Anxiety and depression, like all other mental illness’s show no mercy , nor discrimination. It cares not for your age, gender, race or socioeconomic status. You can not see it, and it’s likely that you have no idea who is suffering silently or experiencing symptoms unless they have chosen to confide in you.
No one person is the same in how they are affected or suffer by these invisible and sometimes debilitating illness’s. You can not judge a book by its cover or know what is happening internally on another person, this is why it is so important to be kind, empathetic and understanding always.
In Australia it is estimated 45% of the population will experience a mental health condition in their life time and of that, 1 in 5 per annum.
Most are too scared to reach out, seek help or talk about it openly, in fear of ridicule and judgment. This is me, I am the 1 in 5. I have also spent the majority of my life not talking about how I feel, too afraid to ask for help out of fear of judgment. For the first time I am openly sharing my struggle, not only to give you insight into who I am but to also hopefully help others who have had similar experiences to my own, to raise awareness and break the stigma attached to mental health.
I have spent my whole life worried about what others are thinking of me. I base the choices I make on this, and how I will be perceived. I constantly find myself trying to please everyone, to make those around me happy and those who know me proud.
One would assume this makes me a good person and while yes, I like to think that I am a good person, that has a heart of gold and is pure of soul, what this actually makes me is fairly unhappy and insecure within.
It’s no secret to those who are close to me, that I suffer from bouts of anxiety and depression BUT I’m sure those who *think* they know me would probably contest this fact, as I am usually perceived as the loud, bubbly person in the room, the one who is often smiling, chatting away to whoever willing to have a yarn, the one who will stand up for what she believes in, who would defend anyone who needed a voice that can’t find their own and the one who sometimes oversteps, overshares and is over opinionated.
I am the perfect example of a walking contradiction. I’m all of those things mentioned above, but I’m also the person who often cant maintain eye contact, the one who will let others walk all over and intimidate her because she can’t handle confrontation. I’m the person who shuts down in social settings, who can’t eat in front of most and avoids doing anything that may draw attention, the one who becomes withdrawn and is awkwardly shy around new people.
I’m the person who says she doesn’t care but does. The one who thinks about things that happened years ago and will spend the next week worrying about it all over again. I’m the one who stresses about the future, over thinking and analyzing every situation and interactions had, who then creates made up scenarios in her head, that have never happened and are likely never to.
I’m the one who will start up a conversation with a stranger on the street but doesn’t know what to say when being introduced to someone new. I’m the one who has the loudest laugh and energy that radiates when having fun with loved ones but I’m also the one who will cancel plans last minute because anxiety starts to overcome all other emotions.
I’m the one who is sensitive to energies, who takes on everyone else’s feelings and lets it consume her. The one who can sometimes not sleep at night but will struggle to wake in the morning. Whose head is full of noise and racing, but body is quiet and no energy.
The past few months I have worked tirelessly on my mental wellbeing, learning to identify my irrational thoughts, to self manage and to push through all of the negative emotions that can consume me.
I make a conscious effort every day, to wake up with a positive outlook on life and be grateful for all that I have. I constantly remind myself that the only person’s opinion that should matter about who I am, is my own. That the life I am living is my own and my happiness matters too. Some days are harder than others, but every day is a blessing.
You wont find me focusing on my struggle or sharing my negative thoughts and feelings often for the sake of my own sanity and mental wellbeing. When I focus on these feelings then I am allowing them to consume and take over me.
I have always put myself last and have never taken the time to focus on my own wellbeing which is why I made a promise to myself that this year I am going to be true to who I am and to embark on a journey of self love and self acceptance. I want to be the best person I can be, so that I can be the best mum I can be to my children, the best wife I can be to my husband and the best support and company I can be to my friends and loved ones.
I want to be the person I know I can be and most importantly, a role model I can be proud of for my kids.