"You have anxiety? But you stream and blog?" - Don't mistake composure for ease.

- Blog title taken from Star Trek (Obviously not the first bit..that's me...ha)

You see the girl above in the picture? Yeah, that's me. Full face of makeup, a high neck jumper, straightened hair and a smile on my face. This is what many people perceive or think I look like on a daily basis. But that isn't true. You'll find if you look at every single one of my selfies, I look the best version of me. The occassional instagram story I may show the downside of me, but when I want to look my best I do. Why do I do this? Because I suffer with anxiety.

Yes, the girl who blogs, streams, does instagram videos sometimes. She has anxiety. To be precise, I have generalised anxiety disorder with hints of social anxiety. Alongside these, I have situational depression. I was diagnosed with these first by a neurologist last year. The situational depression was something I had to deal with, as it was situational. I only ever get depressed when experiencing high amounts of pain or anxiety from my other illnesses/stress triggers. But my anxiety was something that needed a war to get over. My anxiety caused many chemical imbalances which impacted on my Chronic Migraine-Vertigo, college life and social life. I started CBT in February 2018, and had 8 weeks of therapy. I found it really helpful in social situations, as that was the focus. I became more confident in myself as a person, and found I was able to do more things I loved, such as blogging, streaming, talking to people on the phone. 

But it didn't help me with the other demons that lurk inside my head. Maybe it could of if I had longer, but I was told after 8 weeks we are discharged to learn. If we find we need more help we can get more, but we need to experience and try what we have learned out. It's been SO hard. And this blog post is how anxiety affects me, and how it most likely effects the others around you who have said to have anxiety.

1. Thoughts (Planning)

The voice inside your head is a powerful thing. It sounds just like you, so you tend to believe it more than the people around you. Even I can hear myself reading this blog over and over in my head as I type, because it gives you that reassuring feeling you're doing something right.

But when you have anxiety, you rely on this voice to calm you, to reassure you, to repeat to you over and over again that you are doing the right thing, even when you might not be.

My thoughts control alot of my daily life. Of a morning I plan out my day in my head, exactly how it should go. And you see the night before? I was doing the same thing, but calculating how many hours of sleep I could get, and how many hours in the day it leaves me to do them things. Now to many, this may seem like a form of OCD, and maybe it is. But isn't OCD a form of anxiety? I will lay there and look at the clock/my phone and go "Oh it's 10:30pm. I need to be asleep by 10:45pm, and then if I can get 8 hours sleep which is 6am, I can...". You may think I'd get to sleep by 10:45pm. Well, you're wrong. I'm stuck in this anxious cycle. Maybe for 2-3 hours. Because my voice is going over and over again, worrying. "Oh it's 10:46pm hahaha...okay lets aim for 11pm". And you can't just go to sleep, because by 11pm, you're aiming for 11:30pm and so on. 

The same goes for daily tasks. I am writing this blog post at 9:55pm. I hope to have it finished in an hour, maybe two so I can read over it. Then I'll put the dog to bed by midnight. But I will overthink that, and try to rush this so I'm done in the hour. Then time is constantly added on in my head. Likelyhood is, this will take me till I'm too tired, go to bed and have to finish it tomorrow instead. Rather than writing till I'm genuinelly tired, I'm exhausted from thinking.

2. Control
This is a big thing in the anxiety world. And when faced with other people with anxiety, it can be so challenging to let someone else be in control. I personally NEED to be in control of everything that concerns me. But only to a limit. Like, I can never decide on a restuarant to go to. Or where to go for a day out, but that's too much pressure on me, and it's not only letting me be in control of myself, but in control of others who may disagree with me.

My control comes to my personal space. Such as my phone, my laptop, my stationery and any of my social media. My neurologist said this is a form of OCD, while mild called "Educational OCD". It's not a common term, but mostly used for patients with anxiety, who lack control of their mental health, so try to stay organised in smaller aspects; such as teenagers who may not keep their room clean, but at school have the perfect pencil case, with a clean desk. 

But control isn't always in neat ways or even in cleanliness. A family member of mine is probably reading this going "Have you seen your room?". I'm not going to lie, my room can get pretty abysmal. Not as bad as people make out, it's mostly clothes. But that's my anxiety again. I constantly feel like I'm in a rush with myself due to the planning thoughts. But that's the thing, my room is "organised" to me and I have that safe space control. I know where everything is, even if some of it is drowned in clothes, I know it's there. And I can still see the floor as a bonus.

My control mainly begins with technology. Ever since we got our first computer ( I was around 7) i challenged myself to master it. It's like I had a calling to master technology. Now I'm 20, I'm not the best, but I consider myself pretty good. I enjoy typing out, figuring things out. I even admin a few facebook groups. Now that's a big port of control; my groups. The reason I have the groups I do, is because other groups to me werent satisfying. They gave me anxiety because either; the rules weren't clear, they didn't make sense, posts weren't organised. I didn't want a group to have power or be a dictator (although others may tell you otherwise), it was to have the control and see what I knew others wanted to. I think, that's why my group Animal Crossing Addicts is so big. Of course, most of the credit goes to my admins over there, I literally wouldn't have Addicts without them. But my ideas and thoughts into what I wanted Addicts to be started with the first thought "Oh my group would be better" "Oh my gosh, could the admins just..type that more clearly?" "Some of their files need updating", and I couldn't do anything about it other than create my own group and see how it goes.

3. Being out | Social Activity
So yeah, I have no social life. Well I do...online. Or if you count my family or my dog's friends. Or my boyfriend's friends. But if I can avoid a situation, I happily will. It again links to the planning. I have to plan the availibility and the day I'd be going out. So "wake up at 6, chill till 7am, feed the dog, take the dog out, wait for dad to wake up, aim for 1pm to go". It's extremely hard to get to that time and actually want to go. I don't know what it is. At CBT, the therapist blamed it on embarassment, and maybe it is a little, I hate the idea of people looking at me. But it's not so from self insecurity, I'd say 10% of it was. But I genuinelly hate being watched, and it makes me so paranoid. We live in a terrifying world, and I constantly fear death. I feel seriously uncomfortable someone looking at me, or walking too close to me. I like to have personal space, or feeling I can take my time, but being watched or being too close to strangers rushes me, causing more anxiety.

The same goes for awkward encounters. Such as asking someone to move out the way, or seeing someone I know. If I'm trying to get to an item on the shelf, I will do laps until I can freely get to that item without hassle. I will stand at the top of an aisle in a shop, and wait for it to be cleared, or atleast where two trolleys aren't in my way to walk down. If I see someone I know, and they stop me and we chat, I will tend to avoid them for the rest of the time in the shop, because it's awkward to stop again, or awkward to say "Sorry I have to go". And again it does lead back to thoughts too. "Oh my god I need to get out of here" "What can be my excuse to not stand and talk?" "Okay if they're going that way, it means I should go the other way". But the thing is, if I do run into that person, I can't turn back round. That's when the palpitations start, the sweating, the nervous thoughts. "If I turn round now, I'm going to look like I'm avoiding them" "Okay, just pretend you have an important phone call or text" "Keep your head up, don't avoid them...but obviously don't look in their eyes" "You're so rude".

It also goes for being "out out". I'm the "old lady" who will stay seated with everyone's bags. I personally hate carrying a bag, but will protect it with my life if I have one. That's an anxiety of mine, loosing something. I get where that comes from though. When I was younger, we were broken into just after New Years. All my Christmas money was left downstairs in my hand bag; the next morning it was found in the next street's alleyway empty. I was devastated, especially with how silly I was to not put it upstairs with me anyway (of course, a robbery is not my fault.) So now I have everything glued to my hip. I will clench onto my bag. I will think "Okay this person is walking close to you, swap your bag over...but don't look suspicious" and I will think that for the whole time.

But sitting down at a table makes me feel secure. If we go to a club and they don't have seats, I'm extremely uncomfortable. And I'm even more uncomfortable if I don't have my safety blanket; my boyfriend. He protects me, he makes me feel safe. So venturing out, makes me even more nervous to a club without him. He'll go up to the bar and order our drinks so I don't have to. He'll watch me while I sit down if he wants to dance. He'll suggest places where I can go and sit. He'll tell people "hey don't leave your bags, Amy is enjoying herself." But that's the thing, my anxiety makes me depend on someone who can't always be like that or always be there. He's a safety blanket.

This is why I avoid situations/going out. My anxiety turns me into a burden on others, a paranoid weirdo and/or gives me such bad thoughts I lock myself away. This isn't all the time of course. There are days I'd happily go out. For example, I only enjoy shopping by myself. I feel anxious being with others when shopping, as I want the freedom and control (para.1) it gives me to not have to wait around for others, and focus on myself. So if I'm going into town, I'm quite happy to do that, if I feel like it. 

4. Speaking

Yes I consider myself a good typer, and sometimes I feel I can talk great online, and conversate perfect English. But the truth is, not always. There are times where I can get words muddled up, or don't enact perfect sentences. And this is due to anxiety.

Now I know this anxiety is because of embarrassment. In school, I always believed I had to get the perfect grades, and uphold the perfect student image. I would never put my hand up, because what if it's wrong? If I knew the answer and knew they could ask me, I rehearsed it over and over in my head, until it was time to say it. But the WORST thing my mind does, is think something random at the most horrible times. Like, have you ever called a teacher Mum instead of Miss? Or been completly speechless when asked something? Yeah I've had them a lot. And let me tell you, someone "normal" may forget them, but people with anxiety NEVER WILL. I called my year 2 teacher "Mum" in the playground once. And she goes "Mum? Am I your mum now?" infront of students, and in that moment I wanted to be swallowed up by the ground. I remember it perfectly, and it's so imprinted on my brain, that I'll probably always remember. And it'll replay in my mind constantly, and I have to shake it out of my head. I think "oh my gosh I was SO stupid" but I was only 7. If you're thinking about something, you're bound to keep thinking about it for a little bit longer. But it was such an anxious moment for me.

I tend to keep my mouth shut in person. It's why it takes a lot for me to come out of my shell. To some people I'm known as a very quiet person. My pain management doctors noted it the other week. I told them if I don't want to talk, I really won't. They said "Yes, you don't talk much". But it's because I'm so afraid of mumbling, so afraid of saying the wrong word or even rambling on about it, and going round in circles.

And sometimes, I say the word wrong, when it is still the same. In year 7, for "southern" I said "sow-thern" instead of "suth-ern" and it's still in my head to this day. A year ago instead of "electrocuted" I said "electrified". Both very embarrassing for me. I personally, blame it on having one really posh parent (sorry Mum!) and one Irish parent. I hear different accents and dialects, and always have. My auntie says that I had an Irish accent till I was around 5. Now I have a scouse accent, and trust me, it's in the same frame of not being able to understand by outsiders. So my words and pronunciation get mixed up a lot. But it's worrying for me. I'll repeat words in my head, until it's time to say it. And I may not even get a chance to say them, because the topic would of changed by the time I've practiced what I said. And then you're put on the spot; so you say nothing.

5. Reassurance | Identity Confusion and Alteration

As I stated before, I rely a lot on reassurance. And it can be majorly unhealthy. I mainly need it from those closest to me, and I don't really know why. It's not really a matter of wanting to feel love, but feeling like I am doing things right, whether in that moment or in life.

One example is doing a shopping list or a takeaway order. I will ALWAYS confirm the lists with my mum a few times, just to check I've done them correctly. I will ask several times "Anything else" because the thought of forgetting something, actually terrifies me, because it's a sign of failure. I also need reassurance on outfits for occasions, or sending a message. I just need to know it's mature, it's correct and compassionate most of the time.

I guess I also need reassurance in love. Love was something I never thought I'd experience. Because of my anxiety, I taught myself how to be independent. I always thought "people in love are idiots" because of how heavily they relied on the other person. But then I fell in love, and I second guess it every single day. I feel dettached from myself. I would never regret Daniel, because I do truly believe he completes me, and is my other half. But i can't help but think "is this real" "what if we did breakup, I'd have literally no one" "I don't know if I could live without him". And that's why I need to know how he feels. Or I need to let him know how I feel to see if he feels the same. I hate change in tone in texts, I hate double texting. And he's probably reading this like "...." but it's true. I never thought I'd fall in love, never mind someone actually fall in love with me. I'm constantly doubting myself, wondering why he is with me, why he puts up with me. But I'm also anxious about the fate of the future. I need constant reassurance, that I'm not a failure in love, and never will be.

I also tend to experience Confusion and Alteration because of this. By now, some will know that I go by Sunnie. My blog is Chronical Sunflower, and I like to be known by Amy or Sunnie. Amylou is not my dead name, so I don't want anyone to think I'm changing because of gender or gender confusion. But, because I like to disassociate myself from myself. Sunnie is a positive name, it relates to the sun, sunflowers and people knowing me as that gives me a sense of positivity. But it also gives me anxiety because why am I highlighting myself as positive when I am not? Does this mean I'm a fraud?

Sometimes I find my voice changing, or the way I act changing. People have asked me before "why are you speaking like that" "why does your accent change from a scouser to a wool?" "why are you talking like a child?". I genuinely don't know if it's a part of my personality, or because my anxiety is trying to make me feel safe. I felt safe as a child, so maybe my child voice comes out as a calming effect. I feel safe changing my accent, because it's fun and different and tends to mean I'm feeling comfortable. But during these things, I also find it really difficult to define who I am as a person. Sometimes I do feel like I have different personalities. Not to a sense that any take over me, don't get me wrong I am not a self diagnoser. But I do change myself quite a lot. And it's an anxiety thing 100%. It's not just because "I like pink stuff one day, then grungey the next", it's because I'm so anxious about being monotone that I need to constantly change and like new things. 

So this is how anxiety affects me pesonally. I could probably go on, but it's causing me a little anxiety trying to think of things. And I definitely feel like I'm rambling. But I'm not the only person who ever feels like this. Maybe you do, your friend, your sister, cousin. Someone dear to you probably suffers with anxiety. Anxiety isn't always feeling nervous, but it affects your daily, social and future life. How do you experience anxiety?

What is a S M O G G Y? My latest twitch stream.


Meet my Dad; Charlie Beats Cancer

Disclaimer: This post may contain triggers or uncomforting stuff. I highlight not to read if you are upset by things such as cancer, strokes, hospitals and many relatable things.

Meet my Dad! My dad has had a HECTIC year to say the least, or should I say life?

My dad has endured being shot at, being attacked, growing up in a stigmatized Ireland, 3 strokes and now has been diagnosed with Cancer. The good thing is my dad is a true fighter, and always been an inspiration to me. My dad has taught me independence, loyalty and best of all, self love. He taught me to always put myself first, and to love myself as much as I can, before loving someone else. He taught me drive, ambition and how to get things you want. He is a true hero to me, both my parents are.

When my dad had the stroke, I was called in, telling us that my dad may not make it, and my world fell apart. So many thoughts went through my head at that moment. But my dad didn't give up, and I saw it in his eyes, he wasn't done here yet. Over the next 7 months, he fought to be back to normal, and although he wasn't 100%, he definitely got past 90%, which for many stroke survivors, happens over years, not months.

In May, he was diagnosed with Type 2 Tonsil Cancer (Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Lympth Nodes). Thankfully, it's curable and early, so will undergo extensive treatment, including Monoclonal Antibody Immunotherapy, to fight it. It is going to be so hard, not only for my dad, but for me, my mum, his family. But if I know anything, it's that my dad will never give up. 

And that's why he asked me to start a blog of some sorts for him, which I did. I started with an instagram (follow here) but it was hard to find pictures he wanted to upload. So we decided on a Facebook Page too, so he can type his feelings out, while I spell check and take photos.

He wanted to raise awareness for Strokes as well as Cancer, and motivate others who have gone through the same to come together with him to raise awareness and fight too. 

So it would be really appreciated if people could come along with us on the journey. Or share it with others, as you never know who you may help. All love and support is welcome and very much needed.

PR Inquiries? Contact: charliebeatscancer@outlook.com

My Top Summer Doggy Tips - featuring #SoxtheSpoodle!

If you've been in the UK, you'll notice we had/have the hottest summer in a while, reaching up to 36C in some places. Sadly, our little puppers haven't been allowed out to enjoy the weather, as it's JUST been too hot. But, there have been some days when it's been okay for them to go out, yet we feel we aren't doing enough for them. So here are my top doggy tips to help your pup in the heat!

1. Stock up on ice lollies/ice pops.
There are of course special dog ones, but my vet simply said to get the 86p cheap ice lollies out of Asda, which we do! As long as they don't contain lactose, you are A-okay to go! Sox is especially fond of the fruit pastille knockoffs from Asda, as he gets a variety of flavours from them! However, limit it to maybe one a day, as it can be a little upsetting for their stomach! Or you can buy special doggy ice pops/ice creams!

We found some Frozzys in our park parlour!

2. Hayfever Tablets.
Yes, some hayfever tablets are safe to give your dog. Not many know it, as we think "oh how would dogs have hayfever?" well they do! My little Sox, HATES grass, and I always wondered why, and it's because of hayfever! We were originally giving him piriton, but now we opt for Asda's own hayfever tablets. However, we always advise talking to your vet before giving.

3. A cooling mat.
You can get them for £2.99 at Home Bargains or £4.99 on Amazon! Of course, our little guy is teething, and within an hour he burst into ours, but he enjoyed the cooling sensation it gave before this! Silly Sox! (It was easily fixed!). It has a cooling gel inside, which gets colder as the dog lays on it. 

4. No hot pavements!
Please, do not take your dogs out on hot pavements. If you're unsure, go out onto your pavement in bare feet. If it's too hot for your feet, it's too hot for them!

5. Water Spray Bottle.
Warning: If you use a spray bottle for punishment, I wouldn't really recommend doing this, as it may confuse your pup.

You can use a Spray Water bottle! Always, always take water with you, when taking your dog out (You can buy these doggy water bottles here) but sometimes it's super hard for a puppy to want to drink with how hot it is. So, we found with Sox, he is quite happy to be sprayed with water and drink it that way, so we put fresh cold water into a spray bottle and off we go! (of course, with a full bottle of water too!) and it works perfectly. It helps your dog cool down after a walk AND during, while also keeping them hydrated and alert!

Want more top doggy tips? Follow our Sox on Social Media! 
We're always sharing our adventures and findings over there! And do you have any summer tips? Leave them in the comments below!

My Current Favourite Youtubers!

I am a youtube fanatic as of late! Up until I think new years, I barely watched youtube. I'd watch the odd makeup tutorial, but never really understood why people were so obsessed...until I found all of these amazing youtubers!

I could literally watch her everyday. She's so down to earth and feels like an actual human, that I enjoy watching her. She's relatable, and she always keeps things real with her subscribers. She's definitely someone I'd aspire to be like. Especially when it comes to getting over some of her anxieties, and pushing forward with her dreams. Always makes it a pleasure to watch!

I have to put these two together, because their collab video, was the first one I ever watched of either of them I think. Emma is just so talented and I definitely see myself in here, especially with her fashion and the way she sees the world. I also think she'd be an amazing best friend. I really enjoyed her vlogmas videos, and I personally think her vlogs make her channel!

So, stepping away from the beauty youtubers for a second, ZaiLetsPlay has to be my favourite gaming youtuber. Although she has her own little niche, she cracks me up! She's so funny, and she has been on youtube for years and highlights the fight you give, to get your dream. I originally found her for my niece, who loves roblox, but as I watched some I got obsessed with her well thought out story lines, and her witty humour. I especially love her Sims series at the minute. I would highly recommend her "American tries" series too!

Again, I have to put them together. Biggs87x is Zai's fiance, and I think the only male youtuber I will continuously watch and enjoy more. His and Zai's videos together are crucial to my down time, and I think he's really sweet and down to earth. Him and Zai, are 100% a power couple.

The queen of Youtube herself. I must say, before I watched Nikki, I had this stigma against her, and that's bad. I thought "why does everyone watch her" "why am I hearing her everywhere", and it was like a reverse psychology, that made me think "No, she must be crap, I can't watch her", and that was honestly how I saw it. But then I watched one of her videos, and was HOOKED. She's literally so cute, and repping it for us big girls out there (and those tall girls too!). She just seems like a gem, and I wish she could come do my makeup everyday, because she is F L A W L E S S. 

And now the king of Youtube. Shane Dawson is a bit different to everyone I've mentioned so far, in terms of; he is well known for conspiracy videos. I have watched his videos in the past, but only really got into them recently, especially with his TanaCon series. I really think Netflix need to snatch him up and make some documentaries with him, because he killed it! And if you haven't watched him, definitely do!  

Yes, another beauty goddess. Laura Lee was another one I had a stigma against. I don't know what it is, but any of the big youtubers, I just tend to think "No, don't give in" but I did and I don't care. Laura Lee is an actual southern bell, and she's so witty and I love that. Watching her do her makeup, and her have that much passion she can just have fun while doing it, makes it worthwhile to watch. Especially with how honest she is, and includes her subscribers in her life.

And finally, but not least, we have another Sophie! Sophie Louise is the cutest thing ever. She just wants to have a giggle, and her nerves make me giggle. To me, she is a beauty guru, but not in the typical sense; in a funny sense. She has serious talent, but never takes herself seriously, and while I want to say "SOPHIE YOU ARE GOOD", she brightens up my negative days.

Do you have any youtubers you'd like to recommend? Leave me a comment down below and I'll check them out!