It is ironic, if nothing else, when people expect calm down to somehow solve, nay, cure someone’s anxiety, but won’t accept that climate change is real. How naïve it is to believe that a person with depression could simply “stop being sad” and go on about with their day? You cannot recover from anxiety by just staying calm. You cannot recover from depression by just being positive. You cannot recover from anorexia nervosa by just eating more. If mental illnesses were that easy & simple to cure, we wouldn’t be struggling in the first place. I remember reading in Wonder, by R.J. Palacio, “Kinder than is necessary. Because it’s not enough to be kind. One should be kinder than needed”; you’d think that people would know this by now & appreciate how being kind counts as basic humanity, but then we still have things like ‘Mental Health Awareness Month’ & debates on why a wall won’t make America great again. But despite everything, people almost always end up surprising me. I’ve met strangers who believed in me & wished me the best & have had my own friends think I was “asking for attention” or labelled me crazy for talking about my anxiety (or it’s symptoms). To be honest, it feels weird, saying(typing) it out loud, using a possessive pronoun for the anxiety I have; it makes it out to be as if I chose anxiety as my Pokémon. Nobody chooses mental illnesses, they either stem from a traumatic event, or they’re genetic (like anxiety & depression). So, like allergies, anxiety sometimes runs in the family (anxious brains are inherited, that might lead to increased chances of getting other mental illnesses: gotta catch ‘em all). I’ve read books that talk about mental illnesses, & they usually end with the girl/guy/non-binary person getting cured, which in my personal opinion is malarkey. It takes more than 298 pages & a love interest to cure mental illnesses (sometimes you live with them but develop coping mechanisms). This blog isn’t about my anxiety or fighting the stigma surrounding mental illnesses, it’s for being okay with not being okay. For 19 years I’ve had enough time to think of ways to calm down (because therapy costs money $$), and even though posting about your deteriorating mental health on your finsta costs nothing, maybe read through the rest of the article x
If your last search entry on Pinterest was “motivation love quotes artsy tumblr” or if you tend to speak more (within brackets) & you’re sure you have anxiety, welcome to ideas that don’t involve getting drunk on a Tuesday night!
- “You are pretty outgoing for someone with anxiety!”, if people often tell you that, please don’t take it as a compliment. You’re lying to yourself if you know you’re faking that social interactions don’t make you nervous. If you have anxiety, you have to accept it. And talk! Talk about it with your family, loved ones and definitely go & see a counsellor (or therapist). It’s healthy to have a coping mechanism (& no, memes don’t count), but you won’t find out unless you ask for help!
- At Imperial, you have people ready to help you in every step of the way, be it fellow students who are well-being reps in your course, or societies like Mentality that work throughout the year to raise awareness, reduce the stigma surrounding mental health and most notably help people to seek support for their problems. Imperial College promotes good mental health & has counsellors that offer free counselling based on appointments and have helplines dedicated to helping students with issues.
- Emergency Dance Parties: When you feel like you’re stuck in second gear, go into your room (with or without a friend) and dance it out. You don’t have to be a professional dancer, just half-dance-half-scream-the-lyrics to songs you love and de-stress (Bonus: A Playlist)
- Sad Songs: It makes no sense, but sad songs make you feel better & soothe anxiety. You can just shut the world & focus on the music & de-stress! A team of UK neuroscientists conducted a study on sound therapy. Participants had to attempt to solve puzzles, which induced stress while wearing sensors attached to their bodies. They then had to listen to different songs while researchers measured brain activity and recorded their heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure. According to Dr David Lewis-Hodgson of Mindlab International, which conducted the research, the top track to produce a greater state of relaxation than any other music tested to date was “Weightless” by Marconi Union it induced a 65 percent reduction in overall anxiety of participants and a 35 percent reduction in their usual physiological resting rates. The music track features guitar, piano and natural sounds generated electronically. The track also features Buddhist-like chants that can induce a trance-like state.(Bonus: Another Playlist)
- Painting: Maybe you’re an artist, so paint your mood on a canvas, but if you’re an amateur painter, just use colouring books! (https://thesadghostclub.com/products/sgc-colouring-book) feel less alone in this mentally straining world with the SGC Colouring Book. filled with abstract and dreamlike landscapes, you can go on a captivating adventure with your new companion. Or you could use your face as a canvas & experiment using different YouTube make-up tutorials!
- Important Links:
Emergency Triage Clinic(Imperial College London): +44 (0)20- 7584 6301 (24 hour telephone service)
Student Counselling & Mental Health Advice Service: firstname.lastname@example.org
Imperial Website for Counselling: https://www.imperial.ac.uk/counselling/how-to-contact-us/
Other Sources of Help: https://www.imperial.ac.uk/counselling/other-sources-of-help/
Helplines for Mental Illnesses: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/mental-health-helplines/
Samaritans: 116 123 (Helpline for Suicide) (They also offer free drop-ins for counselling)
The Sad Ghost Club: https://thesadghostclub.com/
Mentality Imperial Society: Mentality@imperial.ac.ukThis blog is a very ‘felt-cute-might-delete-later’ blog, but I would like to emphasise on the importance of being kind, to others & to oneself!