Friday, 29 July 2016

Pearls of Wisdom - Number 3 Hope and Fear...

This Pearl of Wisdom is written by Lizzie Role from Lizzie Somerset and is for anyone struggling with anxiety. Lizzie understands the ups and downs of motherhood and how it can impact on your mental health and well being. She's passionate about family, her faith and where she lives and I'm proud to also call her my friend, hope you enjoy reading her story.

 "Hope is the only thing stronger than fear"

Hi! - This is one of the motivational quotes I pinned on Pinterest it was the moment I decided to take positive steps to change. It was one if those light bulb moments that started to turn the table on fear, anxiety & self-doubt. I'm a stay at home mum with two young children, Sweet Harry & Sweet Bea. I've had social anxiety since about 9 years old. I gave up my job and I threw myself into everything baby. I stopped looking after myself though, put on weight, hardly ever did exercise or had my hair cut I didn't make an effort with my appearance. I felt pretty awful and old before my time. When I was pregnant with SB I knew she would be our last so it was time to claim my body back.

'I wanted more than that...time out of the house on my own'

I think most women want to lose weight after having a baby, but I wanted more than that...time out of the house on my own, facials, haircuts (who knew before kids that having a haircut would be a luxury)!! I knew it was up to me to make myself heard, push myself forward and ask for this time. We had to juggle some things around but I knew it was vital. I'd put others needs before my own. All very noble, but an exhausted mama is good to no-one!! Three months after SB was born I joined Weight Watchers & so far I've lost 22lbs with about 7lb to go! I joined the gym, sometimes I just sat in the steam room, or had a coffee, it was all very positive change for me & benefited all of us.

'Fear had moved into my safe place'

Then one day, out of nowhere, a dark cloud came over me. I would liken it to a light switch being turned off. One minute I was in full light with my normal level of anxiety simmering away, the next I was in total darkness, severely anxious and worse, afraid. I was fearful every day, afraid of my own mind & the awful thoughts. I couldn't sleep and I had panic attacks in bed. I've had many panic attacks before, but always in big, unknown cities, in crowds, in hot spaces; never in the safety of my own home. Fear had moved into my safe place. Panic attacks were a daily occurrence now, I couldn't function, my head was full, I couldn't think straight. Post Natal Anxiety had come to stay a while. Hubs encouraged me to go the doctor, I am thankful for a supportive husband. I asked to see a lady doctor and she was amazing. After chatting things through we agreed that I wouldn't go on medication & she referred me for counseling. Along with the huge support of my closest friends, church and my amazing family, I have gone through counseling, started blogging and been more open about my anxiety than ever before. I've been healed of fear through prayer and through NHS counseling for which I will always be grateful. One of the most useful tools I was given during counseling was Mindfulness. It totally turned things around for me; I would highly recommend it for stress or anxiety. Now when I feel that red hot anxiety come over me I just do a mindfulness exercise. You can download an app called Headspace which helps me practice Mindfulness on my iPhone. You can get the link here.
Also key for me were the words 'no guilt'. I'm the sort of person that would feel guilty about everything, that I wasn't a good enough mum, or wife, or friend. Why was I so tired all the time, why didn't I have enough energy? Now I just say 'I'm tired but no guilt' it changes the atmosphere. Another key decision was to remove a particularly unhelpful social media site from my phone. I was advised to set a timer when I went on any social media, so I wouldn't get too distracted. I now put 5 minutes on my time on social media sites, and keep my iPhone and iPad in one place, so I won't lose them (I used to lose my phone on a regular basis, making me anxious). It’s been a hard road and I've worked hard on these things and so much more, there have been tears. But the counseling has given me tools and skills I can use, and I can honestly say 2013 was the year I made positive changes in my life.I still have anxiety and stressful situations the same as anyone else, but it's manageable now. More than that I finally have some headspace!!

I always think of this verse when I think of my anxiety which helps me, Psalm 23 v4
'Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me'

If you are anxious & afraid - are you fed up with it? Then decide to do something about it. Only you can turn things around, but ask for help.

'Telling people you have anxiety or need advice is not an admission of weakness! It's an admission that we are strong enough to know something needs to change.'

Telling people you have anxiety or need advice is not an admission of weakness! It's an admission that we are strong enough to know something needs to change. Being open about it somehow gives the fear and anxiety less power, I can't explain it, but hiding it for so many years was my worst enemy. Be kind to yourself. Be positive. Make a change and work hard at it, I promise it's worth it. If you still need convincing, have a look at my Pinterest Motivation Board. It is crammed full of positive quotes including the one I quoted above. I couldn't have unlocked my positive nature without this help.

Thank you for reading and thanks to Karen of 365 Pearls of Wisdom to asking me to share some of my story, love Lizzie xoxo

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