How My First Twitter Chat Went: Thoughts Moving Forward

Yesterday, I did my very first Twitter Chat on my RT account, @BeardedRT. I went in blind, as I had only ever taken part in 1 or 2 Twitter Chats myself and I had never hosted anything like this before. I was quite nervous but the format seemed quite simple and I was confident that I would be able to handle it.

I had done a bit of research and realised there are Twitter tools that I could use, which would make the chat a whole lot easier. I started using TweetDeck so that I could schedule my tweets for specific times but also so that I could have all of my feeds on the one, easy to manage screen. This really did make things so easy and I would not have been able to cope if I didn’t elect to use something like this.

Honestly, the hardest part was deciding on a topic for the chat. I wanted it to be something interesting but very relatable so that plenty of people would feel like they could engage. I was struggling to think of something that would fit but after I wrote my last post about anxiety, I realised that this was the perfect topic. It turned out that my decision to talk about anxiety was probably the best I could have made.

While I was thinking of a topic for the chat and working out how I was going to do it, I had to set it up and make sure people knew that it was happening. I’ve never been a huge fan of constant self promotion and I never tweet the same content over and over again. In this case, I created a couple of polls, to determine when I should do the chat and also which hashtag people would use if they took part. These polls were a great success and far more people voted than I ever imagined would for my first ever chat. It’s now been set that my chats will take place on Sundays, between 6pm and 7pm and that we use the tag #BeardedChat. Everything seemed to fall together so seamlessly!

When it came to the actual chat, I decided to use what seemed to be a tried and tested format: 4 questions, asked every 15 minutes, with some RTing and replying in between. I set up all 4 questions well in advance on TweetDeck.m posted a couple of tweets about the chat to remind my followers that it was happening and jusy waited for 6pm to arrive, when my first tweet was due to go live. When the moment came, I was amazed at the instantaneous response that I got. People were engaging from the moment I posted the first question. It was incredible, from the point of view of somebody who was almost entirely new to RT accounts and Twitter Chats. The questions were tweeting automatically every 15 minutes, which gave me the freedom to RT and reply to all of the answers. The hour flew in and I had an absolute blast, engaging with my followers and chatting about our own experiences with anxiety.

The whole process seemed so natural and I found that I took to it like a duck to water. It didn’t feel stressful, like I was worried it would; it actually was fun and I loved it so much. I am so glad that my first chat was such a positive experience and it makes me so excited for moving forward with it. I am already looking forward to next week’s chat and am even thinking about doing it 2 times a week pretty soon. I genuinely am passionate about doing this and it’s the first time in a while that I have felt this way.

If you’re reading this as somebody who took part in the #BeardedChat, thank you so much for joining in! If you are new to it all, why don’t you join in at some point? #BeardedChat is every Sunday, from 6pm to 7pm. You are all more than welcome to come chat and make new friends!

Love and Peace

A Few Thoughts on Anxiety

Although I’ve always had a lot of empathy for people who suffered from anxiety disorders and always tried to understand it, I never knew just how constantly debilitating it could be. I had an image in my head that it was something which reared its head from time to time.

Now that I am struggling with anxiety, I have a whole new level of empathy for people who have previously struggled or are still struggling. Rather than anxiety being something that has will appear on occasion and make me feel terrible for a brief period, it has actually been something which I deal with 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The thing which makes an occasional appearance is the feeling of calm but that is very rare. More often than not, if I have a brief period of not feeling anxious, all I feel is indifference because I am working on a menial task and am focused but not invested in it. It really has opened my eyes up to how some of my dear friends are feeling on a daily basis.

One of the things which has made me realise that anxiety is a constant state of being for me has been an annoying and painful side effect: clenching or grinding my teeth. My face is always very sore because the muscles in it, which are normally hardly used, are now being used at almost every moment of every day. The ironic thing about this is that it becomes painful to laugh or smile too much. It’s really rather sad, in a way.

I guess this realisation has made me more determined to find ways of reducing the anxiety that I am feeling in any way that I can, no matter how small it may be. Thinking about it logically, this would tie in with self-care, which I realise I realise I have not been great at practising recently. I think I need to make self-care my main focus right now.

Oh, and as I finish off this post, I’ve realised that my face also hurts because my anxiety makes me bite my lips more often. Isn’t it a strange feeling when you catch yourself absent-mindedly doing something?

Love and Peace

I Am Terrified

My head is spinning. I am over thinking. My heart is racing. I feel very low and I am terrified that I am going to hit rock bottom again.

 

I am rocking back and forth and I have absolutely no idea why. I cant get myself out of this mindset that I am inadequate and nobody likes me. I feel like I am an absolute failure in my life and I won’t get better.

 

I am hungry but my brain is refusing to give me the motivation to eat. I haven’t drank any water today or taken my meds. All I have done is smoke cigarettes. I want to get up, wash, eat and sort my life out but my brain is fighting me. It’s fighting hard and I don’t know if I have enough willpower to keep fighting back.

 

This is going to defeat me.

Today is a Good Day

I woke up today, earlier than I had planned, feeling very different to how I normally feel.

 

Usually, I wake up feeling very anxious and feeling like I am a worthless piece of crap. Today, however, I woke up feeling very calm. I wasn’t worrying about anything and I saw something that I hadn’t seen in a while: I saw the potential to make today whatever I wanted to make it. I am not a piece of crap and the things that I do matter. They matter greatly, to me and to the people who care about me. Today, I can see this very clearly and I think it is time to start taking responsibility again.

 

As I got out my laptop and set out to write a blog post, I had no idea what I wanted to write. Rather than feeling anxious and frustrated about this, I decided just to breathe and write whatever came to mind. I decided to take it back to basics and look at this platform as that which it was originally intended: something I could use to get my thoughts down on paper and clear my head. I shouldn’t worry about writing things which will be meaningful or will attract viewers. I am doing this for myself, first and foremost and if it also helps a few people along the way then that is a bonus.

 

Today will be a good day. I will make today a good day. I will practice some self-care and make sure anything that needs done around the house is done. A few weeks ago, I started doing this. I started taking responsibility for my life; however, my brain didn’t want me to do that and it sabotaged all of my attempts to get things back on track. Well, brain, I hope you haven’t forgotten about that letter I wrote to you. I have taken steps to help you get better so I hope you will be doing the same once the meds kick in. We’ve got this and I won’t stop fighting.

 

Today is a good day. I am feeling happy. I am feeling motivated. I am feeling more myself again than I have in a long time. Let’s not waste this opportunity to move forward. Let’s do this.

 

Love and Peace

My Blogging Journey: Hitting Milestones

Today is a good day. Well, apart from being tired and having to work but ‘c’est la vie!’ I have hit several milestones with my blog and am ecstatic!

 

Earlier in the week, I managed to triple my highest number of views in a single day (which was 33) by reaching 101 views on my blog for that day. This was absolutely incredible and to be quite honest, it was so unexpected. It was on the back of posting my Getting to Know Me post, which was just a short Q&A for a bit of fun in amongst all of the seriousness that my blog normally entails. I hardly expected anybody to read it, never mind getting 101 views as a result… but that’s not all.

 

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I also realised that, by reaching over 100 views in a single day, I had also smashed 500 total views since starting my blog at the beginning of June. Now, I have seen growth which was 10 times as fast, reaching 5000 views in 2 months but this was from somebody who posts on their blog and networks with the community EVERY SINGLE DAY . Hats off to them but for me, reaching 500 views in under 2 months has been such an amazing accomplishment. I never imagined that people would want to read what I had to say about my mental health journey so it has been astonishing to get the exposure that I have had, with very little networking.

 

I’m still not done! As well as reaching 500 total views, I also reached 50 WordPress followers! I think I am probably most proud of this one, as many of my followers have come from people stumbling across my blog by chance, rather than my shares on Twitter and Instagram. Whenever I would put up a new post, before I’d even had a chance to Tweet about it, I would have several views and 1 or 2 new followers.

 

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To top it all off, this morning I hit 500 followers on Twitter! This hasn’t been a massive growth, considering that I started with over 200 followers before I started by blog; however, it is still a milestone nonetheless and it has just been another achievement to add to the list this week. The Twitter blogging community has to be the nicest and most supportive community that I have ever been a part of and if it wasn’t for that then I don’t think I would still be blogging.

 

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Each one of these milestones means so much to me and I couldn’t have done it without every reader, every follower, everybody I’ve interacted with in the Twitter community and every person in my life who told me to just go for it and start a blog. I really do love and appreciate every single one of you and I am so thankful for every view, follow and share.

 

Here’s to the next 2 months!

 

Love and Peace.

A Pill a Day: Has it Kept the Demons Away?

At this point, I am 2 weeks into my 6 week course of antidepressants. Has it helped so far? Let’s take a look and find out.

 

When I started taking the pills, I was very nervous, as you can read in A Pill a Day Keeps the Demons Away. Although I knew that the medication was specifically designed to combat depression and anxiety, I was worried that it might take something away from me; that it might turn me into somebody who I don’t want to be. Having taken the medication for 2 weeks, I am quite pleasantly surprised that it hasn’t done that which I feared.

 

Let’s start with the side effects that I have experienced so far, as although there have only been 2, they have been pretty unexpected. The first side effect that I experienced, around a week into the course, was tiredness. I would never say that I am somebody who regularly has trouble sleeping; however, I have noticed a considerable difference in how much my body needs sleep, specifically at night-time. I have been starting work at 7:30am and finishing at 3:30pm. When I started this shift, I was pretty excited, as I thought I would have plenty of time in the evenings to do things that I enjoy. Well, with these new pills, this turned out not to be the case. I found that I was very tired very early in the evening. The first day on my shifts and just a few days into taking the medication, I fell asleep at 7:00pm. This was very alien to me, as I have always been somebody who stays up until I need to go to sleep. From that day onwards, I have been so sleepy every single night.

 

The second side effect that I experienced was excessive sweating. I have always been a larger guy but I’ve never had an issue with sweating. Sure, during the really hot weather that we’ve had, I was pretty clammy a lot of the time; however, even as it got colder, I realised that I still felt very warm and I was constantly sweating like I’d just ran a long distance race. This has been very unpleasant and it is not something that I hope continues. I am sure that both of these side effects will even out and I will be back to my normal self soon, although I will miss being able to sleep on cue.

 

Now that we have the side effects out of the way, let’s have a look at how I’m feeling. I am feeling much less anxious. I am over thinking less. These two things on their own are hugely positive for me, as you will probably know from reading Over Thinking. I feel like I can get on with my day and do the things I want to do, without being held back by constantly feeling anxious for no damn reason or by over thinking every little decision or situation. It has also helped my relationship with that one person with whom I’ve become very close. Things have been gradually getting better over the last two weeks and I am so happy about this. As well as the lack of anxiety, I feel like I am more prone to happiness. This has been such a welcome return to form, as I used to be a very positive person and would always look on the bright side of any situation. It hasn’t been a full return but it has been a massive step in terms of where I was two weeks ago. I have also found that I am more likely to carry out my self-care routines more often. By more often, I mean I have been doing it every single day since starting the medication. Now, this may be because I made a promise to myself that I would incorporate self care along with the medication, knowing that the pill on its own would not be a fix. It also could just be that the medication has triggered something in my brain that gives me the drive to do the things I need and want to do.

 

I am only two weeks into this course of medication and my GP advised that it can take three to four weeks to settle in and start to work so I have by no means experienced the full benefit of it. At the same time, I could experience something completely different and far more negative over the next 2 weeks. I really don’t know how things are going to pan out… but I am excited to see and I am feeling pretty positive right now.

 

Love and Peace.

Getting to Know Me

Last week, on Twitter, I asked my followers to send me questions of things that they would like to know about me. I wouldn’t exactly say that I was inundated with responses but I did receive far more than I was expecting and I am so thankful for every response. So without any further ado, here is my Getting to Know Me post!

What is your favourite flavour of Monster Munch? (@MeglioVivere)

I love this question for its simplicity and for the fact that I LOVE Monster Munch. Given the choice, I will ALWAYS pick Flamin’ Hot!

Do you enjoy reading? If so, what is your favourite book? (@Blogabtnothing1)

I actually felt quite guilty receiving this question, as I do absolutely love reading but I have not read a book in so long. I guess I shouldn’t feel so bad, as I have been reading blogs and this has kept my brain active. As for my favourite book, this would need to be Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.

What is the most dangerous/stupid thing that you remember doing as a child? (@Hypercofficial)

I did many stupid things when I was a child. I was a daydreamer so my parents had to practically beat a sense of awareness of my surrounidings into me. I think that the most dangerous and stupid thing, however, was jumping across the street when the ice cream van was driving down the road and only a couple of feet away from me. I was 4 years old and just lept across, not even thinking about what would happen if I jumped too late. I felt like a daredevil. I ran home and told my dad, I was so proud of myself. He smacked me and grounded me.

Other than The Lord of the Rings, what is your favourite fantasy series? (@ThatGlasgwGamer)

I wonder how you knew that The Lord of the Rings was my favourite fantasy series… anyway, I’ve got many favourite films and series. If it’s a case of TV series then I think my favourite is Gameof Thrones; however, if we’re talking films then it’s definitely Star Wars!

Are you working just now (Sunday) mate? (@CDeePops)

Yes. Yes, I was working.

Well, I thoroughly enjoyed that and it’s great to get another post up and have a bit of fun. Thanks for taking part and I hope your week is treating you well! I’m off to enjoy my weekend with my favourite person!

Love and Peace.