The Truth About Anxiety

And why it is NOT the new buzz word.


Photo by Sydney Sims on Unsplash


I was diagnosed with anxiety over ten years ago. This diagnosis is one that I have mostly tried to keep hidden. It has been a source of shame and disgust to me. I saw it as a sign of my own weakness and ineptitude.

My anxiety takes the form of panic attacks, an inability to breathe in certain situations. I twitch, even though I try as hard as I possibly can not to. I shake, often violently. Again, I try so hard not to, but it isn’t something that I can control.

There are other things. Things that are less obvious. These include me often not being able to enter into new situations. I also find that familiar situations are overwhelming when my anxiety is particularly bad.

I tend to avoid these situations if I possibly can. I generally think of it as my being socially inept. I don’t cope well in large (or even, medium) sized groups. There are times when I can do it, but there are also times when it feels like a task that is simply too much.

It doesn’t stop there. When I am able to enter into these situations, I always come away from them feeling completely exhausted and wiped out.

I think this is partly down to the fact that I am an introvert, but it is also more than that. The constant worry and nervousness caused by anxiety makes it practically impossible for me to maintain any kind of ‘normal’ social life.

I have a small group of close friends, who understand; who get me, and who are happy to spend time with me, but who are also able to accept when I simply cannot be social. Sometimes, they even just let me sit in a corner and read or knit.

The thing is that I think, lately, anxiety has become a bit of a buzz word. More and more often, I see posts on social media with people talking about ‘my anxiety’.

Now, I am not, in any way, trying to dismiss these people, if they have true anxiety, but at the same time, I feel that I must draw attention to the difference between nerves, and being nervous, versus true, clinically diagnosed anxiety.

It is all on a spectrum, I know, but the difference between the two things is vast. In fact, it is as vast as the difference between a turned ankle, and a broken leg.

All too often, I have had people telling me that I should just get over it, or that I’m simply not praying hard enough, but it isn’t as simple as that.

When it comes down to it, the difference is that with nerves, they are usually surrounding a singular event, whereas anxiety spans multiple events, numerous times.

Nerves are something that can be overcome with relatively little difficulty, whereas, anxiety is crippling.

It can lead a person to live a half life; a life of fear, and panic and terror.

Of course, anxiety can be treated, and can be managed, but, again, this is a long, painful, and difficult road, which I would not wish anyone to have to walk.


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.



Chronic Illness

And Why Flares Are A Pain In The A**

Photo by Mitchell Hollander on Unsplash

Anyone with a chronic illness will say that they live with a certain level of that illness every single day. They could live with pain, overwhelming exhaustion, brain fog, migraines, and any number of other things.

The thing is that there are times when these illnesses flare up, and these are the times when the symptoms of these illnesses seem to double, both in intensity and in frequency.

As I have said before, I suffer with TMJD (Temporo Mandibular Joint Dysfunction). Lately, I have been going through a flare. For me, this looks like:

· Extremely limited opening

· Cracking jaw

· Severe pain

· Mouth ulcers

· Migraines

· Neck Ache

· Tooth Ache

· Ear Ache

· Dizziness

· Disturbed sleep

The thing is that a lot of these symptoms sound fairly minor, and if it were one thing on its own, then it would be manageable, but when all of these things happen at the same time, it makes life pretty much unbearable.

Most of these symptoms are not necessarily visible, which can make it even more difficult, as people may tend to think that I’m overreacting, or being a drama queen, but I challenge them to live a day in my life when I’m going through a flare.

So, what is a flare?

Basically, a flare is a time when all of these symptoms are further intensified, and often occur simultaneously. This, coupled with the pressure that I often put on myself to try and push through, can leave me feeling despair. A flair means that doing ordinary activities, and basically living my life can become an almost impossible task. To put it bluntly, a flare is a big pain. We don’t want to be dealing with this, but the fact is that we are, and we have very little choice in the matter.

I know many people with other chronic conditions, for whom this is also true.

The thing is that when going through a flare, the best thing we can do for ourselves, is to try and practice self care. We need to listen to our bodies, regardless of others’ opinions that we might be ‘malingering’, ‘a drama queen’, or ‘lazy’.

If you are going through a flare, remember to try and be kind to yourself. If you need to take a duvet day, then it’s okay to do just that. If you need to just be by yourself, and sleep all day, then that’s okay too. Basically, the best thing that you can do if you’re having a flare is to listen to your body and give it what it needs.

So, be kind to yourself. Listen to your body, and give it what it needs, because, remember, no one else can do it for you and it is okay to give yourself permission to practice self care, even though the flare you’re going through might feel like a big pain in the a**!


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Chronic Illness

Chronic Illness

And What It’s Like Living With It

Photo by Raphaela Vergud on Unsplash

There is so much talk about chronic illness nowadays, and everyone seems to think that they know exactly what it means to live with one.

Often, it seems like it almost has become a one size fits all. There are buzz words, like ‘Spoonies’, and don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking this, but there’s a lot more to chronic illness than these words.

There are so many people suffering with all manner of chronic illnesses, every day, and the symptoms of those illnesses all take different forms.

I have Facial Arthromyalgia, caused by Temporo Mandibular Joint Dysfunction. Basically, I clench my teeth so much, and so hard, (thanks anxiety), that I have screwed up my jaw, and more often than not, my face feels like I’ve been through a mega intense work out at the gym, except that the associated pain doesn’t ease.

Imagine walking around with your whole head and neck feeling like your legs would after an hour long run.

My TMJD means that I have regular (often daily) headaches, which usually shift to migraines. My neck aches continually, and most of the time, it hurts to eat.

Simple things like yawning, terrify me, because they mean that I will need to open my mouth wide, and when I do this, my jaw cracks, when the cartilage moves out of its proper place.

When my jaw is particularly bad, I have to cut up my food into tiny pieces, or just opt for soft foods. It’s at these times when things like porridge and jelly (jello) are my best friends.

Another nasty side effect is that I find it difficult to sleep. This isn’t because of actual pain at the time, but because I know that when I do sleep, I will begin clenching, and that will make my jaw even worse. I can always tell when I’ve had a bad night, because I always wake up with a migraine.

The thing is, I’ve learned to live with it, and I know when I can push myself, and when I have to just give in, but there are only so many times that you can tell someone that you have a headache, before they begin to think you’re just making excuses.

I guess, the point I’m trying to make is that it doesn’t matter how many buzz words they come up with, or how many times it is explained, we (those living with these illnesses) are really the only ones who know what it is like.

For those of you reading this, who are fellow sufferers, I want to tell you to listen to your body. You know better than anyone else, how much you can handle, and don’t you dare let anyone push you past what you are able to do.

I am standing beside you. I know your suffering, and I know what it is like to fight a battle that no one else sees. You are not alone.


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Tiredness and chronic illness

Tiredness and chronic illness

When late nights make waking up a chore

by Vladislav Muslakov on Unsplash

Over the last week, I seem to have been crazy busy with appointments, and other plans. This always happens towards Christmas, when there is shopping to be done, or parties to be attended, and catch ups with various people you’ve not seen for ages.

The thing is, all this is well and good, and I’m not saying that I don’t enjoy it, because I do, but it means that certain things have to be sacrificed, and this weekend, I definitely paid the price for these sacrifices.

As an introvert, while I like spending time with people, it is also mandatory that I have some alone time, where I can just be me, and I don’t have to talk or keep up conversation with people. This time, gives me the opportunity to recharge, and prevents me from getting, what I call “peopled out.”

I have also found myself going to bed later than normal, and being unable to wind down, which means that I’ve not been getting to sleep before 1.30am, which is not good for me. It’s not that I need to go to bed at 10pm, or anything, but I’m not the kind of person who can lay in after a late night. A lie in for me, is generally 8.00am.

This week, I have also been battling a particularly bad flare up of my TMJD, and a severe dip in mood, not helped by the fact that when I do fall asleep, it is into a sleep plagued with nightmares.

This is the thing with chronic illness… it seems that the minute one thing flares up, the rest all follow, like they’re throwing their own little party, except that the venue is my body and the resulting mess is left for me to manage. This is not fun!

I’m feeling a tiny bit better today, and I’m hoping that it will continue to improve, but for now, it’s going to be earlier nights, and lots of self-care, because that’s all I can really do.


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.