Writer's Life

A Story To Tell

writingbook

It’s been a long time since I had a story to tell. Writing stories and poems has always been a big part of my life but over the past two years, I’ve been doing it less. I would only feel inspired in small doses and I felt like I didn’t have the confidence to write well any more.

Today I woke up and decided to finally get an idea on paper that has been brewing in my mind for the past couple of months and it felt good. It’s a novel, in the planning stages but at least it’s something. I’ve decided to stop putting pressure on myself with my writing. Instead of giving myself deadlines and expecting too much, I’m just going to write, for fun, like I used to.

I’ve never lost my passion for writing, just my motivation to do it. If I only write my novel when I want to instead of when I feel I have to, I will probably start to enjoy the process again. In time I will get my confidence back and writing will become a daily part of my life again. No matter how much I write, I will always call myself a writer because I believe that writing is not a profession, it’s a lifestyle.

The amazing thing about writing is there is the freedom it brings me. There is no right or wrong, no rules on how something should be. I feel something strongly and I write about it. I create a character in my mind and write their story. I love to explore the beauty and tragedy of life, the questions I want to answer, the places I want to go through my writing.

I’m excited by my latest idea, I have a good feeling that this could be the story I want to tell but if it isn’t then that’s okay, there is plenty of time for me to try different stories and to grow and learn as a writer.

 

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milestones

Reaching A Mental Health Milestone

beating butterflies

During the past few years, I have struggled with my mental health. I have General Anxiety Disorder (GAD), which means I constantly worry about everything and experience high amounts of anxiety for no reason at all. It took me a long time to accept that my anxiety was part of me, something that I couldn’t erase, something that couldn’t be ‘cured’ with a prescription of pills from the doctor.

A few months ago, when I reached a dark place with my anxiety and depression, I finally admitted to myself that I needed help. I would go days without leaving the house, I would sometimes sit and stare into space, pondering on the bad things that have happened in my life or bad things that ‘could’ happen in the future. I felt like I was trapped by my own mind, it’s a horrible feeling and I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone.

Having an anxiety disorder is unpredictable. You may go through periods of time without any anxiety at all and then all of a sudden, it’s back and suffocating your thoughts like a dark cloud. I thought I was strong enough to battle my mental health issue on my own and convinced myself that I was ‘in control’ and my anxiety would get better over time, but it didn’t.

I had tried all of the ‘self-help’ options and nothing worked. I was crippled by anxiety, always worrying about the future or feeling sad about the past. I reached a dark place, where I thought medication was the only option for me to proceed. Then, a shining light appeared and everything changed for me. I found the strength to ask for professional help. It was a waiting game but I finally got on the list for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

I have to be honest, I was sceptical at first. I had convinced myself that my natural way of thinking, the negative way I approach life and every situation couldn’t be reversed. After a few weeks of therapy sessions, I started to notice a change. I had unconsciously started to think more about my ‘unhelpful thinking style’ and started to rationalise with the voice in my head when negativity surfaced. The great thing about CBT is that it strips back to the bare bones of how you think, how this effects your behaviour and how you can change this in the future.

David, my therapist was amazing. He was honest, critical and helpful in our sessions. Always sending me home with ‘homework’ to do, such as thought diaries and weekly schedules, he discovered what my triggers were and how to remove them from my life. For me it was during my alone time that I experienced more anxiety and more depressive thoughts. The answer for me was to always keep myself busy and distract myself by colouring, reading, doing yoga or simply doing some meditation.

Ever since I started CBT, I managed to pull myself out of the depressive state that I found myself in for months, started to fight against my negative thoughts and made small changes in my life that were going to improve my overall wellbeing. I am going to do yoga as often as I can, learn how to meditate, practice mindfulness and make sure I find time to relax each day. I’m going to still have bad days and now I realise that it’s okay to feel sad sometimes and it’s normal to worry, as long as it doesn’t take over your life.

I feel like I am reaching a mental health milestone. I have learnt in the past few months that anxiety cannot be ‘cured’ it can only be ‘managed.’ I have discovered that if I give attention to my anxiety and say to myself that I am mentally ill or there is something wrong with me, it only fuels my negativity and it will probably erase any progress that I have made.

I feel like I have reached a pinnacle of understanding. I accepted my anxiety was a problem, I asked for help and now I no longer feel alone on this journey to achieve a positive mindset. I have a long way to go but I finally feel like I can see the light at the end of a dark tunnel of worry, insecurity, anxiety and doubt. Like a butterfly, I feel free to go anywhere I want to go and do anything I want to do. I want to believe in hope instead of fear. I want to see the glass as half full instead of half empty. My anxiety will never ‘go away’ but I’m confident that I’m now in control of how I think, how I feel and how I behave.

 

Opinion

Change

Everyone in life is a victim of change. Some changes are good and some are bad but we all face them one way or another. I was once afraid of change, I have to admit. I liked the way my life was and I didn’t want change in my life, I was worried that it might jeopardise my happiness. I’m the typical negative thinker when it comes to any drastic changes and I know that there is other people out there that do the same. Whenever we have to make any decision we think about the positive and negative outcomes naturally but some people favour one outcome. I am ashamed to say that I favour the negative and I hate this about myself.

Whether it be starting a university, a new course with new people, scared and living alone for the first time or losing a friend that you thought would be there for you always. Whatever the change is in your life, it’s the way you deal with it reflects you as a person. If there is one thing I could change about the way my mind works it would simply be this, stop thinking negative thoughts. The first thought that came into my head when I moved away from home was – how am I going to cope? Not very positive considering it’s the biggest change that has took place in my life, so far. I have tried to change the way I look at things in life but I just can’t seem to silence the negative voice in my head. It niggles away at my self confidence, stops me from believing in myself and most importantly it doesn’t open my eyes to the opportunities that could arise in my life.

If I have any advice for anyone who is reading this or is feeling the same way I feel about change then simply think positive! It sounds difficult and trust me, it is. I wish that I could think positively rather than negatively, I would be a much better person and I strongly believe that. There are no bad choices in life, if you go down the wrong path or make a decision you shouldn’t have made, you will learn from it and use that lesson in the future. I don’t regret any of my decisions in my life so far because they have made me who I am today. I’m on a thoughtful day today. I was reliving in my head all that I have achieved in the last, lets call it a year of my life.

I’m no longer afraid of change, but the negative thoughts still swim around my mind when I think about the future. I know I have a full life ahead of me, new people to meet, new places to discover and a whole world to learn from. I have a clear picture in my mind of my future and what frightens me the most is what if the visions I imagine don’t happen? I hope that one day I can let go of the demons that pull me down, the negative way I approach decisions and changes and most of all I hope that one day, when I’m faced with a bigger change than I have faced already, I deal with it in a positive light.

In the words of James Allen.
Change your thoughts, change your life.”