Hi everyone, I hope you’re all well!
Today’s post is a really important one to me, because it’s something I shared with you all a year ago; I felt like you were all going through it with me, all 80 thousand of you (wow, cannot believe I’m even saying that!).
I documented my journey with anxiety a lot a year ago, which was when it was at it’s worst. I felt very low, very alone, and just about ready to give up.
One year on, things couldn’t be more different for me and I wanted to share it with you all again, to show you that is hope.
12 months ago, I was at the peak of my anxiety; I barely left the house, only when absolutely necessary. I never wore makeup, never did my hair, never dressed up; I lived in the same grey jumper and leggings. I wanted to blend into the background, I didn’t want anyone to see me or notice me. I was petrified of every single aspect of life, and lived in constant fear that something bad was going to happen to me.
I was stuck in a rut I couldn’t get out of; heavily reliant on my anti depressants, having therapy every week. I couldn’t cope, and I was slowly descending into madness. I remember sobbing to my parents and saying that if I was going to feel like this for the rest of my life then I didn’t want to live anymore, because what was the point?
To anyone who has never experienced anxiety, they can easily pass it off as ‘attention seeking’ and tell people to just ‘get over it’. Anxiety is as much mental as it is a physical illness; it grips you, like a form of cancer, it spreads throughout you and slowly kills you inside. That is in no way saying that cancer and anxiety are on the same level; cancer is the most awful disease beyond words, but what I’m trying to say is that it just kills off everything inside you that you knew before.
I was in a relationship with someone who did not understand anxiety, depression, and everything that came with it. I was told I was attention seeking, and that they could just not understand what was wrong with me. I laughed yesterday, so how could I be ‘depressed?’ or ‘anxious?’. To them, it wasn’t possible.
My life was full of people who made me feel on edge, unhappy and who further added to my anxiety. I was so, so unhappy. I can’t even explain to you what was going through my head everyday back then. My life, which had seemed so bright and vibrant before, had shrunk down to a black box that I was stuck inside. I felt like I was walking down a bleak, pitch black tunnel that was never ending.
The unhappiness and fear and dread I felt everyday was draining me of life and of happiness; I couldn’t remember the last time I had enjoyed a drink with friends and felt fine, or left my bed on a Saturday.
I remember going to meet a friend at Pizza Express and my hands were uncontrollably shaking. I was so scared to leave the house and go out alone, it was such an awful time in my head. I was walking down the road towards the restaurant, thinking everyone around me was out to get me and wanted to hurt me, so convinced that something awful was going to happen to me. I just wanted to turn around and go straight home.
It’s been 12 months, and I am better. I’m not ‘cured’; I don’t think you ever will be of anxiety, but my God, am I better.
I cut people out my life who were no good for me and my mental health; any relationship that didn’t bring me joy and happiness was axed.
I took myself off my anti depressants slowly, I stopped my therapy and led myself down the road of recovery.
I forced myself to accept all the invitations that came my way; nights out, dinners, going to the cinema, weekends away, business meetings for my blog, I just did them, because I knew I needed to.
Eventually, after forcing myself to confront my fears, and leave my house, I started to feel more confident. I surrounded myself with people that motivated me, encouraged me, and were there for me no matter what.
I still get anxious, very anxious at times, but in comparison to a year ago, it’s like a miracle has happened to me.
I have met someone who didn’t really understand anxiety and what it was all about, but is there for me with it. I don’t need the people in my life to understand it, I just need them to accept it for what it is and what it can do to me, and be there for me if and when that may happen.
I am putting my all into my blog and my writing, and I feel more confident and motivated than I have in a very long time.
I have spent more time with my family and my friends and the people who matter. I have read more books, gone on more spontaneous nights out, booked holidays, put weight on and then lost it all again. I have proved to myself that I am strong and I’m not going to let anxiety get the better of me.
To be honest, I suppose the point of this post was not only to share with you all what has changed in a year, but to tell any of you that are experiencing anxiety or any mental health problems, that it always gets better. I know it’s difficult to believe that when you’re in the midst of a mental battle and struggling to even cope with day to day situations, but you just need to keep going, despite how you feel, just push yourself to do things, even the things that make you feel uncomfortable.
Practice self love, doing the things that make you happy at that point in your life, and surround yourself with only the most positive people who lift you higher. I know that it can take a while to realise all these things, and I am guilty of keeping people in my life a lot longer than they should have stayed, but we live and we learn.
I really hope that this post has helped you in some way, shape or form, and lightened the load of your current anxieties just a little bit. Anxiety is an absolute little shit and it gets worse before it gets better; the solace I found in my personal anxiety was that I reached such a low, it couldn’t get any worse. My mum told me that when you’ve reached rock bottom the only way is up and she was completely right; sometimes you have to get to that point in order to get better.
I am a firm believer in what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and impacts who you are as a person, and I truly believe that’s what has happened with me, and it’s what will happen with all of you too, if you are going through this.
”Strength grows in the moments when you think you can’t go on, but you keep going anyway.”
All my love BGP xx