Hello you lovely lot you ❤
I hope you’re all doing okay and are just as thrilled as me that the year long month of January is finally over! Today is officially the last day of the longest month ever so cheers to that *sips on a Gin and Tonic*! So lets kick start February by diving into another blog post, shall we?
This week I wanted to go slightly deeper. Over the past year I have really been working on my anxiety to try and find the root cause and rectify it. Honestly, I have done that because I was so fed up of anxiety trying to control what I do, how I act, what activities I try and what parties I attend. I was bored of constantly worrying about what people thought of me, how I looked, how I presented myself, what would happen if I attended a party,.. literally anything you could think of I worried about. And I can say that this year I have been so much better than I have been for many years. However, the one thing I can’t win against is my depression.
I can go months thinking I am finally battling my depression, I am proving it wrong by seeing my friends, being confident, having fun, making people laugh, laughing myself.. then all of a sudden I have slipped into a dark place without even seeing it coming. I forget what makes me happy, I forget hobbies that used to bring me calm, I forget how to love myself, I forget how to feel any emotion other than a crushing feeling of nothing, I forget how to show love and affection to my partner. I become empty overnight, and in turn, my anxiety creeps back in.
This happened in October last year. I fell into a really dark place without seeing it coming. My depression was debilitating, I was sleeping all the time, I felt run down, I was eating too much then not eating enough, I was drained of everything that made me the person I am. My anxiety started going through the roof again which it hasn’t done for nearly a year. I was worrying about going to events, I was worrying about seeing my friends, I was worrying about how I was acting, how I looked, what my body looked like, how my make-up was. And it came over me so quickly that I didn’t even see it coming which was honestly terrifying. My darkness demon was back.
Although it was crushing, exhausting and heartbreaking as I didn’t know why it had arrived with so much force I was knocked sideways and felt out of place everywhere, I finally listened to my body and my mind and did what it needed at the time. I said no to events that I didn’t feel up to, and if I did go to events I gave myself 20 minutes alone if I needed it. I stayed in and watched endless Netflix if I wanted, I ate what I wanted and pampered myself when needed. These may sound like pretty basic things to you, however, for me they are big steps in the right direction. If you know me you know I like to be busy, I hate letting anyone down and will push myself to the limits of my own sanity to make sure that others are happy. I never call in sick to work or bail last minute to events anymore unless I am knocking on deaths door. But for some reason, before Christmas when my mental health dipped lower than it has been for a long time, I didn’t force myself to do anything, and that in itself is a huge win for me.
Allowing myself time to heal and repair myself so that I can be a good girlfriend, friend, sister, daughter, employee was essential and something that I have always failed at doing. I am the first person to tell others they need ‘me time’, I’m the first to tell people to cut back on activities and look after themselves, I will never make anyone feel bad for bailing on an event due to not feeling up to it, yet for some reason I can never take my own advice. I would always push myself to go to the party and have a panic attack in the bathroom just so no one could say I wasn’t trying, I would always force myself into work even though I know I am ill and need rest, I would always take on as much as physically possible in work, home and studying life with little to no regard of the impact it will have on me in the long run. Yet, somehow, at the end of 2019 something changed and I listened to my mind and my body. I am not sure if it was through sheer exhaustion and being completely burnt out, or if I am finally learning what to do and more importantly what not to do when I am feeling like shit. And I am definitely not saying I will always look after myself in the same way, I am simply saying I am proud of how I handled the situation and I am proud for putting myself first for once. I never do that, and for me to look back and see that that is exactly what I did is pretty amazing.
So, I am hoping that from this some of you may get the encouragement to do the same. Look after yourself, look after your mind, if your brain or your body is telling you to slow down, relax and look after number one, then do it. It isn’t selfish to say you need a day watching the TV shows you want, or to sit and read a book all day and not speak to anyone, or take 10 minutes for yourself at a party, or to not even go to the party. Never think that people will think less of you for not going to the party, or the weekend away, or the coffee date. And if they do think less of you, that is their problem not your own. Do whatever you need to do to ensure you are looking after yourself, and please don’t feel bad for doing it. I have beaten myself up for years thinking I needed to be a better friend, I always reach out and I always give 110% to anyone who needs it, but I am never giving myself the same love and care back. So here is your reminder to look after you and then you will find looking after other people a lot easier. Trust me ❤
Lots of love and talk soon,