Guest of A Bearded Man: BUSTING THE MYTHS SURROUNDING ANXIETY

Guest of A Bearded Man

It’s time for my first ever guest feature on this blog! Are you as excited as I am!?

 

I reached out to the blogging community, hoping that other bloggers would be interested in working with me. I got a very good response and am delighted to begin a guest feature series: Guest of A Bearded Man. This series will feature a variety of bloggers and it will not be tied down to a specific niche. This will be all about supporting my fellow writers and introducing my followers to new blogs. I hope you will enjoy it and that you will join me in celebrating and supporting the talent that is being featured.

 

This week’s Guest of a Beard is none other than Gabrielle Isaac Allison, better known as TheOpinionatedOne. Gabrielle is a Lifestyle and Christianity blogger who, for this feature, has delved into the realms of mental health and anxiety. This is a deep dive into the myths surrounding it, which I must say I found fascinating to read.

 

Enjoy!

 

BUSTING THE MYTHS SURROUNDING ANXIETY

I felt chained to my bed. Although I heard the laughter of my friends echoing down the hall in our little apartment, I couldn’t get up to go in the living room and partake of whatever fun they were having.

 

It was weird. I felt my face, and tears were streaming down. What happened? I didn’t do anything to hurt myself, and I wasn’t feeling sad. It just hit me. It reminded me of my high school days on the field throwing shotput and discus.

 

One day at practice, my coach was demonstrating the proper discus throwing techniques, not realizing I was in her line of fire. The discus shot out of her hand like a rocket and hit me square in my back, right between my shoulders.

 

That’s how I felt. Like all of the breath had been knocked out of me in one sudden, unexpected slam of emotion.

 

That’s my anxiety. But, the word anxiety is so overused now, in my opinion, that it has lost its meaning. Because so many people don’t understand this mental health problem, there are a lot of myths and issues surrounding it. Today, I want to bust some of those myths to set the record straight. Let’s get into this:

 

All People With Anxiety Are Sad

ALL PEOPLE WITH ANXIETY ARE SAD

Anxiety affects people in a lot of different ways. For some people, depression is coupled with anxiety. For others, however, anxiety is just some weird chemical experience that causes us to get really worried and anxious out of nowhere.

 

This mental health issue is by no means a one size fits all issue. People with anxiety are very different and should be treated differently in many respects.

 

All in Your HEad

ANXIETY IS ALL IN YOUR HEAD

I used to attend a church where I was told that I wasn’t attending enough. I wasn’t attending often because I was having physical issues that were stemming from my anxiety attacks. Anxiety starts in your head. For some reason, your brain sends signals that are different than those sent by another person’s brain.

 

These signals cause your body to react in different and uncomfortable ways. For me, my hormones went crazy. As a woman, you can guess how hard it has impacted my body. So, anxiety may start in your brain, but it does work its way throughout your body. It is real and it is a debilitating disease.

 

All People with Anxiety are Socially Awkward

ALL PEOPLE WITH ANXIETY ARE SOCIALLY-AWKWARD

Social anxiety is by far one of the most common forms of anxiety, but it is by no means the only form of anxiety. Take me for example. I’m a very sociable person. I once had a teacher tell me that I live up to my nickname, Gabbie, because I just wouldn’t stop chatting with my friends in class.

 

I would say that I have a lot of medical anxiety (where you worry you have medical issues and your body starts to give you pseudo-symptoms of that issue). This impacts my day-to-day life and can turn a good day bad really quickly!

 

Christians

PEOPLE WITH ANXIETY CAN’T BE CHRISTIANS

I take my Christian faith very seriously. A lot of people have insinuated that anxiety is not a trait for a Christian because we are supposed to “cast our cares upon the Lord.” To that, I usually retort that Jesus has a bit of anxiety when he cried blood in the garden the night before he was to be tried and crucified.

 

Hormonal changes and high stress can cause someone to cry blood, so I’d say he was significantly anxious, even asking God to take the responsibility off of him, if he could.

 

Just Get Over it, Don't Think About It

JUST GET OVER IT AND DON’T THINK ABOUT IT

If people could get over it and prevent suicidal thoughts, worrying about their bodies, worrying how they came across to someone, or having an anxiety attack for no explainable reason, don’t you think they would?

 

I know that I would much rather abstain from these things, but it isn’t that simple. Controlling your anxiety often takes counseling and/or medication, a luxury not many people can afford! That’s why breaking the stigma of anxiety is so important. It helps us present one unified fight in solidarity against this mental health issue.

 

CONCLUSION

That’s it. Those are the things I wanted to set straight. I hope you have a new and improved understanding of anxiety!

 

About Our Guest

Gabrielle Isaac Allison graduated with a BA in Mass Communication and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog, TheOpinionatedOne.com, features posts on the topics of health and wellness, Christianity and religion, mysteries, entertainment, lifestyle, and more.

 

You can find Gabrielle on her social media links below:

Photo of Me

The Bus Chronicles: A Wee Catch Up

My Bus Chronicles posts are usually full of weird goings on or negativity. Well, you may be pleased to know that this one is a lot more positive!

My Bus Chronicles posts are usually full of weird goings on or negativity. Well, you may be pleased to know that this one is a lot more positive!

 

Recently, I was heading home from work and was fully expecting my journey to be the same old, mundane part of my day that usually passes me by. I had thoughts of getting home, changing into my PJs and having a nice cup of tea. Little did I know that I was about to get a lovely surprise.

 

I was waiting at the bus stop (as one would do when waiting for a bus) and doing a little bit of people watching to pass the time. I saw a few familiar faces; ones which I had grown accustomed to seeing at that particular time of the day but not people whom I knew personally. Suddenly, I saw a friendly face among the crowd. One I hadn’t seen in a very long time and one which made me smile. Who was it, I hear you wondering? Well, it was Charlene, @blogabtnothing1, of course!

charlenemcelhinney

Many of you may know Charlene, whether just in passing in the blogging scene or if you have interacted with her personally. Regardless of how you know her, you’ll know that she is one of the purest, kindest souls you could ever meet. Despite not seeing each other for a long time and although our previous interactions had been brief, few and far between, when she noticed me she instantly smiled, struck up a conversation and seemed genuinely interested to see how I was doing. It would have been so easy for either of us to just keep the interaction at a brief hello and goodbye. We could have sat at different seats on the bus and just kept to ourselves but that’s not what happened.

 

When we got on the bus, we both chose seats next to each other and continued the chat. It was nice to just sit and have a proper wee catch up, as all too often these sort of chats can be so superficial and forced. There was nothing forced about this little meeting and I got the feeling that we both were both incredibly comfortable; so much so that we started talking about very personal things, how things were making us feel deep down and the big plans we had for the future. Honestly, the more I think about it, the more I realise the amount we managed to cram into the brief 45 minutes that we had with each other. Despite covering a lot in our conversation, I still felt like we could have sat and chatted for hours. Charlene, if you’re reading this, we definitely need to grab a coffee some time and get a proper chat!

 

It’s safe to say that this was one of the nicest highlights from my January 2019. It may seem silly to some people but I genuinely feel like we made a strong connection. When I make a connection like that with another person, it makes my heart glad. It doesn’t happen very often so I will always cherish moments like that.

 

Thanks for reading, folks.

 

Love and Peace

 

 

The Return of the Beard

I’m Back!

Well, it certainly has been quite some time since I talked about my life. I have missed blogging terribly but my life was so busy that I just could not keep on top of writing, along with everything else.

Since I last wrote a wee update, I’ve started a new job, come off my meds and I’ve been practicing more self care. I am definitely in a much better place than I was the last time I wrote. I guess, in some ways, that makes it a little bit more difficult to write; mainly because I am so used to writing whenever things are going wrong or whenever I am feeling like the pits. Well, inspiration has struck and I will take this wherever it may take me. You all will just need to deal with whatever drivel I unload into this post.

My New Job

I think that this new job has made the biggest difference to my mental health over the last few months. It seems to have been the thing which catapulted me into a better place. That is in no small part thanks to the fact that I seem to have found a job where I feel appreciated. It is also a relatively new development within the company I’m working for, which means there is a lot of room for progression. I am still aiming for a job as a teacher or a trainer and it seems an opportunity like that may come up pretty soon within this project!

I am still doing training, despite starting the job in November 2018. The fact that they provide 12 weeks of training for this role shows me that they are invested in their staff and it is a huge difference from my last employer. It has lead me to feel more relaxed and at peace with my job, which something I have not felt for a very long time. I am nearing the end of training, which is only 2 weeks away and I already feel like I am ready to do the job well. I am excited to work hard and show them what I’m capable of!

Off My Meds?

Yep, you read that right. I am currently cold turkey on my meds and have been for around 2 months now. Don’t get the wrong idea, this was not purely a conscious decision for my mental health. The meds were definitely helping me. The reason I stopped taking them was simply that I ran out and I suddenly became too busy with work that I forgot to refill the prescription. Since then, the new job and better mindset has kept me going and I have not really felt like I need them; however, there have been times when I have felt incredibly intense depression and anxiety. I think my body is telling me that I need that chemical balance again and it is struggling to cope. I haven’t yet decided whether or not I will go back on them but I do feel that it would be a good idea. I will keep you posted on this, for sure.

More Self-Care

I have never been very good at looking after myself. All I have ever been good at is surviving. Well, since I left home and had to look after myself without my parents being there 24/7 anyway. I would always find myself doing the bare minimum in terms of staying clean and healthy and also in keeping myself fed. Lately, however, I have been making sure that I follow a daily routine, which includes washing, looking smart, being productive and and setting aside time to cook meals. I have been making meals that I can take to work, which has made me feel very proud of myself. I have been making lovely meals for dinner in the evening, which has made me feel more creative and just happy in general. I have also been making sure that I change into my PJs when I get home then having some tea and biscuits. This makes me feel a lot more relaxed and content. These may all sound like silly little things to the average person but all of them have added up. All of them together make me feel mentally healthy, even if it is just for brief periods. Long may it continue!

I still feel very much like my mental illness has a vice like grip on me and I don’t think that will change any time soon. The demons are being kept at bay for now but they are still lurking. Can I keep them away long enough each day so that I can continue feeling good about myself? I will certainly try my hardest.

What’s in Store?

Well, now that I am in a better place and feeling motivated, I have decided to continue blogging in my spare time! I will be updating this as often as I can. I also will be doing my Twitter chats, retweets and mental health awareness support on Twitter. I will do my best to upload more content to my YouTube channel, as believe it or not I am still super excited to have that medium available in my fight against the stigma of mental health. I thoroughly enjoyed making my first 2 videos and will definitely be continuing with the project.

This is all a lot to handle and keep on top of so I will of course be keeping an eye on my mental health in case the pressure of everything ends up being too detrimental. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep up with everything.

Thank You!

I would just like to end this post with a heart-felt thank you to all of you who have stuck by my side whilst I have been away from blogging. You know who you are and I cannot express just how much I really appreciate it.

Until next time!

Love and Peace

The Bus Chronicles: The Long Wait

It’s been a while since I did a Bus Chronicles post but today seems like a good day for another one, given the experience I just had whilst coming home with my Christmas shopping.


A lot of folk think that shopping on Christmas Eve is a pain in the arse but it really isn’t all it’s made out to be. I was able to get everything I needed quite quickly and I didn’t feel rushed as I was browsing for presents for my family. I was in a really good mood and feeling very festive. Well, that was about to change drastically.


The worst part of today was the journey home. When I finished my shopping, I went to the nearest bus stop, knowing that there would be one along shortly… or so I thought. There was a couple standing at the bus stop when I arrived and I noticed from their expressions that they seemed to have been waiting a while before I arrived. That wasn’t a good sign. Thus began the longest wait for a bus that I’ve ever had. The sun was going down and it was getting colder by the minute. My legs became sore very quickly from standing in the same spot. My mood changed from one of happiness to being very grumpy and cranky. I was not loving life.


It was now getting ridiculous. I started to try different things; superstitious gestures that supposedly cause a bus to arrive. I sparked up a cigarette regularly to see if that would summon a bus, the way it usually does. Nope. I started walking away from the bus stop in the hopes that Sod’s Law would intervene. Nope. I even waved my wand at the side of the road to see if Ernie and the Knight Bus would magically appear. Again, nope. I was cold, tired, hungry and cranky. I just wanted to get home. When the bus eventually arrived, it was, of course, busy, given that it was super late and crowds must have built up at each bus stop. Normally this would irritate me but I was just so happy to be on my way home.


The bad mood didn’t continue for long and by the time I reached my home stop, I was happy again. I wished the driver a Merry Christmas and went on my way. I’m home and wrapping presents and very much looking forward to seeing my family on Christmas Day. I’m also very glad that I won’t need to get any buses tomorrow, not that they run on Christmas Day anyway.


A very Merry Christmas to each and every one of you and I hope you spend some time with your loved ones.


Love and Peace

Stan Lee, A Tribute: Excelsior!

The world has lost yet another legend today. I don’t use the term lightly; I reserve it for very special people who have had a great impact on society and people’s lives. Stan Lee was certainly a man of that magnitude and he will be sorely missed by comic book lovers, super hero lovers and movie goers alike. It is a very sad day today and I am sure my dad and I will raise a glass to Stan during our weekly Monday night at the pub. This will be a short tribute to Stan, with my own thoughts and opinions on his life and achievements.

 

Stan had a genuine passion for comic books. I have watched many interviews with the man and seen monologues from him that reflect the passion for his trade. He lovingly created characters like Spider-Man and Iron Man, as well as many, many others in the Marvel Universe. If it wasn’t for Stan Lee, there would be no Marvel Comics in this world. It was Lee’s love for comic books himself that allowed him to stay current and relevant throughout his career. He created characters and wrote stories that he wanted to see, first and foremost. As he himself was so passionate about the genre, he could quite confidently put out content that he loved and know that it would ring true with others.

 

An advocate of “action” over “violence”, Stan Lee would often be quoted as saying that he would not allow violence in his comic books or stories. He regarded action and violence to be 2 completely separate phenomena. Action was something that was exciting, like explosions, fist fights, epic battles, etc. He saw violence as something that would make one cringe or recoil in disgust, such as gore for the sake of gore, rape, etc. I think that this is something which allowed him to stand out from other comic book producers. Other producers were going down the graphic novel niche market, which was becoming quite popular but Stan kept producing his action-based stories, confident that people still wanted to read them. It is also something that has continued through the Marvel film franchise, as each film arguably contains action, rather than violence of the nature which Stan Lee condemned.

 

You might say that the comic book has become quite a niche media outlet in recent years. That may be true, as I understand less and less people are reading comic books each year. One thing that I will say, however, is that Marvel has been thriving despite this fact. They have taken Lee’s beloved Marvel characters, which he created decades ago, and brought them to life beyond anything that Lee could have fathomed when he initially created them. I feel that Lee is very grateful for this, as it has allowed him to see his characters live on in this new Marvel Universe in TV and film. It is clear that he supports each of the films, as he has made cameo appearances in almost every single Marvel Movie, if not every single one. His cameo appearances have always been a highlight of Marvel films for me and I am sure for many others like me. It will be sad to see the day when he no longer appears in a movie; however, I believe he has filmed several in advance so we could be a while away from that yet.

 

To me, Stan Lee was a living super hero. He was somebody to whom I could look up as a role model. Somebody who followed his passion. Somebody who was kind, respectful and a cheerful guy. He was larger than life, in more ways than one. Stand Lee was an example of what we should all strive to be in our lives. I hope that I may one day be able to look back on my life and say that I followed my passions. I imagine that Stan Lee was very happy with his life choices and will have died with very little regrets. That exactly how I want to see my life when I reach the age of 95. Having such a shining example as Stan Lee is a huge inspiration for me at this time and I hope that I continue to follow his example.

 

Rest in Peace, dear Stan Lee.

 

Excelsior!

128

I Am Not Okay

I have made leaps and bounds with my mental health and some of the good days that I have had lately have been absolutely amazing. I have experienced many moments of absolute clarity, when I feel invincible and I can see my path laid out before me. There is just one little problem and I am not okay because of this: the comedown from these moments. It is relentless and I have not been able to push it back.

The Comedown

When I am feeling good, I know exactly what I must do to take care of myself and put my mental health first. I understand the importance of seeing the comedowns for that which they really are – the bad with the good; nothing more and nothing less. I know that I should be thinking about the bigger picture and allowing these moments to pass but when it comes to it, I just cannot. I end up falling down into the pits again, my brain refusing to let me do anything. I have spent the majority of my time in my bed. I feel helpless and unable to move. I want to move so badly… but I can’t. I can’t bring myself to get up and do the things I know I need to do.

This has been and will continue to be the hardest, most debilitating and most soul crushing battle that I have ever had to fight. I want to keep fighting and I know I will; I am just losing the energy to keep it up. I cannot see how I am going to keep moving forward.

I hope that I see another light again soon so that I can continue the fight.

Love and Peace

Not Everybody is Like You

I’m sat here, thinking to myself. I’m in danger of my thoughts taking me to somewhere very dark and negative so I thought I would write something meaningful and keep my brain in line.

The thought occurred to me that I often get hurt by other people. The majority of the time, this hurt is not intentional by the offending party but that doesn’t make it hurt any less. How could they have been so thoughtless and inconsiderate that they would do something which would hurt me so much? Am I overreacting? Would another person like myself be hurt in the same way? I like to think that everybody else would feel the same way as I do but that, quite frankly, just isn’t the case.

Although there are bound to be people out there who think and feel the way I do, the reality is that a majority of humankind is so different from me. What is offensive or hurtful to me, will be nothing to a great percentage of my peers. This is quite hard to accept, as we all seek to relate to others in one way or another. If we can’t relate to them because of a differing opinion or feeling over something, it becomes harder to connect with them. Harder but not impossible, I might add.

One thing that I often reinforce for people who are having a difficult time and feel like they are overreacting or just acting crazy, is that their feelings are valid. They are valid because it is what is going on in their mind and they feel that way whether they like or not. Perhaps I should remember that piece of advice when it comes to my own mental health and my own feelings of being hurt. It is valid that I feel hurt because, whether I like it or not, I feel that way. What’s important is how I approach the situation and whether or not I am able to figure out why I’m hurt and if it was justified. There is a difference between something being valid and something being justified. I think we all need to find that line, in all aspects of our lives.

This was a bit of a ramble but I hope it’s been thought provoking. Have a wonderful Saturday evening.

Love and Peace