Cebu City, Cebu, Philippines
5 questions with guest interview

I'm Michelle, I'm 33 and I live in Ireland with my husband and furbaby.

I have Generalised Anxiety Disorder and was diagnosed about 2 years ago. I recently started writing about it on my Instagram and blog (both "shellsanxiouslife"). 

1. When is the right time to leave a toxic person in your life? 

There is no right time. Every situation is unique and in a lot of them, not easy to do. Some of the toxic people we come across in our lives are family members or colleagues that we can't just simply cut ties with. 
If it's someone you can move on from, I would recommend doing it as soon as you notice the affect they're having on you when you're around each other, you don't need to give an explanation. 
If it's someone that's tied to your life in a way you can't control, I would say to limit your time with them wherever possible but most of all, manage your own expectations. Toxic personalities will not change, at least not overnight, so we need to change our own expectations from the relationship.

2. What's your advice on marriage to teenagers who have the wrong idea about it? 

Marriage is not for everyone, and that's OK. Many people co-habit happily without ever tying the knot, others feel it's a necessary next step in a relationship. What's important to remember is that it's you and your partner's decision. Your mutual happiness and consideration for your own wellbeing should come before any family or societal pressures felt about marriage. 
Depending on where in the world you live, there can be legal ramifications to not being married to your partner, particularly once you reach old age. It's worth looking into the legalities of child protection and next of kin status if you feel it's something that may affect you in the future. 

3. Would you rather be known for what you're bad at or invisible to what you're good at? Why do you think so?

I would absolutely rather be invisible for what I'm good at, especially if it means I am helping people or positively affecting people's lives. 
As far as I'm concerned, fame and noteriety should only be a byproduct of talent and hard work, not the ultimate goal. 

4. What is an effective tip to relieving stress that you do until now? 

I've developed a lot of tools for dealing with stress over the last number of years but it really always comes back to talking about what's bothering me. Whether it's a therapy session or simply a conversation with a loved one, getting it out in the open really does help. Often times the things I get stressed about are minor and can be a reaction to something bigger that's going on behind the scenes and if I don't get to the root of it, I can't relieve the stressor. 
If I can't verbalise it, if I'm embarrassed by it or if there isn't anyone available to chat to I'll try to journal about it. Getting the words and feelings out on paper helps to sort them out and find out what the real problem is. 

5. How did you deal with your anxiety during the onset of the lockdown? 

We're on our 3rd hard lockdown now in Ireland and each time has been a little different. The first, and longest one, started in March and hit my mental health the hardest. I experienced regression in the anxiety disorder I have  and it took a lot of time to get back on track. It's very difficult to go from working outside the home 5 days a week to not working at all and I found I was judging the value of my days based on how productive I was which mostly ended with me being disappointed in myself. I tried to switch my thought pattern slightly and find value in smaller things, particularly on the days where I was experiencing bad anxiety. I also stopped checking the news regularly as following the daily covid count both nationally and internationally was adding to my stress. 

The reality is that the world is a scary place right now. By staying at home I'm keeping my family and I safe and I have to constantly remind myself of that. 

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