Does It Ever End?

Busy, busy, busy!! I have so many changes happening in my life right now. I haven’t really divulged much information about what has been going on so hold on for this one haha. I just graduated 4 months ago and I am now job hunting. Between all the applications, resume and cover letter writing, and interviews, I’ve had no time for myself let alone for writing blog posts. At the same time, I am also trying to find a new place to live starting September. All the house hunting stuff has basically been dumped all on me as my boyfriend is currently on co-op and can’t really help out from such a distance. This has just been a mission in itself because one problem after another keeps coming up.

I am really sorry that I haven’t been able to post anything these past few days. It really hurts me that I can’t do this right now, so I am truly sorry for that. That being said, I am thinking of starting a schedule for when I will post. I know I didn’t make the complete month of daily posts, but hey, I really did accomplish something I didn’t think I would be able to do! After I collect myself and start getting things sorted out, stay tuned for my schedule. It will probably be 2 days a week but I’ll have to see what works best.

On the bright side, all of this stress lately has given me more motivation and more ideas for content to write in the future. So please bear with me for the next week until I figure out a schedule and hopefully get my life back on track again. I love you all and can’t wait to be back posting regularly.

– Sophie Brexx ❤

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A Helping Hand

In an article from earlier this month, I briefly talked about how people in our society do not like to ask for help. I want to revisit this idea and expand on it a bit more. Because as I see it, it is extremely difficult to overcome anxiety without the help of others.

doctorYou may have hit a point where you’ve realized your anxiety has gone too far. The symptoms are worse, less controllable, and overall unbearable. Once you’ve decided a change is in order, the next logical step to find help. But as you sit their brainstorming ideas on how to make your anxiety better, you get overwhelmed. “What types of things can I do? Which ones will work? Will I be able to stick to it?” You ask yourself all of these questions and realize that you do not have the expertise to know exactly what to do. You don’t really want to ask anyone for help though. You could try to tackle this on your own, but getting help from others is probably a lot more efficient and effective. After all, there are a number of important players aside from yourself that are essential to the process of implementing change.

So who are these important individuals? Well first, you need your friends and family who are there for you in your time of need. Without these people, quitting seems a lot easier. They give you that push so that you won’t go back into old routines and think that you can just accept how bad your anxiety is. A doctor or counselor may also be needed so that you can find better solutions that work for you personally. These people have the knowledge and tools so that you can get better faster. No need to struggle on your own while not knowing if what you are doing is working. And don’t forget people like me that know exactly what you are going through. It is always nice to know there is a light at the end of the tunnel so hearing from others with anxiety helps act as motivation. They can also give insider tips that doctors may not know if they do not experience anxiety themselves.

free hugsThere is no shame in asking for help so don’t let your pride get in the way from you seeking it. EVERYONE asks for help at some point in their life. So embrace the fact that others want to help you instead of trying to throw it by the curb. You can also rationalize that the more accepting you are of other’s help, the faster you will notice your symptoms of anxiety getting better. And the more receptive you are to help, the more others will see that you are serious about working at your anxiety. It can be hard to ask for help so I commend those that are brave and decide to step up and admit they are unable to do it alone. But for those that are struggling to ask for help just remember: You go to a doctor when you break a bone, so why should this be any different? Just because you can’t always see anxiety, does not mean it is not there.

Have you ever asked for help with your anxiety? Who was it from and what was the outcome. Love to hear your thoughts below or on twitter.

Do you Have Anxiety?

The lack of concentration I have today is driving me insane. I have tried writing today’s post several times but can’t seem to make it sound coherent. Because of this, I thought I would do something a bit different. This article is targeted for those that are unsure of whether they have anxiety or not. I wanted to find a few tests you could take which would indicate if you exhibit the common symptoms of anxiety. Now obviously these tests aren’t 100% accurate, but it may be a trigger for you to see a doctor if it indicates you have a certain degree of anxiety. That being said, here are a few tests you can complete:

1) Anxiety Centre Anxiety Test

2) Anxiety Self Test

3) Depression Screening Test

4) Anxiety Test in 42 Questions

***Note: These tests are designed as a way to help give you a general idea if you may suffer anxiety or depression. They are only indicators though to whether you may want to go to a doctor and get an actual evaluation done by a professional.

Were these tests at all helpful? Tell me in the comments! You can also connect with me on twitter.

Your Own Happy Place

One of the things I try to do when I am feeling anxious is to zone everything out and think of something that calms me. If you’ve ever seen Happy Gilmore, I would compare it to thinking of your own ‘happy place’:

As funny as this video is, I think everyone needs to have a place of zen. You should be able to close your eyes, play out a scenario in your mind, and open your eyes feeling a lot happier and more relaxed. I never realized I did this until long after I started searching for techniques to cope with my anxiety. One strategy someone told me was to try picturing something calming. But this never seemed to last long and I would start to think about my anxiety again. So instead I tried playing out a scenario in my head. I felt this worked better because it required more of my attention and for me to become more deeply involved in what I was imagining. And when I would come back to reality I felt more relaxed and at ease. You are probably wondering what my ‘happy place’ looks like. While this is very personal, I would like to share it with you in hopes that you can find what works for you:

It starts with me standing in a field surrounded by flowers and long green grass. Out of the corner of my eye I sense movement and turn to see something out in the distance. As my vision focuses I realize it is my loving boyfriend walking in my direction. My heart starts to burst with excitement. Then out from behind him pops a beautiful white samoyed who is playfully jumping around him as he continues to walk forward. A few moments later the dog notices me and starts darting forward. I happily let him in my arms and am knocked over by the amount of love and energy he puts into his jump. He licks my face all over and then then proceeds to cuddle up next to me. Love emanates from him. I look up only to see my boyfriend looking down at me with a gaze I know to be love. His eyes take a hold of me and draw me in. I know those eyes, they are all too familiar. It means he needs me, loves me, and that he can’t do without me. It is this feeling of being loved and wanted that ultimately makes me happy. I quickly get up and embrace him with a kiss. He folds his arms around me as I rest my head on his chest. I begin to feel safe and sheltered by his arms, like nothing could ever harm me. His protection puts me at ease so I let my guard down and let all of my worries go. I close my eyes and let my other senses take over. I feel the warmth of his body. And I hear…. water? I open my eyes and notice a change of scenery. We are standing at the waters edge of a beach. The sky is filled with orange and red tones and our toes sink into the sand as the cool water reaches our feet. We take a few steps back and sit down to enjoy the sunset. The mix of the warm sun and a faint breeze make the temperature perfect. My boyfriend puts an arm around me and I slowly sink into his lap. I am happy, at peace, and serene.

I’m interested to hear what your happy place looks like. Let me know in the comment section or on twitter @SophieBrexx.

Competitiveness Kills

raceAs all my friends and family know, I am the queen of being competitive. And its not like I have an ‘I like to win’ mentality. It’s more like an ‘I will win no matter what even if I hurt myself’ mentality. Now obviously being a bit competitive is good because you learn to always strive for more. But I want to walk you through how stressful life can be when you become competitive in every realm of your life.

In elementary school I always competed with my friends and classmates. There was only a small number to compete with though, so it wasn’t hard to stay at the top of my class. When I entered high school, I already started noticing how many more competitors I had. It was hard to be the best in every class because there were so many other students who dedicated their time to specific subjects. After completing high school I entered university, only to feel overwhelmed with how smart and talented people were. I no longer felt I was at the top, not even the middle. Everyone had high grades to get into the program. At this point I realized that I could no longer even attempt to beat people at everything. It only made matters worse when I would compare myself to everyone I knew as a collective. Jimmy opened a start-up company, Bobby landed a great job, and Sally had all these skills I wasn’t even close to having. The problem is that not everyone opens a business, has an immense amount of experience in their field, gets married to the love of their life, and becomes rich. Everyone has their own individual successes but they can’t be good at everything. As the expression goes, “you can’t have it all”. So it becomes overwhelming when you think every person does each and every one of these things. Then I graduated and entered into the world where everyone became my competition. With this many people to compete with it just brought my anxiety to a whole new level.

Anxiety built as I realized I could no longer compete with everyone. What made me most upset was that I felt I had been lied to growing up. I was always told how smart and talented I was and thought I could be the best at everything. But all of those participation trophies only make children think they are really good at everything. And while it’s great to encourage kids through telling them they did well, rewarding them for being just as good as the next kid isn’t really teaching them anything. Children should be learning that not everyone is equally as good at everything and that for each skill there will always be a handful who will excel. This way, they will learn to find their strengths and work hard to get better at these skills. This makes a lot more sense than them thinking they can in fact be accomplished at everything and struggling to do so.

So how can I fix this mentality of trying to compete against the world? I clearly can’t beat everyone at everything so instead I need to learn to be competitive with myself. I should constantly strive to get better and only compare myself to how I improved from before. Because as long as I am getting better and beating myself, I will always be on top.

A Leap of Faith

We do what is familiar to us. It is what seems appropriate because it is all that we know and often something that we have come to like or accept. Trying to fathom any alternative seems stressful and usually seems like a big hassle because you don’t know what to expect. But what I have found is that stepping out of your comfort zone is the only way to find true happiness in life. You need to get out and have new experiences in life so that you can learn and become a better and more fulfilled person. But the only way to do this is to try new things so that you can start seeing what is out there and what you like and don’t like. And while trying new things can see daunting, all it sitting on edgetakes is a leap of faith to step you out your comfort zone. I am not saying this needs to be a huge leap, maybe even more of a hop, but there needs to be some sort of push that makes you try something new. Something that gets you out of your area of familiarity and forces you to do things that you would not normally do. My best experiences in life have come from choosing to do things that I was first unsure about.

So if your friends ask you to try a new activity with them such as rock climbing, DO IT! If you are not liking your job, then try stepping out of your comfort zone and finding something in another field that is better suited for you. If someone asks you to try a food that you normally wouldn’t, take a bite. Small actions will lead to larger changes, usually for the better. The worst thing that can happen when you try something new is that you may not like it. But at least you figured that out instead of constantly wondering what it would have been like to try it.

Just know that getting out of your comfort zone doesn’t usually feel right and can even feel awkward or scary. But that is the point of being in this place of comfort, you have become accustomed to liking what you have in your immediate environment. That is why I am I challenging you for one full day to be more accepting and to say yes to trying new things . As Nike would say, ‘Just Do it!’ Say yes to things you normally wouldn’t say yes  to. Try something that sounds cool but maybe you were too nervous to try. The only way to change is to make a small leap of faith on an unfamiliar path. But trust me, this path will take you on a better life adventure then doing what is easy and comfortable to you.

As always, you can find me on twitter @SophieBrexx and leave me a comment below letting me know what you think of today’s post. Ciao! xox

Labelling People With Anxiety

As a follow-up to yesterday’s post, I want to talk about something that I find very intriguing. But first, here are a few questions that got me thinking about this topic: “Why are we startled to hear that one of our friends has anxiety when they have an outgoing and energetic personality? And why are we surprised when we hear that some celebrities have anxiety?” What I noticed within these questions was that we use certain generalizations to stereotype people that have anxiety.

equality- sunsetIt comes down to human nature. We see patterns constantly and sort everything that possesses similar traits into alike categories and groups. Generalizations about these groups are then made based on one’s previous knowledge and exposure to things that are similar. The purpose of this process is so that our minds can more easily recognize, understand, and remember new things.

Now let’s look at the generalizations we make about someone who has anxiety. In other words, what do they look like? The first thing that comes to mind is that they are probably quiet, anti-social, easily upset, shy, and pessimistic. But many people with anxiety do not look like they have anxiety. They are outgoing, happy, and enjoy being with others. For example, when I first told my friends and family that I had anxiety they were shocked. Everyone kept telling me that they thought I looked happy and that I didn’t look like someone who could have anxiety. I didn’t fit this generalization that they had in mind. This is why people are surprised when they hear about outgoing individuals or celebrities that have anxiety. To them it just doesn’t add up.

Because people have this image of what anxiety is supposed to be, I was afraid of telling others what I was going through. I didn’t want people to make assumptions and think I was some unhappy and depressed person who hated being around others. The funny thing is that I have caught myself making similar assumptions about people with anxiety when I myself experience it. “They just don’t look like they have anxiety,” I always thought to myself. This is why we need to broaden what anxiety looks like. Others suffering from anxiety need to see that ‘normal’ people have it too. If more people can see that anxiety does not make you a depressing person or a “Debbie Downer” then they may be more inclined to get help. The point I am trying to make is that anyone can have anxiety regardless of how they look. We shouldn’t assume everyone fits these generalized characteristics.

If you enjoyed today’s post please hit the ‘like’ button at the bottom. As well, don’t forget to follow me on twitter for updates on my life and my blog posts.

7 Celebrities With Anxiety

There are time where I forget that other people have anxiety and I get caught up in trying to conceal it. But when I realize others are also experiencing what I have, I feel more at ease and am more open about my struggle with this condition. Sometimes we just need a little reminder that anyone can have anxiety, regardless of who they are. There are even a number of celebrities who have opened up about their anxiety. It just goes to show you that you don’t have to let anxiety slow you down. That being said, here are 7 famous people who have anxiety:

1) Adele

You would never know it but Adele not only suffers from panic attacks but she also has a  KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAsocial phobia that gives her extreme stage fright. Among her symptoms, Adele would experience nausea and her heart rate  would increase rather quickly. She has even revealed how social anxiety would effect her to the point where she would be performing and she would need to run off stage to vomit. The singer has also mentioned that this condition has limited her ability to perform. But this hasn’t slowed her down as she is expected to release her new album soon and tour in 2015.

 

2) Kate Moss

During a Calvin Klein photo shoot, Kate recalls having her first anxiety attack. She described her experience to Vanity Fair as follows: “I couldn’t get out of bed for two weeks and I thought I was going to die.” Kate also said that it took the help of a friend to discover that she was suffering from anxiety.

3) Emma Stoneemma stone 1

For this young star, anxiety and panic attacks started at the early age of  8. This later transformed into her experiencing agoraphobia. Even as a child she remembers not wanting to go to her friend’s house because of how immobilizing anxiety was. And while she still deals with anxiety attacks, she has learned numerous coping strategies over the years which have helped to ease the symptoms.

4) Scarlett Johansson

You wouldn’t think anything could stop this gorgeous actress. But she has had her battle with anxiety too. It started on a set of one of her movies where she started feeling the anxiety build. By the end of the first scene she reportedly felt “dead from anxiety”. Knowing that she couldn’t complete a whole movie like this, she learned to cope and calm herself down.

5) Woody Allen

Maybe the reason why Woody Allen was able to play a number of anxiety-stricken Jewish characters so well was because the characters hit home. After all, Woody Allen has said that the inspiration for his characters usually comes from his real-life battle with anxiety. In interviews he has said that he constantly faces depression, terror and anxiety. Even with this condition though he has managed to have a long-lasting successful career that has spanned over 50 years.

6) Johnny DeppJohnny_Depp_1

This actor is not new to anxiety and has been suffering from panic attacks for years. While it may not show on the big-screen, in interviews his social anxiety often comes through in his nervous gestures and in his overall uncomfortable state.

7) John Mayer

At the age of 17, this pops singer started experiencing anxiety attacks and feared he was going insane and would eventually be sent to a mental institution. Even now at 36, he always keeps his anti-anxiety medication in his pocket just in case he suffers an attack.

So there you go, celebrities go through the exact same things as everyone else. So don’t think that your anxiety has to bring you down, because these people didn’t let it effect them. They have learned to live with it and have managed to amount to great things. So don’t make excuses. If you want something, GET IT! The sky is the limit and this does not need to be an obstacle that prevents you from fulfilling your dreams.

Tell me in the comments if any of these people surprised you. You can also tell me over twitter as well: @SophieBrexx.

Like a Chameleon

Kinyongia_xenorhina,_male

One of the biggest things I regret from my battle with anxiety is that I would hide from others. I remember having moments where I just didn’t want anyone to find me. I wanted to fit seamlessly into the background, like a chameleon who blends in with its surroundings to hide from its prey. That is what I felt like, prey. I could feel the eyes of others beaming down on me waiting for me to become exposed so that they could pounce. I feared being found out. Would they notice that I was hiding this burden I call anxiety?

I didn’t want to go out in fear that I would have a panic attack. I didn’t want to explain to others what was wrong if something happened. I didn’t want to embarrass myself and have others wonder why I was acting weird. So what did I do? I started going out for shorter periods and making up excuses on why I had to leave early. This progressed into me coming up with reasons why I couldn’t make it out at all. All these excuses now seem so unnecessary.

Little did I know that no one was actually staring or even taking notice of me. They can’t tell that I have anxiety just by looking at me. It was ME who was overly conscious of myself. What felt like a thousand people peering down on me was only the pressure created by the critical gaze I set on myself. I put that pressure on myself, no one else. And I wasn’t just hiding from other people, I was hiding from myself too. Anxiety may have shook my confidence but it was me that thought I needed to hide. I had become my own worst enemy by hiding and casting myself away from friends and family. All of this because I was afraid they would find out this small personal detail about me.

But there came a point that I no longer could take hiding in the shadows. I felt open doorcooped up at home, dissatisfied with how anti-social I had become, and saddened by the change in my ever-so bubbly personality. I recognized that the lies needed to stop as well so that I wouldn’t become further distanced from my friends. They aren’t stupid and I’m sure they could sense my dishonesty. It was at this point that I knew I needed to open up to others. So slowly I started letting them in. I told a few very close friends of my situation and noticed immediately that I was less anxious. In fact, they were completely understanding and highly supportive. I wish I would have done this from the start. No matter, at least I have learned from this and am able to share it with others. I am now breaking out of that shell I created around myself. I have been unleashed. I am back!

Until next time, Sophie Brexx.

Building a Better You: Day 7

It is the last day of my mini series, “Building a Better You”. I hope you have been enjoying these coping strategies because here comes the last one:

Practicing how to relax

Everything takes time, effort, and a little bit of patience. That is why you must apply these three things to how you cope with your anxiety. Nothing will fix itself without you putting in the effort. The best way to start is by spending time with your anxiety. Get to know your symptoms and how anxiety effects you personally. “When does it usually happen? Where do you usually get anxious? What triggers it?” These are all important things to know so that you can find the best remedy. Once you figure out the answers to these questions you can then experiment with different strategies that combat anxiety (for example belly breathing, ASMR, cutting coffee, etc.). After you have had some time to experiment, you are ready to enter our third and final stage. In this last stage you will utilize these techniques repeatedly until they become second nature.

Practicing how to relax may seem trivial but if you don’t then these techniques will only be short-term fixes for your problem. It is also better to prevent anxiety from the get-go rather then letting it fester and turn into something that feels a lot more overwhelming. So you need to establish a daily routine that supports a less stressful life.

One way you can make your routine anxiety-friendly is by take breaks more letting balloons gooften. I find that when I am really busy I constantly jump from place to place, leaving me with little time for breaks. But you NEED a break so that you can recollect yourself. Start by scheduling in breaks every so often. Use this time to forget other tasks that you have and focus on yourself. It also helps to consciously tell yourself to breathe. When I am at my busiest it always feels as though I am holding my breath. It is only when I am done that I can finally sigh and let it all out. So instead try taking breaks every hour or so while remembering to breathe slowly and deeply. These breaks can be as simple as taking a few deep breaths counting back from 10 or something more complex like physically stepping away from your work to do something more calming. The latter option is obviously less practical if you work in an office, but take advantage of this option if it can be done.

Another tool that can be practiced is letting it go. What do I mean by this? I think from time to time we let little things bother us when we really shouldn’t. And the more anxious we become, the harder it gets for us to let go of the small things. Just remember that sometimes it is not worth worrying about the nitty-gritty… so let it go! Pick your battles so that you will have less anxiety to contend with.

So this is the end of the 7 day series. I’m interested in hearing what you thought of these coping strategies. Stay tuned though because starting tomorrow I will be back writing regular posts on anxiety. And I’m always looking for more people to join this family, so follow me on twitter for blog posts and updates on my life.