Taking part in RED January

I've been a little M.I.A recently on here. The reason for that? I've been living life, life has been busy, Christmas has happened and I haven't found the time to sit down and write. I've got 4 posts as drafts already so I'll hopefully get round to finishing them off at some point. But whilst I'm here let me tell you about RED January.

Today I discovered on Mind's twitter feed that they were launching an event called RED January, want to find out more and maybe even get involved? Click here and it'll take you to the information page. If you just want the basic details I'll fill you in now.

RED January stands for Run Every Day January. It's as simple as that, you can even walk if you don't want to run. The point is to just get moving throughout January to beat those winter/new year blues.

What happens whilst you are moving everyday throughout January? Well you are improving not only your physical but your mental health too but you'll be raising money for Mind. 

For me, this event was a no brainer. I'm always getting outdoors for a little bit of fresh air, to stretch my legs and have a break from whatever I may be doing. I work in an office 9 til 5 so without fresh air every now and then my mood is terrible.

If you want to be an absolute gem and sponsor me I'd really appreciate it! I plan to take photos every day to update my Instagram and JustGiving page. Psssttt, a little birdy just told me if you click on JustGiving page you'll be taken straight to my page. :)

Thank you for taking time to read my post and thank you in advance if you sponsor me. All money raised will go to Mind, the wonderful charity making sure nobody faces any mental health problems alone.

'the big bang' at the keepmoat stadium

A couple of weeks ago now I won tickets to go to a firework display, 'The Big Bang' held at the  Keepmoat Stadium (Doncaster Rover's football ground). Me and my mum had considered going to the event a few times in previous years as we are often at the Keepmoat watching Doncaster but I guess we just never got round to it.

The night was fun filled with the local radio station presenting all night, prizes to be won, food and drinks to be consumed, rides to be enjoyed and fireworks to be admired.

But of course any kind of event with anxiety isn't going to be an easy one. I thought I'd share with you the outside world version of the night and the inside my body/mind version of the night.

Outside world version of the night...
I stood around waiting for the fireworks just like everyone else, I'd occasionally move around from where I was standing. To get there I drove myself and my mum traveled with her friends (well for half of the journey) so I had about half an hour waiting around because I said I'd stand near the local radio station big screen because then surely they'd find me ok? Oh noooo...they didn't. About half an hour of waiting, still looking completely normal, wrapped up warm ready for 'the big bang' firework display, casually checking my phone every now and then. I stood around, chatted to a few people there I knew, some people I didn't know...I'll happily chat with anyone, it can be a great distraction. To them I bet they couldn't tell what was happening inside my mind and the feelings I was experiencing inside my body. To them I probably just looked like any other person there enjoying the event. Taking photos with one of the funniest, nicest guys you'll meet (he is one of the radio presenters who was presenting the night)...talk about little and large!

The inside my body/mind version of the night...
I'd felt so sick for the majority of the day, it was clearly one of those days. I was sat eating my tea getting frustrated with myself because why do I have to feel so sick?! Why can't it just pack its bags and run away into the sunset? It was one of those days that I knew eating wouldn't make this sick feeling go away so why was I even bothering? Feeling sick is my main anxiety physical feeling and it's an absolute pain the bum! It can sometimes feel so strong that I'll eat ginger biscuit after ginger biscuit just to make it disappear, it usually is a pretty quick fix. Mints also help me too, I've learnt from previous experience if I'm actually going to throw up then I can't have any form of food in my mouth, so if I can have a mint in my mouth ok I know I'm not going to throw up. Packet of mints in my car and in my pocket and off we go.

I drove my mum to meet her friends who then drove the rest of the way, they parked in a car park about 10 minutes away to avoid all the traffic but I played it safe like I do for football, I parked in the closest car park. I remember getting out of the car and still feeling really sick and on edge, I walked behind one of the fairground rides to get to the radio station/big screen area and the flashing lights made me feel even worse, I walked as fast as I could to make sure I got away from the lights as fast as I could.

Lights avoided, time to stand around and wait for my mum and her friends. I stood around, looked at my phone, ate some more mints, chatted a little but during all this my insides felt funny. I felt so sick. What if I throw up? What if I shit myself? What if I really need to go to the loo? What if I really need to get home fast? You bet, what if's kicked in!

Despite all the anxiety I made it to the very end of the very beautiful firework display, the Keepmoat you did good!

I'm really hopeful that you've made it to the end of this post because I want to share with you an important message. Just because someone looks ok on the outside doesn't mean they are ok on the inside. It's ok to talk about our feelings.

Photos capture one moment, they don't show you the feelings that the person is experiencing.

Yes, anxiety came along for the ride this night but I did also enjoy myself and the McDonalds afterwards too.

Goodbye Invisalign

It's time to say goodbye to Invisalign on here because the journey is over. Well I'm wearing the Invisalign retainers every night because I certainly do not want to undo all the hard work but that doesn't require an update every so often.

I had my attachments removed almost three weeks ago now and it just feels like yesterday. I slightly miss them but it's such a relief to have them off, to not have to remove my aligners every single time I want to eat or drink.

I'm not going to lie and say that I followed the rules completely because I didn't, every now and then I would drink through a straw instead of removing them. Or I'd have a polo without taking the aligners out (quick call the Invisalign police). I'm now debating whether I should be confessing to that just incase my dentist happens to read this...sorry Ihsan, I'm only human not perfect! :)

Despite not always following the rules I'm beyond impressed and pleased with the results...

In less than a year I've gone from ever so wonky teeth to so much more improved, straighter teeth. I started this treatment with the hopes of just lowering one tooth that was too high but once I'd got the attachments and aligners I soon realized that most of my teeth were wonky. I was just so obsessed with this one tooth.

So I've gone from hating my smile to absolutely loving it! Whenever I'm near a mirror now I end up randomly smiling like some kind of a looney tune (only when I'm alone that is).

Admittedly they aren't what some would class as 'perfect' but what is perfect? Absolutely nothing in life is perfect, everything has it's imperfections and I mean everything. The person you see online (who has the ideal life) will have their own bundle of imperfections/insecurities, I certainly have. Since posting pictures of my new smile I've had nothing but kind, lovely comments but I still pick myself apart. I'm guessing gradually I will become a little bit easier on myself but after years of picking out my little flaws it's going to take some time.

After years of having one tooth that stuck out I was worried that it had become part of me, part of my character, part of my identity and I'd miss it. Boy, was I wrong! I do not miss it at all! Admittedly I keep thinking it sticks out more than the others still but I think that's purely because I've been thinking it for years.

Teeth are weird things to look at on their own so I've decided to change the photo to black and white instead. Black and white effect makes everything look a little nicer right? I've considered whitening them but I'm slightly scared of having them whitened (plus that ruins the enamel on your teeth). I do not want to turn out like Ross Geller!

I mean seriously, look at those results! Invisalign is worth every single penny.

I'm not going to lie and tell you that it's easy peasy, it isn't. It's hard work, you need to have a lot of determination and be motivated (I wasn't always but I'm only human, not a robot). It's ok to slack a little bit sometimes during the treatment process (I'm sure you dentist wont approve of it) but if you do fall back it's ok, don't be so hard on yourself but make sure you get yourself back into things as soon as you can. My mum admitted to me a few months ago that she is surprised I managed to last the whole process. Well mum I did, I knew I was ready, in the right stage of my life, I knew I wanted straight teeth and that was going to take time and effort.

I'm so glad I stuck it out. There would be days where I just really couldn't be bothered with them anymore but to be honest I can feel like that about a lot of things every now and then so I just went with the flow. I knew my fed up days would soon be over and it would be worth it in the end, it really was.

If you haven't followed my Invisalign journey but would like to read all about it I'll leave the links to each post below.









I've got to bring this post to an end at some point so I'll end it with a little message for my wonderful dentist, Ihsan at Bawtry Dental Clinic. If you live in the South Yorkshire/Nottinghamshire area and you want a new dentist or are considering Invisalign go visit Ihsan, you won't regret it. I'm struggling to put into words right now (I know, hard to believe?) what I want to say to you that I haven't already said Ihsan so I'll just end this post with a massive thank you, you've been incredible throughout this whole experience! Thank you for being the dentist to believe in me and make this possible. I'll see you in six months! :)

Anxiety lately...

Anxiety, you are weird. Sometimes in a little way, sometimes in a rather large way depending on what kind of day it is? I honestly don't know. Either way you are downright strange. I understand you are there to protect us, to make us aware of danger but sometimes there really is no need for you.

I'm being serious, sometimes you just aren't welcome.

I'm talking about when you are with me during my working day or when you're with me when I'm at home chilling. I'm talking about the other week when I was driving to work, feeling like a failure and I just burst into tears and turned back around. (I did later make it back into work and continued fairly normal). I'm talking about when you feel the need to make me worry about every physical sensation, the digestive system, every normal bodily function isn't a threat. So let's not treat it like one and we will get on just fine.

One minute I think I'm understanding you and the next thing you're making me question if I actually do really know you at all. I thought we was working as a team and were pretty understanding. We were getting along just fine until lately.

You're making me fear things that don't need to be feared, you know going to work isn't exactly scarily dangerous. I work with wonderful people who try their best to understand my mental illness but it's proving a little tricky to explain when I don't even know why you are like it myself some days.

Anxiety, lately you are a mystery.

One day I can manage things fine and then bam, not so fine anymore. A few times recently I've managed to get to work and then bam, something happens/hits me and I'm rushing home as fast as possibly can.

Anxiety, what is your problem?

You're making downtime a struggle, I'm talking about going to football. I've been going for over a year now but every now and then you like to make it difficult, why? I sit there so on edge, so uneasy, running through my mind 'do I really need to go to the loo now?', 'am I going to become ill and not manage to make it home?' 'what if we get stuck in traffic?' 'what if we break down on the way home and it takes someone hours to come and save us?' 'what if I'm ill in that time?' 'what if I throw up here?' 'what if I really need to go to the loo and there is a massive que?' 'what if I become seriously ill here?'.

Anxiety, you really are weird. But you know what, it's ok to feel anxious. It's ok to cry. It's ok to break down. It's ok to not be ok.

Of course, it is also absolutely ok to cry and share your troubles with someone who can't answer you back...

Hope you've all had a good day, if you haven't that's ok. Try again for a better day tomorrow.

Anxiety and Invisalign

I'm surprised that it has taken me this long to finally sit and write this post. I've just been waiting for the right time and I feel like now is a pretty good time. A pretty good time to just write out how I'm feeling. Now being the time when I'm struggling a little with the two. Anxiety is tough, add in Invisalign and you've got yourself a battle.

My main physical symptom with anxiety is nausea, I just feel sick, the urge to throw up but yet I never do. It's so weird, frustrating and frightening too. One of the things that eases my anxiety is eating, little and often but that is seriously hard when you have Invisalign.

Imagine having to brush your teeth after every time you eat or drink anything that isn't water, it's a pain and I'm not going to lie I'm getting lazy when it comes to this, I'm only human after all. I have to keep reminding myself this because otherwise I'll just end up beating myself up more about it. Sometimes I'll go for long periods of time without food because just the thought of having to take my aligners out doesn't seem appealing. I'm trying to keep my aligners in my mouth for as long as humanly possible because I want nice teeth. How will achieve these nice teeth? Invisalign, that is how.

Tomorrow, I have my dentist appointment to remove my attachments and technically end my treatment but I've got a few teeny gaps that I want a little closer. But at the same time I'm dreading having hands in my mouth when I feel anxious. Right now it's an ongoing battle. I knew braces of any kind would take time and I've come this far I'm not going to give up now (well so I keep telling myself anyway).

A little message to anyone who lives with anxiety and is considering Invisalign...
You can do it. Once you believe in yourself then you can put your mind to anything. Since being diagnosed with an anxiety disorder I've achieved so much, Invisalign being one of them (well almost fully). You know deep down inside what you can achieve. If you feel you are capable of having Invisalign treatment then go for it. Don't let anxiety hold you back. If you don't feel comfortable with the first dentist then go to another, keep trying different dentists until you are comfortable. You will get there in the end and it will be so worth it.

My Invisalign Journey - 'The good, the bad and the downright ugly...'

Soooo my Invisalign journey is still going on and I thought since I'm coming towards the end I would share with you 'the good, the bad and the downright ugly...' in my own opinion.

Just throwing this out there now, everything written in this post is from my own experience and every single persons experience will be completely different. Don't let me scare you.

Carrying all your cleaning stuff you NEED a funky bag!

Let's start off on the happy side of this journey...


Improved smile, pretty obvious and no explanation needed.

They are hardly noticeable, unless you point them out to people chances are they won't be able to tell.

Less time spent in the dentist's chair, this for me is probably my favourite (maybe second favourite) thing about Invisalign. Not because I don't like my dentist, he is fantastic but who likes spending time in the dentist's chair?

You're in control. Maybe this is more to do with the anxiety in me, who knows? But being in control is always a good feeling, right? You're in control over your braces, you care for them, you maintain them. It's all up to you.

Eating and drinking whatever you want. You are on to a winner with Invisalign if you don't want to be worrying if you can eat this or drink that. You can eat and drink anything and everything because you just whip your aligners out wherever you are. Be it at work, in a restaurant, in the car, in a shopping centre or even at a football match (yes, I've taken them out in all these locations). At first I was worried about people seeing me and thinking "what on earth is she doing?". But then as it became easier to remove the aligners I felt more comfortable and can remove them anywhere. Admittedly I have got to a point recently where I'm lacking effort to take them out to eat often because it is just such a faff sometimes.

Easy to remove, yes I did just say they are a faff (I mean the whole taking them out, brushing your teeth and putting them back in). I'm still sticking with that but they are pretty easy to remove once you've worked out a technique, it's just the rest of the process that's a pain in the bum!

Now time for the middle ground...


The price. I was in two minds about which category to put this one under, so yes it's in the bad but very low on the bad list but also squeezes its way into the good list too. Each persons treatment will cost different, it all depends on which treatment you require but when you look in the grand scheme of things and what Invisalign involves it's worth every penny! Admittedly yes, it leaves you feeling skint but it's certainly an accessory that won't be going out of style.

The taste of the aligners...plastic, YUCK! It tastes horrid at first but you do eventually get used it.

Ok, let's hit the final part of this list...


The horrid morning breathe. It's so unpleasant, some mornings it isn't as bad as others though so that's a silver lining in itself.

The amount of saliva that you seem to produce. When you take the aligners out there is only one word that springs to mind...EWWWW! It really isn't pretty but over time I've noticed I'm producing less saliva, whether it's because my mouth is more used to them. Who knows?

I think I've shared everything I have to share about 'the good, the bad and the downright ugly'. If you've had Invisalign or are going through with it now let me know what you'd add to your list.

bumps in the road

Would you believe me if I told you the two photos below were taken less than 24 hours apart? Ok, yes the right was also filtered too but I just want to get a point across. Just because someone posts happy, nice photos it doesn't always reflect their life. I can't quite believe it myself, the difference I felt inside was so bizarre. That's anxiety for you though I guess. 

I've decided to finally write this post, I've wanted to write it for a week now to share with you what happened last week and prove that bad days still happen for me but so do good. It's all part of living with anxiety I guess.

For the past couple of weeks now I've been struggling, more physically than mentally this time. It's been up and down, what feels like blip after blip, bad day after good day kind of time. But that's life right? It doesn't make it any less frustrating though.

I think the main thing playing it's part in this situation is that for over 4 years now (maybe even more actually) I've been drinking Coca Cola (full sugar kind and diet version too) an awful lot, probably more than I would like to admit some days. It just doesn't seem to stop me from feeling thirsty though, I could drink can after can (some days I would). I dread to think the affect it's had on my insides. Plus apparently it has been known to heighten anxiety, I think it's now having the opposite affect on me since I've stopped drinking it. I seemed better off drinking it for the most part. Weird I know. I've been into a health shop in town and the lady told me never to drink it again, I'm taking her word for it because it is clearly no good.

So just under two weeks ago I decided to stop drinking it, it was great when I was drinking it, but afterwards the slump that followed wasn't nice. I'd feel so sluggish and bloated too. What has followed since stopping drinking it is what I'm assuming are side effects, I'm still not 100% sure. Maybe it's something completely different and not related, but that's the only change I've made recently that could be affecting my body physically. Ahhh, or maybe it's mother nature she loves to mess with me.

Anxiety can make you need the loo or feel like you need the loo an awful lot, we call this nervous wees and poos (don't we Lauren?). But recently this toilet business has upped its game. I don't even think it's anxiety related what's happening (I've no idea, it's just so random and sudden but doesn't seem to stick around for long). I think it's more to the point of side effects from the high amounts of caffeine and sugar in my body, that are slowly leaving my body plus my mum keeps repeatedly telling me it's probably stress too. Ahh, stress you joyful emotion you. That and I'm not eating enough, typical mum concern?

Just before the two weeks of giving up drinking fizzy pop. Every time I drank a fizzy drink I'd be on the loo within minutes, it clearly doesn't want to stay in my body any longer than it needs to. TMI? Am I actually writing this post now? Yes, yes I am because it's affecting me, it could be playing a part in my anxiety levels and it could affect you one day too, or maybe it has before. If this has affected you before or is affecting you now please let me know, it's good to know I'm not alone and going loopy.

The fizzy pop having this affect on me has made me a little bit more (who am I kidding? a lot more) aware of my body. I'm starting to become a little frightened of my bodily functions which are completely normal, the bodily functions that is...not the way I'm reacting to them! It frustrates me because I want to know why I can't just act and think like the majority of people around me.

The second I begin to feel a little uneasy and unwell I can feel my heart racing, my breathing getting faster and I start to feel sick. The sick you feel when you're anxious, not the sick when you are actually going to throw up, thankfully I've learnt the difference between these two. This panic seems to last a heck of a lot longer if I'm away from home. Take last Wednesday for example...

I decided to bike to town instead of driving, the weather was pleasant so I thought it would make a nice change...what was to follow was not a nice change. The night before I'd decided to talk to myself and rationalize with my anxiety and the thoughts that were floating around, part of this talk was to not listen to every body sensation I felt, I don't always need to go to the loo. (I'd really put this into place at football on Tuesday night when I went to watch my local team, I didn't go to the loo once whilst I was there. My body and mind link together and tell each other that I need to go a lot, I really don't).

After the previous night being such a huge success in my eyes, I thought I'd be able to manage this the next day too. Boy was I wrong, whilst I was shopping my body definitely felt like it needed to go to the loo, like really needed to go. Luckily my parents have their own shop so I made my way back there as quick as I could. I don't exactly need to explain what happened next but it lead me into a horrible state of panic. I don't remember the last time I've panicked that bad. I had to ring a friend to come and see if he'd pick me up, luckily he did. All I did was cry and cry and cry some more, even in the car. I have absolutely no idea what caused this but it happened. I got home and just cried and panicked some more. Within a few hours it had all passed and I felt normal and human (as human as can be) again. I cried tears of frustration at how well I was doing, how I didn't understand, how fast things can change, how can they possible be so ok one minute and really not the next? I guess that's mental illness for you. I've now learnt even more it's ok to take each day one day at a time. Plus don't be so hard on yourself.

One of the (many) things that my friend said who picked me up was something along the lines of 'Anna, you are doing amazing, I don't like crowds so I avoid concerts. You face this every day'. You know what, he is so right! I'm facing this every day, I need to give myself more credit. Plus he also said it's ok to have bad days. I feel like there is so much pressure to be forever having good days but that's just not reality. I'm bubbly on the outside because that's just me but the inside is sometimes a completely different story.

What happened the next day after the awful panic attacks? I went to work and managed the whole day absolutely fine. I didn't even mention once at work what had happened the previous day and I don't think any of them knew a single thing. The only thing that is different with me at work at the minute is that I'm occasionally sat at my desk really focusing on my breathing.

Every now and then I think to myself why can't I just be like everyone else? Why can't my brain just not over analyze everything? Why can't my brain just switch off for a day or two? But then I stop and think, everything that has happened or is happening to me now is making me into a stronger person. Plus, it's a little quirky too.

After all my waffle I'm debating whether this post is even worth sharing but I've made the effort and wrote it to prove that living with anxiety isn't plain sailing and it's ok to hit walls (not literally) but bumps in the road are normal and proof that you are trying. Keep going!

setbacks and improvements

Hmm, how to describe how I've been feeling lately? Meh, anxious, meh, panic, meh, self doubting, meh, disappointing, meh! But along with these feelings have come along a few more... amazement, achievement, hope, pride, bravery. When something is going wrong it's so easy to focus only on the negative side of things but if we search a little deeper there is always positive feelings hiding, dig a little deeper and you'll find them.

Over the past couple of months different elements have played a part in my anxiety levels increasing. Sometimes with anxiety there is no reasons, other times there could be a million and one (ok, maybe a slight exaggeration but you know what I mean). These elements have made me doubt myself as a person, am I doing a good job? Made me doubt my own abilities, am I doing it right? Can I actually do this? Made me doubt my worth, is this what I deserve to be treated like? Not only have my thoughts been working overtime, they've made my physical symptoms go sky high too. Sometimes situations and people have an affect on us without us even realizing.

Even though my anxiety has gone up a few notches and I've been struggling to do certain things (football matches and shopping, I'm looking at you)! I've managed to see a lot of improvements in myself too. This week at work I had a panic attack (I've had a few over the last couple of weeks but they've been at home so I've coped a little better. Despite one I had today whilst out picking up a few bits from a shopping outlet). What is your instant reaction when you're having a panic attack? RUNNNN! Run away, escape the danger (imaginary danger most of the time), get home/to a safe place as fast as you possibly can and never return to the place again (or avoid it for aslong as possible). In my early anxiety days I would have done pretty much just that.

Anxiety days now, (I sometimes still run and avoid things but I'm only human, jeeezzz)! However I've accepted what anxiety is and that chances are it's part of me, it will be with me for the long run. I'll share with you now what happened when the panic attack happened at work... I paced a little bit deciding what to do, thoughts going into overdrive, 'I need to get out!', 'I need to leave!', 'I need to go home!'. So I left the building, sat in my car, turned on the aircon, listened to a little bit of One Direction, direct Instagram messaged/texted a few people (acknowledging helps) and calmed myself down. I had considered driving home but I knew it would make going to work the next day even harder. Now I know what is happening I'm able to calm myself down enough to manage them, I even try to understand it (sometimes there is nothing to actually understand). I tell myself what it is that is happening, focus on my breathing, let the feelings and thoughts come and go. Time is the biggest part in this, allow yourself time to relax and calm yourself down. I was actually sat in my car for just under an hour. What happened afterwards though? I made it back into the office and worked until it was home time, yessss! What is such a simple every day thing to some, was a huge victory to me. Leaving the house without wanting to go straight back inside used to be a huge victory, I'm improving without even realizing.

I understand that not everyone is as lucky to have such an incredible, supportive work force. I know how unbelievably lucky I am, I don't take it for granted. My advice to you is be honest about your health, some people just wont get it or even try to get it. But some people will try their hardest and see you for the person underneath the illness.

thoughts, thoughts, thoughts...swimming around my head

Over the past couple of days my mind has been having some kind of never ending merry-go-round going on in there. I'm struggling to see the future in a positive light at the minute. But you know what, that is part of life. Sometimes life will be down and there will be no reason behind it. You know what you've got to do though...

Image found on Pinterest

I'm taking each day as it comes and reminding myself that each day is a new start, filled with wonderful little things that will put a smile on my face.

My main way of expressing myself is through writing. Hey, I'm not saying I'm good at it but it helps ease my thoughts and calms them down a little since I'm acknowledging them. Ignoring them doesn't seem to help matters, it just gets me more and more annoyed. So it's time to express myself.

At the minute my various thoughts that are swimming around in my head are...

"Am I a shitty person?". This is the one that is bothering me the most. Friends seem to come and go, randomly one minute we are fine and the next we aren't. That's life though, I guess. I'm hoping it's nothing to do with me as a person, I guess sometimes friendships just don't work out.

"Will I ever be able to go on holiday again?". I see people sharing their holiday photos and I just find myself thinking 'no, no, I can't do that...how do they do it?'. But then I remind myself at one point I struggled to leave the house, looking back over how far I've come gives me faith that one day I will be able to go on holiday again. A little break beside the sea would be lovely.

"Will I forever be alone?". That sounds really dramatic but hey, the thoughts are working overtime. I've not had a boyfriend for about 7 years now. I don't want to go on any kind of dating app, I just feel like people have so much choices for finding love, or finding a quick shag. What happens if I meet someone, they get bored and end up searching for someone else? Let's be honest, finding someone else in this world we live in right now wouldn't be hard. Internet connection and you're good to go.

"I'm quite happy being on my own, is that a bad thing?" Seeing people in relationships or looking for love makes me question myself. I'm quite happy with just being by myself. Is that a bad thing? Does it make me weird? Weird that I'm not settling down, with a house and a kid? I'm not exactly raving it up getting drunk on the weekends, sleeping with anything with a pulse. I'm just being me, doing what I enjoy and looking after myself.

*exhales*... Just writing all that out has lifted a weight of my chest. Now it's time to go and watch some Netflix...Scream and Pretty Little Liars, I'm coming for you!

Living with anxiety, incredible things can still happen...

Thursday 14th July 2016, just another day? Well kind of anyway.

On Thursday I pushed myself a little in the hopes of being able to meet Olly Murs...

I've never been the kind of person to try and meet celebrities. In my opinion they are just like you and me, with a little (ok a lot) more money and less privacy. I'm still not the kind of person to stalk celebrities or turn up at events for the chance to meet them. Infact if anything, I'd go to an event and be too scared to approach them and ask for a photo. 

As soon as I found out though that Olly was doing a radio tour and would be at a station just over half an hour away I just had to go. I mean come on, it would of just been rude not to. Within minutes of finding out I asked my boss if I could leave work early that day and thankfully she said yes. Hooraaayyy for the nice people in the world! 

The location of the radio station was in the exact same city where a few years ago I was meant to be attending my first ever blogger's meet up (it was a no go for me, it ended with me crying in my car in a side street). Oh, how things change and improve.

After being able to attend this radio tour, I got a big urge to write about it in hopes it will give someone hope. I mean we could all do with some hope, hope that things will get better. They will, trust me! These things just take time, there is no quick fix. Trust me, I'd been hoping for a quick fix for a long time. Eventually all the little steps and hard work pays off.

Maybe I should explain a little about a radio tour. This is my first ever one so I don't know, maybe each one varies? But here is my run down of what happened. We arrived at the location a little before Olly was meant to arrive, we arrived about half an hour before. Other people however had been there since lunch, his expected time was four. Once Olly had arrived he said a quick hello and told us he would catch us afterwards. About an hour and a half later, Olly reappeared (I'm sure times all vary for how long they are in the radio station for). Before Olly was due to come out to see us, his bouncer (I'm guessing, I don't know who he actually was) came out and told us to have our phones in our hands ready on selfie mode, give Olly the phone cos he's good at selfies, one photo per person and then step back. It was very well organised and it went very smoothly, I'm sure all radio tours don't go that well but for my first time I was very impressed. It would of been nice to have been able to have a little chat with Olly cos he is only human after all but there just wasn't time for that or time to have anything signed. 

Right then, maybe now I should explain a little about the process of attending this event, the anxiety I felt and how I managed to stay til I'd seen Olly. 

Waking up, I felt siiicccckkkk! Hello anxiety at a very early time in the morning, thank you for showing your presence, I know you're there. Instead of getting annoyed with my uneasy feeling I just accepted it for what it was and went about my day. Had breakfast, got washed, ready and went to work.

1pm, I finished work early so I could go and hopefully meet Olly. I'd seen on Twitter that some people had waited hours and not been able to meet him so I wasn't 100% sure if I'd get to meet him or not. I'd also seen comments about his security being really rude and mean. I was also starting to worry because I wasn't sure how many people would be there, what they would be like, what the whole situation would be like.  Moving forward anyway in hopes that I would get to see him and be completely fine too, me and my mum got ready and headed over to Lincs FM. Before travelling my body decided it absolutely needed to wee about a million times (ok, more like ten but it feels like a lot more). I've started calling this nervous weeing, apparently it is quite common with anxiety.

3.30pm (ish). We arrived at Lincs FM! Lincoln is filled with one way streets, you know making the journey soooo much easier (I'm kidding). I did a trial run the day before cos I knew I'd find it easier if I'd been before. Car parked up, out of the car... I wanted to get straight back in the bloomin car and go home. But instead I thought 'no, Anna you've got this! You can do this'. Self belief and a little bit of encouragement from yourself makes things so much easier. So I sat on a wall outside the station, filled my face with a mixture of Bach Rescue Remedy Lozenges (I highly recommend these)!, spearmint polos and ginger biscuits. Plus a bottle of water to wash the taste of the three away. Admittedly they aren't a great mix altogether so I ditched the polos and lozenges. Eating ginger biscuits helps me with feeling sick and unease, they help ease my nausea and my stomach. Some therapists class this as 'safety behaviour' but I would much rather eat a few biscuits, drink some water and be able to meet Olly Murs than not and be stuck at home. 

4pm (ish), Olly shimmies on into the studio! At this point anxiety levels had dropped and we managed to move over to the other fans waiting too.

5.30pm (ish) Olly reappeared. He took a photo with each and every single person stood waiting (well what I saw anyway, we left after our turn). 

6pm (ish) on our way home, getting lost on the way after taking a wrong turn. Really hungry, ready for home but one very happy girl.

I've learnt that you've got to push yourself if you want to achieve things and live life. But I've also learnt that sometimes it just isn't possible and that is absolutely fine. Me and my mum go to watch football and a few times now I've arrived and had to leave pretty much straight away and I remind myself that's ok. Sometimes I go and I'm fine within 20 minutes but before that I just can't settle and relax. Life with anxiety is weird but also wonderful too. 

My Invisalign Journey - Time for some extra aligners

So far my journey with Invisalign has flown by, up until my last set of aligners. My attachments were set to come off on 7th June and that should of been the end of my treatment. Unfortunately that wasn't the case, I noticed a small gap inbetween two of my front teeth that hadn't closed over time. Yes, it was only a small gap but I've paid a lot of money to improve my smile so I'm going to get it sorted. So let's start the extended part of this experience.

What can you expect if you need extra trays you ask...you can expect some more impressions. By impressions I mean the rather large gum shield frying pan in your mouth stuffed with play-dough (it isn't really play-dough) producing the mould. It honestly isn't all that bad, it is obviously very uncomfortable and can make you panic/struggle to breathe but just relax (I know, easier said than done), it'll be over before you know it. Unless you end up needing about six attempts to get it right, I have no idea how it took so long this time around when my teeth are a hell of a lot straighter than before. Anyways, it's soon over and done with and then you'll be one step closer to your improved smile.

Once the impressions have been sent away, you'll receive some more aligners to amend any issues that you have with your teeth. Honestly if something is bugging you after your attachments and final aligner comes out don't be afraid to say something. I was a little unsure about mentioning the gap straight away even though for me it stuck out like a sore thumb. I knew I wanted to get it closed but there was no pressure to make a decision there and then, even though in my head I'd already made up my mind. I wanted extra trays, cos I just can't get enough (I'm kidding by the way)! I left it a couple of hours before calling up my dentist to say that I'd noticed a gap and I wanted it to be closed. Two days later I was back in the dentists chair with the lovely gum shield frying pan in my mouth. Impressions sent away, then the waiting began...two weeks felt like a month of waiting.

24th June, time to get some more aligners and new attachments. It still amazes me how they do the attachments because they are all different shapes and sizes. I'm pretty sure the dentist moulds them in to shape on your teeth, it's weird (see the photo for yourself). 

I have no idea why but this time round it hasn't been plain sailing, after the multiple impressions situation surely nothing else could go wrong? Of course it could, I got home later that night after getting my new sets of aligners and attachments fitted. I took my braces out ready to have my tea. Not one but two of my attachments pinged off my tooth and of course I had to take a few photos to share with you. Back again on Monday to have new ones attached.

One piece of advice I want to share with you, no matter how long the journey takes try your best not to get lazy. Over the past month I've gotten really lazy, I haven't been brushing my teeth after every meal, I've just been rinsing my mouth and putting the aligners back in. Don't do it, it makes plaque build up and your gums bleed. My dentist told me to up my game when it came to brushing because I had a build up of plaque, I obviously didn't admit to becoming lazy but it's not a problem because I'm going to get back on track and all will be good again.

Are you currently receiving Invisalign treatment? I love seeing peoples photos of their changing smiles, share yours with me? :) 

what anxiety is like for me, a few years down the line...

Anxiety has been a noticeable part of my life for about 8 years now, there is no wonder it feels like it's never going to leave. I wanted to write about it again because it has improved but it is still there, lurking, ready to pounce.

Just over two years ago I wrote a post 'what anxiety is like for me...' and I now want to do an updated version to prove that things do get better. Admittedly I'm finding it very hard to believe anxiety will ever leave me but I'm managing it a lot better now and there is no quick fix. When you can't see something it's very hard to believe it's true but trust me, anxiety is very real and can be extremely exhausting, frightening, isolating, life controlling, frustrating, the list can go on. Don't ever let anyone tell you anxiety isn't real.

Anxiety for me used to be an awful lot of feeling sick, day in, day out. I'd wake up feeling sick, I'd go to bed feeling a little less sick. I'd feel sick if I ate, I'd feel sick if I didn't. The feeling just wouldn't go away, there must be something seriously wrong, surely? Test after test, no signs of anything physical. I could never quite pinpoint the moment when I started to feel like this for a few days in a row, it just all of a sudden became so normal that I never thought it would leave. But it did, I've now learnt that I actually only tend to start to feel sick when I'm hungry so I know once I've eaten something the levels of anxiety will ease. Just writing this post, I'm finding it hard to believe that I no longer feel that way. How do I feel now though? I still fear being ill, I fear becoming ill away from home. Any kind of illness that can make me be out of control I guess, that's what it all balls down to. Not being in control, panic attacks can make you feel incredibly out of control and vulnerable but trust me, you will gain control again. Just stay in the moment and stick with it, be friends not enemies.

I used to struggle to be out the house for even an hour at some points, I just couldn't do it. I'd get to one place and have to come home within 5 minutes of being there, it was just horrible. Some people have the opinion of 'just do it, just get over it'. Honestly it isn't always as simple as that. It is very frustrating. When you are in the hands of anxiety it is very isolating and very hard to master the things that were once easy day to day things. I'll tell you something though, once you've had the ability to do easy peasy, every day things taken away from you you seriously appreciate it so much more when you become able again. I'll never take simple, little, day to day life things for granted again.

So, what is anxiety like for me today?  It's a lot better, it is still there whether it's the worrying thoughts in my head that I've got some serious illness or disease (a slight headache doesn't mean you have a brain tumour Anna). Or whether it's the negative little voice in my head saying I'll never be able to share my life with someone. Or if it's the little voice doubting me. The little voice is there quite a lot. Anxiety is still there. Just because someone seems okay on the outside, the inside might be screaming a completely different story but that's okay. If you are feeling anxious, that's okay. If you are feeling panicky, that's okay. Whatever you are feeling know it is okay. Things will get easier, take each day one day at a time.

being alone, it's okay.

Everyone around me... their in loving relationships, moving in, being part of a team. I'm currently not doing any of that, it makes me sad but in the same breathe I'm okay with it because my time will come.

Some day a guy will walk into my life and make me wonder how I ever lived without him, I'm sure. In the meantime I remind myself that the people around me might not of been fighting a mental illness and I tell you what, it isn't an easy fight but I will win this war.

Since becoming ill almost eight years ago I've not been in a relationship. Relationships can sometimes be tough but I imagine throwing a little bit of anxiety and panic into the mix would make things interesting and even tougher because I get frustrated enough with myself when I can't do something and I kind of know what's going on in my head.

I mean I can't imagine anyone would want to be in a relationship with someone who can't travel more than an hour away, someone who sometimes is okay and manages going places and other days just doesn't. I just don't feel right now that I'm in any way capable of being in a relationship and you know what, that's okay. Being in a relationship is a choice, it is not compulsory.

There feels like there is so much pressure to be in a relationship and I honestly don't know why. I've seen people go from one relationship to another, jumping from one person to the next like they are jumping on the sofa cushions to avoid the hot lava. Is being single really that bad?

This post sprung to mind over the weekend when I decided to go out on my own, oooh the horror of it. "I mean people actually do that? Hang out on their own? Noooo, I'd rather just stay at home." I imagine that's how some people would react, but not me. If I had to wait for someone to hang out with I'd be waiting a very looonnngggg time and would probably rarely leave the house other than the occasional time and for work. Lifes too short not to enjoy it when you can. Plus I've learnt to do more things on my own.

So I took myself out, grabbed myself some lunch and took myself to the lake close by to enjoy the sunshine and nature. Independence is such a small thing we can sometimes take for granted but I don't anymore, I appreciate it so much since I've had it taken from me before.

If you want to be on your own it's absolutely okay. You don't have to be with someone for the sake of it. I'm a big believer in everything happens for a reason, so someone will walk into your life when you least expect it.

Why should we have to wait for someone to come into our lives and show us our worth? We shouldn't there is one person who is always capable of doing just that...you!

Treat yourself as often as you can, love yourself as much as you can, take care of yourself every single day and most importantly believe in yourself, know your worth.

If you are single honestly it is okay, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being single. Love the life you live, whether it be solo or as part of a team (either way is fine).

If in doubt, blog it out?

When something is bothering me a little I do what I know works best for me, turn to my blog, write it all out. Them negative, pretty pointless swimming fish, that don't help anyone. Atleast typing it out I don't have to explain my slightly craziness to anyone? Nobody needs to run for the hills, I promise.

I'm managing things so much better these days, and by 'things' I mean day to day stuff. Things that I do every single day, day in and day out, my routine. I can function like a normal human in my comfort zone. What happens when something comes up that isn't in my normal routine, something a little out of the blue, out of my comfort zone? Obviously I run the scenario around in my head a million billion times, of course...I mean what else would a completely normal person do?

The main thought spinning around in my head right now is, 'am I going to be out of my comfort zone too much?'

Maybe I should elaborate a little bit more. This weekend I'm going with an old school friend and a few of her friends to watch her boyfriend in a charity football match, great! I'm actually really looking forward to it. It's at the same stadium that me and my mum often go to every weekend (when it's football season of course).

Obviously though I'm left with doubts in my mind. Funnily enough I chat away like there is no tomorrow yet I'm not overly great around people. Some people who know me will probably find that hard to believe. I do a lot of things by myself because it's easier that way, if I panic I'm not letting anyone down. So what happens if I panic when I am with these new people? People who aren't all familiar to me? Will they think I'm really weird? Will they notice that I'm acting a little odd? Will they judge if I suddenly want to go home? Oh god, this is what anxiety does to you. But atleast I'm getting it all out, I might even end up sending this link to my friend to pre warn her what she is letting herself in for. Adele, god help you!

Anxiety makes me realize I can't seem to do things 'normally' anymore. Whatever is normal anyway? Normal must be boring, surely?

My FIRST workiversary!

5th May 2016 marks my one year anniversary in work (proper permanent work)...my workiversary! Just over a year ago I wrote a post about a little (or large depending on how you look at it) life update...my new job and a new found love for a certain nail varnish (cos that's certainly an update worthy post)!

After leaving a job that was making me miserable and taking my sparkle away I was left back at the start of the game, hunting for something else. Thankfully I was approached (by my parent's accountant) for a job filled with all things admin and well a year down the line, the rest is history.*

If you had told me three years ago I would be working Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday nine til five I would think you were totally bonkers! You'd be lying, surely? How could I possibly manage to stay in work for the whole day when I struggled to stay out of the house for long periods of time some days? How could I manage to concentrate? How could I manage to cope with the pressure of work? Well, maybe I can share with you how I got to where I am in work today and hopefully give some of you hope. Trust me, things do get better.

Luckily for me I started off working three hours each day so it wasn't too much but it was enough to ease me in to it. Fast forward six months down the line I'm working pretty much every day. I don't work Wednesdays because it was getting too much for me. But that's life? Life gets too much. When something is affecting your health it really is worth trying a new way to manage it, my way was to take a step back, gain a little bit of control again. Thankfully my boss was absolutely fine with it and very understanding. So four days out of seven isn't bad going if you ask me, especially since I didn't think I'd ever be able to work.

This post has been in the making for about a week now, I'm pretty sure I've said what I want to say now but here is a little message to you though... take your time in whatever you do. Don't try to run before you can walk. Whatever achievement you've made, celebrate it. Treat yourself, look after yourself and keep on loving yourself! Things will get easier, take it from someone who didn't think that was possible.

See you here again next year for my second workiversary!

*I've just had to delete One Direction lyrics out of here because that would not be cool, or would it? Plus it would of possibly filled an entire paragraph.

outside world vs inside my mind, living with anxiety.

Anxiety for me is pretty much a constant day to day battle, it's either there in full swing, swaying back and forth or it's lurking in the shadows.

I'm slowly coming to terms with my anxiety, that chances are it will always be a part of me but that's ok (we are kind of friends now), even though it's frustrating at times.

The levels of anxiety I regularly feel now are at such a lower key compared to the anxiety I felt a few years ago. I'm dealing with it a little better, learning how to work with it instead of working against it.

Just because we can't see someones illness though doesn't mean it isn't real and just because someone doesn't look ill that doesn't mean they aren't. Mental illnesses are pretty much invisible but they are very, very real. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

A few days ago I decided to ask a bunch of my friends both offline and online to describe me in 3 words, just to prove that we might seem ok on the outside but be far from it on the inside. Plus I thought it would make for an interesting blog post.

I asked a variety of friends from those who have known me for years and those who I've only met a few times, all aged between 7 and 50. These are the responses I received from them:
'considerate, caring and too soft',   'caring, reliable and loyal',   'bubbly, frail and bubbly',   'bubbly, kind and hard working',   'funny, joyful and playful',   'kind, honest and loyal',   'kind, warm and determined',   'compassionate, strong willed and dedicated',   'beautiful, funny and considerate',   'kind, loyal and friendly'.

Then I decided to ask a few of my online friends who I interact with on a regular basis. These are their responses:
'selfless, caring and strong',   'kind, strong and inspiring', '  thoughtful/considerate, strong and sweet',   'sweet, funny and brave',   'caring, strong and sensitive',   'loyal, caring and thoughtful'.

Massive thank you to everyone who helped me, it means alot (not that you'll be reading this)! All positive responses, maybe that'll be because I asked friends and not people I no longer speak to. If I asked them the responses might not of been so kind. Now I thought I'd explain how I'm feeling now because writing about what's bothering me inside my mind helps ease it and doesn't give my thoughts power over me.

My thoughts...I'm annoying to be around, people don't want to hang out with me, I must have done something wrong or be a shitty person. I'm too clingy. I worry too much. Anxiety is shit but I'm in control (kind of). What if I get seriously ill soon? I'm not doing this right, I don't understand. Will I ever understand? Will they ever understand?

I'm questioning life itself, what is the point in life? I don't want to die though. What are we meant to be aiming for? I can't get my head around one day we are here and the next day we could be gone.

We are all little ants in a very big dirt pile trying to figure out what to do next whilst fighting our own battles and getting through day to day life.

What if I never meet anyone and I end up alone with no family or friends? What if I can never share my life with someone else because I'm too afraid? I don't want someone else to complete me though, I want someone to stand by my side and support me, I want to be a team.

I'm writing this post in hopes that someone else can relate to it, or just one person thinks 'me too, I've felt like this'. If you have know you aren't alone, ever.

'How many 'likes'? Does it matter?' inspired by Jo Elvin

Most monthly magazines start with an editor's letter and Jo Elvin is the wonderful editor of Glamour (just incase you didn't know). Glamour is my all time favourite magazine, hands down. I buy it every month without fail just because I know it will have articles I can relate to and stories that will make me stop and think about life. It isn't your typical magazine filled with gossip and that is one of the many reasons why I love it!

In the final months of 2015 Jo's letter was called 'How many 'likes'? Does it matter?'. I remember sitting at work on my lunch break reading this and in my head agreeing with every word that Jo had written. One phrase that really stuck in my head, still there now was along the lines of 'someone will always think you're a shit'. You know what, whoever gave Jo this advice is so right. Someone will always think you're a shit, we can't please everyone and we can't make everyone like us. But that's okay.

So 'How many 'likes'? Does it matter?'.

It won't come as a shock to anyone that we live in a world that is filled with constant internet access, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. So many of us use the cyber world to communicate with each other instead of speaking to one another face to face. This upsets me because you really can't beat human interaction, speaking to someone face to face, being in someones company that isn't a million miles away.

Don't get me wrong though because I love the cyber world just as much as the next person, it opens us up to so much more of the world, so many more possibilities, so many more experiences, so many more relationships.

But at what point does the internet become a bad place? In my opinion one of the downfalls of the internet is the constant access, the constant access to compare ourselves to others, the constant access no matter what our mood is. Sometimes the internet is a devil in disguise.

We are all humans and we all just want to be accepted. Accepted for who we are and for who we are not. What makes us feel accepted most online though? The likes? The favourites? The retweets? The mentions? The shout outs? The followers? All of these are just numbers, figures that do not define us as a person.

I wanted to write this post to just address the topic and reassure you (plus myself in the process).

I just want you to know that if you get 4 likes it doesn't make you any else of an amazing person than the person online who got 4,000 likes. You are an incredible, amazing, brave, unique, strong, inspiring person regardless of how many likes you get, how many followers you have, how many retweets you get. They are all just numbers at the end of the day, but you know what single number does matter...1. The one person behind the online account...you, you are important, you matter. Never forget that. You can't please everyone, not everyone will like you, you won't like everyone and that's okay.

Never forget, 'someone will always think you're a shit' but that doesn't matter ('shake it off, shake it off'), we are all different and unique, just be the best you that you can be.

the comparison game, it's pointless.

Recently I've been comparing myself to others a little more than usual because I've recently found out that one of my ex boyfriends is living with his girlfriend and they're expecting a baby, another is engaged and living with his fiancee. I'm absolutely no way near either of them stages in my life but obviously as soon as I found out about them I was down and started to doubt myself, doubting my life. Yes, it was years ago we were together (I've been single for seven years now..and I'm totally ok with that) but I also find that certain people will always stick in your head and have a special place in your heart for a long time, especially if they meant something to you. If someone is in my life then I'll give them my all, admittedly sometimes it isn't wanted but that's just who I am.

I've been feeling really down about this, I haven't just been comparing myself to my two exes I've been comparing myself to everyone around my age it seems, so I thought I'd write about it because talking about whatever is bothering me helps and someone somewhere will be able to relate to this.

I'm completely understanding that things change and people move on but that doesn't make it easy. I know they are just living their lives and rightly so. They aren't doing any of this to hurt me, they've probably forgotten all about me completely. But I guess though when you're in a relationship you don't always see an end to it, you expect that person to stay in your life. I'm a lot more aware now that some people don't stick around but you know what, I'm not going to let that make me bitter. It's just the way life goes sometimes, I'm still hopeful that one day someone will walk into my life and prove me wrong. 

I'm pretty sure the moral of this story is to not care what other people are doing with their lives, it's exactly that...their lives and not yours. But unfortunately it isn't always that easy, so I'm going to share with you a few things I've learnt when it comes to comparing yourself to others (cos I'm starting to feel a little bit of a pro at this)!...

Social media is the worst thing for you when you are in self comparison mode, you'll be scrolling through profiles and thinking 'why is everything so perfect for them?'. Stop right there, nothing is ever perfect and a picture doesn't really capture what's going on in someones life. Some people might post happy pictures as a front, to make people jealous of their lives. Don't be sucked in by this. Live your life, your way and get off social media every now and then. It's good for your soul, honestly try it...there's a whole world out there.

Don't let comparing yourself to others make you bitter, every single persons life is moving at a different pace and that's ok. Your life will work out just the way it's meant to eventually. Photos tend to be the things I compare my life to most but don't let them make you sad. Instead twist your thoughts around. Be happy for people, it will make you a better person and you'll feel a lot more self worth.

You don't have to blend in, you don't have to be doing what everyone else is doing. It's cool not to be 'cool'. One example, I'm twenty four and I've still not been out 'clubbing' because that just doesn't appeal to me but does that make me any less of a person? No, it doesn't. I could write a nice long list of things I haven't done that I 'should' be doing or 'should' have done by now, but that doesn't make me any less of a person and it doesn't make you any less of one either.

Follow upbeat, inspiring and motivational accounts online instead. I'm sure when a lot of people see inspiring and upbeat quotes they want to grab the nearest sick bucket but I don't, I'm a sucker for a positive quote...throw them all my way please and thank you. One of my favourite Instagram accounts right now is nakedwithanxiety. I'll share with you a screenshot of her account and I personally think if you don't follow her you're missing out. Danielle (the girl behind the account) will remind you daily that you are important, that you are amazing, that you are worthy. Her daily reminders just put a smile on my face and make my day a little bit better. We must remember we are never alone, ever.

When you are comparing yourself to others it feels like a very lonely time but it doesn't have to be, someone will be there to listen. Even if it means having to write a blog post about it, someone will listen and you'll feel less alone. 

Reality check, life isn't always sunshine and flowers. Sometimes life is pants and that's ok. This post will hopefully be a little reminder to you that you don't have to be doing everything that everyone else is doing. Just be you and live your life the way you want to live it.

are you watching Thirteen?

For those of you who haven't discovered Thirteen yet, let me introduce you to it...you can thank me later, I'm sure you will.

Thirteen is a five part drama on BBC Three. If you are already watching it like me you'll be probably thinking the same as me...only five?! ONLY FIVE BLOOMIN' EPISODES? I WANT MORE!!! Please tell me they'll be more later on?

I've been dropping Thirteen into conversations whenever and wherever I can and I highly recommend it, if you aren't already watching. I've just checked and it's available for another five months on BBCiplayer but I mean I wouldn't wait another five months to start watching it personally.

Without saying too much I'll explain what Thirteen is about...Ivy Moxam (played by Jodie Comer, incredible actress. She amazes me more and more with each episode, I feel the need after every episode to tweet her how amazing she is...compliments are nice, let's spread more kindness in the world) escapes captivity after being kidnapped thirteen years ago (but did she really get kidnapped?). Over the episodes the story unravels making you question pretty much every character on screen (surely I'm not the only one doubting them). Twists and turns through every episode leaves you wanting more. BBC Three, my friend you have done a superb job on this one.

Now after sharing a slightly blurry/edgy screen shot of the opening title let me share with you what I think so far after watching three episodes, we could be here awhile (I'd only recommend reading the next part if you've been watching Thirteen)...

Ivy, Ivy, Ivy Moxam? Hmmm, is she really Ivy? I really don't know if 'Ivy' really is Ivy, the girl who got taken thirteen years ago...did she really get kidnapped or did she run away? Leaving by choice. Her 'kidnapper' worked at Ivy's school so did she know him?

The day Ivy was kidnapped was a day she decided to bunk off school, my theory is that she actually went to school and saw her mum getting with the headteacher, there is clearly something going on between these two characters. My guess is an affair, without a doubt.

Mark White, Ivy's kidnapper? As the story unfolds more and more I'm doubting he kidnapped her. I think she wanted to be with him and the only way was if she 'disappeared'. Phoebe the little girl he has kidnapped now is just an act, a plan, a game to make Ivy jealous maybe? I think Ivy and Mark were in a secret relationship and that's why nobody will confess that Ivy actually did know Mark. So I think they were in a relationship and they had a fall out and he's fled before the police catch him because she threatened to lie? To make sure he ends up behind bars, kind of a 'if I can't have you, nobody can' way.

Ivy's behavior is beyond odd which is to be expected but I'm still unsure about her. She went back to the house with the police and didn't seem in a distressed way. Maybe she was hoping to find Mark there? During police interviews she has a very peculiar way of acting, again understandable but I'm not convinced.

Tim, Ivy's ex boyfriend...Eloise, Ivy's best friend?...something about these two makes me question what they actually know. I'm just not too sure what it is yet.

The policeman who picked Ivy up and dropped her off at the police station after her calling 999 from a telephone box in the first episode at the beginning has some involvement. As soon as he dropped Ivy off and she was in the building with the case worker he called someone, not sure who but I don't trust him.

The body found in episode 3, I'm not convinced it is Mark White's brother. It's too obvious now, I have a feeling it is the real Ivy Moxam or could it be someone completely unrelated to this story? We will soon find out I'm sure.

If you aren't already watching Thirteen, what are you waiting for?

You are watching it? Share with me your thoughts and theories about it?

Anxiety. It's part of me, it'll be here for the long run...

Life gets busy, we stop finding time to do the things we love...for me one of those things is blogging, I miss it. I just love the freedom of opening up blogger on a blank screen and being able to just write away, about whatever I want to write about, someone somewhere in the world will be able to relate.

I'm here tonight to chat away about my mental health because anxiety is seriously rearing it's ugly head in my life at the minute. But what having a mental illness has taught me is not to fight it, don't argue and battle against it. Just accept it and it will soon become easier again, so I keep telling myself anyway.

A few weeks ago I saw this tweet.

'Having a high functioning mental illness sucks when all you want to do is scream out how NOT okay you are and yet you appear totally fine...'

Inside I was screaming, cheering and shouting ''yes,yes,YESSSSS''. This single tweet made my day and opened up my eyes. We are never alone in what we think we are going through, whatever we are going through we are going through it together with someone else, always.

Mental illnesses are extremely hard to explain to someone who has never been affected. Mental illnesses aren't always a case of it being in your mind, they can and they do produce physical symptoms too. Physical symptoms that can make day to day life that little bit harder but because we look fine on the outside doesn't mean we are on the inside.

Despite anxiety being a part of me I'm still a very upbeat person and when I'm down I don't tend to let anyone see that side of me (minus last week when someone at work asked if everything was ok because I didn't seem positive, I just burst into tears...cos I'm only human and sometimes emotions just let themselves out). Tonight is one of them nights, it's not even 8pm and I'm just exhausted and quite frankly I just want to curl up in a ball and sleep.

Some people's attitude towards mental health seriously sucks, it isn't as simple as just getting on with it or it just being life. But you know what by talking about mental health problems it will soon become easier for people to understand, well I hope so anyway.

Anxiety affects my day to day life just not on the scale that it used to. It's still there, it's the feeling that makes me doubt myself, doubt my ability to do stuff. It's the physical feelings that stop me from going far and doing things. Anxiety doesn't just get easier overnight or disappear, it tends to stick around for the long run but you know what, that's ok. It'll come and go at different strengths, take it from me it does get better though and you'll deal with it better too.

What I've learnt so far with Invisalign...

I'm almost half way through my Invisalign journey, it is crazy how fast the time has gone. At the weekend I changed my aligner to number eight, eight out of seventeen. I knew I wasn't going to do a new post every single time I changed my aligner because I probably couldn't find time or energy to sit and write (I never want blogging to become a chore) so instead I thought I'd do what I've learnt so far with my Invisalign since I'm almost half way through my original set of trays. I've seen people go on about refinements, which I think are the after stages? I'm not 100% sure and there hasn't been any mention of them to me by my dentist so we'll wait and see.

So, what I've learnt so far with my Invisalign (everyone's case and treatment will be different but I thought I'd share what I've learnt so far with my experience)...

The first time you see yourself in the mirror you might think sh*t, what have I done? Is it really going to be so obvious and stick out so much? My answer is no, it isn't as obvious after a couple of days/weeks. You get used to it and it doesn't feel so weird.

Each new tray hurts for about five minutes max (I haven't timed this and we all alter) but every time I change to a new aligner/tray it hurts for about five minutes (if that) and then I (almost) completely forget about them.

Aligners are a tongue magnet. The first couple of days of having my aligner my tongue would keep investigating the aligner. It drove me potty at night time especially but a tip for you, sleep with your tongue stuck out (seriously, it worked for me)!

Removing the aligners will be hard at first but with practice you'll soon become a pro. I still remember the first day of having my Invisalign and thinking 'how on earth am I meant to take these out?'. It probably took me a good ten/fifteen minutes at the start because I just couldn't get the hang of it and I was too scared to break them. Honestly though it does get easier and you'll find a way that works best for you, keep at it!

They'll probably feel really big, alien and noticeable but they aren't that noticeable. My mum didn't even know I'd got them on my bottom teeth. Most people only know I have them in because I tell them and most people's responses are 'what?', 'invisible braces?', 'they really are invisible, you can't even tell'. So push your worries aside, they aren't as noticeable as you feel they are, plus it'll be worth it in the end. I actually remember reading someone complaining about them not being 'invisible', no they aren't fully invisible but there is a lot more noticeable ways to alter your smile. I know which route I'd rather go down.

Plastic isn't a nice flavour, but you'll get used to it (honestly, you will). If you've just started Invisalign and think the taste will never get better, it will trust me. I'm not saying it gets a nicer taste, no. You'll just get used to it, I'm guessing it tastes better than metal. Any metal brace wearers out there, what is/what was it like to have metal braces?

Brushing your teeth after every meal isn't so bad. A lot of people think this is an absolute nightmare and there is nothing worse, they are wrong. If you have Invisalign it's because you want them so you'll be happy to brush your teeth as often as needed to achieve a better smile.

Lip balms will be your life saver. I've never religiously used lip balms, I still don't but I'm trying to change that because damnnnn, your lips will be dry and cracked from all the removing of the aligners. My favourite lip balm to use is Blistex Raspberry Lemonade Blast, not only is it super scrummy but it isn't too slimey neither. Seriously on to a winner with this one. Also another recommended product is the Bubblegum Lip Scrub from Lush, again... this tastes delicious and gets rid of any flaky skin.

Goodbye nicely painted nails. Nail polish will not last long, especially not a polish that is just one colour. But I've found an alternative, I've been loving Models Own 'Jack Frost' because it's sparkly, beautiful and isn't exactly noticeable if it chips (which it will if you are having to use your fingernails to help pry of the aligner).

Other posts about my Invisalign journey...

- My Invisalign Journey, the consultation...

- My Invisalign Journey - the impressions, photos and xray

- My Invisalign Journey - it's ClinCheck time!

- My Invisalign Journey - so it becomes real...

Do you have Invisalign? Can you relate to any of theses? Let me know, I wanna hear from you!

3 years blogging!

A celebration isn't a celebration without CAKE! If I could send everyone in the world one of these delicious cupcakes I seriously would. In the meantime a photo will have to do...

5th February 2013 I decided to start a blog. WOW! Well, that feels sooo long ago now. I've come a very long way from typing my first ever post, it's been a journey in itself. Blogging is a part of my life that I never want to let go of, when I get the chance to write I absolutely love it. Expressing myself to a blank screen or the world (depending how you look at it).

I've grown so much as a person since I started blogging. I've made a few errors over time with my blog but we all make mistakes, nothing is perfect. When I started to blog I didn't expect to be where I am today. I didn't expect to get anything out of blogging, I didn't expect to make friends. I didn't even expect to actually get people reading what I had to say. But now I have regular people reading my waffle and chatting to me, it's great! I didn't expect there to be much more to my life other than my anxiety and panic attacks, look how wrong I was.

I love the freedom it gives you to express yourself. You can literally write about whatever you want, if you have a passion for something write about it. Write about what is relevant to you, whats affecting you in life, what you're going through. You'll be surprised about the response you receive. I've had nothing but lovely comments, even from people I know. You don't exactly expect people you know in real life to ever bother to read your blog but they do (sometimes). People who I know in real life reading my blog scares me a little, yet I write this and the whole world could possibly see it.

Blogging is a journey, I really hope I can continue it.

when someone believes in you, you can achieve so much...

4th February, it's time to talk day! But I personally think mental health should be a all year round topic of conversation. I talk a lot about my mental health so today I'm going to share with you three times when I believed I could do something but because of my anxiety and panic attacks other people didn't believe I was capable. I went on to find other people who did believe in me and I'm currently proving the doubters wrong!

What happens when you believe in yourself but someone else doesn't? You start to believe that the someone else must be right and that you aren't capable, you start to doubt yourself. They are wrong! Step back, do not doubt yourself. I'm going to share three times this has been the case for me.

Learning to drive
The first time I remember experiencing this doubting feeling was when I was contacting different driving instructors regarding starting driving lessons. In pretty much every email conversation I had I mentioned about my anxiety and panic attacks (it was a big part of my life) because I wanted the instructors to know what to expect. I can still to this day (almost two years later) remember the exact driving instructor it was. His response was I should wait until I was better. Wait until I'm better?! I could of been waiting a very long time.

But I eventually came across Sharon, the wonderful lady who taught me the life lesson. I didn't start lessons with Sharon start away, I got in contact a few times before I took that first step and began my driving journey. Since driving I've improved so much as a person and a lot of that is down to Sharon. Thank you for believing in me Sharon, I really am so grateful for finding you and being able to share the journey with you. I will without a doubt recommend Sharon to anyone wanting to learn to drive!

Work, work, work
I really doubted myself (but I'm certain others doubted me more) when it came to working. I wanted to work so badly to get routine and purpose. I never thought I'd be able to work for anyone other than my parents (I applied for plenty of jobs but not much came of it, minus the odd jobs I worked that didn't last long). The days of work used to be very little, I'll write another post about that actually. But how wrong was I? I've been working since May last year and I now work four days a week, nine til five which is a pretty great achievement for me. Yet the 'normal' for others. Luckily I started off working Monday to Friday nine til twelve, but as the work load got bigger and I understood it more, hours increased. I'm so grateful that I get a mid week day off because I know full well I need the work/life balance to maintain a positive, happy state of mind (which is a little hit and miss at the minute). I was working every day but it got too much. My boss is amazing, no doubt about it!

I don't think anyone is a fan of the dentists, surely? After a horrible experience with a dentist I attempted to find a new dentist. I went to this new dentists two or three times. The most recent and last time I'll be going there was for a filling (it is currently my glue dot because it doesn't match my tooth) but there was also talk of braces. He basically explained that it would be a long process, I was very much already aware of that. He said he would refer me to an orthodontist but nothing ever came of that conversation, it came across that he didn't think I understood or would be capable of completing the treatment after panicking a little.

Well, I can safely say I proved him wrong too! I started my Invisalign journey in November/December and things are going great. All down to my new lovely dentist, who put me at ease the second I walked into his room. He is such a calming guy who gives off such a positive vibe. A highly professional dentist (still a human who understands) who clearly cares for his patients and takes pride in his work but is still very down to earth. Thank you Ihsan, I don't think you realise just how much it means.

Three occasions, three people. People all vary, some people will understand you, some people won't. Some people will be kind, others will be cruel. Find the nice people in the world and hold on to them! (not literally, they might find that a little creepy)...

Have you ever felt like people don't understand you? They think you are incapable of things because of your mental health? I think a lot of this is down to the stigma and misunderstandings surrounding mental health. Because we can't see it, we don't talk about it, because we don't see it, we don't believe it's real. Trust me, it is very real.

We all have a mental health, some of us just have a few problems with ours. One of the best places to go for help is your doctor. But you can also use online services too like these two incredible charities... Mind and time to change. Head on over to the websites even if you don't personally live with a mental illness, it might open up your eyes a little bit. Plus the truth is you could be affected at any point in your life.

Have you ever experienced something similar to me? Get in touch, I wanna hear about it :) Let's chat!