YOUR STORIES: Stop, Breath and Think

This piece comes Rock Out Stand Out Owner/Editor In Chief Lotty Whittingham. In her piece she speaks about the importance of slowing down when you feel under pressure and that it’s OK that you can’t do everything you have set out to do. Here is her story.

About a month ago, I sent a message out to followers of Rock Out Stand Out. The message stated that they had an opportunity to send in their stories about living with mental illness. Giving that I am passionate about spreading awareness and Mental Health Awareness Week was approaching, it seemed like the ideal opportunity.

As the editor of this magazine, I thought I would also write a story about my own experiences with mental illness; particularly how it shaped my career as a journalist. For the past few days however, I found my piece leaning towards an aspect of coping with mental illness. An aspect I am only just learning myself. I am finally learning the importance of slowing down and taking breaks when in high pressure situations.

As most of you know, I have been dealing with anxiety related issues since my mid to late teens. It was particularly most noticeable during university when it was starting to effect personal relationships I had with others and my ability to speak openly about how I honestly felt about things. After years of therapy, I am better with dealing with things now. It might not feel like it at times as it still comes in waves and bounds, particularly when the strong waves make you feel that everyone is watching your every move laying in wait for you to fail.

The past few days, my two roles have proved challenging. By day, I am an admin assistant in a recruitment agency. This job has a lot of important responsibilities and there is often high pressure situations in a sales environment. I also run this website. The music industry is fast paced, and opportunities appear daily so it’s important to be on the ball if you don’t want to miss them.

I am the type of person that would rather get as many things done as quickly as possible and tries to take on as much tasks as possible. Even when I have done said tasks, I will always feel guilty as I feel I should be doing something. This isn’t the healthiest way to do things and I have experienced the negative side effects of trying to do too much. Stress, frustration, panic attacks and fear of letting others down.

If these past few days have taught me anything, we are only human at the end of the day. It’s OK to not to be OK and it’s OK if you need to take a break if things are going too fast. It’s also OK to let people know if you can’t do said task by said date. It’s OK if you turn down opportunities to benefit your mental health.

We live in a fast paced world where it feels like things are moving a million miles an hour and it can leave you feeling left behind. In this seemingly fast paced world, it’s more important than ever to take a step back, breathe and think. Use this time to take a walk in the sunshine, spend time with loved ones, go to an exercise class or whatever you like to do that helps you feel relaxed and happy.

We are not invincible. Stop, breathe, think and take care of yourself. Taking care of yourself isn’t always selfish, often it’s necessary. I know this will be easier said than done and there will be times I might forget to slow down. With these positive feelings of slowing down the past couple of days, I am willing to keep trying and practicing this technique.

Words: Lotty Whittingham

If you or someone you know is experiencing anxiety related disorders, here are some useful websites that provide help and support.

Anxiety UK
Advice and support for people living with anxiety.

No Panic
Provides information, support and advice for those with panic disorder, anxiety, phobias and OCD, including a forum and chat room.

24-hour emotional support for anyone who needs to talk. Calls are free from all providers and do not appear on bills.

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