GAD (Generalised Anxiety Disorder)

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Generalised Anxiety Disorder is a long-term condition that causes you to feel anxious about a wide range of situations and issues, rather than one specific event.

People with GAD feel anxious most of the time and often struggle to remember the last time they felt truly relaxed. They are constantly affected by worried thinking, which can affect their daily routines, their work, their appetite and their sleep.

GAD can cause both psychological (mental) and physical symptoms. These vary from person to person, but can include:

  • Dizziness & or heart palpitations
  • Excessive worrying and obsessing
  • Difficulty handling uncertainty
  • Muscle tension
  • Trembling or twitching
  • Headaches
  • Being easily startled
  • Dry mouth
  • Cold or hot sweats
  • Nausea
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Anxiety which can at times lead to panic attacks

GAD can commonly also co-occur with other mental health disorders such as social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, (C)PTSD or depression.

GAD can be caused by genetics, by childhood trauma or loss or by an imbalance of serotonin and noradrenaline in the brain.

If you are affected by GAD, then please feel free to share your experience.

I am offering free initial consultations to anyone who is affected and is in need of support.

Love Athina ♥

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.

 

Status anxiety

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How do we each fit into this world?

Are we defined by whether we have a good job? A good marriage?

Do we feel that we constantly have to measure up to our friends’success?

Do we feel that we have to have the latest gadget, a new car or a big house?

Do we feel like a complete failure if we haven’t secured a stable job?

And what about relationships & family? When someone is single past the age of 40, everyone has an opinion about why that person is still single. If someone is jobless, everyone has an opinion on why that is.

STATUS ANXIETY is a constant worry about whether we are good enough in the world we live in. It is an insecurity about whether our life is a failure or whether it is a success.

Status anxiety is a term I came across after watching a video by Alain de Botton.

Status anxiety happens because we allow our environment to affect our inner world. Status anxiety happens when we allow other people to criticize us or the way we choose to live. It is only natural to become anxious, when we start comparing ourselves to others.

One of the most uncomfortable situations which may trigger status anxiety, is at a social event where you don’t know any of the guests. In such events, such as a party, you can only get to know someone initially by making small talk. You may be approached with questions such as ”What do you do? Where do you live?”. These questions may make you feel uncomfortable or inferior, because you don’t think your job is anything special and you don’t currently like the area you live in. In these situations you worry what the person asking the questions might think of you.

Status anxiety is rooted in judgements or how we think others will judge our choices, beliefs, skills and way of life. Nobody really has any control over the thoughts or judgements of others but everybody has control over how they react to others’ judgements.

If we really don’t care what other people think, then we probably won’t have status anxiety.

Status anxiety also frequently causes envy.We tend to envy in others, what we haven’t quite managed to achieve for ourselves. We may secretly envy the person who seems to have the perfect relationship when we are feeling lonely. We may envy the person who is always going on holidays because we can barely pay the bills with our low-wage job. Envy,  can give us insight into a part of our lives we may need to work on.

What is the most important thing to consider when suffering with status anxiety?

Is it more important to worry because we haven’t managed to develop a good career for ourselves? Is success only measured by having a high salary, a perfect marriage and celebrity status?

What is MORE important, is the meaning WE give to our life. If we are happy with all we have achieved (despite all the difficulties or judgements by others), then that is all that matters.

Our judgement of our own life is the most important.

Not everyone is born equally lucky, supported, intelligent, confident or motivated.

The people who are highly successful in business and are making the big bucks, are usually lacking in many other areas in their life. They may lack emotional intelligence and empathy.

If you had a choice in your life, what would it be?

In my personal opinion, success is being a kind & empathetic person.

Success is being able to self-reflect and being able to help others do the same.

Success is being remembered as a good person.

I believe that success shouldn’t be measured by whether you work, have a relationship or have kids.

Success should be measured by the type of person that you are..

When I die in the future, I would much rather be remembered as a good human rather than a successful businesswoman or celebrity. I would much rather be remembered as empathetic, giving, respectful, generous & lovable. I would much rather be remembered as someone who meant something to someone or as someone who inspired others.

If you find that you suffer with status anxiety, make sure that you define your own life in a way that makes you feel comfortable.

At the end of the day, all that really matters is the opinion you have of yourself and the respect and kindness yougive to others.

Love Athina ♥♥

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.

How to survive over-thinking

Over-thinking an issue or event is a very common coping mechanism for dealing with stress. When there are unresolved issues or stressful situations with more than one possible solution, this is usually what leads to never-ending ruminating.

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Unfortunately, over-thinking is usually linked to depression & anxiety. People that already suffer from a mental illness, are usually big over-thinkers. However, someone can also become mentally ill by starting to think destructively. All it takes is one single stressful life event to trigger unhelpful ruminating.

The best way to cope with your possible over-thinking, is to look at the way you think and to analyse the different thinking errors (otherwise known as cognitive distortions) you may be indulging in.

If you don’t know much about the different types of cognitive distortions, then click below:

Cognitive distortions

Secondly, it is important to challenge any unhelpful thinking patterns by looking honestly at the evidence that supports those thoughts. Sometimes over-thinking can really spiral out of control and what may have started off as a minor problem, might have escalated into a catastrophe. Thinking isn’t always based on actual facts.

Thirdly, it is important to replace any unhelpful or overly dramatic thoughts with more grounded and sensible thoughts. If you are overly critical of yourself or others, then maybe try to tone it down a little. If you are worried that something bad is going to happen, then ask yourself ‘What are the chances of this really happening’? and ‘Is this really as bad as I think?Give yourself more constructive, positive thoughts and even write them down on paper if it helps!

Lastly, try and distract yourself when you are lost in endless over-thinking. Do something you enjoy, which will stop your mind from going into an uncomfortable state of hyperarousal.

Love Athina ♥

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.

 

 

 

Question & Answer- YouTube videos

Today I am starting off my series of Q & A videos, where my viewers and subscribers are able to get their questions answered by me, in a video each week. Please feel free to ask me questions on the following topics:

  • Complex PTSD
  • Narcissistic abuse
  • Dysfunctional relatioships
  • Negative thinking
  • Dealing with emotional flashbacks
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Trauma Bonding
  • Toxic shame
  • Codependency

I also am happy to answer questions on how to :

  • Better manage your time
  • Practice self-compassion
  • Develop resilience
  • Stop self-defeating thinking patterns
  • Better manage your workload
  • Build confidence
  • Set boundaries
  • Deal with toxic people

Here is the first video on a question asked by one of my viewers:

Please note: **I will always keep the identity of my viewers confidential**

Thanks for reading and watching

Love Athina ♥

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.

 

You are loved, you are enough

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I know there are so many of you battling your demons every day..It takes guts..It takes courage to fight the war inside your head..

This post is for all of you who are struggling..One breath at a time is so important when the world is feeling especially cruel..

This blogging community supports so many people with mental illness…

So Reblog this post and support each other..

Love Athina ♥

 

Spreading a little awareness sparkle

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Just a quick post about something that matters as equally as physical health.

We all live with mental health and mental illness can touch all of us at least once in our lifetime.So how openly do we talk about it and how easily do we feel uncomfortable mentioning our struggles to a co-worker, family member or friend?

I have encountered so many of the below unhelpful phrases from ignorant individuals, so for this reason, I will keep spreading awareness of the importance of validating someone’s struggles with their mental health.

‘Don’t dwell on the past’

‘Aren’t you over it by now?’

‘Can’t you just try and be more happy?’

‘Stop focusing on the negative’

‘Strong people just get on with it’

‘Stop being a hypochondriac’

‘Stop being so self-centered’

‘Just snap out of it!’

‘You are just looking for attention’

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Look after yourselves ♥

Love Athina ♥

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.

Recovery is not a destination

I wanted to write a quick post on the topic of recovery. I have embraced and accepted my own journey of recovery but not without many difficult years of wanting to see big changes, too soon..

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I know there are a lot of you battling with the struggles of mental health daily and wishing that you could achieve more.

I also know how disheartened you must feel when you don’t seem to reach your destination of being ”recovered”…This is where the problem lies..Recovery isn’t a destination..it is an ongoing, changing process with ups and downs..

Recovery doesn’t mean you will reach a day where you are recovered completely.What it DOES mean is that you will reach a point in your life where every struggle is much smaller and you will be able to feel better on more days than usual. If you suffered child abuse or neglect, you will most likely have ongoing mental health issues but this doesn’t mean you will suffer in the same way, as you grieve and progress in your healing. If you are a recovering alcoholic or drug addict, you will also know how much of a challenge it is to stop yourself from returning to the one thing that was able to numb you in the past..You are aware that your recovery from the drug of your choice will always be a constant in your life.

Before you are too harsh on yourself and have huge expectations on where you think you should be in your recovery, just remind yourself that everything is unfolding exactly as it should..that there are many small positive shifts happening in your mental health and that no matter how awful the tears, flashbacks, triggers, depression and anxiety are, that there are better days to come..Remind yourself of this when you are particularly low!

If you are recovering from any mental health issues, then this post is for you.

Be self-compassionate, give yourself a pat on the back and keep moving forward in your journey of recovery..Keep looking for resources that may help you along  your journey, seek out a therapist or coach who is experienced and validating and keep all abusive & toxic people away from your life.

Love Athina ♥

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.

 

Youtubes videos are on hold..

Hello, how are you doing? I hope you are looking after yourselves wherever you are in the world ♥

The reason I am writing this post, is because I have had a couple of my followers & subscribers request an improvement in the sound quality of my videos. I was aware that it wasn’t very loud, but had no idea the sound got so bad.It seemed to get worse after I tried removing the background noise. The editing software I used seemed to dull the sound quality for some reason so I wanted to apologise for this and let you know that I am currently dealing with it.

After exhausting all my options in regards to devices I already have ( laptop, ipad, nikon photo camera etc), I have now found a very good webcam which has a great microphone, good quality HD video and also reduces background noise. It has very good reviews on amazon and was also recommended through a few youtubers as well.

This is the link if you are interested: http://www.logitech.com/en-roeu/product/hd-pro-webcam-c920

I always post videos on a Monday because it makes it easier for my subscribers to know when to check in but because I am currently waiting for my webcam to arrive, I will not being doing a youtube video this coming Monday.

I might be able to create another text video for those of you who don’t mind them, so if there is a topic you would like me to cover then please let me know 🙂

Lastly, I wanted to thank summerstartstoshine for nominating me for The sunshine blogger award, which I will write about in a separate post.She is a very kind & courageous blogger, so if you haven’t checked out her blog already then please pop by her page.

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Love Athina ♥♥

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.

 

4 tips before going ‘No contact’ with a narcissistic parent

If you are currently considering ‘No contact’ with a narcissistic parent, then this video might be helpful.

Love Athina ♥

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.

Living as an expat and the additional challenges of those with a mental illness

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Some of you may have had the experience of moving abroad for the first time to follow your partner’s work. Some of you may have actually been the ones that were offered a job in another country. Whatever your circumstances, being an expat is challenging. If the country you have chosen to move to also speaks another language, then this obviously poses another challenge: that of not being able to communicate effectively.

From my own personal experience, being an expat has been eye-opening and tough at times. My husband has a typical full time work routine and I on the other hand, do some coaching, some voluntary work and the odd child-care. The voluntary work & coaching is mostly from home & online and life has felt very isolating at times. Trying to set up an English speaking business in a German speaking country also has its challenges.

Although learning the language in the country you are living in, is the best option by far, for some of us this just isn’t an option. The reasons for this are many. Some people may only be staying in the country for a short time, 1 or 2 years and will then be moving on to another country. Their job requires constant moving around the globe, so learning a new language each time just isn’t worth the time and effort. Others, aren’t able to learn the language due to health problems, other commitments or a general fear of leaving their comfort zone.

From personal experience and if I am completely honest, I don’t like the language in the country I am living in. I really wish I did but unfortunately I don’t. Secondly I don’t have the motivation to put in the hard work to learn it. This all stems from the fact that when we originally moved abroad with my husband, I was only going to be staying for a year and then moving back home to study. If I had known that I would be abroad for nearly 2,5 years initially, I probably wouldn’t have made the move.

Secondly, due to my mental health and the fact that I live with Complex PTSD, motivating myself to learn a new skill is tough at the best of times, due to the many symptoms of my illness. I am triggered often by my surroundings and feel easily overwhelmed. In order for me to do something well, I have to be determined to learn it and also have an interest in it. This is enough to help me push through the uncomfortable symptoms of my CPTSD. The greater the interest in something, the more motivated I am & the better I become at it.

If you think back to when you were at school, your best subjects were mostly the ones you enjoyed, right? If you were forced to learn things you really didn’t enjoy or even understand, then the result is usually one of frustration or boredom. If on top of that, you also struggled with depression or other mental health problems, your concentration & memory might have also been affected. This was something I was very familiar with for most of my school & subsequent university years. Everything had always been a struggle, due to the neglect and abuse I suffered as a child.

Having a mental illness is a struggle in your daily life even when you are within your comfort zone of ‘HOME’ but when you consider the life as an expat, this can be even more overwhelming. Not only do you feel like a fish out of water and have to deal with homesickness but you also have to get used to the dissapproval you constantly feel for not being what others expect you to be. A fully integrated member of the country you are living in. This obviously means knowing the language, having a job and taking part in some social activities. If however, you aren’t able to be this fully integrated member, this makes you miss home more and more. It can trigger episodes of anxiety & depression and every day becomes even more of a challenge.

We are all different in the way we choose to live our lives and that is totally okay. Some of us have never lived outside our hometown and don’t have an interest in ever doing so. Some of us don’t mind moving around to different cities within our country & others choose to move all around the world and absolutely love it.

I think it is always okay to be honest with ourselves and know our limitations. It is ok to admit that living as an expat might be absolutely terrifying for us.For those of us who are lucky enough to have many friends and family living nearby, we might always value these relationships above moving abroad for a job and that is completely okay!

For me personally, I don’t have a problem living abroad in general but I am just not someone who has an interest in languages. I already speak 2 fluently and have constantly travelled between Greece & England all of my life. I am very content with that. I also am happy to support my husband in his work, which is currently in Germany, as he has created the comfortable lifestyle we have. I am very blessed to be able to share this with him. In future however, I would only move to an English speaking country or back to Greece, which is is where I grew up.

In regards to mental health, when thinking about the difficulties and stigma of mental illness in addition to the difficulties of those of us living as an expat, people need to become more aware of the importance of talking about this and being more understanding.

People need to stop stigmatising those people who are making certain choices in their life, which may differ hugely from others. Expats that choose to live abroad but also struggle with mental health issues, need to cut themselves some slack and be more self-accepting. Other expats who live abroad and have absolutely no mental health issues, need to be aware of those of us who do. It is a big challenge!

It can be very isolating to have mental health problems but even more so when you are living abroad. You will already have your limitations and you will find certain things even tougher than you may have thought of originally. Things that never scared you before will feel absolutely terrifying when you are abroad. If you are also living abroad and don’t have any close friends or family to rely on, then this in itself can be very challenging.

The purpose of this post was to raise awareness of the struggles of those with mental illness that live abroad. I feel no shame in admitting that I am one of those people.

Luckily, despite my struggles, I managed to gain a qualification in CB Coaching and am able to support those with bigger struggles than my own, but in no means should I ignore my own daily living challenges in my life as an expat in Germany.

If you are an expat with mental health issues, then please pop by and say hello!

Love Athina ♥♥

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.