about so many things. It’ll take you a while and a bit of a breakdown, but you’ll figure it out. It’s controllable, it’s manageable. It doesn’t have to be your normal state of being.   Way to go 16 year old Ellen. You muddled your way through those weird teenage years and you turned out pretty awesome.

What would you tell yourself at 16?

Until next time,

AUTUMN PINSPIRATION & WHY IT’S THE BEST SEASON OF THE YEAR. 

AUTUMN PINSPIRATION & WHY IT’S THE BEST SEASON OF THE YEAR. 

autumn pinspiration inspiration | Photo credits | 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 |

This post is a little less profound than the last, but who doesn’t love a good mood-board-style picture montage?

Autumn is my favourite season. I like its when its cold; I like it when it’s bright; I like wearing wooly scarves and hats and socks. As you can now imagine, I loved putting together my autumn Pinterest board. I know, I get it, it’s practically winter now – all the more reason to post this now and not next week. 

So, aside from all the cuddly and cosy bits and bobs that come with it, why is autumn the best season going? 

I’ll tell you why. 

Because no matter how long ago you left school, autumn marks a new year. It might not be a new school year anymore, but you just try to tell me you don’t still get that fresh start feeling when autumn rolls around. You can’t. Because it’s not true. And god I need that fresh start feeling this autumn (I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again – I am content in my life, my work, my relationships. It’s just my brain and my way of thinking that needs a little bit of refresh). 

Wasn’t it great though – the start of a new school year? New pencil case, new school notebooks, new student planner, new pens, new school bag. If I was lucky, a new pair of school shoes in which I would strut back through those school gates thinking “this is it, this is my year, I’m going to make this year my bitch”. Don’t get me wrong, the feeling had worn off by the time it got to January, heading back after the Christmas holidays. But still, there was always next year. 

So there it is, why Autumn is the best of all the seasons. Have a think about all the autumny things you love so we can keep this feeling going before the impending winter kicks in. 

Until next time,

   

HOW TO COPE WITH FEELING OVERWHELMED. 

HOW TO COPE WITH FEELING OVERWHELMED. 

how to cope with feeling overwhelmed

The past couple of weeks have been tough. I’m happy, don’t get me wrong, it’s just so difficult keeping everything in perspective and not getting overwhelmed by everything and anything. 

I feel useless, I feel weak willed, I feel irrational and I feel a bit pathetic to be honest. This isn’t all of the time, but it’s enough. More than enough. Wallowing in self pity isn’t the way to make this better – actually, it’ll just make it way way worse. And that would just be shit. 

In this post I want to just share some of the things that I’m working on to help me cope with feeling overwhelmed. So, let’s get on with it. 

 GET ORGANISED

This first one is a lot of fun for me, I love getting organised. Planners, pens, journals, post its, calendars, apps – I love it all! 

At the minute I’m playing with a Bullet Journal system in a dotted moleskine notebook. If you’re interested, I first stumbled across it on Boho Berry and decided to give it a go. I’m pretty happy with it so far but I’m planning an entire post about how I’ve set it up so I’ll leave it here for now. 

Planning the future weeks and daily to do lists is helping me to put things into perspective and get on top of everything. I can remind myself of all the things I have to look forward to and focus my days around the things I need to do to get me in the mindset I want to be in. Plus, there’s nothing – and I mean nothing – more satisfying than crossing something off a to do list. 

  BE MINDFUL

This one is taking some getting used to. This was a suggestion from one of my therapy sessions (I was skeptical but therapy is really helping – you really should try it). Being mindful revolves around doing one thing at a time and when you’re doing that one thing, really being there in the moment. Not thinking about what you need to do in 30 seconds’ time, not what you’re having for lunch, not that awful thing that happened yesterday – just the now. 

It’s hard to get used to in world that’s moving so fast. We’re all multitasking, we’re all thinking about a million things at once. Don’t. Slow down. When you’re having a cup of tea, just have a cup of tea. 

Be an observer. Don’t judge, just observe. Snap judgements can lead to catastrophising a situation, so practicing not judging with the small things will help when it comes to the bigger things. 

“This mug is cream with a capital E on one side and a lower case e on the other. It clinks my top teeth every time I take a sip. The tea is Yorkshire tea with a splash of soya milk. I’m sitting on the sofa on a tartan blanket. The seat is warm where I’ve been sitting for the last few hours. The sun is shining through the gap in the curtains and on to the arm of the sofa to my left.”

CHECK IN WITH YOURSELF

This is another one that I’m working on becoming a habit, another one that came from therapy. Whether it’s once a day, twice a day or once an hour, check in with yourself. How are you feeling? Why are you feeling that way? How can you maintain/change your mood?

I do this once a day, just before I go to bed. I rate my day out of 5 based on how my average mood has been throughout the day then I write the thing(s) that I am most grateful for that day. 

It’s a little thing. It takes a couple of minutes. It’s making a huge difference. 

Checking in with myself before I go to bed reminds me that even if I’ve not had a great day, I still have things to be grateful for. It helps my put things into perspective when I’m feeling overwhelmed. 

  
So that’s it, that’s how I’m currently trying to stay on top of things. As I’ve said before, I’m probably never going to stop worrying, but I can (hopefully) calm the fuck down when I do.

Until next time,

  

WHO OR WHOM? AN EASY RULE FOR WORKING OUT WHICH TO USE. 

WHO OR WHOM? AN EASY RULE FOR WORKING OUT WHICH TO USE. 

 who or who? an easy rule  

Who vs. whom can be a difficult thing to get your head around, it didn’t fully click with me until I found out about an awesome little trick to work it out. I knew the theory behind it, but I just could put it into practice. 

Don’t get me wrong, I never say the word “whom”, but I do occasionally write it. And I mean occasionally. It’s just one of those words that I (and I’m pretty sure most other people) would just rather avoid. 

The reason I think you should know this neat little trick is to call out the pretentious twats who try to use “whom” just to sound posh – but get it wrong – so so soooooo incredibly wrong that it hurts (almost as much as using “one” incorrectly instead of just saying “you” – but that’s a whole different post). 

The trick is to turn the sentence into a question. Once we have done that, answer the question with either he or him. If you answer with he, use who. If you answer with him, use whom

(If you don’t want to read through the examples, skip to the bottom for the graphic 😊)

 Example 1

Let’s say we have a sentence:

The guy who/whom is drinking gin. 

Turn it into a question:

Who/whom is drinking the gin? 

Answer the question with either he or him:

He is drinking the gin. 

He works, so the correct original sentence is:

The guy who is drinking the gin. 

 Example 2

Let’s try a different sentence:

Who/whom is she drinking the gin with?

This is already a question so no need to change it. 

Answer the question with either he or him:

She is drinking gin with him

Him works, so the correct original sentence is:

Whom is she drinking the gin with? 

  who or whom? an easy rule This trick might not work for you, but it works nicely for me and as you may have gathered, I hate getting things wrong. 

Is there anything in language that you just can’t get your head around?

Until next time,

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