Learning to drive and what it taught me about stepping outside my comfort zone

Today I passed someone doing a driving test with my old driving instructor. I’ve been driving for about 10 years now and passed my driving test around this time 8 years ago.

I’ll be honest, driving scared the absolute shit out of me. I was an anxious person and the thought of combining that anxiety with driving. Well it was pretty horrifying. I never had any money for a car or insurance so I put it off as long as possible. But when you live in a rural area, there’s only so long you can put driving off.

I started simply by driving around our house and up and down the lane and over the road a bit. I did this for a couple of weeks until I got a bit braver. But I didn’t venture out onto the main road until my very first driving lesson.

The driving instructor was great and tried to calm my nerves. I started off getting one lesson a week and I’ll be honest I started dreading the next one immediately after the last one. I was so nervous at the beginning and used to ask his permission before I touched anything in his car as I had zero confidence. ‘Is it ok if I turn off the heat?’, ‘Can I put on the air to clear the windows?’ Each time he would always tell me that I was the driver and that I need to take control when in the car. Gulp…

Continue reading “Learning to drive and what it taught me about stepping outside my comfort zone”


The fight for my life

About 18 months ago I got sick. Very sick. I ended up in hospital, and was to stay there for almost nine months. I was embarrassed and ashamed and felt that I couldn’t tell anyone where I was. I told some people I was on holidays, others that I was away for work. But the truth was that I was on a psychiatric ward fighting for my life. I say fighting because that’s what I felt I was doing.

It all happened rather quickly. One minute I was bridesmaid at my sister’s wedding and the next thing I was inpatient on an acute psychiatric ward. It all happened so fast and in a number of weeks I unravelled in spectacular style.

At first I was afraid. I was so afraid of the thoughts that were going on in my head that I didn’t tell anyone. I kept it to myself. I’m very lucky and have great friends and family but couldn’t find the words to tell them how I was feeling so as far as they were concerned I was fine. But I wasn’t. I was far from fine and was in such a bad place that I just couldn’t find the words to explain how I was feeling. I believed that I would be better off dead and that my friends and family would be better off without me. Continue reading “The fight for my life”

Stress and its benefits

Whenever we talk about stress, the emphasis is almost always on negative effects of stress on the body. The common perception is that negative feelings such as anxiety, anger, frustration, burn out and the like are the only effects of stress on health. But what is stress? Stress is the body’s reaction to the physical, psychological and mental challenges and demands that you encounter in life. It is a normal physical response to situations that you feel threatened about or events that upset your balance in some way.But can stress have positive effects? Is there such a thing as positive stress?

Eustress is a type of stress that affects your activities in a positive way. It is a type of positive stress that affects you in times of creativity, physical activity and excitement. It acts as a support for your motivation and inspiration to finish certain tasks. Eustress boosts your creative thinking when completing something that you have to do. It also lifts your spirits and helps you stay in a good mood. Hence, eustress is a positive stress because it provides the desired balance by evening out the negative stress that you may experience in your day to day life.

Eustress can also actually help you get rid of stress. How does it help? Since eustress is a positive stress, it allows you to look and consider many of the stressors in your lives as challenges instead of threats or difficulties. Eustress helps you keep a positive frame of mind. Thus, you get the energy to handle your stressors without being overwhelmed or unhappy.

All these positive effects of eustress help you minimize the chances of developing physical and mental ailments, thus keeping you healthy. Some examples of situations where you experience eustress are as follows:

• Joy in experiencing a roller coaster ride

• The happiness of having a new baby

• The excitement of buying a new car

• The pride and excitement of winning a game

• Getting married

• Getting a promotion or a raise in your job

Flight or Fight Response is another type of positive stress which was discovered by a Harvard psychologist, Walter Cannon. It is also called the acute stress response. The fight or flight response is your body’s primitive, automatic and inborn response that prepares your body to decide on whether to face or walk away from a perceived harm or threat to your survival. In other words, when you feel that there is a significant threat in front of you, your body instinctively prepares you to respond according to the situation in order to keep you safe. This response is highly associated to your brain called hypothalamus. When this part of your brain is stimulated, it initiates a sequence of nerve cell firing and chemical release that prepares your body for either fighting or running to survive from danger or threat. As such, the fight or flight response does not only warn you of external physical dangers but also of perception of danger, which is a powerful tool for reducing stress. In other words, the fight or flight response also allows you to perceive your anxiety and other negative feelings as a threat or danger and helps you to be motivated to do something about it.

Indeed positive stress have positive effects in our daily lives.

• Positive stress helps you gets things done and improve your life by giving you the proper motivation and inspiration to act in a positive way.

• It can save your life by allowing you to respond or react in the best way that will keep you away from threat or danger.

• Stress keeps you alert to rise and face challenges and changes that you encounter in your daily lives.

Stress is not always bad. Positive stress makes you productive and effective when faced with certain challenges. Thus, in understanding stress, it is also important to consider the positive effects of stress in your life.

by Maria Cecilia de Guzman,



What do you do to unwind your mind?


By Celia

I like to look for one little thing to feel happy about, no matter how small.

– I love to see the colour yellow, I’m so thankful my son had a good mark, I’m glad I know someone else who experienced panic attacks and that I can  share with them.
One little thing I can change for the better: On my knees I can rub one stain off the floor, stuck in bed I can breathe deeply and picture sunshine on the beach.
One little thing I can do for someone else: text a friend to say what I like best about them.
All begins with saying WHAT I WANT. I LET GO of the need to fight. I look after number one  (breathe, drink water, eat, rest, wash, etc), I look for the simplest thing I can do, because EASY DOES IT.

Remember, life is about fun.

Robert’s Blog- Social Anxiety

Sleeping when studying - Nakhon Sawan, Thailand
Image via Wikipedia

Wow it’s been such a busy time for me! I’ve started studying for the leaving cert already!

Sorry its been a while. I will try and be quicker with my blogs!

I want to talk about something that has been a personal struggle for me. It’s sad for me to say that what I am about to about has my affected most of my teenage life, for the worse. That something, is called anxiety. But I’m not talking about anxiety where you get anxious over an important test or if you have to make a speech. I’m talking about anxiety that consumes you, anxiety that swallows you whole.

What I’m talking about is severe irrational general anxiety (There’s social anxiety too but that’s for another blog). For the past three years I have had to deal with severe anxiety problems. I felt nervous going to piano lessons, and piano is something that I adore. I was afraid I would mess up and I was afraid my piano teacher would give out to me. I would wait in the office area and my whole body would feel tight. My heartbeat was faster than normal and I was always feeling tired.

Going to school was a problem too. I would always feel anxious on the bus. I kept having thoughts about things like What if the bus passes my stop… I was especially anxious when the bus was crowded with girls. I was afraid that I would somehow embarrass myself in front of the girls and even other people who were sitting down. Speaking of busses, I always felt uncomfortable when a bus used to passed me by, as something inside me was saying Everyone is looking at you. Continue reading “Robert’s Blog- Social Anxiety”



By Robert

There’s a prison called Anxiety

a place within grey walls

it’s treason walled – piracy —

I think to me it called —

caressed by its deity

on my own inside wall —

naked alone

humility and all

Continue reading “Anxiety”