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Archive for the ‘Anxiety’ Category

I want a Pensieve. When I first read about Professor Dumbledore’s Pensieve ( a type of stone basin within which one can place and store thoughts and memories) in the Harry Potter series long ago, my immeditate thoughts was “Cool!”. Not long after that it was “I think I need one!”.

Been feeling like my mind has been overwhelmed from one thing after another. I’ve been feeling stressed about my work experience coming up because now I’m not sure when it’s going to be; because the person helping me set it up hasn’t got back to me for over a week now. I’ve been getting stressed over a friend of mine who seems to be having difficulties communicating with me. I’ve been feeling anxious about working on my goals- the main one being working on overcoming my Anxiety enough so it’s no longer so much of a problem for me. At the moment my main way of doing that is socializing more, and using Gradual Exposure to do so without overwhelming myself.

Another stress was my guinea pig, who was old, had sore feet and was eating less. As I knew was going to happen soon, he passed away on the 3rd of September, 2010 at age seven or eight years. 😦 RIP Fruity Bix ( Bix).

As I’m not sure any Pensieves exist in this Muggle world (or whether we Muggles could use them anyway), I guess I’m just going to have to make do with the more, erm, ordinary way of dealing with problems. Actually, I guess this blog is a type of Pensieve. I write things down, and I can always go back over them and see if I’ve missed anything…or just to ‘re-live’ any fond memories.

I’ve found there are a few ways which one can try to relieve worry and stress. Depending on the individual or worry they can be short-term or more lasting relief. The few ways I have tried are: Writing down a list and allocating time to think about the issues at a time where it won’t bring me more stress (i.e. don’t mull over your worries when you are trying to work or sleep), talking to someone you trust about the problem can be helpful. They are someone you can bounce ideas off of about how to deal with and work through a situation. They can also help console you and are often good at finding ways to see things you might not and clearing the picture a bit (basically, they bring fresh eyes to the siutation). Also, if you need some sense knocked into you, or are really freaking out and need a hand to hold or someone to hug you…Hey, that’s what friends are for, right? 🙂

If, however, I’m finding it too hard to write things down, or there’s nobody at the time to talk to, or I’m close to having an Anxiety or Panic Attack, I find just breathing helpful; taking deep, calming breaths (not too deep or I’ll get dizzy which is not the result I want) while counting backwards or visualizing something calming or something that makes me smile has helped give me quick relief before now. however, the down-side, for me at least, has been that I must start the breathing as soon as I realize I’m getting anxious, or I’ll find it difficult to calm myself. Also, I’ve had to continue the breathing for quite a long period of time before now to keep myself calm- which can make it difficult for me to concentrate on the task at hand.

Another way I’ve found helpful is distraction. If possible, distracting myself from whatever it is that is making me anxious and concentrating on something else. The down- side here is if whatever you want to distract yourself from requires a lot of concentration, then distracting yourself from that may not work very well, or be a very good idea. That’s when I revert back to the breathing…

What do you do when you find yourself feeling stressed or worried about something? Whether that be in general or to the point when you’re close to a full- blown panic?

A while back I wrote an “essay” (well, it is about fourteen pages long) of my Goals in Life. I wrote down what my desired goals were, how to get there, what potential ‘hurdles’ were in the way or could cause problems, and how to get over them. Several of my goals were tied in to each other. I’ve been working on these goals for about a month now. I think I’m slowly progressing (and that’s progressing forwards, not backwards- which is always good). 🙂 However, I may elaborate on this a bit more later, as this post is already lenghty and I would like to talk about something else…

Fauna Rescue:

Over the year the phone remains relatively quiet when it comes to receiving calles about injured, lost or orphaned animals. I’m rather limited in space, so I only take in the young, and I really only take in birds, lizards and turtles/ tortoises (well, my mum looks after the reptiles, and I tend to the birds). I may occasionally get a call about birds that have flown into something and have concussions, or lost parrots that can talk (someone’s lost pet), or a lizard trapped in a small pond and can’t climb back out again. However, the time of year I get the most calls is Spring. This is when most young birds hatch, therefore this is also the time they get into the most strife.

As you may have heard South Australia is had a lot of rain of late, and some stormy weather. We humans watch out for falling tress and power lines. Us Wildlife Carers also expect the calls for young birds being blown or thrown out of their nests, or being half- drowned in the rain (and other situations that can arise from stormy weather).

On the 26th of August mum and I received a call from a group of teenagers that had found a Magpie chick. they had been walking when they heard him hit the ground, having fallen or been blown out of his nest. We took him to the Vet, happy to take him into care if he survived the weekend. Unfortunately, however, he did not survive. We can only presume that he received internal injuires from the fall. 😦

On the 3rd of September, the same day my guinea pig died, we received a call about a Raven that was in someone’s backyard. They had to lock their dogs inside as the Raven would not take off and looked drenched to the skin from the rain. When mum and I got there, the raven was sitting on a chicken- wire fence around a garden patch, looked very wet indeed and did not take off. It was only young, a juvenile. Fortunately the next day he showed us he could fly a little (not too strongly but enough to be releasable). We took him back to the home he was picked up from and released him in the front yard. He flew to a low tree and called out to his parents. He tried flying again and, er, crash-landed on the ground but was ok. Suddenly both his parents were there, and, as he ran along the ground trying to take off again and calling to his parents, both is mum and dad flew from tree to tree, calling to him and encouraging him to climb/ fly up too. Last I saw he was doing  alright, and it looked as though his parents weren’t going to let him out of their sight again! 🙂

The most recent rescue was yesterday, the 4th of September 2010. This one was also a young Magpie (though older than the first one). By the sounds of it, he was cornered by a dog (but not bitten), and then the box he had been put in was knocked over by a cat, and then he was recaptured by the person who found him and then brought here to my place. Needless to say he was looking quite shocked when he arrived. I’m not sure the stress has worn off. He didn’t eat anything last night and his only conern this morning was to get out of the cage he was in; he panicked as soon as I uncovered him. Also, his faeces were looking too dark and sloppy for my liking. It looked as though he had diarrhoea, which may be from stress, or it could mean he is sick with something. I won’t know until the Animal Hospital I took him to calls me back.

Fauna Rescue itself can be stressful. “You win some, you lose some” my mum always says. She is quite right, of course. I used to get quite upset when an animal died in my care, or didn’t make it through the night at the hospital. I still get upset a bit, but not so much these days because it’s to be expected. We can’t save every single one. Not all of them can be helped. And I can’t dwell on the ‘why’ too much. Thinking ‘Did I make a mistake?’ or ‘I wasn’t good enough to save that little creature’ doesn’t help at all. So I concentrate on looking after the survivors to the best of my ability. Indeed, I think I have a rather good track record when it comes to ducklings and quite a few of the magpie chicks too. 🙂 Hey, I managed to look after seventeen ducklings right up until adulthood all at once last year! Hmmm, this years’ lot will probably be hatching soon too…

In a couple of weeks or so I’ll be going off call for a while, as I won’t be able to go out on rescues for a couple of weeks. However, if I already have an animal in my care during that time, I will continue to write about it here. 

Thank you for reading! 🙂

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Sorry, I’m busy fighting Fear!

Fear. It’s something we all hear about, and often we feel. That feeling of impeding danger; like something bad is going to happen.

For someone living with Anxiety, this fear is constant; fearing possible futures seems to become almost a way of life. It’s frustrating, incapacitating, and can be depressing. If the Anxiety gets too much, one can feel physically ill and can even have Panic Attacks. Once the anxious situation is over with, one often feels drained of energy- because most of it was used feeling anxious.

Fighting Anxiety can be hard to do, but there are ways. Methods like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy take time but can work. There aren’t really any “quick fixes”, but there are ways to temporarily ‘tone down’ that anxious feeling. One I constantly use is the breathing technique. Most people use this. Basically you take deep breaths through the nose, then let it out again slowly through the mouth. Sometimes, I also count backwards and/ or distract myself from whatever is making me anxious by concentrating on things that make me feel calm and happy.

I’ve found, however, that when I do this I like to be alone because it is hard to concentrate on calming oneself if you’ve got to concentrate on something else too. There’s been a few times when I’ve been trying to breathe myself to tranquility and lost track of the conversation I was trying to have with someone at the same time. ‘Sorry, I wasn’t listening. I was busy fighting Fear!’ :/ Of course, having a conversation with someone could help distract one from their Anxiety, but on those occasions the conversations were on whatever was making me anxious at the time, so I didn’t really feel up to talking about it.

Recently, I’ve been writing down goals I want to achieve in my life. Naturally, overcoming my Anxiety is one. Unfortunately, the barriers to me achieving all my other goals always include Anxiety so it’s something I must work on beating. There is no actual cure to Anxiety (and some Anxiety is actually good for you), but there are ways to learn to live with it to an extent that it no longer poses as much of a problem- it can be dealt with. That’s what I’m working on. Fear will always be there, but not in so much quantity. I have feared fear for too long. It’s time I took control of my own life, and stopped fearing possible futures and start living in the hear and now; take each day as it comes and ‘go with the flow’. I’m going to do all I can to stop letting fear take control. It’s going to be difficult, but I’m still going to try. I’m not going to let fear of failure stop me; becase if I do, then it has won again.

In short I’m going to keep myself distracted and busy, so I don’t have so much time to think about things. The more I think about things, the more opportunity fear has of setting in. I’m going to be more active, then I can tire myself. A tired body tends to be a calmer body; there isn’t so much energy for a full-on attack (plus, it would help me sleep better too). I’m going to allocate time to think about things and write all my worries down. This would stop me from worrying about everything all the time. When I feel Anxiety coming on, I’m going to immediately initiate the ‘breathe and distract’ technique so the fear can’t set in. I’m going to use Gradual Exposure/ Desensitization to gradually get myself used to Anxiety-provoking situations. The more I expose myself, the less Anxiety I’ll have each time.

I’m going to keep at it. Fear/ Anxiety has impacted on my life in a negative way for about eight years now. I’m not going to tolerate it so much anymore. I’m going to learn how to live with it so it no longer incapacitates me; so I am free to make decisions without so much hesitation, and so I can do what I want and need without the suffocatng fear that something bad might happen.

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I started writing this blog in the hopes that whomever may read it might understand the plights of Anxiety/ Depression sufferers. I write this blog, hoping I could perhaps help those that are going through the same thing, or something similar. Part of my blog is also dedicated to my work with Fauna Rescue; a respite from my depressive posts. Also to try and help anyone with an interest in animals or who may be trying to look after the same creatures as me- mainly ducks and magpies. This blog is for those with an interest or who is curious about such things.

I can’t be sure what you readers like reading about the most. My work with animals? Or my more personal posts on Anxiety and Depression? Well, I suppose people read different things. Some would call me foolish for writing about such things on the internet, others may thank me for opening up and writing about my experience, trying to help others along the way. Many sufferers find it extremely difficult to talk about it, even with those they trust and are closest to. I was one of those people at one time. I still am in a way. I barely talk about it with anyone. That’s why I write it down.

Now to explain the title of this post. With Anxiety and Depression, some days are harder than others. So I wanted to apologize in advance to my readers if I don’t post for long periods of time. For a lot of the time it’s simply because I don’t really have anything to say. I have no animals in my care at the current time, or nothing much is happening with my Anxiety, etc. Yes, my Anxiety means I get anxious about a lot of things, but you don’t want to hear about it all the time; and this blog isn’t an autobiography. I’m not going to post about everything. Some things are too darn personal, and that would be downright unwise.

Right now, I’m finding things are getting difficult- again, and I am not sure whether my posts will become more frequent or less so- probably the latter. They may be shorter (sigh of relief from you, I’m guessing- I know, my posts are lenghty!)

All I can say is that it can be quite difficult just to write about something, and then press ‘publish’- if you’re feeling like your motivation to write is barely registering. Sometimes I wonder why I even bother. But I wanted to do this, and if there is a possibility that it is helping people I’ll keep writing. I would like to know though- what do you readers think of my blog? Do you find it helpful in any way?

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Not too much to say today. So just some quick updates.

Fauna Rescue: Haven’t had many calls lately, but I did get one yesterday. It was to come get a magpie that was flying around in a live theatre. Luckily, the woman called back immediately afterwards saying that the bird had managed to find its own way out.

Anxiety/ Depression: A friend of mine has not spoken to me for about a month, and has not answered my messages. I have seen them online, and- no word. We have had no conflict of any kind that I am aware of- just silence. I am confused about the entire thing at the moment and I hope they answer soon so that we can clear things up. I just hope everything is ok. It’s making me feel rather anxious.

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Firstly, I’d just like to apologize in advance for any headaches that occur from reading this post…I just hope it makes sense.

Adelaide had a small Earthquake last night. I was sitting at my laptop, listening to music, when I suddenly felt the floor shudder beneath my feet. It only lasted a few seconds, but it was still a little unnerving. After hearing news of earthquakes and disasters in other parts of the world, I was wondering when it was going to happen over here.

I’m feeling down again. For some reason, ‘friendless’ keeps coming to mind; though I do have friends. They may be few, but they’re there. I may only talk to them mostly online, but I call them friends….Only a few of them are actually my age; most of them are older than me; family friends, my sisters’ friends.

I’ve read that depression can come hand in hand with anxiety; they bind together and make things more difficult to deal with. On one hand you have the anxiety; that barrier that keeps popping up whenever you get anxious about something. Your fears, the ‘what ifs’, those crazy thoughts of feared possibilities that aren’t even likely to happen, that chase each other through the mind. These make you need to challenge your own mind; turn negative thoughts into positive ones, challenge the ‘what ifs’…On the other hand you have depression. That feeling of having fallen into a deep, dark hole that then, on the harder days, starts filling up from the pouring rain. That feeling, when nothing seems to be going right, and all the thoughts streaming through your mind seem to be negative; and all your attempts at challenging them feel feeble. That feeling where you don’t feel like doing anything and all you want is to curl up and try to sleep it off.

I don’t know if its depression; I haven’t actually been diagnosed with it, but I do seem to be having a fair few ‘blue days’. I get anxious about something, and then feel rather sad about it afterwards. Sometimes it’s as if I’ve fallen down a hole, and when I try to climb out of the hole; when I try to challenge the anxiety, it starts to rain. Challenging myself to keep my head high and deal gets harder as the walls become more slippery. It’s scary when you’re alone down there, with the thunder up ahead and darkness rolling in. Sometimes all one wants, all one needs, is a friend. Someone to throw down a rope and shout encouraging words; to perhaps climb down and sit with you for a while; someone to help take your mind off your current predicament.

But not everyone will know when you’re in need of help. No one will know you’re down that hole unless you call for assistance. That’s another trouble with Anxiety. Just calling for help can be a challenge. What if they don’t wanna help? What if they can’t? They have problems of their own, why should I bother them? There’s no need to put more on their plate. Slowly all the negative thoughts fill one’s mind until you give up for a while, sit in the dark, cry with the rain, and let the thunder reflect the anger now building up inside you because you failed again. It’s a vicious circle of fear, anger and misery. One is always looking for the hope, the happiness.

I tend to find happiness with nature, with animals. The environment has a sense of wonder to it, and the animals always make me laugh. Fauna Rescue helps me deal. Yes, it can be stressful, and sometimes even a little depressing; but it helps me challenge myself, and it’s worth it. When I look after animals, when I raise them, I feel like I am needed. I have that sense of duty towards them. The animals in my care are my responsibility, and I don’t want to fail them. When the animals are older, and or are released, I feel I have achieved something and it’s all worthwhile.

My message to sufferers out there: I know it’s hard, even I have trouble with it; but if you feel like you’re slipping, if all you’re doing is crying in the dark, asking yourself what is wrong with you; if challenging those negative thoughts is becoming too much of a challenge…please don’t fear asking for help. It’s at those times when you’re feeling too down to even care that all you may need is a fresh look on things. You’ve already tried yourself, so let someone else guide you a little. I realize you may be thinking “this person has NO idea what they’re talking about!” “I can deal with this myself, thank you!” I have thought the same things. I still do sometimes.  I feel I have to deal with this myself (hence me writing it down, getting it all out). I feel I have to prove I can do it. “Everyone else deals with their troubles, and they’re fine!” Well, no not always. They just pretend it’s all fine. Like you and me, they wear a mask when with others. “No need to trouble everyone and cause unnecessary worry and concern. That’s what I *don’t* need!”

One way people deal with things is to share it with others. You never know, those people may know exactly what you’re going through, or at least been through something similar. Think of the saying “A problem shared is a problem halved”. Of course, the very first step towards healing is realizing and accepting the fact that you actually have a problem. I realized it. I accepted it. I’ve taken steps to try and understand it, and now I’m doing my best learn to live with it, perhaps even find a way to challenge myself so that this will never be so debilitating again.

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Had my first actual holiday last weekend. The family talked me into coming with them to Kangaroo Island. I didn’t particularly want to leave my pets, even just for a few days; but I also didn’t want to regret not going. So I went.

It was ok; the first night was hard. I hadn’t been so far from home before, or been away from my pets for that long either. I feel I have a rather close bond with them. I tried to enjoy myself, however. It was made difficult by the fact that I had no access to internet, and then I found my mobile didn’t have a signal either, no matter where we went on the island! Disappointing. I’m considering changing my provider now.

We didn’t get to all the places we wanted to because we didn’t have the time. It took about an hours drive to get to places from where we were staying. We did, however, get to a wildlife park, a conservation park, a couple of lookouts, saw some fur seals, wallabies all over the place; and we took many photos. I love animals, so that was alright.

Took the Sealink there and back. Overall, it wasn’t  a bad weekend; but I was glad to get back home- and the pets were sure glad to see us!

As we were only going to be away for a few days, we didn’t bother going off- call for Fauna Rescue. We hadn’t had a call in a few weeks. Of course, as we thought would happen, we got a call a couple of days before we left. We had to give them another number, as we were preparing to leave and had no time to take in a rescue.

Yesterday, three days after we got home, we got another call. A young galah had been sitting on the front lawn of a house all day. The woman there said that when she first tried to catch it, it flew up to a tree, but then fell down again. It was also very quiet. Knowing that it could’ve given itself a concussion, and that it had been without food and water all day, we took the galah home and observed it. About an hour later, it still hadnt eaten or drunk anything. It suddenly tilted its head in different directions- and then fell over- like it had had a dizzy spell. When he got onto the perch he stood with his head down.

My mum and I had a quick tea and then took the galah to the animal hospital. They were quite busy, so took him for the night and said they would get back to us the next day.

They couldn’t find any sign of injury to the bird. Though they say he may have hit his head at some point, it seems it was more likely that he was weak because he hadn’t had anything to eat all day. They had given him a couple of feeds via crop feeding over night, and said that he was eating by himself now. The galah is currently back home with us. We are observing him over the weekend to see how he goes. We still have our galah, and they seem to like each other. Galahs are flock birds, and being in the presence of another bird just like him should hopefully help with the new birds recovery.

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Well, here I sit listening to the sadder songs on a soundtrack….as that’s how I’m feeling right now; sad, frustrated, anxious, scared, a little confused but not surprised…..

I beat the anxiety when it came to attending and completing my Work Experience…..and it decided to pay me back barely a week later.

Ever since I got the invitation to a friend’s birthday party, I’ve been feeling anxious about going. A birthday party? A twenty- first birthday party? What’s the big deal, those are fun! You must be thinking. Well, I haven’t yet attended a 21st, except those of my sister’s. Believe me, for someone with Anxiety that has trouble socializing, it is a big deal.

I battled the decision whether to go or not for a long time….my initial decision was to go, but then the night before I wasn’t sure. Today was the party day, and I gave myself a headache trying to find reasons to go. There were plenty of reasons to go, and the same amount of barriers to keep me away. My ‘Pros and cons’ list did not help any. One of the badder (is that even a word?) things about Anxiety is that, if you get stressed out enough, you can actually feel depressed and literally sick.

Anyway, I did not go, and I beat myself up about the decision as soon as I sent my friend the message and apology.

I got more anxious as time went by without a reply from her. Was she angry? Upset? Had she run out of credit like she has done before? Was her phone turned off? Dead battery? Was she just busy?

A couple of hours after the time of the start of the party/ dinner, I was feeling better- and about ready to gather my courage and ask if she still wanted to see me, and if I could drop round and give her her present. I rang the mobile number I had sent the text to a few hours before. “The service has been disconnected…” Oh, maybe I didn’t dial right…try again…same thing…oh, sh*t. I tried the second number I had, both numbers were fairly old, but the first had worked when I had last used it. “The service has been disconnected…” What the-? Was her mobile turned off? Didn’t this usually mean that the number was no longer in use?

I concluded that she may have got a new number (which I didn’t have), and I sent her a message via computer. At the moment I am still waiting a reply. I write this while trying to keep my nerves calm. She didn’t get my initial message when I apologized and gave reasons for not coming to the party (which I sent two hours before it had even started). That means she didn’t get it. Did she think I had stood her up? Did everyone who knew I was invited think I had stood my friend up? I explained in my message about the messages and the phone number I didn’t have. I hope she reads it soon. I hope she understands. I hope she isn’t angry. I hope she had a great night.

The fact remains I allowed my Anxiety to control my decisions- again. I seem to fail more than I succeed. It gets rather frustrating and depressing. Though I wasn’t feeling the best (mainly headache and slight dizzy spells which could be more due to the weather); though there were barriers- I should have taken a deep breath, plucked up the courage and gone anyway- even if just for a little while. People go places and meet people when they’re not feeling well all the time; and though it’s not recommended, they do it.

I wanted to support my friend, I haven’t seen her for ages; but I was anxious about everything else. A place I have never been, people I didn’t know, people I wasn’t sure about- and I get restless when it comes to eating out. It was more than that. It’s rather difficult to explain, and I hope I don’t have to try to explain it better to my friends. Believe me when I say, trying to explain Anxiety is torture. People say they know of it, but they don’t understand. They can’t truly understand unless they experience it.

I don’t know if this post makes any sense, and I apologize for any confusion or headaches reading this may have caused. Right now I shall try listening to more uplifting music, take deep breaths, try and relax, and try to get some sleep, which I didn’t get too much of last night because I was stressing over today.

Wish me luck.

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