“A girl with schizophrenia” -Haniah Hamzah

I started to talk with Haniah by chance, it happened in a foggy day of November and I still remember when I was the notifications and noticed that she liked all my poems, I was really surprised! She sent me a message then and we  got  along instantly. I checked her profile and  I opened her book without any doubt: I was extremely curious and, if I have to be honest, I’ve never read a book about Schizophrenia, especially because of the stigma around this illness, so my expectations were really high. What can I say? It was really worth it. When I first read the  book, it was a working progress but it was already a promising one. I complimented with her instantly because I thought she was really brave, not anyone is capable of writing and be open about this kind of topics. Sufferers have been demonised for years, perceived as monsters and unhuman but she’s clearly fighting these prejudices  by showing that they’re like us, there isn’t any difference and we need to respect them and be compassionate towards their situation. I noticed her efforts and her honesty  and I have to say that I really admire what she’s doing: I would never be capable of such truthfulness and openess as she describes the most painful moments of her life. The most touching part is the one when she talks about her psychosis and I can say I really felt her pain, she explains well what it’s like to live with this illness and  I can say that reading this book can really open your mind and make you understand more about her world. ! She’s just a normal girl, like me, like you, fighting against demons of all sorts, against her mind and she’s battling in the best way ever: she is writing, she’s is expressing what could be kept hidden, it’s astonishing!

I really suggest this book, the content  is extremely good  and it has the potential to become the brilliant one! I also recommend it to those people who share the same issues, you will feel understood and not alone, not again.

You can find her on Wattpad!

A girl with Schizophrenia 

Diary of a girl with Schizophrenia

 

-Stefania

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Recensione ”Follia”

Titolo: “Follia” (titolo originale: “Asylum”)

Autore: Peter McGrath

Genere: narrativa psicologica;

Voto: 8.5/10.

 

 

I romanzo è narrato in prima persona da uno psichiatra che lavora a Londra, che lavora in un grande istituto psichiatrico nel lontano 1959. In questo istituto, si trasferisce un nuovo medico,insieme alla moglie, per ottenere il posto di direttore. Purtroppo, non tutto va come sperato.

Stella si innamora di Edgar Stark, un artista che era stato rinchiuso in manicomio per aver ucciso la moglie. La donna ignora tutto quello che sa su di lui, crede alle sue bugie e cade nella sua trappola. Si fa incantare dal suo aspetto, dal suo talento e da quella che reputa una vittima. Da quel momento in poi, la vita di Stella e Max non farà altro che peggiorare.

 

Questo libro rientra nella lista dei miei libri preferiti. Che dire?

È scorrevole, facile da leggere e non annoia mai. Non è il solito libro sui manicomi e sulle malattie mentali, ha quel qualcosa in più che lo rende diverso da tutti gli altri. L’amore è il tema principale, un amore malato e tormentato, tossico e distruttivo.                                Si concentra anche sulla psiche tormentata di Stella e sulle dinamiche delle relazioni con una persona che ha certi disturbi. Sembra descriverli nel modo più adatto, senza essere melodrammatico o creare i soliti cliché. Riesce a immedesimarsi bene nei panni dello psichiatra e la rende quasi reale, veritiera. Ne evidenzia anche gli effetti e di come abbia rovinato la vita dell’intera famiglia: Stella è costretta ad abbandonare tutto e farsi curare, come Edgar, Max sta sempre più male e… beh il resto tocca a voi scoprirlo.

-Stefania

 

School stress and how to stay cool

You are sitting in that chair, starring to all your books wondering how you can get through the year. You feel desperate, you think you won’t handle the stress, the competition and you will sacrifice your hobbies just t get higher grades.

I understand you, I’m in the same position but I have something to tell you. Remember, there’s always a solution and school is easier than you think. The key is organisation so manage your time and get organised. Take 15 minutes to put your books where they belong, especially if you can’t find them. You don’t ned to waste your time looking for things.

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Start by the hardest thing. You don’t have to finish the task now but it will be more manageable if you start at the right time and end it in few days. Get the opportunity to study whenever you can, even when you’re waitig for the bus. Don’t blow away your time, even 10 minutes can be useful.

Divide your work. For example, you could study history 30 minutes each and remember more instead of doing 4 chapters in 3 hours.

Study earlier. Try to start studying at 3 PM. Later you act, less information you memorise. Your brain gets tired and you will be less effective. I used to study at night and remember more but don’t mind me, I’m a vampire.

Don’t procrastinate. The queen of procrastination is telling you not to do that because the consequences will be awful (and your grades will suffer).                                              If you have everything under control, you won’t be anxious and stressed. If you start sooner, you will get higher grades and you’ll have more free time.procrastination-underestimate-time-e1465436272951.jpg

I know you love feeling the first of the class but don’t set irrealistic goals. You can’t get a straight A in every class, sometimes you will get a A- or a B but this is fine! Getting stressed over your grades will only put you in a worse position.tumblr_static_tumblr_static_n8twpjyh67ko8gos0coo0sok_640.jpg

Identify what makes you stressed out.

Here there are some examples:

  • Peer-induced stress. This is when stress comes from your classmates. It could be because you feel they’re outperforming you, you feel you’re just different from them and won’t be accepted, or even because they’re bullies.
  • Parent-induced stress. This happens when your parents don’t make reasonable demands of you and your academic performance. They are constantly harping on you to get better grades and be an ideal student.
  • Teacher-induced stress. This occurs when you don’t jive with a specific teacher, or when you feel like your teachers are disapproving. Hopefully this only occurs with one teacher, but it could occur with many.
  • Self-induced stress. This kind of stress comes from the inside. You’ve put demands on yourself to try to be “good enough” or “valuable” in your own mind. This can be one of the easiest and hardest types of stress to tackle.

You have to get rid of the source as much as you can.

Taking those four sources listed above, what do you do to make them better?

  • Peer-induced stress. In this situation, you could try to change classes or pick up a different after-school activity with different people. Worst case scenario, you could change schools.
  • Parent-induced stress. This involves a very honest conversation with your parents that could possibly also involve your teachers or school counselor. Communication needs to be established between the two of you that doesn’t make you feel negative – and they need to know that that’s how their view makes you feel.
  • Self-induced stress. This involves a change of thinking. It’s easy because you’re in control, but it’s difficult because mind-control isn’t exactly easy as pie. You have to make a conscious effort to think more positively and more globally, realizing that the world is much bigger than your performance at school.

Source

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You can talk to a counselor if you have one in your school. Talking is necessary in this case.

Having a routine and thinking positively can be a good way to put up with school life. When you have free time, why don’t you draw something or write? You can go out, exercise, everything you love! Never forget to get enough sleep. Some of us study at night or for 12 hours straight and we don’t sleep much. We need to rest 7-8 hours at night but we barely sleep fr 5 hours. aesthetic-apple-bed-computer-Favim.com-2940904.gif

I hope your scholastic year will be one of the best so far!

-Stefania

My experience with 7 cups

I signed up with the intention who help people who struggled with mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. It was an extremely helpful experience and I helped a lot of people who were in bad places, I became a close friend with a boy as well. An app that helps people who struggle with mental health? Such a good idea but it doesn’t work. Online counselling is not enough. Face to face communication is needed, we can’t just talk online, especially because we don’t see their reactions and what could happen next. My experience was both good and bad, some of the people I talked with were extremely rude, especially when I suggested them what to do. The main goal is to make them talk without telling them what to do but what is the point? They need solutions too. Talking is right but then? What do you get? You’re still depressed and your problems aren’t solved. I know some of them would get mad if we tell them the things they should do but only compassion doesn’t work. According to me, we need both empathy and logic in order to find the best solutions to their problems. They often complained because they had no chance and I understand it, we are blind when we struggle but at some point don’t you get tired? They subscribe to get a miracle but how can this happen if they don’t even listen?

It’s extremely stressing and people could be harsh but if you think to be done for this, well, why don’t you start? I warn you, it could also be triggering, especially if you talk with people who self-harm or went through severe trauma. Don’t start if you’re recovering, it could be unhelpful both for you and the person you’re talking with.

Generally speaking, it was a good experience but I won’t repeat it again. It’s a good way to help people in crisis but it can’t replace therapy like some people think.

-Stefania

How to fight intrusive thoughts

Have you ever felt like your head is on fire? You can’t stop thinking, you don’t sleep at night. Everywhere you go, those thoughts are still there and they don’t leave. But what can you do to fight them? You probably tried thousand times but here there are some suggestions.

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  1. Let it be

Stopping your intrusive thoughts don’t work because they only become more distressing. Using self-talk to coach your way through the process is key. ‘Here is the thought — I’m not going to focus on it, I’m going to let it pass.'” Knowing this can help that upsetting thought carry less weight in your mind.

2. Focus on something else

When we are stressed or too calm, those thoughts are triggered. By finding an activity the thoughts often move to the background. Music, movies, a conversation with someone, a sport, hobby, or activity can engage our brain in something else.

3. Understand the triggers

Learning what triggers your thoughts is more of a prevention tactic, but it can also work to make you feel safer as the thoughts are happening and you learn to take note of them. “Intrusive thoughts are not completely random,” Dr. Klapow says. “Often they are triggered by either the environmental situation or our internal state. Learn what situations bring up the thoughts (are you in doors or outdoors, do you have deadlines at work, are you driving at night) and what state you are in that trigger them (tired, hungry, sad, stressed).” This is another way to avoid the stress of trying to stop the thoughts.

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4. Self- talk

Analyse them and find the reasons why they’re wrong. For example, you could think a person is about to leave you because they hate you but ask yourself if this is possible and why.

5. Remember, it’s just a thought

What you think is not always true.

6. Meditation

When I feel like I’m thinking too much, I just close my eyese and focus on my breath. I also listen to guided meditations.

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7. Find a therapist

Sometimes we can’t fight alone, we need someone else.inspiration-perfect-love-aesthetic-Favim.com-4279889.jpeg

This is a list of questions you should ask yourself when you get intrusive thoughts.

1)Do I believe this thought? Is it true or false?

2)What happens if it’s true or false?

3)Will I or someone get hurt?

4)What can I learn from this thought?

5)What do I need to know?

6)What is it trying to tell me?

7)What belief is attached to this thought?

8)How long have I had this belief?

9)Where does this belief come from?

10)Am I ready to heal/release it?

11)Can I let the thought/belief go?

How to stop self-harming

Some of us struggle with extreme hate towards ourselves and this brings us to punish ourselves and engage in bad habits. This could be done by self-harming. Ignore not necessarily cutting but others actions could be committed.

Symptoms

• Scars;

• Fresh cuts, scratches, bruises or other wounds;

• Excessive rubbing of an area to create a burn;

• Keeping sharp objects on hand;

• Wearing long sleeves or long pants, even in hot weather;

• Difficulties in interpersonal relationships;

• Persistent questions about personal identity, such as “Who am I?” “What am I doing here?”;

• Behavioral and emotional instability, impulsivity and unpredictability;

• Statements of helplessness, hopelessness or worthlessness.

Forms of self-injury

• Cutting (cuts or severe scratches with a sharp object);

• Scratching;

• Burning (with lit matches, cigarettes or hot, sharp objects like knives);

• Carving words or symbols on the skin;

• Hitting or punching;

• Piercing the skin with sharp objects;

• Pulling out hair;

• Persistently picking at or interfering with wound healing.

Source

How to stop

  1. Call someone and stay with your friends.
  • If you’re alone in your house or unable to leave, call someone to talk with or ask to that person to come over. You can also call a hotline:
  • 1-800-273-TALK;
  • 1-800-334-HELP;
  • 1-800-DON’T-CUT.
  • 2. Draw on your body or a piece of paper.
  • If your thoughts won’t leave you alone, you have these two alternatives. Draw on the place where you want to hurt yourself.
  • 3. Distract yourself.
  • You could: make a cup of tea, work in a puzzle or a mind game, play a musical instrument, watch Tv, play a sport, take a walk, dance or draw.
  • 4. Wait.
  • Wait for 10 minutes, see if the urge goes away. Wait until you don’t feel it anymore.
  • 5. Remind yourself why you don’t need it.
  • Tell yourself why you don’t want and why you don’t deserve it. You have a choice, it’s up to you.
  • 6. Remove self-harming tools from your house.
  • Knives, lighters or anything else.
  • 7. Understand the different forms of self-harm and what is the trigger.
  • 8. Change negative thought patterns.
  • Analyse your feelings, write about it and interrupt your negative thoughts. Challenge these ones and replace them with positive ones.
  • Stay safe, friends.
  • -Stefania
  • On forgiveness

    Forgive yourself.

    Forgive yourself for all your mistakes. Remember, it’s part of growing up.

    Forgive yourself for past behaviours.

    Forgive yourself for being harmful when you were trying to survive.

    Forgive yourself for being skeptic, for being miserable and for failing.

    Forgive yourself for hurting yourself and for not acting like you should’ve done.

    Forgive yourself for being absent, you were trying to cope on your own.

    Forgive yourself and who hurt you. Don’t give them space in your life, you need to live a better one.

    Forgive yourself for being negative, pessimistic and rude.

    Forgive yourself for being irrational and not accepting yourself completely.

    Forgive yourself for constantly seeking approval in the wrong places.

    Forgive yourself for all the judgements you’ve places on yourself and others.

    Forgive yourself for temporarily giving up on your hopes, dreams and goals.

    We all go through bad moments but we can’t hate ourselves for how we reacted. Stop looking back at the past, it’s time to live a new life, a new present and a new future. What you’ve been dreaming for years can become a reality, if you just start acting on it.

    -Stefania

    Self-care and self-love

    We are often too though with ourselves, we blame ourselves for literally everything that happens.

    We can’t can’t do this and we can’t control most of the things we see, but we can only control our thoughts or reactions. Why should we hate ourselves? What for? Deep down we know it’s wrong (you won’t agree, I know).

    We only have us at the end of day, so why this? We have to say gente words to us, we have understand our mistakes, forgive ourselves and move on. We can’t live in the past, we can live in the present moment and that’s a lot. We have to take care of our health, of our minds because we have to live, right?

    An example, when we do something wrong like not respecting our plans (I feel extremely guilty) we have to tell ourselves that we’re doing the best. We struggle, waking up is already a victory! I got lower grades this year but this was one of the hardest years of my life. Why should I be so disappointed? Or why should I feel like I am the worst person in the world? I went through a lot, I’m still into it but I’m moving on. I’m forgiving myself, that’s what matters.

    So they key words are : forgiving, moving on, accepting and courage. Because yes, we have to love ourselves but we also have to force us to get out of the comfort zone and LIVE. We get scared of so many things but, to get rid of the fear, we have to fight them. Are you scared of being abandoned? Tell yourself why you’re wrong, challenge your beliefs. Are you scared of being hated? Why should you be? Think about all your beautiful qualities, would you still be hated?

    But what an we do to take care of our minds and bodies?

    Have the right attitude

    Looking at things from an optimistic frame of mind can not only decrease your stress level but bring you more success in life and more. You can even change ingrained negative thought patterns to more positive ones by using positive affirmations.

    You can also change Self-Limiting Statements to Questions:  Self-limiting statements like “I can’t handle this!” or “This is impossible!” are particularly damaging because they increase your stress in a given situation and they stop you from searching for solutions. The next time you find yourself thinking something that limits the possibilities of a given situation, turn it into a question. Doesn’t “How can I handle this?” or “How is this possible?” sound more hopeful and open up your imagination to new possibilities?

    Understand your emotions

    Keeping your emotions bottled up may lead to an emotional explosion later on. It’s generally healthier to listen to your feelings, process them, and try to understand them. Consider them ‘messengers’ that tell you when something is not right with your world. A great way to process emotions is the act of journaling. When you write about your feelings, and potential solutions to your problems, you can reduce stress in your life and even see some health benefits.

    Meditation is important as well, especially if you’re a believer.

    Pamper yourself

    Have a shower, use some beauty products to feel at your best! Mens sana in corpore sano.

    Start a compliments file. Document the great things people say about you to read later.

    Create a habit

    Create a deliberate habit, and routinize something small in your life by doing it in the same way each day.

    Change

    Make one small change to your diet for the week. Drink an extra glass of water each day, or have an extra portion of veggies each meal.

    Stay green

    If you have the possibility, sit near a tree or somewhere green and relax, breathe and enjoy the sounds around you.

    Tech free-time

    I’ve noticed how social media can be toxic and make depressed a lot of people so it’s time to have some free-time and think about what is around you.

    Make time for your passions

    Do you want to be a blogger? A photographer? An IT engineer? Well, be selfish, take time for yourself and go get what you want.

    By starting now, you’ll feel definitely better! It takes time but you will more connected to your body soon and nothing will look difficult as much as it did before!

    Keep going.

    What you can do to fight depression.

    If you want to know more about depression, check my article.

    The first thing to do is fight your  critical self attack. Depression makes us think we don’t deserve to live, we can’t wake up in the mornings or we’re just tired enough to anything else except for sleeping. When you get those thoughts, you have to fight them. Your depression is lying to you, it took control of your life but you can’t allow it to stay forever.

    To begin this process, it is helpful to think of these destructive thoughts as being like the parasites that keep you in bed when you’re sick with the flu. Don’t listen to these attacks when they tell you not to pursue your goals, to isolate yourself, or to forego an activity you enjoy. This gives the voice even more power over you. Instead, when you notice these thoughts and attitudes starting to intensify and take precedence over your more realistic, positive ways of thinking, it is essential to identify them as an alien point of view. Ask yourself, would you think such cruel thoughts about a friend or family member who was experiencing the same struggles. By having compassion for yourself and recognizing this inner voice as a destructive enemy, you can begin to see who you are more clearly and realistically.

    Source

    Again, exercise.

    Many studies have examined the efficacy of exercise to reduce symptoms of depression, and the overwhelming majority of these studies have described a positive benefit associated with exercise involvement. For example, 30 community-dwelling moderately depressed men and women were randomly assigned to an exercise intervention group, a social support group, or a wait-list control group. The exercise intervention consisted of walking 20 to 40 minutes 3 times per week for 6 weeks. The authors reported that the exercise program alleviated overall symptoms of depression and was more effective than the other 2 groups in reducing somatic symptoms of depression (reduction of 2.4 [walking] vs. 0.9 [social support] and 0.4 [control] on the Beck Depression Inventory [BDI], p < .05). Doyne et al. utilized a multiple baseline design to evaluate the effectiveness of interval training in alleviating symptoms of depression. The participants exercised on a cycle ergometer 4 times per week, 30 minutes per session, for 6 weeks. This treatment was compared with an attention-placebo control condition in which subjects listened to audiotapes of “white noise” that they were told was subliminal assertiveness training. Results indicated that the aerobic training program was associated with a clear reduction in depression compared with the control condition, and the improvements in depression were maintained at 3 months post intervention (BDI mean reduction of 14.4 points from baseline, p < .05). In another study, just 30 minutes of treadmill walking for 10 consecutive days was sufficient to produce a clinically relevant and statistically significant reduction in depression (reduction of 6.5 points from baseline on the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression.Health-and-mental-health-benefits-of-exercise.jpg

    Source

    Force yourself when you just don’t want to do it.

    Depression is one of the hardest emotional states to endure, because the symptoms themselves can destroy your will and energy to engage in activities you once loved. Giving in to this lethargic state can give your depression even more power, whereas staying active in your life, pursuing anything and everything you may find of interest will re-ignite your spark and keep you on your own side.

    For example, do you want to isolate yourself? DON’T. Humans need to interact with other humans so, even going to a public space could be extremely helpful!fe4e1ab0dfb04f943fa24f00a0e376f9.jpg

    Source

    Watch something funny.

    Do you feel bad? Don’t punish yourself. enjoy a tv show. You can draw (highly recommended), sing or dance. You decide!

    Feeling embarrassed or self-hating over your depression will only increase your symptoms and discourage you from seeking help. Your critical thoughts toward yourself will try to keep you down any way they can, including by attacking you for feeling down. It’s important to take your side and have compassion for yourself at those difficult times and this is way you need to take care of yourself. You’re growing, you’re fighting. Every warrior needs this! So have fun. As strange as it might sound, you have to work at having fun. Plan things you used to enjoy, even if they feel like a chore. Keep going to the movies. Keep going out with friends for dinner.o-woman-theater-facebook.jpg

    Get in a routine.

    Depression can dismantle the structure from your life.  One day melts into the next. Setting a gentle daily schedule can help you get back on track. You can create a morning routine or a night routine or just set a timer: get up and do something productive for a set amount of time.

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    Get enough sleep.

    What can you do? Start by making some changes to your lifestyle. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day. Try not to nap. Take all the distractions out of your bedroom — no computer and no TV. This will take time but never give up!aesthetic-bed-bed-sheets-aesthetic.jpg

    You can also take vitamine supplements and, needless to say, go to a therapist. Talking about your feelings is the most important thing to do.

    -Stefania

    How to manage anxiety

    You feel the restrictive sensation of your chest walls caving in as if someone is standing on your ribcage. You’re becoming alarmingly aware of the rhythm of your breathing and wonder if your next breath will be your last. It’s like you’re drowning without being under water. You think, “I can’t breathe. I’m going to die. Just breathe. Just breathe.”

    Heart palpitations, shortness of breath, and rapid heart rate are just some of the scary body reactions that occur during a panic attack. These symptoms can intensify and increase, leading to uncontrollable trembling, sweating, tightness around the head, and the feeling of suffocation.

    As anyone suffering from chronic anxiety understands, you can’t control when a panic attack hits; and, in fact, trying to control it can sometimes make it worse. The greatest fear for someone dealing with anxiety is losing control in public, feeling trapped in an uncomfortable situation and experiencing humiliation. When anxiety hits, it can make you feel like you’re going crazy—like you have absolutely no control over your own mind. When you can’t find a way to relax, it can feel like you’ve abandoned yourself in the moments of your attack. Like any chronic condition, you can’t just wish panic attacks away, get rid of them with medication, or make them disappear in any given situation. However, you can learn to better manage your anxiety over time to decrease the amount of panic attacks you experience.

    (psychology today)

    I’ve been struggling with anxiety for all my life and I’ve tried a lot of ways to manage it or just feel calm for few seconds. However, nothing worked at the beginning because I had an exremely unhealthy approach. Now, I’m defintely better and these are the ways you can use to cope with you chronic or acute anxiety.

    • Diaphragmatic breathing

    When you get a panick attack, only breathing won’t work but you can try diaphragmatic breathing:  your belly expands in and out instead of your chest going up and down. Take longer to exhale than inhale, perhaps inhaling for five seconds and exhaling for four.

    This is a useful tutorial I found on youtube.

    • Muscle relaxation

    This PDF explains what you need to do and what it’s about.

    • Take vitamin B6 and iron

    They play an important role in the regulation of serotonin, the hormone of happiness. A balanced level of it can allow you to better cope with difficulties or low mood.

    If you want to know more about it, check this site.

    • Limit caffeine and drink more chamomile tea

    Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant so it can make your anxiety worse and stimulate the ”flight or fight” response. So be aware of all the amount on caffeine in the food you consume daily. According to certain studies, chamomile is not only relaxing but it also can fight depression and anxiety.

    Here there’s a list of foods and drinks that contain caffeine.tumblr_o7iipr9foV1szm8ioo1_500.jpg

    • Exercise

     Studies show that 20 minutes (or 10 minute walk)  of exercise is all it takes to reduce symptoms of anxiety. Exercise will not only make you feel better about yourself, but will also flood your body with endorphins. The effect is temporary but it helps to boost your mood. If you want to know more check these sites: here and here.

    According to me, dancing is the best method ever.

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    • Talk to someone you trust about how you’re feeling

    Just talking to someone about how you feel can take a weight off your shoulders. Make sure you trust the person, then work out what you want to say to them.

    • Focus on the present

    We often dwell about the future and what is going to happen. Especially if you have chronic anxiety, you live on ”what ifs” and they literally destroy you perception of reality. You start wondering about 2000 possible things that could happen but, remember, it’s just in your head. You need to focus on what there’s truly around you and the right possibilities. To do this, you can use positive affirmation or meditation.

    • Relax and go out

    A complete and structured schedule can make some people feel extremely worried so why don’t you take a break? Wheter it’s a Netflix show, a shower or a ride bike. You need time to relax, you can’t work everyday. Stress isn’t going to help you or avoiding your anxiety by working. I knew some people who used their job as a way to stay away from their worries and they only worsened their condition.

    Self-care is important as well.

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    Call to mind this: you need to actively control you thoughts and face your fears. You will never get rid of your anxiety if you don’t do anything to help yourself. I know it’s hard to deal with these things but you can’t live the same situation all over again. We all need to change and improve our lives, to live them completely and  fight our demons.

    -Stefania