“Just say yes, just say there’s nothing holding you back”

How often do you turn things down or shy away from doing things a little out of your comfort zone? How often do you say NO? For me, this word would crop up an awful lot more than the word “yes”. 

As most of you may or may not be aware, I struggle with anxiety and panic attacks (read more on that here), so for me, sometimes saying no, I believe, is the only option. My mind takes control and makes me think that I will be safe doing the things that are within my comfort zone, things that don’t scare me. But, what kind of a life is that? Do I really want to be confined to doing things with baby steps over and over? Life is too short for that. Do I want to live my life turning things down and missing out on so many opportunities just because it scares me a bit? No, and neither do you. 

If you are reading this, and you suffer with anxiety disorder, have panic attacks, depression, have social anxiety or are just a very negative or shy person, then I know full well, you want more than anything to be able to say yes to so many things, but the way your mind works, means you are terrified to do this. What is the worst that could happen though? Will you drop down dead? No, the chance of that happening are slim to none. 

It’s taken me so long to try and push all my negative thoughts surrounding different activities that are linked with my panic attacks, but i’ve just reached a point in my life where I think “SOD IT”. So what if I have a panic attack? What’s going to happen to me? I would rather do more things, that I can look back on and think “I’m so glad I did that” than think “I really wish I’d done that”. I don’t want to ever be left with that awful question floating around in my head of “what if?”. There may be times when you do panic, or you do get in a flap about something, but if you know that ultimately you’re going to be okay, at least you can say you did it, or you tried it, and at least you won’t be left thinking “what if?”.  

I’ve had so many panic attacks I can’t even keep count, but do I remember all of these and relive these panic attacks every day of my life? No I don’t. What would be the point? Anxiety is really rubbish, panic attacks are really rubbish, but you can’t let these things take complete control of your life or you will be consumed by nothing else, and it will make you desperately unhappy. You are more likely to remember all the amazing times, than you are to remember times where you felt anxious. Why miss out on any opportunity to make happy memories you’ll keep with you forever because of this?

One thing I find very difficult about living with anxiety, is the hold it takes over you without you even realising. You get used to it, and you get used to the way of living, and you don’t see how your behaviours are so varied from the norm. I am very jealous of people that ooze confidence. I sometimes think “If only I never had to worry about anything”, but then do I really have anything to worry about anyway? Are the things I worry about really significant in the grand scheme of things? The answer is no, probably not.

I hold back on so many things, that I feel like I can never 100% enjoy myself in any situation. There are very rarely times in my life, where anxious thoughts are not floating around in my head, ruining a situation for me. Sometimes i’ll even be driving to Asda and they’ll be there. I feel like my anxiety is a little demon living inside my head (I know, i’m getting slightly freaky on yo asses, but you know what I mean), and the only way to ever destroy it is to be like “LOOK, SEE, I’M FINE, I CAN DO THIS, NOW GO AWAY”, and eventually he will get bored, and leave (I’d just like to make it clear at this point that I am not possessed, all clear on that? Yes? good).

More recently, I’ve had a bit of a wakeup call. I felt myself becoming too consumed by certain aspects of my life, certain people, situations and mostly, my anxiety. I stopped going to events in London, I stopped meeting my friends as much, I stopped eating out in restaurants as much, I stopped getting the train. I let my anxious mind take complete control. Some days, I just spent on my own, speaking to nobody and doing nothing, because I felt safe that way. Nobody should be living their life like this, and sometimes it takes a small (or large) slap in the face for you to realise which path you were heading down. Consider this yours. 

Over the past few weeks, I feel as though I have turned over a new leaf. I want to be more positive about things. Being anxious means you are more likely to find the negatives in any situation before the positives, and this becomes so draining. Not just for you, but for others around you. 

I have started to say YES to things I’d never normally say yes to. I’m not saying yes to absolutely everything, but i’m making a conscious effort to agree to more things. I recently went to a Festival, and yes, it was only for the day, but I have a slight fear over festivals. Large crowds, drunk people who will probably end up vomming (fear of vomit), but I put all this to the back of my mind, and just went. I had such a good day and got to see one of my favourite bands and make happy memories. The alternative to that, would have been to stay at home doing nothing, which a few weeks back, is exactly what I would have done. I went on 3 trains to meet a friend to film YouTube videos to a place i’d never been before. I know most of you reading this will raise an eyebrow here and think “Zoe, that really is no biggy”, but for someone who couldn’t even get on one train, to one stop without being on the brink of an anxiety attack a mere few weeks ago, this is a huge achievement for me, and again, had such a good day!

I feel so much better for saying yes to things. It has improved my confidence drastically, and it’s made me want to go out and do more things that i’d normally never think/want to do. It’s making me feel a lot more positive, and with positivity, comes happiness.

I guess the point i’m trying to make with this post, is please think about this for a second, try and step away from your anxious/negative mindset, and look at the bigger picture…

You get ONE life (unless of course you are a feline), one chance to do anything and everything you want. Do not let something like this control your decisions or ruin experiences for you. The same goes for people. Don’t let people ruin things for you, or control your behaviours or your life choices. 

It’s YOUR life. Share it with others but don’t let anyone, or anything take over the control you have.

Say YES. Make it your mission, to do things you’d never normally do, go places you’d never normally go, meet people you’d never normally meet. How can you make memories, and take new paths in life if you turn everything down?

Taking the quote in the song in THIS blog post “Do one thing everyday that scares you”. I probably wouldn’t take this too literally if you have severe anxiety, but apply it to making decisions every once in a while to begin with. So what if it scares you? Think about how you’ll feel when you accomplish it, think about the opportunities it could bring you. Think how happy it could make you!

Now, after reading this blog post, there are a few things I want you to do:

Say YES to something you wouldn’t normally say yes to, and let me know in the comments what it was

Listen to the song posted below, I likes it!

Watch the film “Yes Man”

Alternatively, download/buy the book “Yes Man” written by Danny Wallace & read it

Put your favourite song on and dance around to it (not for any reason other than i’m sure it will make you feel at least 10x better than you did before reading this)

Remember that you are not the only one feeling this way, and that only you can change the outlook you have on life

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  • Lily “Lilsee”

    Just re-read this post with your new blog layout! I’m always really shy and scared about showing off or putting myself out there, but recently, my best friend has been getting lots of attention as she said ‘yes’ to dancing in a big show. She is now really well known around school and everyone knows her as ‘the dancing girl’. I’m quite good at singing and this post has inspired me to show off my talent whenever I have the chance! Thank you! xxx

  • Nikki Silvester

    forever rereading this blog post to find motivation in my life. The link to your post about anxiety (that you linked right at the top) doesnt work for me, wont let me read, dont know if its just for me!

    • Izzy

      Same for me! dosen’t let me read it. I don’t know if Zoe did it on purpose only letting some people see it,or not since it says we can click on it.

  • Izzy

    You know Zoe?! I am going to! U inspire me every day.no matter if it’s a new hairstyle or hobby or to just try something new!

  • Kaitlin Bartlett

    Hi Zoe! Just read your blog post and watched your video, I was feeling stuck today and you helped so much! I applied for a part time job today and I’m off to uni for a second try this Monday! Very nervous but just say yes, right?! 😊🌸 love your blog xxxxxxxx

  • Girl Online

    Awesome Blog !
    Check out my blog at http://www.girlonline786.wordpress.com
    Going Offline

  • Christin

    Thank you for such a personal and nicely written post. Unfortunately, I can relate to many of the things you put down here – especially the “I feel like I can never 100% enjoy myself in any situation”. However, just wanted to say it’s wonderful that you’ve managed to live your life the way you do! (BTW: I think anxiety makes us more empathetic (; )

  • Cece

    Zoe, i’m scared of make something embarasing in my school, i feel like everyone is going to make more fun of me than usually. I just stay quiet and pretend that I dont exist there, but having a anxiety attack is more funny for them. But, thanks to your post i will say yes, i will face my fears and i will try to not let them make me feel like that.
    Thank you Zoe.
    (Hi from Spain)

  • Via

    I really love you as a person and hearing you share this really helped me. I act like everything’s ok but no one knew about my panic attacks until recently when I had one at school that required the school
    to go into lockdown. I am gong to see a doctor and only because of you, I have more confidence. ILYSM
    Thank you

  • Thanielle Erasmus

    Hi zoe how are you?
    I love reading this post it such a motivator and lately its been hard to deal with my anxiety
    Well I think its what I have I’ve only been really noticing it this past year and lately its become bad, so bad that I feel the worst feeling at least 3 times a week and I’m trying to figure it out. Its a little hard understanding something your are not sure of. Basically when I feel like this its starts with my legs going weak and my heart starts racing and my hand get pins and needles. During the biggest attack I had it was like a cloud covered my face and the whole day I was stuck at school with this pit in my stomach.
    I wanted to ask if you have a way of calming down when you start to feel this way. Its been scary because its new to me and I’m only 16. I try counting till some crazy big number to focus on my breathing or going to a place where I’m alone but nothing seems to be working . please if you get the opportunity could you help me xx
    Enjoy your evening/day ❤ T

  • Charlotte

    Thank you so much you help me everyday, its like you can walk into my mind and tell me everything’s ok you are really doing something amazing something that I don’t think I will ever be able to do your just amazing for facing these issues head on thank you for the smile you have given me I will sat yes from now on 💜💜💜💜💜

  • Elle_Evers

    Hi Zoe,

    I’m only 15 but I feel everything in my life has already got bad. Recently I have been crying a lot, which makes me cry more, and then I forget why I began to cry to begin with or everything that is bad piles up into my head. I had my first panic attack not long ago, and I couldn’t breathe, felt light-headed and noticed that my lips were tingling, and at this point, fell on the floor. I lost conciousness for a couple of minutes and woke up again, shaking and couldn’t stop and it really scared me. I don’t go out any more, and tend to only go back and forth to school. I believe I have social anxiety. In class I don’t speak to anyone (and don’t feel I ever can) and am also taking Art Photography. In Photography there is a girl who’s a year older and laughs at me. I don’t know for what reason but it’s stopped me from wanting to go to that particular lesson. For weeks now, I haven’t gone and am too afraid to. My supporter who works in my school is so sweet and believes I don’t put enough faith in myself and that I should at least try first. But I can’t just one day get up and go, can I? It takes a lot to feel confident and I’m so happy you have pulled through and are enjoying life. Hopefully I’ll get to experience it soon and not let people or ‘things’ get in the way. I thank you so much for what you have done for me personally. It has helped me in my own little way to see that it can get better. ;) <3 <3 <3 Also, just as I was typing this not long ago, my mum asked me if I wanted to go food shopping with her. I would normally say no, but thinking about what you have said, I said Yes! Smiled there and back! Thanks, your blog posts are as addictive as pizza!