Mental Health Awareness Week 2020

So this years theme “Kindness” and let’s be honest with lockdown in almost its 10th week as I write this we could all do with some lovely kind words.

Kindness

We are going through the unknown we have never had something like this in my generation .

Which means we don’t really know how to react or think . We are told by social media and the news to stay positive but on the same sites told of doom and gloom or worse you witness hate as people argue their points not willing to be wrong or knowing the damage they cause to others .

My question is why not just be kind or as I tell the children pay a complement,make someone smile or if you are annoyed take a deep breath and talk about it. Surely you would prefer to brighten someone’s day rather than ruin it. Often by being kind you will get someone to open up you may even find out you have helped them what a great feeling.

A prime example of kindness is our Thursday night routine of banging our pots and decorating our windows in support for key workers some gestures that bring people together when in isolation. What I have noticed is the smiles it brings to peoples faces .

This leads me onto my thoughts of kindness why are we kind ?. For me when I link it to my mental health . I want to be kind to help people. You never know what someone is going through are they suffering. You can look amazing and be faking it to Oscar level but inside be crumbling and drowning.

I guess we have had all experienced kindness and unkindness. Think of how you felt when you received this kindness I’m sure it was 100 time’s better than the unkindness you received.

Think isn’t it so much nicer to be kind

Think you can make people feel that by supporting someone or just listening to what someone is going through . You may of been through something similar. So if you can choose to be kind.

I want to round this off with why mental health awareness week is so important to me. It gives us a chance to talk about mental health so hopefully we can end the stigma behind. Obviously this takes time but my big driving force is Thea and working with children I want them to feel safe and secure when talking about their feelings.

Lockdown this year is going to have a massive affect on them anything up to maybe 5/6 months of missing school,nursery, playgroups is a massive amount of time to miss out on.

Missing out on social interaction and new experiences

I know lots of my training in Early Years Education was on the importance of social interaction for 2-6 year olds especially and what can happen if they miss out on this .

They will need our kindness over the next few months even when lockdown is raised . Our kindness will keep their chins up and encourage them to be open about their feelings and help us understand them.

But why stop with children if we can be kind to children we can be kind to each other too. During the next few months lots of us may go through difficult time’s let’s build each other up by being kind instead of tearing each other down . I think you may find it beneficial to yourself and the people you are helping

Don’t be a dick be kind

Lockdown 2020 : I have 99 Problems but Bog Rolls are not one

Since the 23rd March we have been put into lockdown (some will argue we are not in lockdown but that’s not the point of this post)

Our lives changed over night , during the 21 days since we have witnessed some amazing sights and some not so amazing this post will talk about them.

1) Bog Roll . In Britain we know now the answer to the old question “if your stranded on a island what one item would you take” “Bog Roll and make it a 36 pack” . Crazy absolute mayhem in supermarkets. Will we ever know what those people were thinking buying a 100 bog rolls at a time .

2) Clap for our Carers every Thursday night 8pm we open our front doors , get the pots out and bang and cheer. To show our support to all the key workers keeping us safe during this time. I love this it’s really bringing the community spirit back. The 1st night I had a shiver up my spin hearing everyone cheer. I so nice to see people appreciate people.

3) How important a walk and fresh air are . I don’t think I have ever appreciated a simple walk so much. It’s a tough one I found myself guilty for taking my daily exercise but this takes me into point 4

4) No matter what is going on in the world there are going to be twats that don’t listen . Yes you the bog roll warriors , the people having BBQ’s on beaches and having house parties.

5) Schools Out Yes every parents worst nightmare became reality. The schools closed and parents everywhere grabbed a large drink. While everyone without laughed. As a friend said to me “I am living the dream getting paid to play computer games” .

6) Boris got ill and our daily updates got less interesting . Our leader got the virus or did he?. Anyways he disappeared from our screens and I felt the replacements seemed sort of lost witch is saying something as Boris normally looks like a rabbit in the headlights

7) We will not run out of bog roll

8) Social Distancing became a thing told to avoid all contact with others unless essential being an anxious introvert I rejoiced until I found out my toddler was classed as essential . She has taking social distancing the opposite way and won’t leave our side constantly saying “Play with me “ . I look forward to the day I get to go to work and have a day off enough said on that .

9) Football Football Football. It stopped it’s still stopped. We miss it. But I do think what a shambles and a missed opportunity for clubs to work together with communities but there is still time for this to work.

10)Pubs and shops bordered up I woke up went for my early walk and thought I was in the walking dead. Proper doomsday stuff I don’t blame them I live in Glasgow if it’s not nailed down it will be gone.

So lockdown so far has been interesting and challenging for some more than others. We will all experience it differently this post is just my light hearted thoughts. I hope you can relate and it maybe raises a smile.

Picking the Right Nursery

I know it’s hard to believe but soon enough it will be summer and millions of little ones will be starting nursery for the 1st time or Preschool, or Kindergarten .

That means as parents you now have the tough job of picking one for them. Not quite as easy as you think. I mean do you no know what to look for?, what to ask? , understand the lingo ?. It’s not something many parents have an understanding off I mean why would you it could be 20-30 years since you were in one .

That is why I’m writing this blog to help you through this stressful experience which should be a special moment. But why me ?

I worked in nursery education for several years before becoming a chaperone for children on TV. I trained in early years education gaining my HNC and NC in this . So hopefully I can pass some of my experiences onto you to help you make a decision and of course I have just got Thea accepted into our 1st choice nursery.

Being Dyslexic I can ramble on and not always get to the point so for this blog I’m going for bullet points with a brief explanation if needed.

1) what do you want ?. Do you want want a term term nursery, do you want extended hrs, do you want a local nursery, or a nursery that teaches a specific type of learning. Whatever you want please let the nursery know l,ask them or be forward and tell them this about your and children needs.

2) Listen to advice from family and friends but please don’t take this as gospel as everybody has different needs. Don’t feel pressured into sending your child somewhere just because a friend or family member goes there.

3) Preparation people check reviews out of nurseries again you will some brill and some not so. Just keep an eye out for same positives or criticisms as if they are all saying same just like any reviews there maybe some truths in it.

4) Check the official reports on Ofstead and The Care Inspectorate to see your nurseries grades. Right I’m going to be honest here. I’m not 100% on these reports. Why ? For nurseries 3 years + it’s an inspection every 3 years and for under 3 it’s 2 years and there has been issues in the past that settings can get good scores but that may not be the case everyday in the setting.

5) Talk to your children find out their interests find out how the nursery can develop those interests. Every child is an individual as how they will cater for their individual needs.

6) A nursery tour you will everything good about the nursery it maybe the nursery is a business. Don’t ever be afraid to ask any questions you want to walk away with a clear mind.

7) This is one I picked up from fellow parents. Watch how the nursery workers interact with your child. Are they interacting or are they just selling the nursery to you. Which maybe great but you are not spending up 11hrs in the place

8) Extra curricular activities examples football, french, drama, art classes, music to name a few sound awesome and if free great. But if they cost this can cost a small fortune again just ask the price , we picked a nursery that doesn’t have extras like this.

9) Finally my best advice You will know when you know. I know how vague but after talking to parents about this, this is the feedback I got. If you have a bad feeling don’t just go it will be alright check more nurseries or go back and ask questions. At some point you will find a nursery and it will feel welcoming , warm ,fun and meet all your needs at this point you have found your nursery.

I hope this blog helps and if you any questions just ask !.

Restaurant Review: The Hebridean

It was mid October and mid -week and the wife and myself had a rare night off from Thea. Off we set to Ashton Lane and off to the warmth of The Ubiquitous Chip . After a couple of pints of Furstenberg and standing beside the fire hunger kicked in …

I was pretty adamant that the only place I wanted to try was The Herbridean you see I have been to 111 by Nico and it was great. I had heard mixed reviews on line from The Herbridean and was determined to try it for myself.

Once arriving one can only describe the atmosphere as electric , you see it was MOD week (Scotland’s Premier Gaelic festival don’t you know ). This meant we had a delightful Gaelic Trad band keeping us entertained throughout .

So I’m going to break this review down let’s start with the food

Nibbles : Sourdough bread an goose fat butter and olives

The bread and butter was to die for and the Olives just salty enough for you to keep going back for more

Starters : Arbroath Smoky croquette and

Charlie Barley Black Pudding and Crispy pigs head terraine

I had the croquette fishy and smokey but not too much . The best part the crispy ness of the croquettes

The terraine well that packed a punch and it’s hearty . I honestly didn’t know what to expect

But it was lovely crispy but nice and soft with the black pudding.

Mains : Venison Wellington from the specials menu no picture of this it didn’t last long . So much can go wrong with this dish soggy over done to name a couple . But not this one pastry flaky and venison cooked to perfection and lovely and tender.

Haggis Nepps and tatties

Perfect after a heavy starter according to Harriet it is soft , creamy , peppery and just perfect with The Molinillo Malbec we decided to shsre

Service

We arrived about 8.30pm it was busy and noisy but not that you would notice that by the service. I was really impressed and I can be picky after working in the hospitality industry . I can’t fault it attentive but not over bearing , no rush , and generally very nice which can be rare now adays . One little thing we had a small table by the wall and myself being 6ft 1 I was slightly closer to the gentleman behind me than I would like but as I said very small issue and we hadn’t booked a table .

Value

We had 2 coffees and a bottle of wine on top of the food. I read a newspaper review which said about the price we paid just shy of £100 including tip £50 each but I wasn’t watching the pennies I could of ate and drank cheaper from the menu . I was stuffed at the end so in my eyes worth while . I feel as if you pay for an experience not just the food it’s the location , vibes, atmosphere and service your paying for now. No doubt I will be back soon when I can get a baby sitter

Featured

Returning to Work after having a Child

When Thea was 1 years old I have to admit , I was in not a great place. Due to a hell a lot of things but I have to say my work life was hell.

I had fallen out of love of the education system and needed out. Harriet had just started to work for herself so we decided for myself to take a time out and stay at home with Thea . I mean I was trained in early years so why not . I stayed at home for almost a year and loved it. I built an amazing bond with Thea and it let Harriet’s business grow and flourish .

While at home I did some chaperoning which is looking after children on set I really enjoyed it and when in June I got the opportunity to work on a new BBC kids drama (The Demon Headmaster check it out on CBBC on Monday’s at 5pm )full time it was to good to turn down. I thought going back  to work would change our home life  but it really changed and I guess that’s the same for all parents returning to work .

There is good points and bad points to this so here’s what have found out since returning to work .
Let’s start with the positives :

Money Money Money – Having another income is great we can save ,book a holiday and have treats with Thea at the weekend.

Adult interaction – It’s great to spend time with other adults saying that we behave like children most of the time .

Self worth – working for me builds my self esteem bringing a wage into the family home . Also the self satisfaction of working on a project from start to finish feels great .

Reflection- working long hrs makes you realise what is important in life. It also focuses myself .

Mental Health- I feel mentally much stronger . My confidence is growing meaning my self worth has gone up. On top of that putting myself into new and stressful situations has helped control my anxiety .

Right next up the negatives :

Being away from Thea at 1st it wasn’t bad, but now she knows. When I’m getting ready to leave I get “No No” and sometimes a slap and that’s if she is awake . Sometimes I only see her in the middle of the night to change her nappy that’s hard .

Physically knackered : Being out the house for 14-15 hrs a day brutal . It takes a while for your body and mind to get use to that. Walking 20,000-25,000 steps a day your diet has to change 

Quality time : I say I don’t see Thea it’s the same with Harriet . I’m knackered when I’m back home at the moment so it can be quiet in the house. Meals out and days out haven’t been happening as much. I need to change that and get in a better routine. 

Guilt- what do feel guilty about literally everything at first, but I feel this passes and once you talk about it that helps .

Stress/mental health I’m putting this in as I know in the past my work I hated and it brought on this. Thankfully on returning to work I haven’t suffered this. Why most likely it’s down to being  in a better place. I mean that’s why I went back to work . I’m also on medication so I’m guessing that should get some credit too. If your mental health is taking a battering at work please talk about it to someone straight away don’t let it affect your home life .

Right so overall :

I can sit on the fence and say just do what you feel is right , but deciding to be a stay at home parent or a parent returning to work has a major impact on not just you but your partner and your children .

A prime example is this I had a dad in the an old nursery doing a visit his child was going to start nursery full time at one years old. He couldn’t answer any of the questions I had but told me they had another on the way and the child had to go to nursery .

I’m not saying don’t work , don’t send your child to nursery , but you need a balance and you need to think what you really want. We all have different goals and priorities it’s your choice but remember they are not kids forever .

I like being self employed it’s flexible , I’m my own boss and it works for me and Thea . Could I earn more money yeah but the more you earn the more you spend in my experience . But I do think Day release sorry work is good for the soul and mind which will is good for you and also your family

How to Survive a Wedding with a Toddler

Life with a toddler in our experience can be hectic . The transition of Baby to toddler is shall we say emotional. Taking a baby out you can keep them entertained and happy with a pram and bottle when out socialising. A toddler goes somewhere new and becomes an emotional wrecking ball. A pram will not contain them and will not silence them .

Life does not stop though so when we knew our friends Kirsty and Emmett were getting married we thought we better get organised. Thea would be 20 months by the wedding and in full toddler mood.

So for a smooth weekend this is what we planned.

:Keep it simple stay in the hotel of the wedding The Piersland Hotel.

:We didn’t want to rush so we booked the night before and after. This meant Thea could get use to place and not be like a Taz Manian Devil when seeing a wedding for the 1st in a new place.

: We all deserve a break and weddings are always a fantastic occasion . With this in mind we got our friend Nikki to come down to babysit. We had booked a cottage so plenty of room and Thea loved Nikki.

:Do a food shop the day before, pick picnic foods and your child’s favourites it’s a break for them too. You never know how they will react to sleeping in a new bed. That can be bad enough you don’t want them hungry too.

At this point I have to say I was feeling quite chuffed with myself. We were going to smash this wedding .

The day before the wedding I left Harriet and Thea at home and thought I would get a gym workout,sauna and shave . As I was in the changing room about to go to the gym my phone rang … I very nearly didn’t pick it up I saw it was Harriet and thought it would be reminding as always pick up milk for Thea .

Thank God I did answer it was Harriet hyperventilating while trying to shout the wedding is today. It was now about 11.30 the wedding was 14.00 the next day . I don’t know why but I chuckled down the phone. You can guess how that went down, so off up the road I went knowing I was in for a world of pain.

When entering the flat I can only describe it as a chaotic war zone and I had walked straight into the middle of it with a big silly smile. Harriet was in full panic mode, red face,eyes filling,banging everything down and speaking very high pitched.

I think because I knew Harriet was panicked it relaxed me about it. When it’s your wedding your so caught up in the moment you didn’t even really know who is there,but I was quietly confident we would make it. Harriet packed and kept Thea happy and then packed the car and to cut along story short we made it to the hotel with 15minutes to spare but our story does not end here.

Thea had missed her nap. Never ever a good thing to miss for anyone. I don’t remember a parent ever saying I’m so glad our child missed their daily nap right before their 1st wedding.

The hotel is stunning and old with lots of rooms and stairs which would be fine if we arrived 24hrs earlier and Thea had explored them all. So getting to the bar was a battle as she fought to explore the men’s toilet .

But there should of been a babysitter and we should of been at the bar having drinks.

Thea was now at her 1st wedding. Inthe bar she ran about like a headless chicken but was not causing to much fuss. The ceremony though was a different ball game. How the hell do you get a toddler to sit still on a chair in a room with about 60 people let alone stop them shouting Daddy and Duck.

I took one for the team and escorted Thea out the room like a teen getting escorted by the police for drinking several bottles of Mad Dog 20/20. I didn’t want a scene the teen wanted everyone to know I was ruining there fun an they did not deserve this treatment. I left to the slap of my nose and raspberry.

So I missed the ceremony but caught glimpses as Thea heckled through an open window at the back. But it was worth it Kirsty was one of Harriet’s bridesmaids and loved watching her get married myself and Thea so her crying cue Thea banging the window.

Afterwards there was photos,drinks and then dinner.

This time was spent necking beer as fast as possible and running after a toddler trying to escape us . It was knackering work but Thea was in her element playing outside,talking to lots of new people eating sugar what else does a toddler want a dog… oh yeah Bruce Kirsty’s and Emmett’s dog made a guest appearance Thea loved that.

But she was getting tired and cranky about 8pm so we took her back to the room. Harriet was putting her down and I was in the other room making coffee. After a while of silence I went through and both were fast asleep it was 8.30pm and it was the end of the night for all of us. What a day.

So to survive a wedding with a toddler 1st things 1st make sure you have the right date in your diary.

Anxiety Over The Christmas Period

The Christmas period is busy busy with lots of parties and social gatherings.

For most these are things to look forward but for some with anxiety they can become overwhelming. It’s far to easy to fall down that anxiety hole and lets be honest Christmas time with kids, do you really have time to climb out that hole.

What caused my Christmas anxiety

My routine is gone I’m overwhelmed and I start to feel slightly empty and my mind goes into over drive.

I didn’t notice my anxiety levels going up until I spoke to friends online and started to workout why I was feeling off centre.

My warning signs of anxiety creeping up:

Insomnia- Takes ours to sleep my mind racing about future events

Can’t get out of bed- see above can’t sleep too much sleep can’t win .

Mr grumpy returns – I was becoming grumpy because my mind won’t switch off I’m stressed, tired and beating myself up.

Sweating – Day or night I sweat a load more.

So my anxiety levels are due to my routine being out and not having clear goals.

Christmas time to me feels like a riot lots of parties, social gatherings, pressure of getting everything right for everyone.

But without a doubt I’m in a better place than previous years to deal with it.

why?, the fact I can write about it and realise what is happening and discuss how I’m feeling means I can tackle it.

So how do I tackle my anxiety over the the holidays?.

– Talk about it with the ones closest to me, having thoughts spinning in my head aren’t going to go away.

– Positive Vibes only it’s only me who can change I how feel. I think of all the positive aspects of my life Thea, Harriet my health , my career, owning a house and write them down.

– Going into social situations sounds really simple try to relax, do some stretches go for a walk. You don’t want to be tense, twitching and sweating which I have done all at the same time within 10 minutes your knackered.

– Fuck it off right you can’t fuck everything off but if it’s something you don’t have to do, will cause you a meltdown, overstretch you fuck it off. You can’t go through life making everybody else happy if your not.

– Its busy but self care is so important if you forget about it. Your mental health can go downhill fast. I won’t get to the gym much but will do jump in for a sauna and steam for some me time. It could be something simple like a walk,podcast,meditation whatever centres you. If you don’t make time at some point you may become overwhelmed.

But remember if you don’t talk about it or admit to how you are feeling you won’t be able to do any of the above.

And remember try to enjoy the holidays and if you need a chat about your anxiety but don’t want burden anyone you can DM me on Instagram therealworkingdad.

How to Survive the Winter Bugs

Winter time babies and toddlers will bestruck down with green noses, violent bottom explosions and come to think about it violent mouth explosions .

Can you prepare for it ?.

No each time can be different and can come on with no notice what so ever .

I am going through it with Thea at the moment . For years in nursery I would dread it ill 2-5 years old coming in all emotional and generally unwell. So over the years I have learnt how to help them and make the most of the situation .

Here are my top 10 tips for beating the bugs

10) Prepare make sure your stocked up on baby wipes for those green noses and stinky bottoms.

9) When a child is ill they may not eat meals. They will graze over lots of different finger foods .

8) Den making they can be tired and grumpy they don’t like the light. Get some pillows , blankets , pegs and let your imagination go wild.

7) Teamwork your sleep will be affective so if you get a chance tag out with your partner and have a break spending 24hrs with an ill child is tiring.

6) Fresh Air I know getting your child out when unwell is a drama. But Thea fell asleep within 10 minutes. Being in the fresh air is healthy and gets you both out and about maybe even a chance for a take away coffee.

5) Sky Cinema frozen on all day every day she was like a zombie, don’t know if it comforted her but raised her spirits and gave me a rest. Put their favourite cartoon on.

4) Comfort them, Thea would have what looked like tantrums but in fact she just wanted her back rubbed and a snuggle.

3) Make them laugh ” laughter is the best form of medicine”. It may well be just silly voices or throwing up in air ” not recommended with sickness bugs”.Thea laughs when I dance whatever works for your child

2) Try,Try and try again. The above worked for Thea but at all different times. You almost have to have special Marvel Powers to understand what they want. Unfortunately I don’t so it was a case of trying the above to help her through the day.

1) Children are just like little adults. Remember this when looking after them.

When your ill chances are you will have all the same symptoms . Tired,not hungry,grumpy,sore and just out of sorts . Except you can communicate what is wrong even though no one wants to listen.

So try to think what would you need.

And finally try to enjoy moments of it. Yes it is pain to be off work. But every so often you will get a snuggle , smile or laugh that will make it all worth while .

My Journey with Anxiety

Mental Health awareness week maybe over for 2018, but im determined to keep talking about my mental health. Why?  I found the week very inspiring I heard stories from people from all over about their mental health. It gave me the confidence to talk about my own problems with anxiety for the first time since being a child 25 years of bloody anxiety. No wonder my nails are shredded. It gave me the confidence to open up to my parents about how I feel on a daily basis, it has brought us closer together and I have learned more about my childhood and family which helps me understand my anxiety.

Since it has been a few weeks of opening up my mood and anxiety has changed. At first I spoke about it went to the doctor and felt a massive weight off my chest , but as time has gone on I have felt my anxiety come back slightly each day.

Maybe I havent been honest enough with people since that week or maybe not even pro activte enough. I have good days and bad days but deep down my anxiety is still there and my self worth is low. I find writing it down a relaxing process giving me time to reflect and work through my thoughts (having dyslexia and a delay in processing information I write notes and plans all the time).

So here we go…  I am currently signed off work with generalised anxiety after a discussion with my family I resigned from my new job it was completley out my comfort zone and when working with children they need a routine and felt this was the best decision . I go and see the doctor every couple of weeks but they are saying at the moment my confidence and self worth is very low meaning. Im having panic attacks over even small events outside my routine. I am not on any medication at the moment in the past I have been on propanlol and diazepam with different levels of success. I want to discuss my options with the doctor see if there is something that can assist in keeping me with a more consistant and leveled mood. My doctor wants me to work on my confidence and self worth and has suggested CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therpy). What is CBT  ” a type of talking treatment which focuses on how your thoughts, beliefs and attitudes affect your feelings and behaviour, and teaches you coping skills for dealing with different problems”.

I have been to CBT on the NHS before in Glasgow and it was not for me I was rushed in and out and it felt like a tick exercise so I paid for two separate private therapists again I just didn’t make a connection. I had about 20 sessions in total so did try and was honest but felt that I was told to focus on being more assertive and confident whilst remaining calm which even after 20 sessions felt overwhlemimg and still outwith my grasp. So what I am I anxious about my life, health, family, change of routine, noise, to name a few sounds crackers right or maybe it doesn’t and it’s just my mind playing tricks on me.

Having anxiety for so long I have several defence techniques or things I do to calm and centre myself I get up and go out for a walk put my headphones keep my head down and walk for miles pushing the pram and let my mind wander I find sitting still can make my mind feel like its going crazy. The gym I like to keep fit it makes me feel good about myself I like to run longer and lift heavier weights it helps me feel good and builds my confidence for the day. Mediation not in a centre just on my phone do a full body check, get my breathing together, centre myself and battle through. I don’t do this enough life with a young baby there are not enough hours the day.

Writing this blog is a new experince, one I stopped writing as soon as I left school I hated it as I felt I was crap at it. I did’nt get diagnosed with dsylexia and processing delay until I was 29 years old. Throughout school I was called lazy and told I didnt study enough I still get upset looking at my reports I need to stop doing that. Writing this blog however somthing I am interested I enjoy the whole process.

Spending time with my family, I love spending time with Thea and my wife Harriet going out on trips outdoors getting away from the city we often go down south to see family and Thea’s Godparents I feel like a different person being in the countryside without the hustle and bustle of the city. Even though I grew up in the city I don’t know if I belong here and I think about that often maybe too much. I also had ME (Chroinc Fatigue) for a number of years leading to a hopsital stay two weeks after my wedding, my healh plays on my mind most days but I will save that journey for another blog post im going off course now.

Im due to go back to the doctors soon and feel Im ready to tackle my anxiety full on Im fed up of it being at the forefront of my life. I want to find myself and not let my anxiety control me. How will I do that I dont really know yet apart from what I have said above keep talking, do what makes me happy , take care of myself and listen to the advice of the ones I love and my doctor. It’s not all doom and gloom even by writing this I feel in a more positive frame of mind and ready for the day tomorrow. Dont suffer in silence millions of people are going through the same issues if you dont talk it will eat you up and you can go to some very dark places which I dont want anyone to go too.

Living with Anxiety

Anxiety-A feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome

Or Psychiatry A nervous disorder marked by excessive uneasiness and apprehension, typically with compulsive behaviour or panic attacks

These are the definitions of anxiety according to the Oxford Dictionary.

So this is what I am living with but this barely scratches the surface.

Anxiety can creep up on you or hit like a bolt out of the blue. Your not safe anywhere even your own bed. My sleeping for several months was a very unpleasant experience I just could not drift off. My mind would be full of thoughts bouncing around like lighting bolts. What was i thinking about anything and everything from when was I going to get the shopping done to what if the traffic was bad in the morning. This may not sound important but my this resulted in my body tensing up so much my back would ache,my teeth would start to grind and I would sweat uncontrollably. I don’t know how I got to sleep but I did only to wake up with my clothes soaked in blind panic that I may have slept in. Now I have baby Thea I know that will never happen. So you could say i was worried and stressed about life in general which can bring on anxiety but just because you have rough idea what is causing it doesn’t mean you can control it.

Another major symptom of anxiety was dread as bad as doomsday. For myself this was social events if I had a social event to go to I was a nightmare I got cranky like really cranky I was not nice to be round. I hated myself for feeling this way that I could not go out enjoy myself with my wife. I would then hate myself as I would become snappy to the ones closest to me it was a horrible cycle. I then became embarrassed and my self esteem would drop as I couldn’t bring myself to tell people how I really felt I would beat myself up and all that does is make the situation worse and your mental health worse.

You cant get out of all social events so here is how an evening with Tony would go. I would start to get ready several hrs before the event. Then pace around the house like a man off to court not a party. I may change my outfit several times as I would worry I might have same outfit on as somebody else. I could only wear white or black as I was so uptight I could not stop sweating. The tension in my body would be unbearable like rigid and my hands cleansed. Mentally I was scared I was scared I would have nothing to say and just think of the worst scenarios possible to man. Once at these events in the earlier days I would drink to relax me that was not the answer it just fucks you up and then you feel depressed not good. Instead I would stand in the corner keeping my jacket on hoping that my wife would not leave I did not want to be alone and try to  make small talk. If it was a successful night I would persuade Harriet to leave early we wouldn’t talk and I would go off to bed in a right state being in that state of mind knackers you unlike any gym workout.

If was a bad night cue “Panic Attack” these are bad your chest feels like it is about to exploded like someone is pounding on it. These occurred when nothing bad was happening physically but mentally my head had gone. I would feel faint and dizzy and I had to get out you feel like the room is closing in on you. Tremors my hands would shake constantly as I would always be anxious and so tense they would be sore. I could see people looking at my hands and feel ashamed which just intensified the anxiety. This often lead to me being sick and generally feeling ashamed that I couldn’t enjoy myself or let go. While this is happening though all you can think about is letting everyone down. You feel overwhelmed and out of control like Alice falling through ….Anxiety gets you all over it is horrible.

So if your feeling like this you most likely have some anxiety.

What brings it on can be a number of things including:

Stress

Past or childhood experiences

Physical and Mental Health problems

Current life problems

But knowing why you have it is not going to end it.

There is several ways to get help and its easy for me to tell you about them. But when you suffer from anxiety none of these are easy. As you are having to deal with your own fears or anxieties. In my case I contacted my doctor first, well that was an experience first thing he wanted me to do was to go anti depress ends which i was not happy with as i was not depressed just scared and the side affects were terrible but they may work for you. This put me off the doctors and made my mental health go into a spiral I actually got quite angry for a while. Then a friend recommended boxing which at first was stressful I found it great for releasing tension.

Thankfully I have strong network around me and an especially strong wife who took me back to the doctors to see a different GP. Who said no way are you depressed. I opened up to her and my family and started Group Cognitive behavioural therapy on the NHS. Having anxiety and sharing to one person is hard enough to a group I thought was crazy. It was an experience you had the angry man who said he would not talk as he could not be responsible for his actions and left and 4 women taking selfies and making a Whats App group oh yeah and me having another panic attack just wanting to escape out the window. After this experience I paid for a private 1-1 therapy  this was where i started to understand my anxiety and start to cope with it. Talking about it with somebody who is not too close to you,you can break it down and realise that it is your mind playing tricks on you and your anxiety voice in your head is not real and not Mystic Meg it can not predict the future. Its not easy to open up I felt ashamed and embarrassed at first as if wasn’t good enough but as i went for more we worked through my problems and started to relax. By talking in therapy i could then have the confidence to tell my family to which they felt relieve. I still get anxious I am anxious typing this just now  what will my friends and colleagues think will it affect my job prospects.

Anxiety can hit me anywhere and everywhere walking down the street or in busy places like bars. But I can’t let it control me.

So talking helps. I have also found mindfulness/meditation to be very helpful it centres me when I panic.I still get dark thoughts but l have worked on my breathing slow it down and take control of the situation. For example I touch a table or a wall I know sounds crazy and say to myself I am fine the thoughts are in my head I am standing in a room touching a wall controlling my breathing. I use the Head space app for this in and around Glasgow there are also lots of meditation centres you can pop into after work to clear your mind and reset your body. This may not be for you as every bodies anxiety is different. But world has a major problem with mental health as the below figures show and I felt as a dad and and someone who works with children I had to speak up. Anxiety can affect anyone and are we doing enough I’m not sure but the very least we can do is talk about it and work together to help each other through it.

My anxiety is still here and will it ever totally go away I do not know, I just know by talking about, opening up and admitting I needed help it is improving.

One in 10 people in the UK are likely to have a disabling anxiety disorder during their life.

13% of adults will develop a specific form of anxiety known as a phobia during their life.

At present 40% of disability worldwide is due to depression and anxiety.(AnxietyUK)