Updates, University, and Unicorns.

Hey my beautiful readers,

I just wanted to give you an update as to why I haven’t really been present on here for the past few days. I’m currently sitting in a strange old building, surrounded by cats, and waiting for my Chinese takeaway to arrive. My boyfriend and I are looking after his dad’s hotel at the moment so we’ve been pretty busy! Between crawling through windows when guest lock in all of their sets of keys, to feeding all of Kyle’s dad’s horses and cats, we’ve barely sat down!

I want to give a massive thank you to everyone who commented on my post about Kyle not getting into University, we were both amazed at all the support we got. You’re all wonderful! Kyle is now planning on taking a gap year and reapplying for University next year, and at least this allows him to pass his driving test before he goes to University.

Most of you will know by now I’m also going to University this year, and I’m actually starting this Sunday! I’ll be moving from my tiny little town in the countryside to the big city of London, and I am terrified! I’ve already spoken to the people I’ll be living with and they seem awesome! Plus, they’re so understanding about my social anxiety which I am so relieved about. I just wanted to warn you all that my posting may become less frequent when I start University, but I promise I’ll never forget about you!

Thank you so much for reading, and as always if you want to get in touch please email me!

P.S: You may be wondering why I used the word Unicorn in my title. To be honest, it’s mostly because it sounds good, but it’s also because my boyfriend and I were playing charades and I had to pretend to be a unicorn. Because we’re sophisticated adults like that! Oh dear, I’m never going to survive at Uni!

Dear 12 year old me,

Dear 12 year old me,

I am writing this letter to inform you that things will get better. Those angry scars across your thigh will fade, and your wrists will stop being a canvas for your pain. I promise. I know things are Goddamn awful for you, and I’m so, so sorry. You haven’t done anything wrong, I promise.

I know the Bad Man made you scared, but please don’t believe a word he says. You are beautiful. You are strong. You can keep fighting. This is the year he goes away. I know that seems impossible but it’s true, he will never lay a finger on you again. So keep going. Cry into your pillow, it doesn’t make you weak. Get out of bed, I know it’s the hardest task of the day, but you can do it. Talk to your parents, please, you’re scaring them.

In the future you’ll ace your exams (A*’s in Biology, Chemistry, and Physics!) and you’ll go to an amazing college. There will be a boy in the hallway, the one looking dorky and cute, the one smiling at you. Go talk to him. Or just do what I did and get really nervous and make a stupid joke…then run away awkwardly. But it’s okay, because your paths will cross again! You’ll go on a school trip, where you’re sat in a “train crash” so the emergency services can practice rescuing you. You’ll be covered in fake blood, wearing hospital scrubs, surrounded by smoke, and screaming people… and he’ll be sitting next to you making even stupider jokes and being just as awkward as you are.

This boy will make you realise how amazing you truly are. He’ll kiss your scars. He’ll hold you all night to keep the nightmares away. But most of all, he’ll be there for you. He knows your past, he’s intertwined in your present, and you’ll plan your future together.

Your future is filled with love, and hope, and opportunities. So please put the razor down, untie the rope, and look around you because the World is so beautiful. Just like you.

Lots of love,

Amy

(Written for Teens Tell Their Story)

I am so fucking angry!

Yes, I swore. Fuck fuck fuck. I apologise for any offense caused but I couldn’t care less. I made a promise not to write posts while I’m angry but I make an acceptation for this. You know that post I wrote about Kyle getting into University? Well I might as well fucking delete it because guess what… they made a mistake. There was a computer error. The letter was sent by accident.

We told all our family and friend’s, we even told our old teacher’s who were so proud of him, we smiled at all the lovely comments from you beautiful people, and we went out for a romantic dinner to celebrate. Then we get a phone call today saying they give their “sincerest apologies” at their “mistake”. This is not a fucking mistake! That’s someone’s life! Do they even realise what Kyle has to deal with on a daily basis?! Autism, Dyslexia, ADHD. And even if he didn’t have to overcome all this, this is still someone’s future, someone’s emotions, that they’ve royally screwed over. So, thank you. You have officially made my boyfriend, the strongest person I know, feel like he is worthless. And that’s not okay. This is not okay.

We’re going to University!!

We did it!! (Well, Kyle did it). As many of you know from my previous posts, my boyfriend Kyle has been struggling to get into University because his Dyslexia and Autism have stopped him getting a C in his English exam. Despite this, he managed to get 3 A grades in his Forensic Science course, and he got a B in Maths, and this has meant that finally he’s been excepted into University!! I’m beyond proud of him 🙂

Sorry this is such a short post, but I just had to share this with you all! He’s been through so much and finally people are realising how awesome he truly is 🙂

Thanks for reading!

GUEST POST (*Trigger Warning* Child Abuse)

A little while after I started this blog I started talking with another blogger, Zion. I consider him to be a very good friend now, and after exchanging emails for a while I discovered that, although he is only 15 years old, he had a very challenging upbringing. A couple of days ago Zion asked me if he could write a summary of his experiences growing up, and if he could publish them here. The following is just an overview of his childhood and he chose not to talk about some aspects. I would be extremely grateful if you could show some love for this wonderful guy, I know it wasn’t easy for him to do this, so if you could give him all your support it would mean the world. Thank you.

I was born into an abusive household, the abuse wasn’t towards me, but my mom and 5 aunts. Before I was 8 months old my mom left and I was homeless for about 3 years of my life being in and out of motels, or someone’s room for rent that we would be kicked out of for not being able to pay. My mom started staying with “friends” of hers from when she was younger when I was almost 4. They were really controlling and mean to her making her do things because it was “the best choice” when it was really because they wanted her to. My biological dad wasn’t around my life until around then when I spent a grand total of 1 hour with him before he dropped off the face of the earth again.

During this time my mom met her first husband she would marry. His name was Steve. The guy was really creepy and I had just a bad feeling about him. My mom and Him would have sex all the time when I was in the room with them, and they would tell me to just look at the TV. Thankfully I did just that and didn’t see them do anything. They got married about 3 weeks before Christmas  and during their honeymoon my mom got pregnant with my sister.

Now that my they were married they moved into a apartment and that’s where my abuse started. When ever my mom wasn’t home (which was a lot because she was going to school) he would beat me for doing just about anything. I couldn’t breath without the fear of being punched or slapped or kicked. Once my sister was born it got worse, my mom started getting into the abuse. She would lock me in the bedroom for hours and only let me out to eat or for school (I was in 1st grade at this point) or when someone came over to the house. If I had to go to the bathroom I would be hit and yelled at for it and wouldn’t be allowed out for a meal, or something like that.

After less than a year they got a divorce because he cheated, so my mom, sister, and I went to a city a few hours away with her friends.  I was really far behind in school because they tried to “homeschool” me after the school questioned the bruises I was getting. The “homeschool” was really just them keeping me home all day cleaning and getting beaten. While we were living there, the abuse stopped, and her friends took really great care of me. I didn’t get locked in a room, or have the crap beat out of me, or have to do ridiculous amounts of work.

I started 2nd grade there and sadly had to leave only a few weeks into school because my mom moved on with my sisters grandparents. There I started getting treated like crap again. My sisters grandparents treated her as if she was God and me like I was the scum of the earth. After her grandpa had a crazy melt down and got super drunk, my mom moved out and we started staying with the person names heather and her hell spawn of a daughter. Her daughter was 8, and would bite, scratch, kick, yell, cuss out, and just about anything else you can think of on a daily basis. Her mom would just make excuses for her being crazy. At school (I’m now in 3rd grade) some kids would call her the Devil’s daughter because of how she would act.

I had to say with them about a year before we moved into a house with just my mom sister and I. She let her friend from when she was younger move in and his name was Brett, and he started cheating on his girlfriend with my mom. He slowly but surely started making my mom do things for him, making her parent different, and telling her the different things she was and wasn’t allowed to do. We ended up moving from that house to an apartment where Brett moved in a little later, and this is where things went downhill again. Because they were a “couple” he decided to start making the rules for is all. What would happen in a day is: he goes to work my sister and I go to school, I come home get yelled at from my mom because of her mess, she goes and smokes weed (because he also had a drug issue that he passed on to my mom), I clean the entire apartment make dinner and do my homework, do my night chores ( the entire apartment because they made it a mess again), and then stay up until 3 in the morning to finish my homework. Mind you I’m only on 5th grade at the time. Now this goes on and on for years, but ever so slowly getting worse and worse.

When I was in 7th grade they moved to a new house, and things got worse. They started drinking really hard alcohol and drugs so the screaming got worse, the fighting between them got worse, my punishments got bigger (if the stove wasn’t perfect then I would have everything I owned taken from my room and usually only half of it would get back to me), and the workload even bigger. This new house had an acre of land now so I had to take care of all of it myself, on top of the massive size of the house (4500 sq feet) and school all made life impossible. After being in the house about a year Brett started to shove me and threaten to beat me. I told people about that and when my mom and Brett found out said I lied and made this huge thing of none of that happened, then threatened that if anyone else heard of it I would be put into a  juvenile facility.

My mom left Brett and I went and stayed with my aunt and uncle (who I am now with permanently). My mom went back to him a couple of times, but I never went back. She is now homeless because he threatens to kill her and so she left, and she has a “boyfriend” from the mental hospital she went to in the last couple months because of her bipolar and other mental health issues. My sister is with her grandparents, and I haven’t seen or talked to them in almost 3 months. My sister because I don’t have a way to talk to her, and my mom because I want nothing to do with her.

I’m currently in 10th grade (for America not sure of its different around the world), and have been with my aunt and uncle for almost 6 months. They are helping me with all that in processing and dealing with like my nightmares and aggression. I’m also with my 2 cousins (5 and 1.5 years old) who are the main reasons that I work through what I went through. So as of now I’m finally out of the 15 years of abuse and in a place that is safe.

I know this is a tough read, but Zion is such an amazing person and is now starting to deal with his past. If anyone reading this wants to talk to me about this post, or if you just want to have a chat, please email me. Or if you would like to speak to Zion about his experiences, or if you have been through something similar please feel free to get in touch with him (ziondutro@gmail.com). Thank you for reading.

Rant #1 – Universities

I mentioned in my last post that I wanted to do a series where I rant about things, because my blog is much too positive as it is! Plus, who doesn’t love a good whine!

So, my first thing I’m going to moan about is the Universities in England. Now I was lucky and managed to get into University without any trouble. My boyfriend, on the other hand, did not. The school system is designed to make him fail! He’s dyslexic and autistic, yet he’s expected to get a grade C in English before any University will accept him. He has taken this English exam 3 times, and is taking it again, tomorrow. Each time he has been one or two marks off. How is this fair?

In England there’s a thing called “Clearing” where if Universities have spaces left you can apply for them, my boyfriend has tried this and each of them have said they can’t make a decision until he passes this exam. We’re stuck in a limbo. He gets more and more stressed about the exam each time, and this is it. Tomorrow is his last chance.

So Universities, if you’re reading this… Do something! I understand that having a good level of English helps you to do well in University, but come on, if you have places available and students who want to get in, what’s the problem?! My boyfriend got better college grades than we were expecting (equivalent to 3 A’s at A-level) and a B in Maths and you still can’t make an exception?! Ughhh!

Okay, I’m done. Have any of you had similar problems? Or have you had problems with your school? As ever, thanks for reading and please feel free to get in touch 🙂

GUEST POST: Have Faith In The Universe – by Sean

I’ve been in touch with a lovely blogger, Sean, and I want to say a big thank you to him for allowing me to post this wonderful piece.

Hello everyone…

Let’s discuss Depression today. I’ve been in that dark place before and it’s not something I ever want to go back to, actually I’ve been there twice. Once when my mother passed away then in my Sophomore year in High school. These would have to be the hardest times in my life and I’m thankful I was able to come out of the dark cave. Let me dive deeper.

I was nine years old when I lost my Mom to Breast Cancer. It was horrific and sad, but the thing that depressed me was that, neither of my parents would be around. My father, I can only guess what he’s doing right now but anyway, I didn’t have either of my parents. I ended up living with my older sister who is great but the thing was, my mother was gone as well as my father. I fell into a depression because I felt like a burden on my older sisters. One was working and the other already had a family of her own so what was a Sean suppose to do? I remained depressed for the next two years. I never thought about killing myself but I didn’t want to be alive. I was 11 now and I was more mature. I had to grow up and come to the harsh realization that the world did not owe me anything. The universe took my mother and I had to deal with that. Once I came to terms with my mother’s passing, I got better. Things got better. For a while I had to fake my own happiness until I eventually was happy and it wasn’t until I was 13 when I realized I was finally better and my laughter and smiles were actually genuine.

It was my Sophomore year in High school and it felt like I was losing my mind. Not only were my grades sub par but I felt as if I wasn’t sleeping or enjoying myself. No matter what I did I was not happy. (Again with the theme of happiness.) I felt this way until the summer going into my junior year. During the summer I lived on a college campus as part of this program I am involved in, isolated from everything I knew was troubling me. My friends within the program helped me through this tough time. They believed they were just being my friends but little did they know, they helped me through and out of my depressed phase. Along with coming out of my depressed phase, I also grew into my own body. I used to always say I was a 9 year old in a 22 year old’s body, (I have the body of a 22 year old college football player) but I finally grew into myself. My personality evolved, I became the Sean I was born to be.

Depression can be tricky. Depending on if the issue is internal or external there are different ways of handling it. The depression with my Mom was dealt with internally, it just happened that I molded into being happy. The depression during my 10th grade year was dealt with externally. My friends helped me through it. If you’re depressed or someone you know, tell them that it gets better. TRUST ME. It does. Have faith in the universe.

Sean (forever hopeful)

Thanks again, Sean, and if anyone reading this would like to talk or would like to write a guest post please get in touch!

Gratitude…

A few days ago I was contacted by a lovely new blogger, Autumn Accepts, and was asked to write a guest post for her. I liked this post so much that I want to share it with you all on this blog too, but if you could go check out Autumn’s blog too that would be amazing 🙂


Dear Autumn,

I had this whole idea of what I was going to talk about, it would be tragic and heart-warming and honestly it would have been an award-winning performance… But it would have been just that, a performance. You see, I write a lot about my past and all of it is true. From the sexual abuse, to the death of a friend, to the depression, to the anxiety I am still dealing with now. And I was going to write about that again. Until, for once in my life, I looked around me instead of looking over my shoulder.

And do you know what I saw? Well, I saw my bedroom walls to begin with. Painted dark brown, pretty cute right? Then I thought about everyone who doesn’t have that. Some people don’t have four walls, let alone four walls they can call theirs. Then I remembered the reason why my four walls are painted brown. That is because this was my brother’s room, and that dark brown was the result of countless pots of paint and hours of work by my parents. Then I remembered all the people who don’t have their family with them, or they don’t have parents that will drive to the paint shop three times just so their child can pick the perfect colour.

I looked to my left. I see books, and a whole lot of them at that! Overflowing, scruffy, and unorganised, but then I remembered the people who can’t afford to go to school, let alone those who can’t afford books. On top of the books I see a photo frame, the couple inside are awkward and dorky and it’s definitely not their best photo! But I am so grateful that I could be present in that moment, the first party my boyfriend took me to, the one where we drank a little bit too much and we danced badly but we were so in love. Then I remember all those people who can’t show their love, who fear walking down the street with their partner, who cannot get married because a deceitful government says it is immoral.

I looked to my right. I see a window, looking out upon the beautiful English countryside. Okay, my window actually looks out onto a carpark. But then I think about all the people whose windows are wrongfully blocked with bars, the people whose only crimes are standing up for equality, or falling in love.

Lastly, I look right ahead of me. And I see the World. I see all the information known to man, I see my friends who live thousands of miles away, I see infinite opportunities. Then I think of all the people who cannot afford computers, or those whose corrupt governments say that the internet will corrupt their minds.

As I look around I think of how lucky I am to be here, and how lucky I am to have the support of family and friends to help me. Maybe today you could take a look around and, just for one day, think about all the things you are grateful for.

Thank you for reading,

Amy

Well, that really didn’t go very well…

Many of you will know I’ve been struggling lately, and my anxiety is starting to get overwhelming. I’ve been feeling stressed and have recently self harmed again and had a major panic attack, the worse one I’ve ever experienced.

My parents are aware I have anxiety and get stressed, but they don’t know the true extent and they don’t know I self harm and have panic attacks. The reason for this is that my parents are very busy people, they work full time during the week then part time during the evenings and at weekends. Then any spare time they have is either spent doing errands or sleeping. They do an incredible job of keeping our family afloat, and I have so much respect for the work they do. However, I feel as though I have no right to tell them I’m struggling because it’s not fair for me to add another burden to their load. So, for the last eight years I’ve downplayed my anxiety.

But lately, my situation has got worse and a major reason for this is my fifteen year old brother. It’s the Summer holidays so both my brother and I are off school. The Summer holidays means that I have to start babysitting my cousin from 7am-7pm one day a week, I have to tutor twice a week and I also have to start ‘tutoring’ my brother too, I still work delivering Chinese takeaway three nights a week from 5pm-10pm, and I also have to do a large portion of the housework. What does my brother have to do? Karate lessons. That’s it, that’s his only commitment. So it would make sense for him to help me with the housework, right? Nope. According to my parents, they can’t force him to do the housework so I’ll just have to do it all until he decides he wants to. This just adds to my stress because not only do I now have to do all of it by myself, it makes me feel like my parents  value my brother’s happiness over mine. All of this can get overwhelming sometimes.

I decided to speak to my dad first, and I told him I’d been feeling upset and stressed lately. Before I’d even had a chance to explain why he said this gem: “It’s probably the amount of time you spend on that pathetic blog, it’s just sad.”. First of all, ouch! This really cut deep because I’m so proud of this blog, and there’s an amazing sense of community here. I told him he’d upset me and that he should apologise, and he just said that you only say sorry when you don’t mean something, and he meant it. He then went on to say that I’m just being silly, and that I don’t have anxiety and I’m clearly just looking for attention.

I then decided to speak to my mum. Again, I started off by telling her I was feeling stressed lately. She asked me why, and I said I felt like I had a lot of responsibilities and it would help a little if my brother could share some of those. She got really defensive and basically just told me to either suck it up or just stop doing the housework then, if I was going to complain about it so much. I felt like she was being so childish. She then told me to leave.

The next morning I woke up at 6am so I could go visit my boyfriend, and they both pretended like nothing had happened! It made me feel like I was going crazy! When I came home after seeing my boyfriend, my mum came up to my room and she asked me what was wrong. Seriously. Parents. Come on! I told her nothing, and she kept repeating “Tell me” until I eventually told her they’d both upset me and I didn’t want to talk to them right now. So she left and I haven’t spoken to them since.

Perhaps I could have approached the topic differently? Or maybe I am just being silly and I do just need to get on with it? I just feel my parents could have handled this whole situation better, because now I’m not going to tell them when I’m in trouble. Why would I? If they’re not going to take my concerns seriously about little things like this, then there’s no way I’m going to talk to them about the more important things. I feel as though this has pushed us even further apart than we already are. I hate feeling like I’m the only adult here, and I hate feeling worthless. This really didn’t go very well…

50 Important Facts About Having Anxiety…

I was inspired by this post which listed 50 facts about having autism, so I thought I’d do a similar post about having anxiety. I’ve had anxiety since I was around 10 years old, and if you’ve been following my blog for a little while you’ll know it has improved in the last two years. But I still do have panic attacks and anxiety still plays an important role in my life. I’d love to hear your thoughts about this, and as always I’d love to hear from you if you have anxiety yourself.

  1. We’re not attention seeking. We are genuinely scared of social interactions or triggering situations.
  2. We’re not vampires. Okay yes I am as pale as a piece of paper, and I burn like one too. But I do actually like to go outside, and I do like to socialise it’s just very stressful.
  3. It upsets us if you cancel your plans last minute. I have spent days, even weeks preparing myself to go out with you and then you’re cancelling 10 minutes before we’re supposed to meet up? Not okay. At least 24 hours notice please!
  4. It upsets us if you’re late.  Don’t be late. Or if you can’t help being late, text me! Anywhere I have to be I am there 15 minutes early. And if you’re not there on time I start to freak out. Have you been hit by a car? Have I got the wrong place? Do you hate me?
  5. We blush. A lot. Like 90% of my life is spent looking like a tomato. If I get embarrassed, or I start to feel anxious I tend to blush. I know I’m bright red! Please don’t point it out! Then everyone looks at us and it makes us feel a thousand times worse.
  6. We sometimes don’t like eye contact. Eye contact feels so personal to me. When I get nervous I might avoid eye contact. The correct response is to carry on speaking to me as normal and let me get used to you. Don’t point it out and try and force us to look you in the eye!
  7. We might run away. I have actually ran away from people when I get too overwhelmed. No I’m not just looking for attention. Please don’t point out that I look crazy. I know what I’m doing isn’t seen as normal but sometimes life is too overwhelming. Wait for me to calm down, then just stay with me. We can sort any problems out later.
  8. We have anxiety attacks. But they might not involve us struggling to breathe. My anxiety attacks come in many shapes and sizes. I may suddenly need to go somewhere I deem as “safe” which is usually my bed, I might start crying, I might run away. All these can be panic attacks, so if you notice I look scared then chances are I’m freaking out. Stay with me, don’t raise your voice, remove me from the stressful situation if possible and lay my hands on a flat surface. I’m not doing this for attention, I am overwhelmed and stressed.
  9. Getting drunk is not going to cure my anxiety. It is surprising the amount of people who tell me to smoke or drink to solve my anxiety. I personally do not enjoy drinking and it actually makes my anxiety worse, as I feel as though I’m not in control of my body and I feel very vulnerable and weak. Don’t force me to do anything.
  10. You don’t have to have a bad upbringing to have anxiety. Although my anxiety personally stems from traumatic events, not everyone’s does. Do not automatically assume someone has had a crappy childhood just because they have anxiety, this can make people feel as though they are wrong or silly for being anxious when they “Don’t have a reason to”.
  11. Anxiety is not just being nervous. Just like being sad does not mean you are depressed, having normal feelings of anxiety such as around exam season or before public speaking does not mean you have an anxiety disorder. However, if you have very high levels of anxiety during these times to the point where you are physically suffering then you need to speak to your doctor.
  12. Our brains exaggerate everything. You take longer than 3 seconds to reply to my text? You’re either dead or you hate me. You don’t hear something I said? You’re ignoring me, you’re angry with me, and you hate me.
  13. Forcing us to socialise does not help. Yes, please ask me to parties and to hang out with you. But don’t pressure me it into doing it, and if I say no I mean no. I love going out, and I love feeling included but if I feel like it would be too stressful or I’m doing something stressful the day before I might say no.
  14. We will probably leave the party early. Although I love socialising, there is a limit. Socialising is exhausting for me and so I will most likely leave after a couple of hours. Don’t get upset or offended and don’t make me feel guilty for doing this.
  15. Telling us “Don’t be shy.” does not cure our anxiety. Oh thank you so much. My anxiety is now suddenly cured. Where were you 8 years ago when this all started?! You truly are magic.
  16. If we say don’t touch us, we mean it. Because my anxiety comes from a traumatic point in my life being touched can feel threatening, so when I feel stressed I may tell people not to touch me. I mean this. If I am touched whilst having a panic attack it makes me feel terrified and increases my anxiety so much to the point where I have been physically ill. However, some people like to be hugged or comforted so ask the person if it’s okay to touch them.
  17. New people are terrifying. There’s so much pressure to make a good impression on new people. What if I mess up and they hate me? What if I have a panic attack and they think I’m a freak?
  18. New places are terrifying. I personally feel so exposed and vulnerable in new places and I hate feeling weak.
  19. We struggle to sleep. You know when you lay awake and think of all the things you need to do and you can’t sleep? Well imagine that 100 times worse. I think of everything I need to do tomorrow and the next day and I’m so scared I’ll forget them I have to get up and write them down, I go through all the conversations I’ve had and I panic about them, I then think about the next social event I’ve got and I play all the possibilities through in my head. Because of this it usually takes me 1-2 hours of worrying before I fall asleep.
  20. We hate being left alone. If you come with us somewhere, say a party, do not leave us alone. It freaks us out and we start to panic. If you have arranged to stay with us, then do that, don’t change plans suddenly.
  21. We love being left alone. Then again, if I am upstairs in my bed surrounded by pillows with my laptop and a cup of tea in one hand, I want to be left alone. I don’t want to socialise at that point and I am honestly perfectly happy with my own company.
  22. We have scars. I have a lot of scars actually, and although I am not ashamed of them I feel the need to hide them a lot. Mostly because you get called “disgusting” and a “freak”. Please, if you see someone with scars, and they’re a stranger, don’t point them out and don’t be mean to me. I have gone through more than you will ever know. And please, if you know me and see my scars for the first time, don’t tell  our entire class I’m an attention seeking whore. Thank you.
  23. We are not just shy. I am actually really bubbly and excited when you get to know me. But you have to earn my trust. And calling me “shy” and teasing me about it is not the way to do that.
  24. We are proud of our little achievements. For example, for the first time since I was 10 years old I am going swimming. My 7 year old cousin asked me to go with her and I promised her I would. For me this is amazing! I am actually going to show off my body to the world! Okay, I’m going to be in a bikini top and shorts and it’ll be in my town’s local swimming pool. But still, it’s an incredible achievement for me and although I am very, very nervous I’m excited too! Please don’t put us down for being proud of little things like this, because these little things are what help us overcome our anxiety.
  25. Anxiety is not depression. These are two very different mental health issues, and although someone may have both of these, they are not interchangeable. If you are confused about the difference, please take 10 minutes to research both of these terms.
  26. Some people with anxiety take medication. Although I personally do not take any medication for my anxiety, some people find it very helpful. No one should feel guilty for taking prescribed medication to improve their daily lives, just because their illness effects their mental state doesn’t mean they should be ashamed of getting help.
  27. We know we’re not acting logically. I know that I shouldn’t be afraid of going to the supermarket, or meeting my boyfriend’s friends, but I am. My brain tells me these are dangerous situations and there’s nothing I can do about that, so telling me I’m being stupid doesn’t help.
  28. We hate feeling abandoned. I personally get really upset if I feel people are abandoning me, even when I know that’s not the case. For example, if someone calls me I have to hang up on them first otherwise I feel as though they don’t want to talk to me. This sounds really silly, but if my boyfriend needs to walk away from me (such as if he’s going to get a bus or is going into another shop) then I can’t watch him walk away because it just makes me feel nervous and upset.
  29. We get flashbacks. If someone’s anxiety comes from a traumatic event (similar to PTSD in a way, but that’s not an anxiety disorder) then they may get flashbacks to times where they have been under stress. For me these usually take the form of nightmares. If your partner has these then don’t underestimate them, to us they feel very real, when we wake up just comfort us and like I’ve said before ask before touching us because that can make the situation worse.
  30. We’re not ashamed. We want you to know we have anxiety, and don’t be afraid to talk to us about it. In fact, talk to us about it! Research anxiety. Anything you can do to educate yourself on why we feel and act certain ways can only be helpful.
  31. Anxiety isn’t just a mental problem. There are a whole heap of physical issues that go along with it. Shortness of breath, high pulse rate, shaking etc. Not only does this make us more anxious but it can affect our daily lives.
  32. Work can make us very stressed. A lot of people get stressed at work, but for people with anxiety it can be 10 times harder. My main job involves delivering Chinese takeaway, which means I have to talk to 15-30 strangers in a night. This is very stressful for me, and when I first started I wouldn’t look customers in the eye. But now I have definitely got more confident, and can speak to new customers quite easily. So if you work with someone with anxiety give them time to get used to the job and used to you.
  33. We’re good at offering support. We’ve been through so much that we can handle any problem you throw at us and we can remain calm and offer advice and support, without judgement (most of the time!).
  34. We care a lot about what others think. People tell us all the time, we shouldn’t worry about what others think. But I do. All the time. I care whether people think I’m talking too loud, or if people think I’m horrible or a mean person. So, just be careful what you tell us, because our minds may exaggerate what you say.
  35. We love compliments. Seriously, someone telling me they like my shoes can make me happy for the rest of the day. It makes me feel like I’m doing something right, I know we shouldn’t rely on others to make us happy but honestly I love getting compliments. If someone you know has anxiety, giving them a compliment can definitely help them relax and can help reduce their anxiety.
  36. We are really good at problem solving. My mind is constantly thinking of all the bad things that can happen, and I always think of what I can do in case that happens. Also, because of my anxiety I am prepared for everything! Got a papercut? I’ve got 30 plasters and a bandage in my bag. Your hairtie broke? Don’t worry, I tie my ponytail up with three of them just in case. Your button fell off? I’ve got safety pins in my front pocket. I am a lifesaver!
  37. We don’t like confrontation. If someone yells at me or argues with me I worry about it for days afterwards and it makes me feel very sick. If you can, try and remain calm and discuss the problem because I won’t be able to sort out anything if I’m having a panic attack.
  38. We like our personal space. Just be aware that if I don’t know you, or I don’t trust you yet, you need to stay well away from me. I don’t mean avoid me, but I shouldn’t be able to touch you if I stick my arm out. If I move slightly away from you, don’t step closer to me! I’m feeling uncomfortable and suffocated.
  39. We care so much about others. We do so much to help others, and because of our anxiety we are constantly worried about how others are feeling or whether they’re safe. In fact a lot of people with anxiety will put others before themselves because we are more worried about them than ourselves.
  40. We get moody. But we don’t usually mean to. Sometimes our anxiety makes us irritable. Imagine that every day you wake up and you realise you’ve got a really important exam to take, but you haven’t studied for it. That’s how we feel. Would you find it easy to be happy and upbeat in that situation?
  41. You are important to us. If we say that we love you, and we trust you, and we let our guard down around you then that means you are so important to us. We don’t choose friends or partners easily, so know that we love you even if it doesn’t seem like it sometimes.
  42. We’re not weak. In fact, we’re the opposite. We’re some of the most courageous and bravest people you’ll meet because everyday is a struggle for us.
  43. We can’t “Just relax”. How the hell do you relax?! Every single waking second my mind is racing with thoughts, no matter what I’m doing. The only thing that helps is running in complete silence, just me, my breaths, and my footsteps. Please don’t tell us to relax, because it’s pretty much impossible.
  44. We need you to be there. If I need to call you at 3am because I’m alone in the house and I just heard a noise downstairs and I’m pretty much dead right now, then you need to answer it. If I trust you enough to ask for help, then you need to be there to give me that support. Don’t be angry if we call you at inconvenient times, we need your help.
  45. We need you to listen to us. If you do not have anxiety then you don’t know how it feels. Please don’t try and give us advice when we’re having a panic attack because we’re too far gone, just listen to us complain and rant and freak out.
  46. We need our sleep. It is exhausting to be on edge every day, so if we’re sleeping please don’t wake us up unless you really have to. Getting to sleep is so difficult, so although we might go to bed at 10pm we probably didn’t fall asleep until midnight so please cut us some slack!
  47. Our words are precious. We might not say a lot, but what we do say has been well thought out. We don’t feel the need to fill silences with stupid small talk. We’re quite happy just listening in conversations, so don’t force us to speak when we might just not have anything to say right then.
  48. We’re good observers. We notice everything. We pick up on every little detail of your body language and the way you speak, and we make judgments on this. This also means we’re good at reading people because we’re very aware of when someone’s body language or tone suggests they’re angry or sad etc.
  49. We use a lot of body language. We might not tell you we’re panicking but our body language might show it. Everyone is different, but learning how someone acts when they get upset helps you handle their behaviour better. I personally get very quiet, I pull my sleeves down, I might visibly shake, and I avoid eye contact.
  50. We are not our anxiety. We are people. Some of us are so sweet and kind, and some of us are assholes. Take the time to get to know the person behind the anxiety, who knows you might just find someone amazing…Like me 🙂

Thank you so much for reading!