Posted in anxiety

I USED to have a phobia..

Hola (take thirty-eight) Amigos!

This is a subject I haven’t spoken about before on this blog but I feel like now is as good a time as ever. From the age of about 7 to the age of 15 I battled a serious phobia of rain. It seems pathetic and laughable now, for years I couldn’t get my head around it, CAMHS never overly helped me get over this phobia instead just taught me relaxation techniques and gave me risperidone to hide the anxiety I actually experienced every time a dark cloud came over where I was. With a blog about this I guess the best way to start is at the beginning so here goes..

I know now that this phobia stemmed from my mum being taken into hospital for a serious illness with her heart when I was only 6. When the ambulance came the weather was a usual miserable and dark January day. This became what I focused on when my mum was taken away from me for 8 very long weeks. I have always been close with my Mum, since I was a baby it’s always been her that’s my rock and every scary hospital appointment I had she would be the one by my side. To have that suddenly taken away from me was traumatic and would’ve been for anyone – even more so when I had attachment disorder to her. The easiest thing to blame in my mind was the weather, this escalated until I had a major phobia of the rain, and I don’t use the word phobia lightly – my pet hate now is the word phobia being used wrongly. For 8 very long years of my life, everytime it rained or it was slightly dark outside the emotions I felt as a 6 year old whose Mother was likely to die would fill me.

It took over my life, at every CAMHS meeting I would lie and pretend I was okay, rating my excruciating fear as only a 4/10 when really it was easily a 9 if not a 10. The arguments I used to have with my mum who would stress to me not to sugar coat it because I really did need help was unbelievable. I had one psychiatrist that helped me for several years, coming to my house to teach me relaxation techniques and i’d slowly get better, but once she left CAMHS I hit an all time low. This phobia took over my life, living in England, rain is not something you can avoid easily and my school attendance as well as my social life really did plummet. Eventually, I got to an age (15) where I wanted to stop letting this one petty thing control me and I was determined to go through whatever I needed to do to get rid of this phobia. I had meetings with a woman who came to me at school weekly and after 6 months of sessions with her I finally felt ready to fight this battle on my own. I’m still convinced I owe it to her but she used to drill into me that it was me who overcame this fear on my own and she only provided me with the tools needed to do so. To this day I feel like I owe her my life as she really did completely change it but I know it was my determinism that got me past this phobia which controlled every aspect of my life.

The reason I thought about writing this blog was because today I was driving on my way home and the rain was pouring down, for the first time in a long while I tried to remember what it was like to be filled with anxiety while water came from the sky. Now, it’s almost impossible to remember the life I had with a rain phobia, one that was controlled by an emotion of being purely terrified. There is simply no other word to use which would explain the way I felt, I was consumed by the emotion of being terrified, even on sunny days I was worried about the next time the rain would fall. I was the only child to have their most used app as the weather forecast. To anyone who has a serious phobia then I understand, the most important thing to remember though is that the emotion you feel about your phobic is not due to that, it’s due to what you associated with it. It’s important to separate these two things and to admit to yourself why you feel like you do. It means talking about a traumatic experience in your life but I assure you it’s worth it. Separating your emotions and your phobic stimulus is a key factor in overcoming your phobia and I wish I’d learnt that in CAMHS, long before the mentor I had through school.

A few years ago my biggest want in life was the Speakmans (if you’ve heard of them you know they’re amazing at helping people overcome their phobias) to reply to my countless emails asking for help. Now, my aims in life include being a successful author and having a family of my own one day..if this isn’t proof life gets better then I simply don’t know what is. We all have the strength to overcome the demons we give ourselves. The brain is a very scary place when it leaves you challenging whether life really is worth it but I promise you it is. Mental health problems are not something to fear, if you need help I beg you to talk to someone.

I’m only ever an email away – abigailbrookshalling@gmail.com

Thank you,

Abigail J

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Posted in Autsim

Autism Awareness Month..

Hola (take thirty-seven) Amigos!

April is autism awareness month and I can’t stress enough how important it is that we all place emphasis on the many diagnosis that come under autism. Most people have heard about it and everyone has definitely held an interaction with someone that’s autistic – the majority of the time though you wouldn’t even notice. Those with autism struggle on a daily basis and most of them go unnoticed. Please pay extra attention to those who need it and make sure they know you’re around for them. Some will never feel comfortable telling others they have autism and that’s the horrid stigma of the world we live in.

Most importantly though, DON’T ‘light it up blue’ – this phrase comes from autism speaks – a charity which the majority of those with autism and carers of autistic people despise. First of all, they place emphasis on it being blue because they see the majority of those with autism as ‘boys’ this really isn’t true. They may have a higher percentage of those diagnosed but this generally is more down to the fact girls are better at ‘hiding’ and ‘masking’ it. Their logo is a puzzle piece and this is because they see those with autism as people who have something missing and are therefore not completed people. The aim of this charity is to find a cure for autism – a cure that will never be found and a cure that definitely doesn’t need to be found. Those with autism generally have higher IQ’s than those without. Some of the most famous and highly respected people are autistic – take Tom Hanks, Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein and Susan Boyle for just a tiny handful of examples. Those with autism do not need a cure, they need someone to understand and help when times get tough. They need the stigma of this world to go away, yes we’ve come a long way but we’re no way near close enough. The majority of Autism Speaks funds go to looking for a cure and a test for pregnant women to test if they’re child will have autism and then make the decision of aborting it if they choose to. This shouldn’t be allowed under any circumstances. Autism doesn’t ruin someone’s life, it enhances it. So please, take April as a time to think and look out for those with autism but don’t light it up blue before you’re educated on the charity who promotes this (autism speaks). We’re a world that needs educating and understanding on a disability that has so many beautiful aspects, even if it means they struggle more than others.

As always, email if you need anything or want to ask anything – abigailbrookshalling@gmail.com

Thank you.

Abigail J

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Posted in anxiety, Autsim, Daily update, Uncategorized

Easter and a very low gal..

Hola (take thirty-six) Amigos!

As usual, I’m going to start this blog how I start every other – sorry for the lack of updates! Life’s really getting on top of me at the moment, and I’m at a proper low point. So here’s a nice rant for you all to enjoy!

So 3 weeks ago me and my boyfriend broke up after over a year together, it’s been really tough on me. Originally, it was my idea but as usual it was a rash decision and when I went to see if we could work out he didn’t want me anymore. It’s been so horrible as my self confidence is always low but when someone you really want looks you in the eyes and says they don’t want you anymore it really bloody hurts. I’ve been struggling with the change of routine more than most people would, I’m trying to readjust to being at home most nights or making plans with others. It’s weird not to be round his every weekend and most weekdays but it always takes getting used to no matter what and I understand that. However, the worst thing about it all is that it’s turned my mental health into complete chaos and if I’m truly honest I haven’t felt this down in a very long time.

There’s been nights I’ve cried myself to sleep, nights I’ve drove and drove and drove. I’ve been in such a low place that at times I’ve considered if the world would be a better place without me. My whole happiness has been snatched away and it’s left me with a very dark cloud hovering above me and I’m losing the will to try and get it to go away. I’ve lost most of my motivation for school work and found myself not going in much at all. I’ve lost the excitement of going to university and I’m starting to think maybe it’s best I stay at home. In all honesty, it’s just been an awful couple of weeks and I’m trying to find the light at the end of the tunnel, sometimes though you have to shine your own light and I guess this is one of those times.

I have every hope I’ll find my own happiness again soon enough but I hope it comes in the next week or so as I’m struggling with this weight on my shoulders. It’s all too much stress. The problem with PDA is that you get obsessions with things or people, mine just so happens to be people and my boyfriends end up being the obsession. They don’t know this of course, when we’re going out I’m no different in that aspect to anyone else. However, it’s the aftermath that hits me harder than most. I find myself struggling to find a reason to live and with a new goal to find my happiness in someone else. But I did that last time and I’ve ended up even worse than I was after my last break up so I’m not doing that this time. This is the first time I’ve been on my own for a long period of time (for about 2.5 years) and I’m fully aware it’s now time to find the happiness in myself, no matter how hard it seems.

So for anyone else in a really dark place, struggling to find the positives, I promise you you’re not alone. There’s much better times coming, make sure you’re around to see them. You’ve impacted more lives than you’ll ever know. When you’re in such a down phase it’s easy to dismiss the people that love you, to feel like the world would be a much better place without you around but I can assure you that’s not the case. Everyday you make an impact on people’s lives that you wouldn’t even know; the people at home who are comforted just by your presence, your close friends that do nothing but laugh with you when your around, your pet who runs up to you as soon as they sense your sad, the distant family members who’ve recently liked your facebook posts, the bus driver who sees you every morning on your way to school, the local shop worker who always scans through your favourite chocolate bar, even the person you walked past in the street last night. ALL these people have been impacted by your presence and would feel deep sadness if they didn’t see you most days. Your life is worth living, the future brings so much happiness so please make sure you’re around to see it happen.

As always, I’m an email away and I reply much faster on there than I’m active on here! – abigailbrookshalling@gmail.com

Thank you so much for reading if you do get the far – it’s been very ramble-y!

Also, Happy Easter – eat all your chocolate and worry about the weight after, you’re all beautiful!

Much love to you all

Abigail J

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