Monday, March 20, 2017

I Crushed Anxiety- Guest Post

I Crushed Anxiety: And So Can You!

I’ve had anxiety for most of my life. Over 20 years to be precise. But I also am fortunate enough to know what it feels like to be on the other side. Totally free from the oppressive weight of mental illness. So I have a perspective that I don’t think is often heard about or discussed. What is it actually like to have escaped the clutches of something so powerful that it attempts to destroy you from the inside every single day? An invisible python which slowly strangles and then suffocates people in their millions, silently and often to their ultimate demise.

I want to share what that’s like because I’m shocked and saddened by how many people seem to be suffering from anxiety without knowing that it can be completely, totally and utterly eradicated.

I’m not talking about coping with it or managing it. I’m not talking about using breathing techniques or having to work to keep it under control. I mean GONE. Because I got rid of it, not once but TWICE. I’m not going to write what it’s like to be under the grip of anxiety. It doesn’t matter what label you give it (social, generalised, panic disorder) we all know that it’s hell. My mission is to educate those who HAVE anxiety. Not those who don’t. Because my opinion is that awareness needs to begin with the person WITH anxiety. Awareness is the key to crushing anxiety FOREVER. And isn’t that the ultimate goal?

Unfortunately, too many people seem to think that goal is unobtainable. Maybe that’s the negativity which anxiety brings in huge, metallic clouds. Maybe it’s what they’ve incorrectly picked up from the media or an authority figure. It might even be what they’ve learned from other anxiety sufferers. Let me put that straight; IT’S BULLSHIT. People need to be aware that anxiety can be beaten, often much quicker than you might think. The first time I had anxiety, I overcame it within ONE HOUR. I kid you not. All I did was make the decision that I wanted to eradicate it, which firstly entailed deciding I needed to get help. Then I looked for ways to get rid of it. Not ways to “cope” or stop it for an hour or two or suppress it. There are methods out there which will do that. Hypnotherapy was the one I used the first time I had anxiety. The second time, I used CBT.

But it all starts and ends with one person. YOU. Not your best friend, not your partner, not a therapist and certainly not a doctor. Whilst that might sound scary to some of you, please understand that this is actually the most positive and empowering thing you could possibly know. The power is totally within you already to get rid of anxiety. You see, most people don’t realise how strong they truly are. We talk about people who have overcome adversity as being strong, as if they are super-humans; stronger than us normal types. But they are no different to you and I. The only difference is that they found themselves in a situation that was so bad that they had only two choices - sink or swim. They chose to swim. Humans don’t tend to make the drastic shifts and effort required to turn their life around till they hit rock-bottom. I know because I’ve been there. TWICE. I was suicidal the second time. That’s enough to make most people finally decide that they need to take action. But not everyone, unfortunately.

What I’m saying is, don’t wait till you hit rock-bottom. It’s scary as FUCK. Make the decision to CRUSH anxiety NOW. Today! Don’t procrastinate. I know anxiety sufferers are prone to pontification, to over-thinking every minor excruciating detail, weighing up the pros and mostly cons of every situation but trust me on this; the longer you leave it, the harder it will get.

You may have to work through a  whole pile of shit. You’ll definitely have to face a few things you will have been suppressing. And you might not get the quick fix that hypnotherapy was for me, as everyone is different. CBT has no end date; it goes on for as long as it needs to. Here’s the good news though; the other side of the tunnel? It’s fucking AMAZING.

Imagine waking up from a nightmare that you've been having your entire life. A Groundhog Day where the same cycles of worry, fear, panic, avoidance, rumination, anger and tears keep cycling around your brain like  a washing machine on full speed. Imagine the link in that chain of destructive thoughts being broken; smashed to pieces with a battering ram. Imagine the weight of those dark, bulky emotions just melting away like an ice cube in a tall glass of orange juice on a beautiful summer day. It's a feeling of such immense freedom. Confidence seems to fill you up inside, washing away the negativity and repression. And most of the annoying, nit-picky, obsessive, indecisive traits went with it.

I didn't become a different person. It was as though the true me had been squashed under the weight of anxiety but that suffocating burden had now been lifted, allowing my soul to rise for the first time - the REAL me. And here's the weird thing - the real me wasn't shy and quiet. The real me was outgoing and outspoken. The real me was still an introvert, yes. But not afraid to do what he wanted, when he wanted.  The real me wasn't a beta male or a sheep. The real me was a leader. Dare I say, a maverick! My sense of humour and my values didn’t change but they became more prominent. I didn’t fear letting them out. I was finally able to realise my true potential. Until you eradicate anxiety, if you’ve had it all your life like I did, you won’t even know who you really are.

You might think right now, that you'll just be content to live a normal life. As long as you don't have anxiety, you'll settle for mediocrity. But I can say with almost 100% certainty that you will want way more than this. You'll want an INCREDIBLE life. Second best won’t be good enough for you. That's because you will have the confidence to go for your dreams and the motivation and drive to make up for lost time and achieve whatever you want.

That's the stage I'm in now. It's been a year since I can say I'm 100% anxiety free again. During that year, I’ve done a lot of reading, researching ways of creating that dream life and I want to share with everyone what I’ve discovered. I have a long way to go. Anxiety ruined my life, set me back a long way in terms of work and friendships. But mentally, I've never felt stronger. The tools and ideas I’ve gained over the past year have added so much to my life. Come along to my blog and find out. Read about my life story in greater detail. If you ever want to chat about anxiety, reach out to me there too or on Twitter. My only aim is to help others and spread awareness that no matter what your situation, you can turn your life around. I’m living proof. And if I can do it, anyone can.

You can find Timothy Phoenix at...

Twitter: @TimPhoenixBlog

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Promiscuous Tendencies

I came across a statement that said "some people use promiscuity to avoid or fight feelings of depression and anxiety." I wanted to see how true that might be...

Feeling Desired
Many of us feel insecure, worthless, ugly, unwanted as part of a mental illness. These thoughts can manifest and take over. For many of us we will brush off compliments or disbelieve them, for others we may see them as a most wanted experience. This could be a flirty advance from someone, a declaration of love or someone showing a sexual interest. Something that gives the feeling of being wanted, being desired, being sexy or beautiful. It's a very animal instinct to be desired and to have and want sex. This maybe a much needed boost for some people but this all depends on who the attention is coming from. If it is a partner, a trusted friend that feels more for you or someone you feel that way towards then it can be a pro. If it is someone taking advantage or trying to get what they want out of you then it can backfire greatly and leave you feeling more unwanted and rejected than before. If it is someone that makes you feel uncomfortable remember that you are not there to please people that don't show you respect and love and even if they do you still need to be attracted and consenting.

Is It Love?
Sometimes that feeling mentioned above of being desirable and wanted becomes almost addictive which for some people leads to either an obsession or attachment to that feeling. A one night stand or short term sexual relationship can become a crutch and be mistaken for love. A new blossoming relationship moving forward quickly may work out well in the long run or may leave the relationship being very one sided. My advice would be to be up front! For me I'd rather be open and jump in at the deep end. I'd rather say "I love you" and not hear it back than to keep quiet and hope we're on the same page. By understanding where each other stands you can decide whether it is right for you to carry on together.

Playing Dangerous for Excitement
We can't deny that sex is both pleasurable and exciting. Whether it's trying something new with your partner of 20 years or the first time with someone. This can also be what some people become addicted to. They will push boundaries as far as they can go to get that thrill. This can be great for a relationship with two people on the same page but can have some setbacks. You may try something you regret such as involving another person in your relationship, appearing with your partner on a website, something more risky and find that either one of you or both of you regret it. It maybe that you find you are quite different and one person is offended by the new ideas making them feel inadequate. It maybe you no longer enjoy sex and nothing feels good enough. The best thing to do is talk. Talk about what you both want, what you hope to get from it and take time to think it through if it is something very different from what you normally do. Or go back to basics and learn to enjoy the simpler things.
For others they may find excitement from affairs, one night stands, visiting brothels, meeting up with strangers online and this is where it can get very dangerous. Think to yourself if you are putting yourself in an unsafe situation or whether there could be major consequences that could come from what you are doing. Can people get hurt? Is it legal? Is it dangerous? Could you be at risk? Does someone you trust know where you are going?

Guilt Trip
Guilt is a terrible feeling of regret and can be consuming. This could be guilt from a meaningless relationship, an affair, an experience you regret. Again ask yourself these questions: is this what I really want? Can someone get hurt from this? Is this safe?

Escape From Reality
Sex is one of those moments when you can switch off and be in the here and now. You can feel pleasure, enjoyment, excitement, love and so much more. This is providing that you are with the right person, doing what you both enjoy. If you enjoy a number of relationships and that works for you, if you are in an open relationship, a swinger, a couple that invites others in, a user of escorts/brothels just make sure you are happy, you are safe, you both consent, you feel good afterwards, it is legal, you are having your needs met and feel satisfied in what you gain from your experiences. For me I can say that nothing feels better than being with my husband and that the longer you are with someone the more you just zing! That's the best way to put it.

Stay safe and stay sexy!

Much love,
Becky xx

Thursday, March 16, 2017

7 Reasons to Dance

I love to dance and my mental health loves me to dance even more! Here's the reasons why dancing helps me stay in the best frame of mind and lifts my mood when I feel low...

1) Chemical Hit- any form of exercise helps your body release endorphins. Endorphins reduce our perception of pain as well as releasing a 'feel good' vibe. Dopamine is also released which is our happy chemical, bringing us a sense of pleasure.

2) Music Fuels My Soul- I love music. I like to sing along while I dance and become a character. When I'm dancing I can be whoever I want to be and step back from reality.

3) Express Yourself- I choreograph my routines as well as taking inspiration from the pro's. This creativity brings a sense of interest and feels as though you have accomplished something unique.

4) Me Time- studio time is my time. I don't think of anything else except what I'm doing. I don't look at my phone. I just dance because it's what I want to do! I see it as a treat.

5) Shoot and Score- I set myself goals, at the moment I'm practising a routine for my next burlesque show as well as exploring new routines for myself. Goals give us something to aim for and a sense of importance. They help us move forward in our own personal journey.

6) Daydream Diva- I can loose myself in the moment. I can be any character, have any personality, use any movements, choose any style. I coined myself the phrase "dance like they're all watching." I imagine myself on that stage and dance like there's a million eyes watching me. It helps bring back the amazing feeling I get when I perform.

7) Self Improvement- by improving we give ourselves a sense of achievement and purpose. I can use this time to learn new skills, practise what I already know and build on my ideas. When I see improvement I feel accomplishment and this boosts self-esteem.
I'd love to hear from the dancers out there, whether you're a performer, dance floor legend or someone who dances around your bedroom, how does dancing make you feel? If you don't dance but have another passion that makes you feel amazing please let me know in the comments below.

Much love,
Becky xx