Anxiety at Work and Home (PT2)

In my last post I talked about anxiety and panic at work. This post I’m going to talk about Anxiety and panic at home because we often forget that home can be just as anxious and panic ridden as work. To give representation before I dive in, I want to give an example as I might combust if I don’t let it out!

I currently live with my husband but before I originally had a studio which I bought when I was 19 because my family where not understanding to my mental illness and it came close to a toxic environment. I recently found that I would be going there to stay for a few days as my husband was on a trip and I realised I hadn’t been home for over 5 years.

I got my tatko to get me from the station from work as Caspar and I only have 1 between us. Now I had had a panic attack at work and usually as soon as I step in the car my husband can tell. We are a very close couple and he has also seen a lot of downfalls because of my bipolar, so he has ended up being like a sniffer dog! Anyways, in that kind of situation, he would pull over, give me a hug, comfort me and make sure I was taking my correct medication. Now this was a whole new experience.

I stepped into the car, dreading the fact I was now going to have to talk about my day, and I physically wasn’t sure I could. Sure enough I step in my tatko goes “How’s your day gone?” which is a perfectly reasonable question and I answer saying “beznadzieja” (which means crap). He obviously starts asking what the matter was and I just say it was really stressful and this is when the anxiety starts and my panic starts to arise again.

He starts to go “Stress happens where ever you work, you just need to get over it. Everybody gets stress but we don’t get a diagnosis for it, we just get on with life.”

I could feel it then, the burning, suffocating feeling that is a panic attack and I could feel the tears, but I couldn’t let them out because if I did, that would be showing weakness. So I put a brave face on but underneath I was remembering the 9 year old who would muffle her cries at 2 in the morning when she first started contemplating suicide because of her undiagnosed illnesses.

So here is something everyone should know.

  1. It’s okay to feel anger towards your parents. They are a generation or two behind us and they will never understand the added pressure, sexism and stress that this new world brings.
  2. It’s okay if you parents are a trigger. You are not an evil child if your parents are the cause of your mental illness.
  3. Don’t hide your tears and store them. Find someone else to cry on, your best friend, your dog or your partner. Don’t feel like you parents are your only option. Phone your best friend and tell her what is wrong.
  4. Don’t let anyone dictate what medical help you may or may not need. Follow your gut and not what people are saying. If you are on medication and people are giving you trouble, ignore them, your medication is helping you.
  5. If you get panic attacks, remember it will end eventually. In 5 years time you could move out and get your own place. You will never be in the same place all you life.
  6. Don’t feel the need to be strong all the time. It’s okay to break occasionally, you just need a little TLC and superglue and your little cracks will be fixed again.
  7. Make your home not just a house, make your home people around you, in the summer days, in the sights and scenery you see, make your home in the places you love most. Not just a house with a family.
  8. You can make your  family, that’s what people don’t tell you. You can make it in your best fiend who is like a sibling, you can make it in your husband or partner of wife, who knows and loves you more than you can ever love yourself. You can make your home where ever you want.

Please don’t misunderstand this as me saying I hate my parents. I don’t, not at all. I owe them my life and I owe them for assisting me in having a good education in the capital of one of the most forward countries in the world. All I’m saying is, is that although you might think I have a perfect life and relationship with my family, we can still have our downfalls.


Tosia Altman



Dealing with Anxiety at Work and Home

There is nothing worse than having an anxiety attack at work or even being anxious at work and I know I must of talked about it before but I want to make a point.

We have all had those desperate days at work where you know a panic attack is coming so you are frantically googling “How to stop a panic attack at work” and all these things come up like; Go somewhere private. Deep Breathe. Do breathing exercises. Do light stretching at your desk.

The fact is, for a lot of people this is very difficult and practically impossible. When I am in office, we sit in a line with people adjacent to us as it is a large commercial office building and is all very open. Work is the most important thing and I can’t just be seen taking random breaks and doing breathing exercises, they just wouldn’t get it.

Often I will only be triggered if I must have a sit down conversation with a colleague or I am talking on the phone. I don’t know why these things happen and I don’t know why they always make me want to cry but they do. Then I nearly do and it’s humiliating, a grown women about to cry….not a good look.

So what I would encourage is:

  1. Drink lots of water, if in a conversation with someone, as I find that my voice can go croaky if I am nervous.
  2. Go to the bathroom if you think you are about to cry or have a panic attack, or if it’s lunch or break, go find a private room/ empty meeting room or go outside, to clear your mind.
  3. If you have a vending machine, go there if it’s really bad, as it is good to get out of office.
  4. Cut back on caffeine as that can make you all on edge.
  5. Get good night sleep, every night, not just on a Monday and Tuesday.
  6. Have a good cry when you get home, let it all out, you will find that really helps to get rid of the building sadness for the next day.
  7. Have a relaxing night and light a few candles and have a bath.
  8. Read a book, not on your phone, before you go to bed, it will help you sleep better.
  9. Tell your partner/ friends. Talk to someone about it, just to get there empathy, it’s good to cry on someone elses shoulder.
  10. If necessary email a psychologist, or go on 7cupsoftea. If on medication, please keep up with it. I know it’s crap but if it helps it’s worth it. – 7cupsoftea


Tosia Altman



Bipolar: Everyday Struggles

  1. The stigma. When I applied for jobs, I obviously have to have it as an illness, when I was first looking for jobs they would ask me in an interview about excessively and this in it’s self, could be very triggering.
  2. Taking medication at the right time and getting it through security at an airport. With my job,  we do a lot of performing abroad or at the other side of the country and the company will pay for our flights, however with this spasmodic schedule, often I wont find time to take my meds and then It means my body goes out of sync and my illness gets heavily exaggerated. Flights, often my meds will be in hand luggage and I will be asked to either take them out or asked why there is such big doses. I then have to explain that I take 17 tablets a day, with a portion going towards my IBS and stress as well.
  3. Being triggered from a T.V show. I’m currently watching “It’s Okay. That’s Love” which is a K-Drama. However this is also about mental illness and personally I find this is becoming quite triggering and is making me obsess slightly over my illness.
  4. People’s paranoia. People often forget that Bipolar can also just have a bad day, instead of it being always depression. I find that if I am a little hormonal on my period everyone get’s very paranoid and tell me to maybe take “Anti-Depressants” or ask me if “There is anything they can do?”, calm down people! It is only a bad day and by the next day I will be fine!
  5. Not sure if you are maniac or just really happy. This sounds ridiculous but sometimes when I am having a really good day, I start to wonder if maybe I’m over happy and perhaps I am going into a hypomanic episode.
  6. Going out for the day when you are depressed. This can be a very hard battle for me, an example: Today. So as it is a Saturday, I had the day off and the past week I have been quite depressed and stressed and I was hoping to be able to spend the day with my husband just lounging. I am pretty medicated as well, which makes me very sleepy, to try to prevent my depression sinking deeper. However my family wanted to go out for lunch which is always hard, especially as it was immediate family and no anchor (i.e Husband) so I was struggling. Once we go to lunchtime everyone kept asking me “Why was I frowning? Smile, try to be happy!” It just made it worse.



Tosia Altman

Things People Don’t Tell You About After A Miscarriage.

The worst part of having a miscarriage is afterwards. You have just spent days, weeks or even months, not only nursing and preparing for the baby, but also loving it, talking to it and caring for it. It’s a horrible feeling, one of the worst you can ever feel.

  1. You can still get Postnatal Depression. Grief can be so strong that you can fall into a depression.
  2. Denial can last a long time. I became so obsessed with remembering the baby that I became almost convinced, it was still alive. (I might add, that I do have Bipolar 2, although I do not suffer from any psychosis, my moods can be extremely bad.)
  3. The grief always stays slightly, seeing other babies born can feel like a stab in the heart.
  4. You see them in your head as they would of grown up. It sounds ridiculous, but often there memory sweetens and in times of trial, I can imagine my babies little laughs and footsteps.
  5. They will have a special place in your heart, even when you have other children, because they where as much as a part of you as the others are.





The Day when The Battle was nearly Over


Let’s talk about regrets. No in fact, no regrets, lets talk about learning things.

I’m bipolar and was severely depressed for 5 years and throughout that time there would be times of me being suicidal.

Let me tell you about one of those times.

It was my first year after Rachel’s Death Day and it hit me like no pain has ever been like before. It was suffocating, agonising and the most unquenchable need to be with her, even for a second. It wasn’t the first time I had tried and sadly it wasn’t the last time but it was the time where I really let myself go and feel everything. 

So there I sat, with a blade in one hand and a sense of elation in the other. I was finally seeing her, and I did it. For once, I didn’t patch myself up, I was ready to just go. 

Until 5 seconds before I was about to black out.

I suddenly realised something, the battle is not over until the war is won. (The 100, T.V. Series.) My war would never be over until I was able to erase that guilt and by fading away into an other girl in the newspaper who had committed suicide wasn’t the way. I needed to help people like me so that I could be remembered as a healer, so Rachel could be remembered. I want to make her proud, I want her to be remembered and I want to achieve her dreams as well as mine. If anything I was live with her, not as someone beside me but someone who is a part of me. She knew me better than anyone and I her. I know her fears, her joys, her favourite food, place, number, chocolate spread. That’s why I live with her. She’s a part of me, she holds a part of my soul and replaces it with hers.

I don’t regret that day but I did learn from it. It’s never worth it. It might be one battle over but it’s not the war over. You haven’t won anything. You are fading into a nothingness by doing that. Leave a mark of good in this land, so when you are 100 and on your death bed, people can say “She truly lived.”

A quote by Zhang Yixing is what I am trying to say: I hope to tell the youths that are even younger than us to Work Hard, Work Hard and then, Work Even Harder. Today’s Hard Work will Determine where you’ll stand in the Future and where you stand will determine the type of scenery you see.


Tosia Altman


What is it like to TRULY feel Music.

I talk about the fact I dance and perform music but I don’t explain what it is that drives me.

I feel music. No in fact, I breathe it.

I feel it when I am anxious. As a reliever.

I feel it when I am happy in the nature around me.

And when I dance to it, it’s like I finally have a place where I belong.

When my body moves in time to the music and my feet stop aching because all  I can hear is the music and the joy in truly letting myself let go and fly. Everything kind of evaporates and for that perfect 5 minutes of the song I let myself truly be open. I break down my walls. Nothing else feels like that to me. It’s hard to explain unless you truly understand music and dance. It’s a type of freedom. It’s a type of therapy. The best kind of antidepressant and painkiller. When my stomach hurts and I am in so much pain I can’t breathe and I think I am going to be sick, I put music in and my body relaxes, it’s muscles stop convulsing and the pain goes. I can breathe and my head stops hurting. I’ve tried to hard to try and find and something else that can do it for me. But there is nothing and no one who can create that feeling apart music and dance.

I put them hand in hand, because  I must. Because although music is what guides me to dance, to hear music I must feel dance. It’s my anchor. The one thing that takes me out of my depression and panic attacks.

I won’t say it’s like that when I am in a class or a tense environment, you can’t truly let yourself go then. But I would say it’s like that when I go to the studio at night at 11 o’clock and put my Spotify on in shuffle mode and let myself dance to whatever comes on. It’s good practise but it’s also completely freeing. You would think that the 8 hours of training previously would of put me off, but even if my feet are bleeding, blistered and my calves and thighs are aching and my muscles feel like collapsing, there is always room for that freedom.

It flows and it, although cheesy, it sets me free and sometimes when I am so caught up I wish it could go on forever.


Tosia Altman


Marriage VS Couple


  1. You forget they are in the house. Now this sounds ridiculous, but when you are usually in the house with the other person, when you are boyfriend/ girlfriend then you try to spend every waking moment with them. When you get married, you are constantly in the house with them and if they are very quiet downstairs and you don’t know where they are, or if they are in, you can get a massive fright.
  2. You get fed up with your husbands alarm clock. This sounds ridiculous, but if he keeps his alarm the same for years on end it can get VERY annoying. (Sorry babe, but it’s  true).
  3. You never buy pyjamas, you just wear his old shits, boxers etc. for night time wear. Once he doesn’t want his shirt, it’s great for a nightgown.
  4. Your food miraculously seems to disappear after every shopping trip. You once had chocolate raisins but now suddenly they have vanished and he will just shrug and smile.
  5. You will become so comfortable that even the really gross stuff won’t bother you. Spots on you back? Sorted. Hairy legs? He won’t care. Trims his nose hairs in the sink. Okay fine that’s really annoying, clean up afterwards!
  6. Going out to dinner is no longer always a date but can feel like going out with your best friend. You don’t feel the need to be romantic, you just have fun.
  7. Dates are no longer fancy events. Often dates will be silly things, like going to the supermarket at 2 in the morning because he was really wanting ice cream and you end up playing hide and seek in the isles.
  8. Ironing never happens unless it is a shirt. NEVER HAPPENS. Way to much effort on both your parts.
  9. The dishwasher is always used. Who cares if that spatula isn’t meant to go in the dishwasher.
  10. He becomes you best friend, you sibling and your husband all in one. (I don’t mean incest because that is disgusting.) By sibling I mean in terms of how relaxed you are with him, you trust him with everything. By husband I mean soulmate, because without mine, I wouldn’t be who I am now.

Thank you.


Tosia Altman



When is Going Home from Work Sick Okay?

This came to mind today as myself was swithering between going home and lasting another 3:45 hours. I dance as a living but today I was seeing to the paperwork off it. Occasionally we have days where we go and sort through contracts etc and make phone calls and arrange dates/events. I was also arranging my schedule, to prevent overlaps which is always a little more tricky than you would assume. Yesterday I was doing similar work and my colleague and dance partner, who had been complaining of having a sore throat the past week, had lost his voice. Over the past few days I had been feeling similar and I noticed yesterday that I had also lost my voice. I also had a cough and was very chesty but thought I would be fine as he was in and I didn’t want to appear weak. So today I turned up to do my work, with the rest of my teachers/ colleagues/ bosses in with very swollen glands, a headache, a temperature and a lost voice. My partner was not in as he had opted to “Working from Home.” I made it through the morning and felt marginally okay and manage to eat my lunch.  However once it hit 1 I started to feel feverish again and uwell. While sitting on my lunch break I was looking online to see when people thought it would be okay to go home, I struggled to find anything and thought I would right my own opinion on this.

  1. If you are contagious and could cause the illness to spread. What I had was contagious and although yesterday was fine as my colleague also had it, in other situations I would encourage you to stay at home or ask to go home.
  2. If you are causing disruption to the office. If you are continually sneezing, sniffing and coughing to an extent where it’s every  5 minutes I would advise you to go home as it can be very hard to concentrate.
  3. If you are unable to concentrate on your work or see your page clearly. Once at this stage there is no point staying as your work will likely be ineffective in later days as it will most likely not make sense.
  4. If someone else in you office is weak. My colleague, one of our older directors was in office, and she is currently battling lung cancer and had been receiving chemotherapy weekly. Due to her weak state, with me having a chesty cough as my main problem thought it would be better if I went home as it could be fatal for her.
  5. Try to work out the severity of your illness. Is it easily cured with 2 paracetamols or is it just making you not able to function.
  6. Trust yourself, your body will tell you if it’s necessary. Unless you are hungover and then deal with it as it is your fault!
  7. If you find that you are continually taking time off, learn to work out if it is really as bad as you think.

Hope this helped!




Learning a Language

I will address two topics today. 1) What it’s like not speaking the country you are in’s language and 2) What it’s like to learn that language.

Landing in Britain, I knew 3 phrases. A) Hello, my name is Tosia Altman. B) I am Polish and C) I know none English. And that was it. That was all I knew. That was all I had to get me through school and life in a foreign country. I knew none of English’s foreign grammars and pronunciation. I definitely did not understand the humour and sarcasm they use. Even now, I do not understand there phrases and get reprimanded often for using the wrong word to describe someone.

The most used English word I picked up was “Sorry”. Sorry, for when I stammered like an idiot as I tried to understand the currency as I bought a pack of polo mints. Sorry for when I didn’t understand class. Sorry for when I knocked something over and tried to apologise more profusely but couldn’t because I didn’t know the English words.

The second most used English word I picked up was “Thank you.” Thank you to the teachers who tried to make me understand them by gesturing and attempting to speak English words with a polish accent, as though that would somehow make magical sense. Thank you to the people who would help me with the currency, instead of looking at me with disgust or anger. Thank you to the Polish people at school, who when they noticed I couldn’t speak English, helped me by translating and teaching me words.

Learning any language is hard. The phrases and correct pronunciation is hard. Spelling it is even harder. You may think that my spelling is pretty accurate, but this is because my British Partner goes over my posts and corrects my spelling, my ordering and the format I write in. I am no means fluent in English. There is still so many words I don’t understand. However you learn to adjust to the language. You pick up there odd sayings and humour. You learn what they mean, after a few rough starts of awkwardly using them in the wrong situation.

You pick up the accent quickest I think, because you hear it before you can understand the language. Though the words are garbled, you still hear the accent.

I am proud to be Polish. But I am also proud that now, not only can I call myself a British Citizen, I am also fit in.


Tosia Altman


Ballet: The Hardships

I’m going to discuss ballet problems, stigmas in ballet and issues that can arise from doing ballet.

When you hear the word ballet, what do you think off?

Do you think of anorexia, stick thin girls?

Do you think of ballet feet and tutus?

I bet you never think of perhaps there is male dancers.

And perhaps the dancers are under  5 ft 5.

I am 5ft2 and I am a professional ballet dancer. I have a shattered coccyx bone and my Tarsal Navicular bone on my left foot is fractured. I have two toes that won’t go down due to a break from ill fitting shoes.

I don’t wear tutus but instead I wear loose dresses. I tend to wear my hair in a French plait instead of a ballet bun, unless in an event or performance.

However I do have an eating disorder. As does my friend, who too is a ballet dancer, however he is male. He is 6ft and is one of the strongest people I have ever met.

My feet are not ones of beauty, I have blister, bruising and swelling. My calves and thighs are formed oddly as the muscle we use most is very unusual. My feet automatically point out the way. My arm muscles are strong at the shoulders and forearm but weak at the wrists. I oddly have a very strong neck, which is partly to do with B-boying which I do on the side.

But still I manage to make a living doing something I love. I know how to appear as light as a feather or as heavy as an elephant. I can make my body bend and turn. I can hear music and rhythm where ever I am . I know I can dance. I feel it, in my bones. It is my passion as much as it is my hardship. I love it, it is my home and no matter what my pain is when I get home, I still go back for more. I am never truly happy until I hear the music.

When I can’t sleep or am scared I go to the studio, put on my favourite songs and dance. Then I become free and finally soar and fly and sometimes it feels like I will never land.



Tosia Altman