As someone who has lived with chronic pain and associated conditions since my early adulthood, I have tried scores of aids, medications, complementary products and stimulation devices in order to try and reduce my pain and allow me to live a fuller life. I've had the pleasure of discovering the MediPen recently and I've never tried anything quite like it!
People don't talk about sleep problems, because they're embarrassed; they've accepted it as a perpetual part of their lives and others might treat it as a triviality or selfish indulgence that you choose to yield to - you've made your bed, so now you (can't) lie in it.
I always say that finding out that I had tumours in my brain and spine (on the day of my school prom) was definitely the low point of my teenage years. But in a lot of ways, despite the fact that my eyesight and hearing have been seriously affected by the horrible treatment I've been through, cancer has changed my life for the better.
Now these may just sound like the ramblings of an insecure twenty-something and I can't apply this effect to everyone that uses social media, however after conversations with various friends I realised I'm not alone.
The agoraphobic could be the girl who's sitting in the car, not getting out for five minutes, ten minutes, or not at all. It could be the girl who looks so perfectly happy and contented at home on the sofa that you wouldn't have any idea how fast that can change if you ask her to go into a situation that distresses her.
Anxiety is a state of being distracted and worried, but it goes further than that. It starts as unease, and in fact it ticks away as that unsettling feeling in the background when you suffer for long enough, but it grows like mould. It spreads slowly but surely over time with the right conditions.
My anxiety crippled me and stole a large chunk of my life. I was scared to go out and be with people but simultaneously afraid to be on my own. I never knew what would trigger a panic attack that could leave me in bed for days at a time.
The agitation and restlessness that can follow switching a smartphone off, which is punishing to witness, does look very similar to withdrawal symptoms as the individual struggles with the disconnection from 'the stream'.
I went through a phase in my journey where I was sharing my anxieties with women and men. Generally it was well received, sometimes not. It didn't bother me. But by me becoming aware of my anxieties and not taking them personally or seriously I was able to let them be as there were, and they had less power over me
I started to wonder why this didn't happen to me at other times in my life, which were also pretty high on the trauma richter scale. Like when I worked in retail, or I had a gigantic needle stuck in my hip bone, or when my boyfriend dumped me on our anniversary, or when I was forced to read out a poem about my invisible pet gerbil in the year two leavers assembly.
If you feel your confidence is in need of support, then this week I share ten of my recommended confidence boosters. Use these in both your personal and professional life to crank up your confidence for the long haul. The wonderful news is that every single one of us can be massively confident, so long as we take action to build it.
I can only speak from my own experience, but I didn't talk about it openly because I was worried about being judged. People always saw me as "strong", and I didn't want to suddenly become "weak". I didn't want people to walk on eggshells around me. I was worried people wouldn't understand how I could have been leading a dream life in Paris, while simultaneously feel like my world was falling apart.
Thank you for celebrating the good times with me, and for supporting me through the difficult times. I hope one day to be able to return the kindness, stability and love you have given me when you also need it most.
It's Mental Health Awareness Week so a good time to reflect on the crucial role businesses can play in supporting mental heath issues. There's not just a moral case but an unquestionable business case for doing so: each year one in four people experience a common mental health condition - such as stress, anxiety or depression - and the overall cost of mental health to the UK economy is estimated at £70 billion per year.
As a southerner, I knew very little about Northumberland or the history of the area, and in a few short months we have travelled far and wide in this beautiful county, taking in hills and forests, coasts and national park.
Unless you've suffered, mental illness can be very difficult to explain to outsiders, even your family and friends. My blogs aim to try and express those feelings as best as I can in hope that they will break down stigma, open conversation and allow more people to understand. This blog is about the very common, but debilitating condition of anxiety.