My Fight With Anxiety & Depression

My fight with depression & anxiety.

I find it hard to even say those words; Depression & Anxiety. There is still such a stigma attached to them. If you admit that you struggle with them does that then define you? Am I then known as that girl who suffers with anxiety & depression?

I am not suicidal nor am I addicted to drugs, I do not self-harm and I rarely if ever drink alcohol. I am however sad, self-doubting and I am nervous quite a lot of the time. This I believe makes it harder when you reach out to get help, sure what have you got to be sad about?

In a world where we are so connected through social media and can talk to people in the 4 corners of the world it has strangely become even easier to be alone. Would I use the term lonely? Perhaps but when you feel how I feel being around people seems like the hardest thing to do in your life.

We all have bad days, that’s life but when you have bad weeks and then months that switch in your brain becomes even harder to turn off. You question EVERYTHING and I mean everything. Why am I doing what I am doing? What am I doing with my life? How can I possibly help others when I myself feel the way I do? You constantly question everything.

You cannot focus and make good decisions. You eat chocolate for breakfast a salad for lunch and hobnobs for dinner, your fighting with yourself to ‘get a grip’ but the grip it has on you is so tight you are suffocating under it. why can’t I just be happy? That question rolls around on repeat in your mind.

You scroll through social media, you spend needless hours making yourself feel worse in every way. Your looks, your body, your career, everything can be compared online. You are in a terrible headspace so this affects you, so now you become self-loathing. I am not good enough, I am not fit enough, pretty enough, travelling enough, reading enough, I am simply not enough.

When you spend weeks telling yourself you are not enough you eventually start to believe it. You stop exercising because you don’t have the energy, you stop eating well because you don’t feel like cooking and you hide yourself away because it is really easy to go unnoticed in this world and watch Netflix all day to distract yourself from reality.

How do you reset yourself? How do you get back to that point where you felt okay in your life and what triggered this downward spiral in the first place? I was really happy after we got married, I had no post wedding blues because I was happy to just be married, the wedding itself probably stressed me out more but coming home from honeymoon and then moving house I was pretty excited about that. I have no idea why my mindset changed and why I have spent weeks on end feeling like I do. It just happened and then it kept on happening to a point where I wouldn’t be able or want to leave the house.

I couldn’t work or even think about working, what if people see that I am struggling? I can’t give the best of me and my classes will suffer, if I can’t give 100% then I can’t give anything, it wouldn’t be fair to people who would come. I would feel like I am letting them down and that feeling would drown me. I love teaching classes but I couldn’t pretend to be okay, I had to take some timeout. That also crushed me.

It’s a vicious circle really, knowing what you should do and actually doing it are 2 very different things. In fact knowing what you should do and not doing it can make you feel even worse and give you another reason to beat yourself up.

I don’t know why people suffer with anxiety or depression but I do know that there are so many people out there hiding it away for fear of being judged if they talk about it or say it out loud. I know this because I am one of them. It terrifies me to think that I will be judged because of it. That I will be seen differently because of it.

It became so bad for me that I had to reach out and go to the doctor and go to talk therapy. I needed professional advice and help. Its not an instant cure but it felt good to just talk about it. scary, embarrassing but still good and proud of myself for doing it. Coping with mental health is like a battle of the brain. To me it feels like my mind is at war with itself.

There’s a huge amount of population out there struggling. Why is mental health not being talked about more? I guess I can understand the fear of putting your hand up online to say; I suffer with anxiety or depression for fear of being judged but the reality is that there are so many other people out there struggling to get through the day just like I have been doing. It doesn’t mean that I am not a good coach or a good person, I have to remind myself of that quite regularly.

I’m not looking for sympathy or poor you or keep your head up from people, I’m not even sure if I’ll share this at all, I just felt like I needed to get this off my chest. I also know that I can be a strong determined person at times and I know what I can do to help myself when I am in the right mindset to do so. I also know that I am not alone even if other people are to afraid to admit that they also battle.

Maybe my agenda is awareness, to simply talk more about the topic of mental health. To let others know they are not alone or maybe to hear that I am not alone. I didn’t start writing this with an agenda in mind, I am simply trying to cope with my feelings and writing it down seemed like a good idea. Its hard to admit how you really feel but I am getting better at it. being honest with yourself can be quite liberating. I am not okay but I will be and I am actually okay with that.

Don’t always believe what you see. I am certainly more aware of how social media affects me and it is something that I will be dramatically cutting back on. I definitely believe that I let myself feel like I was failing in comparison to others online and I lost myself in chasing something I didn’t even want in the first place because I thought that is what success looked like. Its not, at least not to me. I have become more aware of what I want over the past while and in a strange way have been reminded about what matters to me.

I’ve never wanted for much in the sense that big houses or cars or material possessions have never been a motivating factor in my life. I have never chased money. What matters is my family, my friends, my clients and living a life that is rewarding and serving a good purpose. Maybe it’s a sense of belonging that I crave, I’m not sure but what I do know is that being online is definitely not my passion, I don’t think it suits me if that makes sense. I used to think I was failing if I wasn’t trying to be the best ‘online’ but the reality is I love the face to face connection way more, maybe that’s because of the era I grew up in but to be honest, I think that is something we all need a little more of. Real human connection.

I guess the reality is that life can be hard at times and maybe I am fed up of trying to pretend, maybe I am fed up of trying to be strong or hiding the fact that I am struggling. There is no such thing as normal so I do not wish to be so. I do however wish for a day where people would be more open and honest about how they really feel, that sharing their story is a sign of strength and not weakness and that the stigma around mental health is broken. So if you are out there struggling in any way in your life just know that you are not alone and things can and will get better.

Shelly

xxx

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Michelle Malone

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