A-Z Challenge, Challenges by Sarah, Haibun, Poetry by Sarah

X is for Xenial

The the word xenial is defined as “the friendly relationship between a host and guest”. Hang on a minute, I hear you say. Isn’t this A-Z about Anxiety? How can that be friendly?” Bear with me a minute as I explain… The person suffering from anxiety is obviously, the host. Anxiety, is the host’s guest (albeit an unwelcome one most of the time!) In order for Anxiety to exist, she needs the host. Otherwise, she has no purpose and not enough fodder on which to survive. Here’s where it gets interesting. Anxiety also needs the host to believe she is a friend, not foe, otherwise the host will just kick her out. She beguiles you into believing all those thoughts and worries, are her way of cautioning you. Looking out for you. Having your best interests at heart. How kind to have a friend who cares so much. But Anxiety is a master of deception. Don’t believe it for a second…

With a friend like this,
who needs enemies? Evict
the unwanted guest.

By Sarah ©2018

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Photo by Pree Bissessur on Unsplash

Prompt: A-Z Challenge, 27 April 2018 – X

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A-Z Challenge, Challenges by Sarah, Haibun, Poetry by Sarah

W is for Wellbeing

Author’s Note: W was nearly going to be for “worry”, but I felt that over the last few weeks with my other A-Z posts, that the sense of worry surrounding anxiety had been clearly conveyed. So instead, I chose W for “wellbeing”.

Having good wellbeing enables us to live life to our full potential. Wellbeing isn’t as straightforward as just being happy. Wellbeing is all the different elements that make us complete, such as, meaningful relationships, knowing our strengths, finding pleasure and our passions, and contributing to a greater cause. A strong sense of wellbeing contributes to good mental health. It also helps to protect us from the feelings of hopelessness brought on by anxiety or depression. Self care is central to promoting a positive state of wellbeing and something I actively work on.

More than being happy,
good wellbeing makes us complete.
Give yourself a break.

By Sarah ©2018

Prompt: A-Z Challenge, 26 April 2018 – W

A-Z Challenge, Challenges by Sarah, Haibun, Poetry by Sarah

V is for Various

There are various forms of anxiety. Recognising the differences between them can assist you in gaining a greater understanding of your loved one and their condition. Generalised Anxiety Disorder (or GAD) is when a person feels anxious most of the time and worries about lots of different things, over a prolonged period. Health Anxiety is similar to GAD, however, the focus is on the person’s health. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (or OCD) is when a person has ongoing thoughts and fears that cause anxiety. Although the person may know these thoughts are untrue, the person often tries to relieve anxiety by engaging in certain behaviours or rituals. Social Anxiety results in an intense fear of criticism, being embarrassed or humiliated, in everyday situations (such as, public speaking or eating in public). A Specific Phobia is when a person feels very fearful about a particular object or situation and may go to great lengths to avoid it. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (or PTSD) can occur after a person experiences a traumatic event. Panic Disorder results in frequent panic attacks. These are intense, overwhelming and often uncontrollable. There are many different types of anxiety and luckily, also many ways to treat them. Effective treatment helps people with anxiety learn how to control it, so it doesn’t control them.

Recognise your type.
Be aware of your symptoms.
Learn to control it.

By Sarah ©2018

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Image credit analogicus via Pixabay

Prompt: A-Z Challenge, 25 April 2018 – V

A-Z Challenge, Challenges by Sarah, Haibun, Poetry by Sarah

U is for Understanding

Anxious feelings are a normal reaction to a situation where a person feels under pressure. Anxiety is more than just feeling stressed or worried. For a person experiencing anxiety, these feelings cannot be brought under control easily. Mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression, are often not discussed openly because of fear of stigma. Unlike physical illnesses that have obvious symptoms that are observed easily; symptoms of mental health conditions may remain unrecognised and misunderstood. Negative views about mental health are often due to misunderstandings, misconceptions or lack of knowledge about the condition. You can help someone suffering from anxiety by showing understanding. Familiarise yourself with the signs and symptoms and be there for them. Listen. Don’t tell them to “snap out of it” or “toughen up”. What they are experiencing is very real and often terrifying.

Be there for your friend
or family member. Don’t judge.
Love and understand.

By Sarah ©2018

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Image credit Pixabay

Prompt: A-Z Challenge, 24 April 2018 – U

A-Z Challenge, Challenges by Sarah, Haibun, Poetry by Sarah

T is for Terror

Terror, terror, in my core. Who’s the unfairest one of all? During all my years of struggling with anxiety, I have experienced countless panic attacks. The uncontrolled feelings of sheer terror, that escalate with every little physiological or cognitive symptom, is truly one of the worst aspects of this condition. When you are in the grip of terror, the world plummets beneath you and spirals out of control.

This terror has me
in its vice grip. I can’t
see any way out.

By Sarah ©2018

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Image credit Pixabay

Prompt: A-Z Challenge, 23 April 2018 – T

Challenges by Sarah, Mindlovemisery's Menagerie - Saturday Mix

Saturday Mix – Same Same But Different, 21 April 2018

This week’s challenge…

Mindlovemisery's Menagerie

Welcome to the Saturday Mix, 21 April 2018!

This week we are diving into the depths of our thesaurus and exploring the world of synonyms.

Same Same But Different
Your ‘Same Same But Different’ task is to take the five challenge words and NOT use them in your writing. That’s right, you need to dig out your thesaurus and find a synonym for each word instead.

Your words this week are:

  1. paint
  2. release
  3. fan
  4. light
  5. clothes

Your writing form is either poetry or prose.

Synonym Searching
Synonyms are words that are similar, or have a related meaning, to another word. They can be lifesavers when you want to avoid repeating the same word or if your word might not be the most appropriate. You can search for synonyms online at: http://www.thesaurus.com/

You may be asking yourself, What are some examples of synonyms?
Luckily, the nice folks at YourDictionary have some…

View original post 136 more words

A-Z Challenge, Challenges by Sarah, Haibun, Poetry by Sarah

S is for Self-Talk

For those who suffer anxiety, if we listen to our self-talk, it often sounds something like this: “You’re such an idiot!”, “You’re worthless!” or “You’re disgusting!”. But…the good news is that this negative self-talk, with careful practice and attention, can be turned into positive self-talk. While positive self-talk is not an anxiety cure or prevention strategy, for some reason if you say positive things to yourself long enough, those things start to become a reality. Positive self-talk also has the added bonus of simply being distracting without the negative consequences of negative self-talk. The less you’re able to focus on negative, anxiety fueling thoughts, the more they seem to go away.

negativity
flip and turn your self talk ’round
positivity

By Sarah ©2018

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Image credit geralt via Pixabay 

Prompt: A-Z Challenge, 21 April 2018 – S

A-Z Challenge, Challenges by Sarah, Haibun, Poetry by Sarah

R is for Ruminating

Rumination is one of the similarities between anxiety and depression. Ruminating is simply repetitively going over a thought or a problem without completion. The themes of rumination are usually about feelings of inadequacy or worthlessness. The repetition and associated feelings raise anxiety, which in turn interferes with solving the problem.

stop the round and round
repetition helps nothing
just solve the problem

By Sarah ©2018

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Image credit via Pixabay

Prompt: A-Z Challenge, 20 April 2018 – R

A-Z Challenge, Challenges by Sarah, Haibun, Poetry by Sarah

Q is for Quiet

Oh what bliss are those moments where the mind is quiet! We tend to believe that what we think is always a fact. The truth is, when we believe that every thought we have is true, we open ourselves up to a whole world of pain and stress. Don’t let your mind be so loud. By recognising that our thoughts are not facts, we find a lot more peace and quiet. Allow thoughts to float in and out of your mind without judgement. Shhhhh! They are just thoughts.

don’t believe all thoughts
shush any unhelpful ones
to quiet the mind

By Sarah ©2018

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Image credit Monika1607 via Pix

Prompt: A-Z Challenge, 19 April 2018 – Q

A-Z Challenge, Challenges by Sarah, Haibun, Poetry by Sarah

P is for Pyschologist

Where, oh where, would I be without my psychologist? I dread to think! I am fortunate to have found an absolute gem, who helps me enormously. Seeing a psychologist can help you change your thinking patterns so you’re able to keep your anxiety under control and reduce irrational worries. You don’t have to live with anxiety and fear. Treatment can help, and for many, therapy is a good place to start. Certain types of therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and exposure therapy, are particularly beneficial. These therapies can teach you how to control your anxiety levels, worrisome thoughts, and fears. It is important to find the right psychologist for you. If you have had a bad experience or not found therapy to be helpful, keep trying.

Therapy’s worthwhile.
Your insights help me get through…
Indebted to you.

By Sarah ©2018

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Image credit Pixabay

Prompt: A-Z Challenge, 18 April 2018 – P

A-Z Challenge, Challenges by Sarah, Haibun, Poetry by Sarah

O is for Objective

Objectivity is one of those traits we all like to think we have. After all, the best course of action in any given situation, is to consider all the facts and circumstances, and then make the best possible decision. Objectivity works in two ways. First, it helps to remove emotion, allowing people to think more rationally. The other use of objectivity is that it provides a neutral approach that allows a fair discussion to take place. Anxiety can make you lose all objectivity. If it’s not managed, anxiety can cost us opportunities, money, and relationships. Anxiety can cause us to commit cognitive errors because our perception is off. We may project our emotions, past experiences, or backgrounds, onto the person, situation, or event.

Stand back. Consider
– subjective or objective?
See things as they are.

By Sarah ©2018

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Image credit Pixabay

Prompt: A-Z Challenge, 17 April 2018 – O

A-Z Challenge, Challenges by Sarah, Haibun, Poetry by Sarah

N is for Nagging

Anxiety is a nag. She is continually complaining and faultfinding. When surrounded by such negativity, it’s hard to see a way out sometimes. You feel strung up and left out to dry. The constant feeling of worry creates intense anxiety that is out of proportion to the real troubles and dangers of everyday life. While all people experience some anxiety at times, people with an anxiety disorder feel anxious and fearful nearly all the time. They are rarely free of this nagging emotion.

Always trying to
quiet the unhelpful voice.
Nagging serves no one .

By Sarah ©2018

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Image credit Bertsz via Pixabay

Prompt: A-Z Challenge, 16 April 2018 – N

Challenges by Sarah, Mindlovemisery's Menagerie - Saturday Mix

Saturday Mix – Double Take, 14 April 2018

Double take for this week…

Mindlovemisery's Menagerie

Welcome to the Saturday Mix, 14 April 2018!

This week we are seeing double with ‘Double Take’.

The ‘Double Take’ challenge focuses on the use of homophones* to build your writing piece. You have two sets of homophones and you are challenged to use all of them in your response – which can be poetry or prose.

Our homophone sets this week are:

bail – temporary release
bale – bundle of hay

and

fazed – stunned
phased – done in sequential parts

You may be thinking to yourself, How can I use homophones in my writing?
Luckily, Kat at Literary Devices, has some examples for you.

Example of Homophones in Literature
This poem is filled homophones (marked in bold). They create a humorous effect in the poem through having the same pronunciation but altogether different meanings.

Sole owner am I of this sorry soul
pour

View original post 158 more words

A-Z Challenge, Challenges by Sarah, Haibun, Poetry by Sarah

M is for Mindful

“Mindfulness” and “being mindful” aren’t just trendy catch phrases for the modern world. You hear them so frequently because they work. All hype aside, mindfulness simply means paying attention to the present moment. Practising mindfulness can help you to cope with everyday life and deal with anxiety. It can also help you to concentrate, relax and be more productive. Some ways to be mindful include: focusing only on the present moment, concentrating on what’s happening around you, withholding judgement, and engaging in mindful meditation.

Focus on the now.
If your mind roams, bring it back.
Re-training the brain.

By Sarah ©2018

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Image credit Pixabay

Prompt: A-Z Challenge, 14 April 2018 – M

A-Z Challenge, Challenges by Sarah, Haibun, Poetry by Sarah

L is for Lonely

Anxiety is a lonely road. Despite being surrounded by people who love and support you; you can feel totally, despairingly, achingly alone; trapped in the thoughts in your head. In crowds of chaos, you stand adrift. Occasionally, a light shines through, and other voices are able to reach you; reason with you. But when you’re in the grip of a panic attack, or heightened anxiety, these moments are fleeting and fragile. Cold fear surrounds me as I realise this is my battle, and my battle to face alone.

Onwards the journey
takes me on a fractured path.
Solely surrounded.

By Sarah ©2018

Prompt: Olivante Poetry, #NaPoWriMo 2018 – Image 13; and also, A-Z Challenge, 13 April 2018 – L

A-Z Challenge, Challenges by Sarah, Haibun, Poetry by Sarah

K is for Kindness

Anxiety is a harsh critic. Her voice is brutal; even cruel, at times. It cuts to the very core of your self-worth. And so, it is vital, that she is adequately tempered with kindness, in order to preserve the self. This involves being caring and supportive to ourselves when we fail, feel inadequate, or struggle in life – extending the same feelings of compassion to ourselves that we typically extend to others. Most of us are very good at being kind and understanding toward others, but not toward ourselves. Think of all the generous, caring people you know who constantly beat themselves up (this may even be you). When our inner voice continually criticises or berates us for not being “good enough”, all it achieves is making us feel depressed, anxious, and afraid. “Be nice to yourself. It’s hard to be happy when someone is mean to you all the time” (Christine Arylo).

Shut down the critic.
Embrace failings as learning.

Be kind to yourself.

By Sarah ©2018

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Image credit Pixabay

Prompt: A-Z Challenge, 12 April 2018 – K

A-Z Challenge, Challenges by Sarah, Haibun, Poetry by Sarah

J is for Jitters

The word “jitter” can be used as both a noun and a verb. When used as a noun, it describes feelings of extreme nervousness. As a verb, it means to act nervously. When thinking about anxiety, it can definitely apply to both. I often feel jittery – at the start of the day, when I’ve spent too much time on my own or when embarking on an activity that I am not 100% confident with. I would definitely say I often act jittery too. My sister, who I have recently travelled with, used that exact word to describe my behaviour in my anxious moments. I think it is a great word, in either context, to describe how someone who suffers from anxiety may act or feel.

Feeling jittery.
Fight or flight activated.
I’m on high alert.

By Sarah ©2018

Prompt: A-Z Challenge, 11 April 2018 – J

A-Z Challenge, Challenges by Sarah, Haibun, Poetry by Sarah

I is for Indecision

Sometimes anxiety can paralyse you. It can be impossible to make a decision and stick to it. When there are too many options, anxiety loves to play Devil’s advocate. You always second guess yourself and wonder about all the “what ifs”. What if that wasn’t the right choice? What if something bad happens? What if the other outcome was better? What if I create more problems for myself in the long term? These questions plague my thoughts and at times, make it difficult to think with clarity and objectivity. This means my fears have the potential to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. But I guess, making any decision is sometimes better than standing still.

Which way should I turn?
My thoughts, are clear as mud.

Indecision sucks!

By Sarah ©2018

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Image credit music4life via Pixabay

Prompt: A-Z Challenge, 10 April 2018 – I

Challenges by Sarah, Kiwi Capers

All Good Things Come To An End – Day 8, Kiwi Capers

Our week in New Zealand has just flown by. The Clam and I had an amazing time! Incredible to think we were able to pack so much into our time here.

Some highlights for me were:

  • Buller Canyon Jet and Swing Bridge
  • The MANY Beer and wine tastings
  • Incredible scenery, scenery, scenery
  • Spending time with my sis 💜

I invested in a couple of Marlborough’s finest Pinot Noir, so my favourite photo for today is the unique packaging I have purchased to ensure my treasure makes it home safe and sound…

Challenges by Sarah, Kiwi Capers

Christchurch Bound – Day 7, Kiwi Capers

We got up bright and early this morning, to do the Dog Stream Walkway and Conical Hill Walkway in Hanmer Springs. Despite a misty morning, we had a lovely walk and enjoyed the forest and mountain scenery.

After a hearty breakfast we hopped to it and headed for Christchurch, stopping for a couple of wine tastings in the Waipara Valley along the way. Once we checked into our new digs we checked out two local breweries – Eagle Brewing and Two Thumb Brewing Co. A very nice way to spend the afternoon! I especially liked the Two Thumb’s Barrell Aged Oat Stout and Eagle’s Fresh Hop Pale Ale.

It was a cold, wet and pretty miserable day all day today – temperatures maxing at about 10oC, so choosing a favourite photo was a little tricky!

Here is an “artsy” shot of the sky as seen through the trees on the Conical Hill Walkway…