Saturday, 17 February 2018

The value of empathy, and understanding

Hello everyone,

Having empathy is being able to put yourself in someone else's shoes, to show them some kindness and care.  I don't think you can truly fully understand what someone is going through whether it be a mental health condition, difficulty or disability but we can all try and show someone a little bit of compassion and kindness.

As with all of my blogs, no two people are the same, and everyone's experiences are different.  We all have our own personal experiences, stories and there are so many different perspectives, even from those in similar situations. For example, someone else may experience anxiety/depression like me but have different triggers. The same with any other difficulties: the charity Dyspraxia Foundation use the phrase, "when you've met someone who's dyspraxic, you've met someone who is dyspraxic."  It's very easy to put people into a box when in reality we are all unique and present uniquely. We all come from different backgrounds, have different family circumstances and different interests.

As someone who has anxiety/social anxiety, I can overthink and worry about many things and find various situations challenging.  My brain can be like a runaway train,  doubting yourself for situations upcoming or ones you've been in, overthinking anything and everything struggling to switch off. Some of the thoughts you can have when you have social anxiety can be; that people will judge you, laugh at you, look at you or are upset with you. These thoughts can trigger the physical symptoms of anxiety/panic and then affect my mood. If you know someone who has anxiety or is, in general, an over-thinker the little things can really help us. This could be; being aware of your tone of voice, being careful of your words e.g. telling someone "not to worry/panic" isn't helpful, or giving someone a few words of reassurance or kindness or encouragement if a situation is challenging.

Likewise, with dyspraxia my brain and body process information more slowly which means things can take longer to pick up, do or learn. A little bit of time and patience can be lovely.  In all areas of life, it takes me time to build up my confidence. The little things can really mean a lot to me, and which is why I try and be compassionate and understanding to other people.

Last week, my boyfriend Matt and I had our 6th anniversary of being together, we are very similar but at the same time very different people. Being in a relationship with Matt has taught me to have empathy for things which he finds more challenging (social situations and anxiety) and his love of Arsenal Football Club and Britney Spears. I'm grateful to him believing in me. Also thanks to friends and to the lovely Mollie King who I am forever grateful for her kindness.

To anyone who might need this today, no matter where you are on your journey, you are enough and you are good enough. You and your voice and opinions have much value, you matter.

Until next time..

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