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I’ve written before about my struggles with mental health and how I have little goals in my mind that I want to try and achieve over the year. I previously wrote that it’s something I haven’t talked much about because I feel very vulnerable discussing it and almost like I’ll be judged by those I know and even those I don’t know. I feel that mental health is a topic that should be discussed more openly and I admire those who are able to talk freely about it without having that constant pang of panic. Or maybe they do and they’re strong enough to over come it.
Anxiety and Depression
I “suffer” from Social Anxiety and Generalised Anxiety Disorder. Chuck some depression in the mix too and you’ve got somebody who, at times, feels like the world is just a little too much. I find social anxiety to be extremely debilitatingg. I want, so desperately, to be out, to be part of the group, to enjoy these experiences all my friends and family can. I want to make the most of life – who doesn’t? I dream of being that person. But the reality is harsh and social anxiety is unforgiving.
That will never be me.
I used to be bubbly; I used to be popular and surrounded by friends; I used to be open and trusting and I used to chat happily to anyone and everyone.
I would give anything to be able to function how I did when I was 18. Unfortunately, a series of events in my life transformed me and things went down hill. At 25 I now battle anxiety every day and learn to live with the mild panic and heart palpitations that come with talking to anyone. Friends and family are used to my inability to focus completely on conversations, look at them for more than a few seconds or keep eye contact. Other people probably think I’m rude or have a weird speech impediment as sometimes I panic and get words mixed up, falter when talking or just stutter and force the words out.
Managing something like this is almost as exhausting as the anxiety itself.
Managing Anxiety, Depression and Stress
I have been using an app on my phone lately called Thrive. It’s an app to help build resilience to and manage stress, anxiety and mild depression. Thrive uses clinically proven techniques, like the ones a GP or therapist may recommend, to help you manage your day to day life. These techniques include things such as mindfulness, meditation and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
As with all things mental health related, time and routine is needed to get the most out of the help.
I have been using the Thrive app for around 4 weeks now and I love the routine of opening it up in the evenings and using it as my own little brain dump.
You should never underestimate how healing expressing yourself freely really is. Upon launching the app, you’re prompted to select your current mood and convey what particular moments or actions have made you feel that way. Based on your answers, Thrive suggests exercises on the app for you to do.
One of the exercises that Thrive frequently recommended for me, and one that I feel benefited me immensely, was breathing. One of those simple things that you always hear about in terms of combatting every day stress, but one that I’d never really taken the time out to actually practice properly. You plug your headphones into your phone, lie back and listen to the gentle instructions and the app lets you concentrate on breathing in and out for a set number of minutes – this time goal increases depending on how anxious or stressed you’re feeling that day.
Having the Thrive app installed on my phone held me accountable for my mental health and forced me to take the required amount of time out from my day to day life to focus on my own mental well being. Taking time out is something we all need to be doing; self care is vital to our general well being and happiness.
I found that after using the Thrive app every day, I was able to go to sleep feeling a little less ‘heavy’. My thoughts had been recorded without much effort on my part, I had been given some recommended exercises that probably only took about ten minutes to complete and I felt ‘lighter’, like there was less weighing my down and fogging up my mind.
You Can Use Thrive Too – For Free!
I absolutely love this app and I’m still using it. The techniques that Thrive uses really are uplifting and mood boosting and your attitude towards life starts to shift slowly from being negative to starting to appreciate the things a bit more. I now tend to evaluate my days, and even if they have been awful, I can put my finger on the good things as well. This gives me a more rounded opinion of myself – something that is vital for many people who struggle with mental health illnesses.
Use This Code To Get A Month Free
The lovely people at Thrive want you to feel good too and thrive! They’ve given me a code to share with you all that is valid from September until October, so you can try out the app for yourself.
Head to thrive.uk.com and enter the code:
*I was given a free trial period to test out and review this app, all thoughts and opinions are my own.