Living & dealing with Anxiety

Hi Everyone!

January 25th Is Bell Let’s Talk Day here in Canada so I wanted to talk about anxiety and what I’ve experienced and how I’ve come to cope and to stay away from my triggers. Firstly, as preachy as this may sound: Remember that this is YOUR LIFE, no-one has the right to tell you how you should be living your life and how you should go about your business, you don’t have to answer to anyone other than yourself when it comes to your health and happiness and the health and happiness of loved ones!

I have anxiety, not the kind where you just get a bit worried sometimes.  The kind that keeps you awake at night and keeps you from going out, keeps you from enjoying life at 30 years old. Worrying constantly about your Family and Friends’ safety and convinced that everyone hates you, the constant worry causes migraines and severe gut issues which prevent me from going out and experiencing things even more. It’s easy to tell someone with Anxiety to “toughen up” or “just stop over-thinking things” “lighten up” but you have no idea what it feels like to be trapped inside your own mind. Feeling angry and sad with yourself for the way you feel. It feels like a heart-attack sometimes; I remember the first time I suddenly got painful, stabbing chest pains and a numb sensation down my arm, my husband rushed me off to ER where they hooked me up to an EKG, took blood, did a chest X-ray before telling me it was severe Anxiety. It’s fear; fear of being bullied again, fear of everyone judging you and saying you’re “just an attention-seeker” fear of driving your Loved ones away, fear of what’s going on in the news everyday, Fear that your career will suffer and then your mortgage etc… it’s exhaustion, so tired you end up crying. And migraines that have you rocking back and forth sobbing with the pain.

People often used to say that I was a very negative person and I was very defensive. I struggle with worrying about things that haven’t happened: worrying about “What-ifs”. Throughout my entire School life I dealt with being bullied and so I became a very defensive and snappy person, it was how I coped with the daily bullying. I had my first Panic Attack when I went back to England after my first Canadian Visa ended: I was out with my Best Friend at the local pub and she is the most social person ever, she just has this incredible ability to chat to people and make Friends so easily, well she saw about 3 girls who used to be in my year at School, The “Popular Girls”, yeah, I know that sounds childish but that’s what they were back in Secondary School and they always talked down to me, called me a loser and basically made my life Hell, she was good Friends with them and I sat down with them all thinking that things would be different and they’d all have grown up, The looks they kept shooting me across the picnic bench could’ve had me in a body bag! They all refused to talk to me and made a point to only speak to my Friend while glowering at me. I excused myself and went in to the washroom, I could feel my breathing getting heavier, I was starting to gasp for air, tears were streaming down my face as I tried to calm myself down, I couldn’t, it was my first full-blown panic attack, and it was brought on my three snotty small-town girls who hadn’t grown up. In the end I stumbled back out to find my Friend to say that I was heading home, she looked shocked at my state and tried to walk me home, I told her to stay and I’d call her when I got home (she made her Boyfriend walk me home). I got home, sat down on the stairs and started sobbing, the gasping started to calm down, my Parents weren’t home so they couldn’t help me. When I’d calmed down enough, I thought about the triggers. I knew that I couldn’t let some small-town Mean Girls control my emotions like that again. As it was I started working in a pub and my self-confidence improved greatly.

I left the small down again anyway and moved back to Canada, my Self-confidence began to pick up but then I had to start going through Canadian Immigration, I was with my boyfriend and the stress of not knowing if I was going to be told to leave the country and not allowed to stay with the man that I loved (it doesn’t matter how I word that it’s going to sound bloody melodramatic but genuinely that’s how it was) made my anxiety worse, then being told that I couldn’t leave Canada while the documents were being processed but I was not allowed to get a job during that time. Anyway, I got through, obviously, and I married my Husband! I got a great career and things started to be looking up. Things got worse after some issues surrounding my wedding. In 2015 I spent two (separate) nights in Hospital with severe chest pains, It felt like a Heart attack – the Doctor confirmed that after all, it was severe anxiety and said that if I didn’t get a handle on my Anxiety that I was going to have severe issues with my health. It scared me, badly.

I decided that It was time to focus on my Family, my Wonderful Husband, my true Friends and my Health and Career, I signed up for a University licensing course, I started taking spontaneous weekend trips to see my Friend, started blogging! I started to take back control of what the anxiety had done to my way of life. I still have anxiety from time to time but I have a better handle on it now and i’m able to tell my mind to quiet down!

When you have Anxiety, you want to stay holed up indoors, you’re missing life, you can’t let negativity rule your life, it will eventually consume you and then you end up with nothing because you shut everyone out and people stop trying to get through. Don’t end up like that, talk to someone! I did and I’ve not felt this happy in YEARS!

What to do if you feel a panic attack coming on or if you’re feeling dressed or anxious:

If you’re feeling panicked or stressed. Take a moment. I often listen to stress/ anxiety relieving music and binaural beats on YouTube and I find it REALLY helps me. Take a few minutes to breath deeply, you’ll feel more panicked if your breathing is fast and shallow so close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Listen to some music that you know makes you feel happy. Drink less Caffeine if you’re a serious coffee lover (and chocolate) then try something like Tea Pigs Licorice & Peppermint tea it’s really good for anxiety (I find) or just a good old mug of Tetley tea with a spoonful of sugar: I NEVER drink sugar in my tea I hate it, however, if i’m really panicked or stressed or something has happened that has really upset me, something about a cup of tea with a spoonful of sugar in it does calm me down.

Life is worth living to its fullest, be happy, train yourself to say yes, to do things that are out of your comfort zone and to lead a happier lifestyle. You can be a happier person, but you have to be willing to take that first step and make that change, I promise you, it’s SO worth it!

Huge hugs!

Take Care of Yourselves

xoxo Ellie

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50 Comments

  1. A Graceful Life Blog
    January 25, 2017 / 6:25 am

    Oh Ellie, Thank you so much for sharing this with us! You are so brave to open up and I know your blog will be a source of inspiration for many (certainly is for me!)I am so glad you started this blog! We should get together for coffee soon! xo

  2. Victoria Schneider
    January 25, 2017 / 6:38 am

    This is such a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing your story and being vulnerable in order to help others.
    I have struggled with anxieties and essential oils have really helps.
    Thank you for sharing
    victoria | http://www.thesoutherntrunk.com

  3. January 25, 2017 / 6:45 am

    This is a brave, beautiful and eye opening post ❤

  4. January 25, 2017 / 7:08 am

    Girl, you just gave me some inspiration. You rock the world you live on and don’t let anyone let you down and tell you how to live your life. Such a beauty

  5. mrsportiasmith
    January 25, 2017 / 7:16 am

    Thank you for sharing your story. I’ve dealt with anxiety in the past, and there’s really nothing like it – I love that you provided advice on how to get through it. xoxo

  6. January 25, 2017 / 7:37 am

    A great and informative article. I remember having anxiety attacks in college, mainly due to a lot that I had going on relationally at the time. It’s not a great feeling. I’m glad that you have found ways to cope.

  7. January 25, 2017 / 8:30 am

    I love that you shared this. It affects way too many people for it to STILL be not talked about enough.

  8. January 25, 2017 / 8:58 am

    Thank for you for your authenticity in this… it’s a really brave thing to post. I, like you, struggle with anxiety. And I totally get the “mean girl” fear. Definitely resonated with me. And ironically I’ve always wondered if forcing myself to take on some ultra-social role (like a bartender in a pub) would help alleviate it.

    I think a couple other things that have helped have been doing Hal Elrod’s Miracle Morning. Something about having a stress-free AM makes things look much better. Meditation is a biggie too. Doing 4x week challenging workouts has also been a gamechanger.

  9. January 25, 2017 / 9:22 am

    Omgosh girl – thank you for sharing! I would have panic attacks when I was younger about dying and it was always so scary – love your tips – stay strong!

    xoxo
    Victoria
    http://www.agallonofglitter.com

  10. January 25, 2017 / 9:46 am

    Thank you for sharing your experience with anxiety. Your tips are helpful and I wish you the best moving forward.

  11. January 25, 2017 / 11:19 am

    I suffer from anxiety too, but the more we talk about it openly and honestly, the less stigma it has. Thank you so much for sharing about your journey!

  12. January 25, 2017 / 11:46 am

    Super brave of you for sharing, thank you!

  13. January 25, 2017 / 11:53 am

    Thank you for opening up and sharing your story! I’ve dealt with anxiety too after I had my kids. It was the worst! I learned a lot of new things from this post. Great job

  14. January 25, 2017 / 12:10 pm

    Beautiful post. I’m so sorry you had to experience that. It’s wonderful that you are learning what helps you.

  15. powerresearchandbranding
    January 25, 2017 / 1:33 pm

    Hi Elle,

    I really love this post and can related to most of it. I run a small page on facebook called Anxiety Society and will be sharing your story tomorrow at 1 PM MST. Please feel free to pop in and say hello if you wish.

    https://www.facebook.com/anxietysocietypage/

    Thanks for sharing.

    Will

  16. January 25, 2017 / 1:46 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this. It’s so important for those of us with mental illnesses to educate others on what it’s truly like. Whenever people would tell me to “get over” my anxiety and depression it only made things worse. Whenever a family member doesn’t answer their phone or call me back within five minutes I start to panic. You’re so right in that it’s important to put yourself out of your comfort zone and learn that you can handle so much more than you initially thought. Glad to hear you’re staying positive!

    xo, Helene

  17. January 25, 2017 / 4:00 pm

    I know so many people that have severe anxiety problems. Reading this I can totally relate. Mine is not as severe and I don’t even classify myself as having that issue because it doesn’t necessarily stop me from living my life. It’s so important to be able to handle it and have those exercises on hand. Stay positive friend

  18. evans267
    January 25, 2017 / 4:24 pm

    Thank you for sharing so much about your issues with anxiety. I’m sure it is helpful and therapeutic to yourself to write about it. I think you have come up with so many great constructive ways to deal with it in a positive way! And you have helped so many others at the same time too.

    April | http://thebluehydrangeas.com

  19. January 25, 2017 / 4:28 pm

    Great post sharing your heart and your struggles! I struggle with worry and mild anxiety but thankfully not the major anxiety that you have dealt with.

  20. January 25, 2017 / 5:14 pm

    Wow. What a thoughtful post. Thanks for sharing this very personal story. I have a close friend who suffers from anxiety, and she too is often misunderstood, and to be honest, sometimes i catch myself losing patience with her but I remember that as hard as it is for me, its only about 1 billion times worse for her. I love that blogging has helped you!

    Angie
    http://www.bobodesignstudio.com/blog/2017/1/25/am-i-alone-here

  21. January 25, 2017 / 11:25 pm

    Such a great post. Explaining anxiety to someone who doesn’t have it is so hard because as human beings we empathise by relating others’ experiences to our own; unfortunately people without anxiety relate it to fear or worry and it’s not quite the same thing, because fear and worry can be overcome by reason and logic, whereas anxiety can’t – and that’s not something people without anxiety can fathom. It’s not their fault – it’s just not something they have the experience to understand. Thanks for posting!

  22. January 26, 2017 / 6:36 am

    PS: I love your scarf. And second, I am from Canada too. I too suffer from anxiety that leads to serious migraines. This week I decided to do something about it. I am taking yoga once a week, some swimming to relax in the evening after work and taking time to go out when I can. Not so nice with the weather but it’s helping.

  23. January 26, 2017 / 7:04 am

    Hi Ellie,
    Thanks for being brave and sharing more about your struggles with anxiety. I too suffer with this and could really relate. Thanks for sharing your story and some of the things that help you!

  24. January 26, 2017 / 10:32 am

    Oh wow you have been having a lot going on. I hope everything keeps getting better.

    P.S. Your sweater and scarf is super cute.

  25. January 26, 2017 / 11:22 am

    This is so important! Thanks for your vulnerability! I know all too well the headaches that come with anxiety. Not fun!

  26. January 26, 2017 / 2:53 pm

    Thank you for opening up about this! You are going to reach more people than you know. I started getting anxiety during my first year of teaching. Like you, I didn’t realize that I was showing symptoms of anxiety so I made an appointment with a cardiologist and did all the different tests to rule anything out. And, like you, they said I was experiencing anxiety.

    It’s definitely gone down a significant amount since I first started teaching. I’ve learned to deal with it and identify what triggers it.

  27. January 26, 2017 / 3:33 pm

    I can somewhat relate to this as I’ve dealt with anxiety for a very long time. It’s not easy always sharing this sort of stuff publicly, so thank you for your bravery and sharing your story.

  28. January 26, 2017 / 7:04 pm

    This was beautiful, candid and incredibly brave of you to share. Keep your smile going, it’s lovely xo

  29. January 26, 2017 / 9:24 pm

    I’m so glad I read this post. I suffer from the exact same anxiety. I was rushed to the ER with the same symptoms and was told the same thing. It’s so scary. I create stories out of nothing, things that are so far fetched. I can’t sleep, get severe migraines. I have just recently been trying to move on. Trying to focus on the positive, do more yoga and try to breath more. I know we don’t really know each other but if you ever need to swap stories, I am your girl. Sending you lots of love. xo ~ Megan

  30. January 26, 2017 / 10:04 pm

    These are such great tips! You look so beautiful in this outfit! Love all these photos!!

  31. January 27, 2017 / 10:32 am

    Thank you for being so open and honest about where you are! I couldn’t agree more to take chances and to step out of your comfort zone! When it feels a little scary-you know you’re on the right track. Thanks for sharing!

  32. January 27, 2017 / 12:20 pm

    This is a great post! Taking that first step can be hard but like you said so worth it! I like that you thought back to trigger because knowing the source helps to pinpoint where we need to grow so thanks for being honest and sharing that.

    • January 29, 2017 / 6:24 pm

      Thank you so much Bailey! It’s so good to know that these tips and posts are helpful.

  33. January 28, 2017 / 4:54 pm

    Aw I’m so happy you decided to not let the anxiety take over your life. I know things are difficult but if you are ever feeling down or anxious I hope you remember how great you felt when you overcame this. You are an inspiration to yourself and others!

  34. January 29, 2017 / 2:07 am

    Aw… anxiety is the worst!!! I have anxiety too… but the one I am nervous all day, every day… like hiperactivity… you know…
    Anyways, you look adorable in that outfit, I love the shades and how you put all the pieces together.
    Emma
    http://www.emmalovesfashion.com

    • January 29, 2017 / 6:23 pm

      Aww thank you so much Sharon! I’m so glad that you found these tips help! Here’s to a great year ahead with less stress and anxiety!

  35. Kyla
    January 29, 2017 / 5:45 pm

    I’m so proud of you for opening up about this! So many people are ashamed to talk about it! I too suffer from awful anxiety and worrying thoughts and it’s so frustrating when people say just relax or just get over it. Just knowing I’m not alone makes me feel better. Thank you!
    Kyla
    Wanderluskyla.com

    • January 29, 2017 / 6:22 pm

      Aww thank you so much Kyla! Removing the stigma attached to anxiety is something I hope can happen soon. Saying “relax” or “stop worrying” to someone suffering from anxiety is the worst thing anyone can do. I’m so glad to know that you found this helpful and you are most definitely not alone! 🙂

      Ellie

  36. January 30, 2017 / 6:55 am

    You’re amazing simply for sharing your story and giving these super valuable explanations and tips, lovely. It’s not easy to be going through moments of anxiety & panic attacks but I am so so proud of you for being such a warrior!! It’s amazing though that you have people around you who care about you & love you to bits. Keep doing you, sweetie!! You’re wonderful <3
    xox Nadia
    http://www.mielandmint.com

  37. January 30, 2017 / 7:18 am

    I love your honesty Ellie. I know there are people who may be not brave enough to share their stories and I’m glad that you have that courage to do that. You are truly a very inspiring and beautiful person. Thanks for the virtual hugs babe. xx

    http://www.prettyweirdbombshell.com/3465-2/

  38. January 31, 2017 / 1:11 am

    Thank you so much for talking about your experiences with anxiety, Ellie. I’ve definitely been there myself and have seen a few therapists in the past. We need more people who are willing and open to sharing their stories. I also love the photos with this piece. xx

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