The lady who changed my life

Meet Joan,

Now before I go ahead and tell you how this lady changed my life let me share with you how meeting Joan came about.

Anyone that knows me would know that I have had anxiety for a long time and it is also something that touches my family massively. Between my mum, my brother and I we have the market cornered on life with anxiety.

My anxiety started at a young age. When my parents divorced I formed some type of separation anxiety. Being so young I didn’t quite understand how to deal with it and just pushed it to the side and hoped that it would go away. Unfortunately this planted the seed of anxiety and over the years it has grown roots and lodged itself within me.

I could be sitting at home on the couch or driving to work in the car and a game show would come on. Say for example I was watching Deal or No Deal. I could watch the whole show up until the very last briefcase and then I’d have to change the channel before they open it. My heart would be racing and my hands would be sweating. I could not bare to watch that last briefcase being opened. For me it was the fear of the unknown, fear of the future. That’s basically how I lived my life, fearing the unknown.

In April I took a turn for the worse. I pushed the person way that I adored more than anything. I was constantly stressing about the unknown and the future which is enough to make anyone leave. Some days I struggled to get out of bed and others days I would spend walking around like a zombie. I felt alone, I felt like I had no purpose and quite frankly I couldn’t see any light at the end of the tunnel, I was down to the last straw.

My mum was naturally worried about me and booked me an appointment at the doctors to see if they could help me with a mental health plan. After 5 minutes of explaining how I was feeling this so called professional whipped out a pad and scribbled me out a script.  A script for anti-depressants. I didn’t want to be depressed and this wasn’t the life I had envisioned when I was a child.

I was a bit hesitant at first but after all it’s what the doctor prescribed, how bad could it truly be. I took the tablets for about a month. During this month I was numb. I felt neither happy nor sad. All I ever felt like doing was eating and sleeping. My skin was breaking out and I was putting on weight by the day. If anything it was making me more unhappy than I already was.

After weighing up the pros and cons I decided to go cold turkey on the anti-depressants. I know this is never recommended and you should always begin by tapering off of them but I thought this was the best option for me.

It was a few days after I had stopped taking the anti-depressants when I was talking to a family friend who recommended Hypnotherapy. He told me that he had recently tried Hypnotherapy for his anxiety and it had worked. I was a little bit sceptical at first however at this point I was eager to try anything.

For anyone that doesn’t know, Hypnotherapy is a form of Psychotherapy that is used to create subconscious change in the form of new responses, thoughts, attitudes, behaviours or feelings.

I made an appointment with the Hypnotherapist (Joan). I was feeling super anxious about the whole thing but was constantly reminded by my friends/family that doing this could only benefit me and that I had nothing to lose.

I went into the Hypnotherapy session with an open mind. Joan made me feel safe and comfortable from the moment I sat down. I poured my heart out and told her absolutely everything that was going on in my head and how I was feeling. An hour and a half later my first Hypnotherapy session was done. I came out of the session unsure of the results but knew that I was feeling different.  In the next coming days I tried to test my anxiety. I even pushed myself to sit through a full game show on TV or radio competition without changing the channel to see how it would make me feel.

It’s been over a month now and I am very proud to say that I no longer have any sort of anxiety. I no longer go to the shops and examine the nearest exit in case I can feel an attack coming on, I no longer anxiously bite my nails and I no longer hide myself in my room with my head in a book to hide away from this crazy world.

Joan has completely changed my life. There are honestly no words to describe how grateful I am to be given what feels like a second chance.

For anyone out there who is reading this and is going through the same thing or something similar please understand that you are not alone. I hope this inspires you and makes you believe that there is always help out there for you.

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The US of A

I left for USA on my 21st Birthday. A 14 hour flight was sitting between me and my first trip to the States. In five weeks I was visiting LA, Anaheim, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Miami and New York.

Our flight left at 6am so I was determined to stay awake as long as possible the night before so I could attempt to sleep on the plane. The nerves and the excitement started to kick in as we approached the terminal. Here I am on my 21st Birthday leaving for a trip around the US with my then partner. Something I had always dreamed of doing. Continue reading

ROBBED, ROASTED & RABIES

One week in Bali. How much harm could possibly be done in one week you ask?  Well let me tell you…

This next chapter in my travel experiences is probably the worst to date. Take a quick glimpse at the title again and just sit back and get ready to hear about a week’s worth of disasters and uh diseases.

We arrived at our beautiful hotel in Seminyak. Perfect clean rooms, roof top pool and cocktails on arrival. What more could you really ask for. It was everything I had ever imagined and more. Continue reading

IT’S IN THE PAST – THAILAND

The question I ask myself every day; How will I prepare myself for travelling solo? After reading “How not to travel the world” By Lauren Juliff it took me back to my own unfortunate travel experiences.

I’d like to shed some light on my very first overseas trip. At the ripe age of 19 I ventured off to Thailand with a group of friends. We started off at Koh Samui which I thought was absolutely beautiful but being New Year’s Eve we decided to take on the Full Moon party. We hopped on the ferry to head across to the island. The ferry was packed to the brim with partygoers. It was way over capacity, no life jackets in sight and the wind was throwing the boat from side to side. Continue reading

FIRST THINGS FIRST

I should probably start by introducing myself, my name is Amalia Zachopoulos.. I’ll let you catch your breath after that one as it’s a bit of a mouthful, also whilst on that topic contrary to popular belief my name is actually pronounced “Emma-Leah” . Yes thanks mum and dad! So not only can I never find a keyring with my name on it no one is able to pronounce it either.

I’m a 23 year old pocket rocket who is passionate about music and travel; some would describe me as fun, loyal, bubbly, even a hidden gem. All those feel good words, when in reality I’m just a little lost in this big bad world and trying to find my way. Continue reading