Hi all 🙂
So some of you may have noticed that I’ve gone off the radar from sharing new content on my blog in the past month or so…
I have decided to take a much needed break from my blog for various reasons.
I have talked a lot about my struggles with anxiety on this blog, and how I find that the best mechanism is self-reflection and acceptance: accepting that anxiety is not a choice but ensuring that I self-reflect on how I manage it because at the very least I can choose that in this uphill battle. Anxiety is not a choice, but we choose how me manage it. How we manage it will vary any given day based on our mental head space, and that’s okay, because ultimately our ‘100% effort’ is going to vary any given day. Sometimes it’s simply finding the courage to get out of bed, take a shower, or open up to someone about how we are feeling. Choosing to manage it can be as simple as not criticising ourselves for the demons we didn’t invite into our minds in the first place.
My anxiety, which has always been a part of me, has always equally been a rollercoaster of a ride in regards to how I managed it. Between 15-17, perhaps the most emotionally testing and turbulent periods in my life, it felt like I had no identity outside my anxiety or mental health. Around the time I was 15, I begun to develop OCD and begun an intricate routine of how I would have to wash my hands, touch my clothes, and switch lights on and off multiple times before I left a room. My mind had convinced myself that if I didn’t do this , something bad was going to happen to my mom. While the rational side of me knew this was completely irrational, the anxiety always won and told me…but what if you don’t? What if you walk away, don’t play with the lights, and then your mom gets into a car accident? That’s going to be your fault. You will always wonder if you could have saved her if you would have played with those bloody lights.
The obsessive-compulsive mannerisms became so embedded in my routine, that I remember a day that I was so sick and tired of it that I literally stayed engraved in my bed, making a puzzle, because it was the only place that felt safe and where I could hold off the inevitable routines that were taking over my life. I was washing my hands for so long and so vigorously, that my hands begun to peel.
I am so fortunate that I overcame those mannerisms within a year, if recollection serves right. It was completely heartbreaking and I have infinite admiration for anyone who struggles with OCD because some people battle it on a daily basis, and I truly believe for those of you who have endeavoured the journey for your whole lives, you are some of the strongest people on Earth.
When the physical mannerisms were over (which I can’t explain to you how, but suddenly one day I didn’t feel the need to do them anymore), the mental battle became even more painful. I then had what some people call POCD- Purely Obsessional Compulsive Disorder. No physical coping mechanisms, but intrusive thoughts that would demolish all of the happy, positive throughs in my mind. On top of that, the later part of my 17 years rolled around, and I went into existential crisis mode. I was petrified of death, so petrified that for a few months it was all I could think about.
It started when I was in the car with my mom and I started talking about death, and I simply could not comprehend what happens to humans after we die. I thought about the potential of all the nothingness, of how I was going to be gone forever, not being able to think. I did not grow up in a religious household, and as much as I have always wanted to believe in the concept of heaven or an afterlife, I personally have found it really hard to comprehend. The forever and nothingness thoughts started to give me a panic attack, and ultimately what I was really fearful of was not knowing what was going to happen (which is a big crux of a lot of my anxieties- the lack of control, and being okay with life taking its course).
During my state of an existential crisis, that spanned over a few months, I felt constantly disconnected from the people who surrounded me and my environment. I felt a constant sinking my heart, and while I was going through the motions of my daily life, it almost felt as if I were present in a solitary universe of darkness.
One afternoon, the feeling was so overwhelming that I walked out into the patio where my parents were sitting, and squatted on the floor holding my knees as I was going into a panic attack. My dad was not having it. He was sick of it. What proceeded was probably the worst and most painful fight I have ever had with my family. My mom locked herself in her room from me, my brother and dad locked themselves in my brothers room from me….side note I actually just stopped writing for a bit after this sentence as the memory literally broke me down into tears…my family had literally and figuratively shut me out…with the exception of my sweet younger brother who more often than not told my parents to not be so hard on me. I cried and banged on their doors desperate for someone to let me in.
My best friend lived next door and could hear everything, and one of the few people in my life who knew all of my struggles, she came over and as soon as I saw her I burst into tears and we hugged, and at hug was the most comforting and uplifting moment in a time where all I wanted was affection and encouragement.
After that fight, I truly thought that my parents were going to kick me out. My dad didn’t speak to me for days, my mom was quite cold with me, and I 100% considered the options of where I could move out to. Alas, I stayed, and my parents and I made up, but with the promise that I would seriously commit myself to therapy, which I did, and the therapist I had when I was 17 truly helped me overcome my demons and all of the shit that was weighing me down.
By the way, I haven’t brought up that big fight to paint my parents in any negative light. No, anxiety is not my choice, mental health demons aren’t anyone’s choice. The difficult fact that we must also accept, however, is that it is not the choice of those closest to us either. It can affect them. It is difficult for them too. They love us and want to help us, and I am certain that it was fucking heartbreaking for my parents to see me struggle with so many demons that they couldn’t take away from me. So as painful as that fight was, as much things that were said by them that they didn’t mean that to this day sometimes still makes me feel insecure, I 100% forgive them for it. I’m not perfect, they aren’t perfect, none of us are.
My biggest lesson from all of this is that don’t ever let anyone believe that you are choosing to have mental health struggles, because you are not, but also empathise that if a family member or friend ever seems to shut you out because of it, it is not because they do not love you, it is because they love you so much that seeing you in such a painful state is equally painful and heartbreaking for them (I have also been on the flip side of this equation so I truly get it from both sides).
With 15-17 being the most aggressively anxious periods of my life, I also lived a pretty ‘normal’ life. I went to school everyday, I had my friends and we had our social outings which I would enjoy even if the demons crashed my good time, I even travelled half way across the world for a month to stay with my family I had never met. My anxiety and struggles were not outwardly obvious to passerby, or even my peers, but really only those I chose to confide in. Most people thought I was very shy and unsocial, weird perhaps, but I don’t think most people who have ever assumed what I was battling with internally. Never assume you have everyone figured out by how they act at school or work, or from an interaction at a coffee shop, because we all are battling shit.
With that being said too, my anxiety did hold me back from a lot of actives when I was 15-17. I would watch my friends have boyfriends, have their first kiss, and grow up…I felt like I was lagging behind. TV became my escapism to fantasise about the person I wanted to be and the world I could live in, in a time where coming to terms with how painfully disconnected and resentful I felt in my real world. There was the person I wanted to be, and the person I was, and I hated who I was.
The anxiety didn’t go away when I was 18. At 25, 7 years later, I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs, bumps and punches. However, I keep getting up.
The beauty of getting older is the more you go through this shit, you truly believe that you will get through it because you have so many times.
Moving to London will always be the best decision of my life. I became independent, made life-time friends, dated, I have been in a relationship for nearly 4 years, I’ve dabbled and persevered through lots of different jobs, I have travelled extensively-London ignited my excitement for life and for that I will always be grateful.
My anxiety may have always been there from 18-25 , and it’s been up and down, but I feel stronger and stronger each time I get through it.
Why am I writing about this now, you ask? And what does it have to do with my blog?
Well, I’m battling peak anxiety demons at the moment. More than I have in years. It’s not obvious to a lot of people, or maybe anyone for that matter, because I have discovered that I’m shutting everyone out of what I’m truly feeling. I’m in a period where I am feeling immense guilt over every mistake I have ever made, I go to bed fearful that I won’t wake up and ask that my boyfriend say ‘see you in the morning’ for reassurance- my mind feels like it’s in constant overdrive. Writing this has been completely cathartic because I have actually broken down and cried in the first time that I can even remember.
When I started this blog, I mentioned how regardless of what I write, whether it’s related to my anxiety or not, it was a self-reflective experience because I was channeling my creative energy in a positive manner. What it was about was regardless.
While that may be true, you may have realised that 99% of my recent posts are beauty content related. My issue with this is that while I genuinely am enjoying discovering the beauty universe, I feel like I am now only writing about it as a way to shut out and ignore all the demons within me.
They are starting to build up and I fear that if I don’t start taking them head on, I will become complacent and in denial of myself.
I have always had a wild imagination, and while I find that daydreaming, fantasies, and escapism can be healthy and empowering, I find that once again I am starting to turn to them as a method for not dealing with what I have going on. I’m starting to dislike myself. I have that thought a lot these days. Do I even like myself? Am I very unlikeable person? Is there actually any substance to me? Why am I so angry all the time? Why am I becoming so easily irritable? I thought I had moved on from all of this…
So when I turn to my blog and realise that I only write about beauty, I begin to question if it’s actually detouring me from managing my anxiety.
You may read this and think that I’m in a pretty dark space, but truly, I actually feel quite strong, confident, and hopeful. Like I said, I’ve been through this so many times before, and each time I become more empowered to distinguish myself from my anxiety. I also become better, like during this period in my life, at calling myself out when I’m not being nice to myself.
So while I don’t want to bid adieu to this blog, I feel like the best thing for me is to take a break and really focus on me, and do my 100% to battle these demons.
For now, it was buying loads of books of Amazon and getting into reading. I haven’t read in ages, and I feel in need of some literary therapy. Perhaps I’ll go for actual therapy. I want to start getting into a consistent exercise routine again. I want to find myself again and be kind and love myself. And I don’t feel like I’m doing that on this blog. Truthfully, I feel like this blog has now become my running away spot, and not in a positive way.
So I’m going to take a beat and a half, but I just wanted to be blatantly honest because I haven’t been with myself or anyone else for that matter in a long time.
I’m sure I’ll be back at some point, and in the meantime thanks to everyone who has read my experiences and for anyone going through mental health struggles, my mind and heart is with you, and you will get through this ❤