26 March 2014

"I'm just a f***ed up girl who's looking for her own peace of mind"

       

Hi, my name's Sofie, and I suffer with anxiety.

This post, essentially, has been 12 years in the making, because I've lived for 12 years with mental health difficulties. And quite frankly, it's been shit.

Writing (and sharing) this post has been and is very terrifying, as a lot of people aren't aware that this aspect of me exists... Which is understandable, as I don't like to shout about it. "But why write about it?" you may be thinking. Well, rest assured it's not for attention or sympathy (neither of which I need). It's because I'm aware there's still a stigma surrounding mental health, and it's a stigma I despise. I also want to make people aware that anyone could be suffering with mental health difficulties, and there's not a "type" of person that can suffer with them. 

People are aware that sometimes I'm smiley and happy and upbeat, but they are aware that equally I have days where I am very, very down. I'm useless at hiding my emotions - I'm a heart-on-my-sleeve kinda girl - but I'm sure they'd never assume it was anything serious. For me, this post is more about working through my feelings, and I hope that no one judges me too much. Maybe even people will relate, which would be fantastic.

A lot of the time, I like myself. I do. Despite the fact I may not conform to society's expectations of "beauty", I know I'm not ugly. I'm also thoughtful, caring, empathetic and sometimes funny.

But sometimes... Sometimes I hate myself. I hate my mind. I hate it so much I want to scream and cry in frustration and not be myself anymore. I just want to remove my brain and pretend I don't exist. Because sometimes it's really, really difficult to stop feeling like my mind is suffocating me; feeling like it's against me and not letting me be "normal".

I want to be my best self, without my worst self. I want freedom from the bad parts. But I can't get it.

Recently, things have been bad. For the last few years I've been able to coast by without many problems, mental health wise. But life has caught up with me and been like, "Hey, remember this bit of your mind? The bit you've been ignoring? Well, it's back with a vengeance, and it's here to stay unless you sort it out."

So that's what I need to do. Instead of running away and consequently compromising my happiness, I need to confront my anxiety, learn how to deal with it and, ultimately, live with it. The simple fact is: no matter how much I may scare myself, frustrate myself, hate myself... I'm stuck with myself. There's no escape. Unless I choose to shut myself away and let my mind defeat me, which I refuse to do.

This is because, external to my current issues, my life isn't as bad as it could be. There is simply no point letting my issues define me, because I am so much more than being anxious.

I am a girl on a mission to not merely be okay, but to be happy. And somewhere along the way, I've lost a bit of perspective. It took a hiccup (or relapse) to realise how much easier things are when you're not feeling so rubbish. As clich├ęd as it sounds, you really don't know what you have until you realise what you could lose, if only you decided to just give up.

Okay, so let's take a step back. Fair enough, by London standards I am not paid too well. But you know what? I'm paid enough to rent somewhere half decent and live in one of the best cities in the world (although I may be slightly biased). I have a load of cultural, brilliant experience literally on my doorstep... Or at least a tube ride away. The only thing stopping me exploring is myself, and that's frankly an awful excuse. I have a fantastic support network of family and friends who I know (despite low moments where I think they don't care... even though they do) are there for me through thick and thin. I've also somehow managed to meet a nice guy. Who would have thought it?

This week I had the fantastic opportunity to go to the Teenage Cancer Trust comedy night at the Royal Albert Hall as a guest sponsor. It was easily one of my top London experiences so far. I laughed so much I could hardly breathe and actually felt in pain. My mouth was dry, and my stomach was permanently tensed... I can't remember the last time I laughed so much. It felt brilliant. It felt brilliant to be so removed from my reality and escape into the comedy world and reminded that even though life can be exhausting and painful, it can also be outstanding and hilarious. And then at the weekend I spent time with loved ones, and saw War Horse, and just generally had a lovely, lovely time.

So not only am I so much more than my anxiety... Life is so much more than my anxiety. Sometimes it's oh so easy to become tangled in your own issues that you manage to forget that life is happening. I don't want life to happen and pass me by because I'm too scared to face my demons. Facing them will be simply awful at times, I know, but I have to do it for myself. I hope that if anyone reading this can relate, that they are inspired to do the same and help themselves and not let their mind defeat them. Because as I said to a close friend at the weekend "Everyone has their own shit going on, don't they?", to which she replied "Yup". And that's life, and that's okay.

       

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2 comments

  1. Serious respect for you right now girly. This is such a brave and honest post,a nd I think you're amazing for writing it. I've been treated for generalised anxiety disorder and panic disorder for a few years now, and am finally being able to get to grips with dealing with it. It took me a long time to realise that it's okay to have it, and then get some help,and thanks to some medication to kick me in the right direction, I'm finally beginning to feel like I'm getting on top of it. I still struggle to talk about it though, so I really appreciate how brave this post is. You're right to not let it define you, but sometimes that's the hardest part, so such positive thinking is fabulous stuff. Thank you for sharing this post with us! Much love xxx

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  2. Thanks you Carrie! And best of luck with everything. It's never as simple as saying "I hope you get better" but still :) We've got this.

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