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Wednesday, 23 November 2016

PERSONAL | How to help yourself

Everyone has their own issues.

That's a given.

Everyone has their own insecurities, their own baggage, their own demons to deal with.

I know I certainly have my own weird problems that I alone deal with.

Although I'm not an expert, I know how hard it is to feel so lost and like their is no outcome to your problems.

This is a tough post for me to write, but by all means, please be assured that I am not offering professional advice or likening my 'baggage' to that of others. 

I am simply sharing my own experiences and what has helped me through them.

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | How To Help Yourself

A few years ago, when I graduated from university and when I was not working, I got myself in a bad way which would see me sleeping in during the day, spending my days doing nothing and then driving myself crazy at night.

Unable to sleep, my mind would wander until I would feel almost suffocated by my thoughts and my life, nearly unable to breathe.

I'd think about my life and how I did not know where it was going. I'd think about how I wanted something more from this life - only I didn't know what. I thought about how I wanted to travel but couldn't do this without money, and I found myself feeling terrified of wasting my life away.

I still often find myself scared that one day I'm going to wake up and realize I never took the chance to do all the things I wanted to do. One of my biggest fears in life is wasting my life like that.

I'd feel suffocated thinking about these feelings. I'd feel like the walls were caving in on me and that all I wanted to do was to scream or to get out and just go anywhere. But as this almost entirely hit me in the middle of the night, there was nothing I could do except get in a state.

At times, it panicked me, and there was only two things that could really calm me down at the time - and that was to write, or to listen to music.

Eventually things got better when I did find a job and found myself busy in the day, allowing myself to sleep at night.

But even I know deep down that it never really fixed the solution as I never actually went on to do any of those things I wanted. I just, y'know, got a job which helped me sleep at night and didn't give me much opportunity to entertain those thoughts again.

Except it seems like those thoughts are coming back again fast and heavy, and I'm starting to revisit those options to help calm me down in moments where I can't leave.

I don't know what these feelings are exactly. On paper, they sound like panic attacks or anxiety attacks, but I know they're not because I don't suffer from anxiety - so, who knows.

Regardless, here's what helps me - at least in the moment, anyway - and may hopefully help you too, if you suffer from anything similar.

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | How To Help Yourself

Writing helps me a lot. Usually I'll try and write about what I feel, and then, when that's all out on paper or on screen, write about something else - anything else. A blog post. Fiction. A diary entry - anything. It forces me to concentrate on the words on the page and the message I want to get across. Even writing this post has helped me, as it's helped me be more vocal about these feelings I've been having.

Music is another one that helps me a lot, although sometimes, depending on what I listen to, it helps me give in and accept what I'm feeling and have a little cry first, instead of just denying it. I let my mind wander with the music, making up music videos in my head or trying to decipher the lyrics.

Anything that will crack a smile. Scrubs or The Office US tends to help me, and before I know it my move has improved massively as I'm engrossed instead in the characters on the screen.

My 'moments' seem to only happen at night, so often going out for a run or a walk isn't an option for me, but on the rare occasion that I do feel like this in the day, getting outside helps a lot. I usually stick my headphones on and listen to my music loud during a run, or just take the dog out for a walk.

I tend to be more productive in the evening anyway, but there's only so much I can do at 3am. Writing and job hunting helps, but 'making a plan' is a new method for me which has helped greatly. During one of those evenings, I simply told myself enough was enough and made a note of the date in my phone. I then told myself I had a deadline of three years to get to where I wanted to be. I thought about where I wanted to be in three years - no matter how silly and fanatical - then worked out backwards, step by step, what I had to do to get there.

It sounds like an incredibly obvious choice, but not one I had considered before. Normally I'll job hunt in the day and that's it - I've never really entertained the thought of 'oh, okay, I could be doing this dream job at this point in however many years time, if I just work hard enough.'

Since then, every single day I've taken one small step in the right direction, whether that's getting a band interview, applying for a job in the industry or even just putting myself out there. For example, this past weekend I was away with work, and much of the role required me to approach the public and talk to them. That was a scary thought for me but, hey, I did it, and I know that even just taking that tiny step, it had given me a bit of confidence that I can later use when it comes to approaching people for interviews, for example.

Finally, just breathe. Sometimes I feel like my breaths are coming in too quick, like my heart is beating too fast and that I'm getting myself into more of a state with each passing second. I try to take some deep, slow breathes in this case, and usually, within a few minutes, my breathing and heart rate will return to normal.

Although these may not work for everyone, these are just some methods that have personally calmed me down in the moment when suffering from these kind if feelings/demons.

Of course I am no medical expert, but if anyone is going through something similar and reads this post to discover that a) they're not alone and b) sometimes natural methods can help, then posting this would have been worth it!

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