Hello you lovely lot you ❤

I hope you’re all keeping well and are having a fabulous week so far!
For this post I thought I would talk about my journey of working on my self-confidence. This all came about as I was sat in the centre of Sheffield alone the other week waiting for my friends to arrive and I all of a sudden realised I felt completely at ease. I felt confident for the first time in I don’t even know how long. I didn’t care that I was sat alone, people watching, and being people watched by others. I was enjoying the summer sun, not burying my head in my phone to distract myself and calmly scanned the crowds…
If you know me AT ALL or even know a fraction of what my anxiety is centred around, me being sat alone, in a crowded area, with people looking a me whilst also feeling calm would have been unheard of 5 years ago. It honestly took me by surprise, I was honestly a bit startled by the overwhelming calm I felt and in turn felt euphoric that I have cracked another piece of my anxiety puzzle and I can enjoy being alone in crowded areas, I can go shopping alone, I can wear bright green eye shadow or bring pink lipstick and not care that people look at me. For me to actually wear COLOUR in my make-up looks is also a huge step for me.. having people look at me 5 years ago was a huge no. It’s actually making me feel emotional writing this out… let me give some context.

When I first moved back to Sheffield I wasn’t in the best place with my mental health. Yes I was living alone, had a job, had a boyfriend and had some friends. BUT, my job paid enough for my rent and bills so I had no disposable income, my friends all lived with family or friends so they could go out and I couldn’t, the partner I had at the time was unemployed and thus we didn’t see each other often. So, I spent a lot of time in my flat, by myself, watching TV and speaking to my mum for hours to fill the vast void of nothingness I felt. I would get up in the morning, go to work, go home and sit alone. I quickly became, unbeknown to myself, very depressed, very isolated and developed anxiety. I also developed social anxiety around my appearance which was caused by something else that I may touch upon in the future, it’s still too much of an open wound for me to talk about now.
My life quickly became regimented, I put rules in place such as ‘if I don’t leave the flat by 11am there is no point in going anywhere anyway’, ‘if you don’t clean the bathroom again then you can’t possibly go out’, ‘if someone looks at you, you need to go home’, ‘everyone is judging how you look so you need to spend at least an hour on your make-up and hair’, ‘your make-up isn’t good enough you’re staying in’… it was exhausting. I felt trapped in my own head. I cried a lot, I felt helpless, I felt I couldn’t open up to anyone. I tried to open up to my then partner and I got it thrown back in my face. I was alone, in the city I once loved, with no money, no real friends, no way out.
I was having anxiety and panic attacks frequently, I didn’t know what they were until my biggest one happened, but it quickly became apparent that I wasn’t okay. I wasn’t myself, I wasn’t the bubbly person I once was, I was now introverted, stayed in, didn’t reach out for human contact… it’s really hard to think back to that time as it is still an open wound for me. It hurt’s to this day to think back to how alone and empty I felt. I would wander around my flat and wonder how I ended up this alone, I thought I was a nice person, a fun person, someone people liked to be around (not being cocky, just how I felt). It quickly started to be a toxic thought that I wasn’t those things as I didn’t really have anyone from how I felt. I felt like no one cared. Obviously I was wrong, but it was an incredibly dark time and I could not see a way out. I couldn’t see a resolution at all and honestly thought I would continue to spend my life alone, in that flat, with no money and in a relationship that did not make me happy.

So, you can now see, that for me three years later to go shopping alone, to be able to travel to see friends alone, to be in a crowd and not have a panic attack, to be able to stand at a bar alone whilst my friend chats to someone.. is a huge deal. I have friends around me that are like family. I have a loving partner who loves me for me. I have finally accepted that my friends do like me, my appearance is MY appearance and I don’t need to try and impress anyone but myself. I have accepted that my current partner loves me for me, not for anything else, just me. I have accepted that when people look at me they are doing just that. Looking. If they are silently judging, that’s on them. I don’t know them so I try not to care. I try anyway, I am only human! 😉

But seriously, for me to wear colour in my clothing and with my make-up, to be able to have my legs out and not care, to have my arms out and not care, to have FUN and not care if people are judging me… is so freeing. I feel like a bird soaring through the sky most days, I have my down time, but my god the highs outweigh the downs by a large majority. It makes me feel euphoric that I can finally enjoy what life brings, I can laugh as loud as I want, wear bright red lipstick or crazy turquoise eyeshadow and not care! I really hope this confidence stays because I could live off of this high until the end of time.

So, to those people who are still struggling with confidence, anxiety, depression or any other struggles.. it gets better. Everyday is another piece of the void that closes. I don’t think it will ever go away, I have my downfalls and still get anxiety strikes, depression days and panic attacks, but they have eased. They are part of me but they no longer control me, and that is what I have wanted since I was 21. I have wanted my freedom back. And I feel like I have started to gain more control over it, which I am beyond proud of. I am so lucky I have so many people around me who have held my hand, helped pick me back up and encouraged me to push myself and try new things and push myself out of my comfort zone, without those angels I would not be where I am today. Surround yourself in positive energy and it soon comes to you too. You’re not alone, and you can do this ❤

Lots of love & talk soon,

Laura xo

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