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Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Living With Anxiety & Being A Blogger

Anxiety is an mental illness that is always overlooked.I personally feel that its not talked about enough, and that it should be taught in schools to prepare people that are either suffering from it already or being ready for the future.I was diagnosed with anxiety disorder 4years ago, after struggling through my teens with exhausting panic attacks.This could of been prevented, if I was diagnosed earlier on and that I was able to confront the panic attacks, but instead I was told this was normal and that I should just get on with it.At the time, I did somehow deal with it, despite having the worry of "what happens when I have that horrible feeling again?" because back then I had no idea what it was and I thought I was going crazy.I was studying computing at the time and the coursework would get stressful, but it was part of my routine to wake up every morning to go to college that kept my mind distracted from the dreaded "panic feeling".During that time, I started up my own blog because I wanted to help other people find products for there natural hair, because back then we only had access to U.S brands via Amazon or the hair shop.This stopped after around 8months, because I was in a controlling relationship at the time and my partner wasn't liking the attention that I was getting, so I stopped it to make them happy.

How I started up blogging again and why:
I didn't realise it back then, but blogging was also my way of coping with things and making others happy.Sounds really clique I know, but I love being able to help other people in any way that I can and just talking about hair products at the time seemed to be helping lots of people.I knew that I needed to get rid of the default template of my blog, so I purchased one off Etsy, which kicked off my blog straight away.I then changed it again in 2016, to something that was more personal to me style wise and what I'm all about.My anxiety between 2013 to early 2015 was up and down, because I had been pushed around quite a bit, and I always had my blog to come back to to keep me focused.
If you look at my blog or my instagram posts, you will see a few differences between myself and other bloggers when it comes to taking pictures.One of the biggest, is that I hardly go to any events, especially if it involves a lot of travelling.This isn't because I'm not interested, because believe me I really want to be there, but its that horrible feeling of "what IF this happens?"It may sound dramatic, but for anxiety sufferers its a thing we can't just "turn off".The second is that I don't go and do a lot of location posts, but this was mainly around mid 2016.I have a really good reason for this one though which wasn't just down to anxiety, and was in fact due to an accident that happened to a family member which caused a lot of stress and worry for everyone.I found it extremely difficult to focus on my blogging and I needed time away from it to care for that person.

I wanted to use the picture of me and my kitten to show exactly how anxiety could affect me physically too.This photo was taken in 2014, and this is probably the skinniest that I've been.I had very little energy too, so when it came to taking photo's back then, I would set my camera on video and screenshot my pictures in my room.On this occasion my kitten wanted attention, but you can see how skinny I am in this photo.Back then I didn't realise this and looking at myself in that photo churns my stomach a little.I never saw myself as "too skinny" and actually thought I was fat, so seeing this picture is a real eye opener.


The constant blogging thoughts influenced by anxiety:
Blogging for some people is seen as a job or just a hobby.For me at the moment, its a hobby, because I enjoy sitting here writing up blog posts like this one and not wanting any money for it.I've only ever charged for work when a brand has approached me asking for a sponsored post or payment comes within the contract that we've agreed on.2016 was a really good year for me blogging wise, but my anxiety still got in the way for many reasons.One of the reasons which impacted me a lot, was being let down by the NHS, who kept pushing me about and not offering me the treatment that I needed.This is also linked to what I said earlier about a family member being in an accident, but my brain pretty much switched to "auto pilot" mode to cope with the situation.
Its actually not surprising on how many bloggers or influencers that suffer from anxiety or any other mental health problem.The few that I know which I'm not going to mention to respect them, aren't very open to it with there followers because they're scared of the backlash and not getting any work.I was exactly the same, being worried that no one would want to work with me and to be honest, I still get that doubt everyday.

"Why would a brand want to work with me when I can't go to there events?" 
"I feel like I'm taking up someone else's collaboration opportunity because I'm not there in person"
"Why pick me when theres thousands of better bloggers out there?"

Those are a few questions that I do ask myself, because the anxiety restricts me from the potential that I can achieve.I've always been open on my social media about my anxiety and with brands via phone/email, because I want them to fully know who I am and what kind of blogger that I am too.I tend to contradict myself along with the thoughts I've had above as well, because 99% of the time of when brands contact me, they know about my anxiety struggles and they still want to work with me.Its not just about me giving them publicity and promoting them on my social media, but its knowing that I'm always 100% honest with what I talk about and I enjoy engaging with my audience/readers/followers.I don't blog for views or to get popular, because thats not how I work, its about making a change in society to make men and women feel comfortable with themselves, whether thats talking about natural hair, accepting your body (yeeep including those belly rolls), mental health or even your culture, you shouldn't be made to feel that you're not good enough.I'm not the best when it comes to writing content when I look at other bloggers, but as long as I'm making a change, whether it be big or small to make that persons day, then I feel like I've accomplished something really good.On that note, I hope this post has given some insight on who I am when it comes to my blog work and doing it alongside with anxiety and also to the many other bloggers/influencers out there that may suffer in silence.You are NOT alone