Learning about my anxiety last year, was quite an eyes opening moment for me. For years after being called childish or dramatic, I started believing in this, loosing more and more confidence and slowly getting myself locked up in a shell. My Anxiety comes in a pair with success. It’s the brain sacrifice of being hyper and emotional and creative. It’s my brain sacrifice.
I have written a post stop
I didn’t care if someones liked me or not unless it was a close friend who let me down. Then yes, I would get upset or cry, but I was also a teenager and young girl with buzzing hormones which did affect me a lot. I have always loads of friends/mates and I had my best friends back home with whom I was always going out and did stupid things. I had stories to tell, I was creating stories every day. I was always in the centre of attention ( sometimes for the wrong reasons) but I just didn’t care.
When I came to the UK, I couldn’t speak English, but my social soul wanted to connect with people so badly, that I quickly learned English. I would stay with my colleagues in a bar listening to conversations and I didn’t speak much but I would just listen. As the years were passing by, I started more and more closing myself. Each year I started losing those newly made friends in the UK. I started apologising a lot, and sadly I count so many numbers in how many people I have blocked/or removed from friends lists or lost contact with.
I started questioning my sanity and what on earth was wrong with me. I was always called childish and dramatic, and I wouldn’t understand why people would always ignore me or didn’t invite me. I started felt lonely and started getting used to it. I even told myself I like being on my own. I started losing confidence and from this super happy girl, I kind of turn into a sad quiet always moaning person.
If I read all my FB statuses from previous years, I cringe. There is so much negativity. So much cry. All I did was always complaining about everything! The weather shit, that friend pissed me off, that work was bad, then the train was delayed etc. I cried for no reason, I had problems with friends and life. I would often hear: just let go, get over it, just ignore it etc. while I just couldn’t. I am not Stefan Salvatore that I can switch off my humanity and just act like I don’t care.
Most of all, over the years I lost confidence. I no longer look up someone in the eyes, I cringed when going on events, I cancelled loads of stuff and stop believing in myself.
so how did I break through anxiety…
At one point I have decided I HAVE HAD ENOUGH! I started seeking a solution. Clearly, if I made friends before and if I was happy before, I can make that happen again, can I?
I started reading and looking for solutions. I came across podcasts and youtube videos about anxiety, confidence and likability. I have started to listen to them on the way to work. I started to understand what is wrong with me.
A people pleaser is a person, who will just always want to be perfect for society. Will want everyone to like her/him. Will want to be perceived as the good person. As the nice girl/boy. The most helpful person, the most chatty … and all best of best. I will most likely help you with everything you ask, sacrificing my own time, as I will want to please you. I will also constantly seek validation of my work/myself etc. Here is a great video explaining that.
This already sounds worrying isn’t?. We care what people think about us, we care how people perceive us. We care way too fucking much. I wanted to be so likeable, I wanted to be so nice- I nearly, completely forgot what kind of person I was trying to be that ”nice’ girl.
Sometimes things I said, was taken wrongly. In a completely wrong way. If I would offer someone advice or help, it was because I wanted to be helpful but I would be called patronising as people felt that I was just trying to be better than them. Especially when I was good at something for example in school or tried to give ‘’mature advice’. Things would get out of hand, and it would create the ‘drama’. Partially they were right. Who I was to be trying to be better, offering someone help could actually offend them. No one wants to feel like they crap at something or pointed out that they not good at something.
|Outfit Details: Dungarees Jumper, Jeans and Boots Lasula)|
and here is where I was wrong
My anxiety, all my worries about ‘’what people think of me’’ because I wanted to be perceived as a nice person. I know it may sound really bad but all these things weren’t happening because I was selfish or I really thought I was so amazing. I simply just wanted to be fit in, I wanted people to like me. I wanted to have friends. I wanted to be invited and being back in that social circle. This was such a strong feeling that I slowly was changing without realising. I thought people will like me if I always say the right thing, look good or offer help.
I thought I bring all the attention on myself of how bad my days was, what a crappy thing happened to me and how horrible people are to me- they will feel sorry for me and like me more. (but there was so wrong- it only pushed people away, as who the hell want to hear all that all day?) But when you have an anxiety, you don’t think straight. You think you are making the right choices, and you don’t understand what you doing wrong. You keep blaming yourself, and you think people hate you. You have no idea that its some actions you do, it does lead to it.
The difference is when you try to reach to the WRONG people. For some reason, I desperately tried to make new friends instead of talking to my old friends! New friends would find me too needy and wouldn’t understand me.
They didn’t remember, that I was this fearless fun girl that loads of people wanted to hang out with in the past and with me being in the another country, loneliness, pushed me to seme weird desperations of trying to fit.
speak to your old friends, look out for your old friends…
I also realised, that people are too busy sometimes with their own lives that they simply have their own problems, that I can’t be taking up all the attention, and this has the opposite effects. They want to have fun, they want to break through their own problems and spend day positive rather just sink in that titanic with me. There must be a good balance between a casual ‘how fucked up my day was’ to ‘let’s get drunk and play idiots all night’.
I changed all that, by basically switching back to my old self. I started listening to my friends, asking questions. I see if someone need help, I would carefully pick words and instead of saying:
‘oh you doing it wrong, want me to help?’
I would say:
‘ ah that’s really good but also, want to try this as well?’
I don’t have the most amazing personality, and I won’t suddenly make friends everywhere. I will find those who ‘get me’ and it will be a slow process but the amazing process of making good friendships. I started to looking carefully at those who ‘’collect’ friends as I realised that some people will never have time for me no matter what. I desperately tried to be their friend, but they just meant to be that girl from the event, that blogger from this photoshoot, that guy in this shop. Not everyone will be my best friend and I will just know many people but I should really instead focus on my confidence and try not to cancel plans for those who know me very well. Unless I have to, then cancel and not feel bad- as there was a reason for it.
Being a people-pleaser is not a bad thing. It actually shows that you are a nice and caring person. You just care too much, and like in my case- caused more harm and troubles instead as I was doing things that instead to please them- I would just simply pissed them off.
breaking the negativity point
Another thing I had to work on was m negativity to the world during my anxiety attack.
Is it shit weather? Well, wear a better pair of shoes, get an umbrella and still go. The train is delayed, well- just get a coffee and text someone. Find a solution to everything. If something doesn’t go well as you wanted to just try to look for a solution, rather get yourself worked up. My friend sent me a podcast about the low of attraction called Secret. It was another thing that got me thinking. Not sure how much truth in it is, but it does make sense and it does help to bring the positive mind attitude. If you see negativity in everything, the negativity will be haunting you. You have to start looking for the positive aspects of keeping your mind positive will automatically eliminate loads of worrying about everything as well. I know it may sound like that another ‘’just stop caring’ advice, but I would strongly suggest you start listening to these podcast as it does work and keeps you on the positive attitude. Start with small things like the weather, or if you bought a wrong coffee by accident, smile and give it a stranger or homeless person. Buy yourself a lottery ticket and try to turn into a funny story in work!
With mentioning before, once you are realised you are also people pleaser like me (not everyone is, but many may start realising that as they listen to these podcasts). Then try to turn that into a different help. Something that won’t call you patronising but also brings joy to you. My solution was to help homeless people during Christmas. I have signed up and went volunteering with a charity. I spent the day by running up and the down making parcels with toiletry, clothes and food from donations and handing them over to those who needed. Also, I was there to entertain them, chat with them and play games. First hours I was terrified and I wasn’t sure if I come back, but by end of the day, when many remembered my name, listening to stories, and getting to know them, I think it was the best decision ever. I have signed up to help throughout the year as well.
You no longer feel sorry for yourself and this made me realised how fucking lucky I am for what I got. I feel genuine amazing being able to help someone. So try local church maybe. You may try also helping kids in the hospital, elderly people or coaching local teams in sport or teaching someone something. try different things and if something isn’t for you, there isn’t for you. Again, here is being the people pleaser- when you will sometimes do things because you want to be nice- but this isn’t completely for you. Learn it to let go.
You will soon realise that helping someone, will make you feel better already. You may hear people saying you do that for attention or seeking clapping, but try to ignore it. This will make you feel really good knowing that you can use your skills/or genuine personality and just help with no agenda.
the worrying part
Overcoming the worrying about health and general is really tough. First thing is to go doctors, take up any tests and push them even if they say you fine, to do those test. Explain you suffer from anxiety and it makes you feel worse. I was sent to all sort of tests and only seeing results would calm things. I already had an ultrasound and blood tests that all came fine. I just had an endoscopy and awaiting results of a biopsy. I am trying to not to think and it’s so hard, but keeping myself distracted helps a lot as well.
So if you worrying about things like not switched off straightener or if you locked doors, then try to write them on your phone as to do list. Before you leave home, or after you lock the door- go through it and make sure you did all that. It will save you loads of stress throughout the day.
After your next panic attack, go to your GP and check your heart, check your breathing and check your blood pressure. Having that assurance may help a little.
That’s the most difficult as this links to pretty much everything that anxiety is. I think you need to bring all the aspects of everything here. Start making new friends, helping others etc. For me was start seeing people more and more often. I started to trust my gut.
I have started calling and texting my friends from back home more often, and chat and joke like years before. I started going out again and letting meet new people. If I feel comfortable with the new ‘’friend’ I try to organise another meetup, if not- then I won’t try to impress them anymore. I think realising that I will not get along with everyone, and not everyone will like me- is the most important part. I was reaching to the wrong people. I was reaching the wrong way.
Even if you have just only 3 friends stay connected with them. People are busy and people do cancel. Don’t feel bad if you cancel, and don’t be mad if someone cancels. If you want them to understand you, you have to understand them.
You know that thing when they always Say ‘’it not about you, it’s about me’ that’s just the most truthful statement ever. People do things, because of themselves, not because it’s your fault. Always.
I realised I will never be insta famous. I don’t have this quirky comebacks, facebook statuses that make everyone laugh and get 100s likes and comments, twitter posts that go viral. I don’t even know sometimes what to say, I feel often invisible, that what I have to say is so basic, that everyone is just passing by without even giving a thought.
Most of all I realised that a big part of my anxiety was a really bad way trying to fit. I tried so desperately, it made me feel ill but I have made peace with myself and decided to focus on positivity.
breaking through the bad cloud of lack of motivation
another part that was so hard. If you follow me on Instagram, you noticed how many times I said I will post tonight, and there was no post. I started the post, I started motivated and then ended doing absolutely nothing, ending with crying and going sleep as I felt like a loser, I was worry that people will make fun of me, or no longer take me seriously and I look like an idiot now. Well, I was but did anything happen? No.
I had to realise that blog is a blog. It’s my hobby now and if I fail to post then well, I just didn’t post. I’ll do it when I feel it. I have sent countless emails to brands apologising and apologising for delays. I am only lucky, that these brands still wanted to work with me. I had to realise that yes, my posts get delays. I work full time, I am also tired sometimes and I need a social life too. I started to just tell brands I need more time and give myself a bigger time frame.
When you have 1000s things going through our head every day, it’s hard to stay not distracted and only mindfulness can help. I started gym again and relax in the jacuzzi, I have started working with photographers more to give myself more time and no need to take so man pics on my own.
Give yourself solutions for things and don’t get caught up if you didn’t do things. We tend to give ourselves bigger tasks and end up with overwhelming lists of things to do. Work out what you can do and do the small things, and if you do not feel like doing rest, then don’t. Again, people pleaser will always take up some extra work ( as blogger you will agree to work with more than at ones that you should, you will say yes to PRs favours, and you will want to push yourself to write more than you should.)
Just stop fucking that. Make notes how long takes to write a post, how much are you actually able to write and don’t make big tasks. Sent email saying if you can work with them next month and learn to prioritise campaigns example xmas or valentines first before and then these that don’t have strict deadlines etc.
It’s hard to believe in yourself when you have a full world of amazing designers, blogger and Instagrammers around yourself. To go over my dark cloud ‘im shit anyway’ took a while. I think it did help a bit seeking validation online. I know it does sounds horrible, but when you have a bunch of other bloggers telling you that your images are goals and your interiors are inspiring- can seriously lift you up. It’s not easy to live every day and think you are shit, your work is shit and you are not good enough. It can also be tiring for other people. This however always pushed me to work harder, to create better mages, to learn new skills. I have achieved first class degree and Deans award not because I was ace, but becuase I was always learning and always seek ways to improve my work no matter what. Now, I turn around and I say- this made my work outstanding. Becuase now I do believe my Uni work was fucking amazing, and if you asked me this 6 months ago I would still question why. The same with the blog. I have awards and I was always thinking people judging me because they think I maybe not deserving them. Now, I look back and I think I did fucking deserve them. I worked so hard, I was running after full-time job back home, eat and work on blog until early hours 2 years over and over. The part was anxiety that kept me home and making sure my images are good, my Instagram is good and everything is good. Now I know, that my images are good and I have created an inspiring blog here and I am had a worker. I will still have doubts, I will still sometimes think is not good enough but I will work hard on it.
The one thing I need to do now is staying humble, believe in my blog and my work and balance anxiety symptoms with hard work and sometimes let go, don’t try too hard.
learn to say no… world, won’t end if you don’t do all the work
So to summarise. Don’t be a people pleaser, try to break this through. Read about it and work out if you are one. Not everyone is people pleaser and not everyone anxiety will be connected with it. Some people need medications as this is an illness and ‘’people pleaser’ is part of my anxiety.
I will still sometimes, over analyse something, perhaps many times I will also get paranoid about some secret conspiracy against me. I can’t help it as it is part of my anxiety, but I will be working it through and I will try to just talk sense to myself and try to ignore things like that.
So far, I have gone through January with no a single act of anxiety. I messaged friends who I genuinely believe are nice people and focused on them. I try to understand they are as busy as me, and I can’t take everything upon them and sometimes people, cant meet me. I stopped messaging the wrong people. I am focusing on new me and try to finish all delayed posts, keep myself busy and most of all look after myself with gym and eating well. I hope this post will help some of you. I know that I may be hated or pointed ‘what a cow; she was, but none of the things I did in the past, I did to harm anyone- I just tried too hard. I tried the wrong way. I won’t come back and apologise. I am done apologising. I am a human and I do make mistakes.