Anxiety Archives - Page 2 of 2 - PANDAS Foundation UK

MY STORY BY CARLY RICHARDSON

Before I start I have to say how happy but nervous..scared and emotional I was about sharing my story. Its something that has all been locked up in a box at the back of my head for so long now I almost don’t think about it anymore. But I think that if just one person can gain something from reading this, then it’s absolutely worth me emptying that box at the back of my head again and throwing it all onto paper. Here goes! Read More

THE TRUTH ABOUT POSTNATAL DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY BY SARAH THE DOULA

Taken from https://sarahsdoulablog.wordpress.com/

I struggle with the concept of talking about my postnatal depression because I’m a doula, because there are a lot of people I’ve tried to hide it from, because I feel embarrassed, I feel guilty, and I don’t want to be that negative person everyone has on their friends list. But I’m human, and today is a bad day, so sometimes it’s refreshing to work with the raw emotions and go with it.
Today I sat in the bathroom with my partner after the school run and sobbed. I cried about the guilt, the hypothetical situations I might find myself in in the future, the double life I lead, the ‘what ifs?’, the heavy cloud that lives above my head and the realisation that the cloud is a part of me and it will always be there, weighing me down.

Nearly 7 years ago I was induced and gave birth to my son, then he turned 3. That’s all I remember. I missed 3 years. I remember parts, but I couldn’t tell you what his first words were, when he first rolled over, what his favourite food was, or what we did together. I feel guilty because when he asks me questions about his first few years I have to lie. I don’t have a book of firsts to show him and I don’t have pictures. I have a grey and hazy memory which seems like a dream, almost like life hadn’t started yet. The memories of nothing haunt me, they makes my gut ache and my throat tighten, I’m close to tears 90% of the time. My anxiety is still here, its a part of me now. I can’t function if there is a background noise, I am paranoid, I am delicate and I’m vulnerable. I need to take each day at a time, but so do most people right?

Somehow though, with the help of my family and my partner, I’ve managed to bring up a clever, inquisitive, confident young boy with an endearing and charismatic personality. He is loved by many, including myself, although it may not seem it some days. I would kill for that boy, I know I would. He is my boy, we just have to work a little harder together, which makes our relationship more special. He chose me to grow him and nurture him and thankfully, I haven’t broken him, which is a huge relief.
My blog hasn’t been published for self pity, or attention. It’s been published because PND and anxiety happens, because people need to talk about it, and because living with PND doesn’t mean you’re ‘mental’ or ‘unsafe’, it means the balance in your hormones aren’t quite right, or your circumstances aren’t easy. Go easy on yourself and reach out. You’ve ended up in the middle of nowhere and you don’t speak the language, but you’ll pick it up, it takes a while, but you’ll get there. So speak out, you won’t be the only one.

http://www.pandasfoundation.org.uk
http://www.pndsupport.co.uk
http://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/postnatal-depression/

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MY EXPERIENCE OF PND AND POSTNATAL ANXIETY – RACHEL HAWKINS

Before I begin, I want to make it clear, this blog is not another ‘Mum blog’, there’s plenty of decent ones out there and it’s not my style.  We all know the trials and tribulations of parenting, the funny stories (my son threw his dirty nappy across the room last week) and the tough days that almost leave us mentally scarred and grabbing for the wine.

This post, is for me to discuss my experience in the first days and weeks after giving birth and how in my opinion, more needs to be done to prepare women for the emotional and mental difficulties many new mums experience when they’ve had a baby.  I really feel we could do more.

Looking back to my pregnancy, I can’t recall ever discussing the emotional and mental turmoil you can experience after giving birth.  My pregnancy was a consultant led pregnancy as I’m a haemophilia carrier, so all attention was focussed around the implications for my baby, should he be a sufferer and the birth plan, as I had elected for a caesarean section for medical reasons.

I can recall being around 6 months pregnant and having a conversation with a friend of mine who has 2 children, she asked if I was nervous about the mental health side of things once I became a mum.  In my naivety, I told her I’d given it no thought and knew I would be OK because I’ve had anxiety etc. before so would know how to deal with it.  I was so wrong, so ignorant and so naïve.

My pregnancy had been relatively easy, aside from some SPD pain and worrying about the potential haemophilia status, it was in no way as bad as it could have been.  I was even looking forward to the caesarean section, I knew the day my baby would be born and had heard some very positive stories regarding C-sections.

Things didn’t quite go to plan however. Read More

QUESTIONS FOR RICHARD – BY DONNA SWIFT (PANDAS VOLUNTEER)

I recently read an excellent blog from one of our volunteers. I was inspired to write some questions for my husband about my postnatal depression and recovery. I asked my husband to answer as honestly as possible and I haven’t changed a single word he has typed.

Describe postnatal depression to me in just 5 words.

Frightening insight in mental awareness.

Did you notice a change in me before my diagnosis ? Was I different with Millie?

Yes, you were short tempered with both children and had what I’d say was an ignorance to your surroundings.

How did you feel when I was diagnosed?

Relieved Read More

DITCH YOUR BIRTH PLAN AND HAVE THE BIRTH YOU NEED! – BY SHWETA PANCHAL

In the time that I have been a pregnancy Yoga teacher, I have had the privilege of teaching women from many different walks of life.

I am privileged to be witness to the stories they bring to class verbally and through their bodies. Personal histories and personalities are sketched out through breath and movement.

I often witness women push their bodies in a way that I suspect they must push themselves in life: striving to keep control, pushing to achieve, pushing to do more, and pushing to progress.

I hear of meticulously-planned births and witness anguish, guilt and pressure when births don’t go according to plan. I strongly believe in the importance of preparing for labor and birth, but think that the two words plan and birth don’t belong together.

Here’s why, and what you can do instead:

Birth plans encourage unrealistic expectations.

Weddings, birthday parties and IT projects are events that require planning and organization, not labor and birth. The idea itself is unrealistic as there is very little about birth that can be planned.

For a start, you don’t know:

When it will start

How long it will take

How you will feel

How you will respond

The unknown nature of this process can be deeply unsettling, but be cautious about making claims about what you will and will not do to appease any insecurity.

These types of refusals leave you little room to use your instincts to adapt and respond to potentially changing situations, and have the potential to leave you feeling vulnerable if the event does not go according to plan.

In planning an event like birth, there is the risk that you become attached to the process. If, however, you prepare by aligning your actions with strong intentions or preferences, you can more easily let go of the details of how it will happen.

Writing a plan doesn’t mean you’ve prepared for birth.

Writing a birth plan can become a very lengthy process ending in a detailed and precise five-page document. Or it can become an itemized list of things to do sitting between buy buggy, write birth plan, attend scan on 22nd.

Either way, preparation for birth doesn’t end once the details have been drawn out and/or the birth plan has been ticked off the to-do list.

How you can prepare for birth

Preparing for birth can be a deeply introspective process. It goes beyond making the choice between a home birth, hospital birth, drugs and no drugs, learning birthing positions and breathing techniques (all are important and have their place).

To prepare fully requires a deep and potentially uncomfortable self-examination.

What are your thoughts, fears and anxieties about birth? Why do they exist and where do they come from? How might this impact your experience of birth?

What are your thoughts, fears and anxieties about motherhood? How might this impact your experience of birth?

In everyday life, how do you generally respond when things are out of your control? How might this impact how you intend to give birth?

In everyday life, how do you generally respond to physical, emotional and mental intensity/pain? How might this impact how you intend to give birth?

Like life, birth has its own plan. We can try and fight the detours, but ultimately life gives us what we need. Are you okay with the notion that anything can happen to you at any time?

Writing down your preferences, and sharing them with the people who are supporting you, can be important and useful parts of the process.

Whatever way you intend to birth your baby, it’s important that you spend time asking yourself some of these questions. Not only will it help you mentally and emotionally prepare for labor and birth, but it can also help you manage the changes brought about in life by early motherhood.

I urge you to tread the path of self-inquiry, risking whatever it brings up. Once you’ve laid down your preferences, let go of your attachment to the process of birth, and follow your body and your instincts. Let the potential intensity, pain, craziness, chaos and beauty of creation take over.

Prepare to be forced to your extreme. Prepare to be blown away.

A word of warning: you may be opening a can of worms. This type of questioning and self-examination can be a huge undertaking, and ensuring you have the support of family and friends may help you to navigate the process. If you find yourself needing further help and support, please speak to your midwife or to your GP and/or contact a pre/postnatal charity of your choice.

Read More

HEADSPACE: HOW TO DEAL WITH ANXIETY (PART 3)

How To Deal With Anxiety – part 3

How To Deal With Anxiety - part 3

In the final part of our anxiety blog, we look at how meditation can show us more clearly our habitual patterns of mind and, ultimately, even free us from those very same habits.

As many of us will have experienced sometime in life, anxiety can have an incredibly negative impact on the lives of those it affects directly, as well as those around them. In our previous two blogs we examined how to deal with anxiety using two different approaches –one rational and one investigative, both of which use mindfulness to help to reduce levels of anxiety.

And while using one, or both of these can have significant effect on how much anxiety we feel, by taking that final step, the Vulnerable Approach, we start to see howmeditation for anxiety can allow us to achieve even greater results.

STEP THREE

THE VULNERABLE APPROACH – WITNESSING THE MIND AT WORK

In the two previous approaches, we reassessed our view of anxiety and looked into its nature. Now we’re ready to move onto the most rewarding part of the journey.

The Vulnerable Approach requires a more formal meditation technique. For it to be effective, we need to let down our guard and learn to allow anything and everything to arise in the mind. It can be both frightening and exciting in equal measure. But most of all, it’s incredibly liberating.

And of course this what we are training in every time we sit and do a Headspace meditation. We are learning to witness the mind, to witness both thoughts and feelings from a place of neutrality or objectivity. Essentially, we are allowing the mind to rest in the present moment, no longer swayed or overwhelmed by anxious thoughts or feelings.

So, when an anxious thought comes, we see it, we let it go. Another thought comes, perhaps connected, perhaps not, we acknowledge it, and we let it go. Next, a feeling or sensation may arise; we feel it, we welcome it, and again, we let it go. But no matter what the thought or feeling is, however we feel about it, we don’t block it, we allow it to arise, embrace it and then it passes away. It may feel like it comes back again very quickly, but even if it is the same message, it is a new thought and should be treated in just the same way.

And the way that this helps with our anxiety levels is this: once we’ve mastered this technique (simply meaning when we have practiced it often enough and are confident to apply it), we can see that everything is always changing. Sure, sometimes it feels that anxiety is with us all of the time, but in fact, if we witness the mind often enough, we see there are times when it is, and times when it isn’t.

We’ll also see that it’s not just our own mind that behaves like this – in fact all minds do. And we start to see this more clearly. Sure, maybe not everyone experiences anxiety in that way and we are all on a scale. But equally for others, anger, sadness, loneliness or something else might be just as challenging. And so as we see these patterns in our own mind we start to get a sense of how they impact others too. The knock-on affect of this is that we no longer feel isolated and alone. Instead we feel a sense of it being very normal and nothing to fear.

Finally, the vulnerable approach allows the mind to soften a little. We see that thoughts are just thoughts, a feeling is just a feeling – nothing more, nothing less. This takes nothing from the wonder of human life, nor does it add to our confusion. It simply allows the mind to be free, open, and ready to experience life exactly as it is, and to welcome that experience.

A WORD OF CAUTION

This is the most courageous approach of all, requiring us to let down our guard and welcome everything and anything into our experience. It takes both time and patience, but be brave, the rewards are beyond anything we might imagine.

Andy Puddicombe

To see this article in full, please visit: https://www.headspace.com/blog/view/199/how-to-deal-with-anxiety-part-3

HEADSPACE: HOW TO DEAL WITH ANXIETY (PART 2)

Welcoming and studying anxiety

Welcoming and studying anxiety

In the second part of our blog, we use mindfulness to examine anxiety more closely. If you missed the first part, check it out here — In our previous blog on how to deal with anxiety, we talked about approaching the emotion in a logical way using the Rational Approach.

So now we should have a feel of where anxiety comes from, and why it can be hard to shake. If the Rational Approach alone has allowed you to step away from your pattern of anxiety, that’s fantastic. You could choose to stop the journey here. But if you’re not quite there yet, or you’d like to go a little further into reducing, or simply understanding anxiety, in our next step, we need to turn detective.

Step Two – The Investigative Approach. Welcoming and studying anxiety 

Having already worked through the Rational Approach to anxiety, we should have a good idea of its mechanics – how it builds and perpetuates. Now, we can investigate it.

The Investigative Approach requires us to witness our anxiety in a very particular way. Instead of thinking about ‘you’ or ‘me’, we just need to observe our anxiety as it is – a natural phenomenon.

What is it?
Where does it come from?
Where do I feel it?
What does it feel like?

We need to discover the answers to these questions, but hurrying or forcing them in a rush to put the mind at ease will only cause more thinking, and that’s not helpful in this exercise. So, firstly, it’s crucial we have a genuine interest in discovering the answers, simply for the sake of knowing.

Only by approaching with this curious attitude will we create a true and long-lasting shift in perspective over anxiety, and that’s just what we’re looking for. Secondly, we need to be brutally honest with ourselves and avoid being biased in our investigation.

Because, if we’re only investigating in the hope that our anxiety will stop – we’re not truly investigating, in fact we’re resisting. The difference is really subtle and it’s very easy for us to deceive ourselves. Being open, honest and genuinely interested in what we find out is the key here, no matter whether this brings us more, less or the same level of anxiety. It’s the process that’s more important than the result. You could say the process is the result. Just remember, when you’re investigating something as delicate as the mind, you must be gentle.

However much you want to discover answers, don’t apply too much pressure or effort. Instead, aim to welcome the feeling of anxiety, because the more we can welcome it, the easier it will be to investigate. And that’s what’s most beautiful about the Investigative Approach, because by welcoming anxiety, it moves from something to resist, to something we can embrace.

A Word of Caution

This approach is very effective. However, it’s easy to too get caught up in more thought. Combining it with step three, the Vulnerable Approach – featured in our final Anxiety blog – is extremely effective and completes our journey to reducing anxiety.

Andy Puddicombe

To view this article in full, please visit: https://www.headspace.com/blog/view/193/welcoming-and-studying-anxiety-

HEADSPACE: HOW TO DEAL WITH ANXIETY BY ANDY PUDDICOMBE (FOUNDER OF HEADSPACE)

How To Deal With Anxiety

How To Deal With Anxiety

This month at Headspace we’re focusing on how to deal with anxiety. Most of us have suffered from anxiety, or know someone close who has. And while anxiety can be rational and useful – like when we need to make the right decision in a life-threatening situation, the anxiety we’re more familiar with is usually a little less helpful.

The problem with anxiety is that it inhibits our ability to deal with the issue that’s caused it in the first place. It makes our capacity for rational thought dip, while it, itself, begins to spiral out of control. This makes it harder to address the issue and causes genuine misery to ourselves and those around us.

So what can we do about anxiety?

Finding how to deal with anxiety can sometimes feel like an impossible task. Fortunately, from a meditation or mindfulness point of view, there are a few options to help, either on their own, or together. In fact, meditation for anxiety is proven to have a positive impact.

A bit like steps, we can tackle them all to achieve the greatest results, but even taking one or two can still have a real impact on how we feel. Further tips on how to deal with anxiety are provided below…

Step one 

The Rational Approach – understanding our anxiety

A great place to start on our journey to reduce anxiety is to understand the processes at work. We know that anxiety can feel irrational and illogical, but by approaching it logically, we gain a sense of where it comes from and why it’s hard to stop.

Our individual conditioning determines how anxiety arises in the mind. But forget trying to trace this back – there are too many factors involved. Anxiety is a natural response; we can’t control when it arises (aside from trying to suppress it, which is extremely unhelpful in the long-term) but we can change how we relate to it. And this is the key.

Breaking the cycle

Think about the times when anxiety hits. We resist the feeling with an emotion like frustration, sadness, or ironically, more anxiety. We’ve immediately created a cycle where we believe it’s bad to feel anxious, so we look for a way to get rid of the feeling, and we apply significant energy to try and avoid or eliminate it.

We then make matters worse by noticing the physical sensations that anxiety brings. The mind feels anxious, the chest tightens, and the mind associates this physical feeling as a sign of anxiety, and so becomes more anxious…

It feels like an inescapable pattern, but with practise, we can learn to step out of the loop.

Like any other emotion, anxiety is neither good nor bad. It begins as nothing more than a passing thought. From here, it’s up to us what we choose to do with it, how much importance we give it, and how long we hold onto it for.

Anxiety is a really strong habit, so at first, it won’t feel this simple. But this is the potential.

The same applies when that starting thought becomes a feeling or sensation. If we think about the sensation and why it’s happening, we exacerbate the situation. But by simply noticing the sensation; being present with it, rather than its connotations, the cycle is interrupted.

Taking this from theory to experience takes practice, but by understanding what’s going on, we can begin to set the mind free.

A word of caution

As thinking got us into this mess, it’s risky to rely on thinking alone to get us out of it. Consider following this method with step two, the Investigative Approach, featured in our next blog.

Andy Puddicombe

To view the article in full, please visit: https://www.headspace.com/blog/view/190/how-to-deal-with-anxiety

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