Pressure

Hi everyone. Long time no see. ❤

This is the first time in 2 months that I have posted. Quite honestly, to begin with, I was ashamed of myself, feeling the pressure of “needing to update my blog”. I have been thinking constantly about this blog, but it is always pushed to the back of my mind as “unimportant”… “no, you have too much to do already”. And I felt guilt for this. I still do to some extent.

I don’t think that’s the only reason I have been neglecting this blog, however; this impending feeling of having too much on my plate to bother my time with writing. As with many things in my life, I have been having doubts… that I am being seen as an attention seeker in writing this blog. That maybe, just maybe, I really am over-exaggerating what I am experiencing. That people will tell me I’m being dramatic, over-the-top. That I am becoming The Girl Who Constantly Rants and Raves About Anxiety. That I am impeding on people’s lives with my talk about mental health, making them feel uncomfortable, upset, annoyed, or, in the case of my loved ones, worried and fearful for my health and safety.

But the truth is.

This is me.

This is what I live with, every day.

Why should it be seen as taboo?
Why are we so afraid to talk about mental health? Seriously talk about mental health; not just what they teach in schools, but how we REALLY FEEL and what we REALLY THINK.

Tonight I thought about why I started this blog in this first place. Why, seriously why, am I so passionate about mental health? Because… people are still living in silence. There are still people out there in the world, millions of them, too afraid to speak up because WE have it embedded in our brains not to talk about the inner clockworks of our minds. WE are barring them, and ourselves, from the compassion and respect and understanding that we ALL deserve. A world where we can share things freely, and not to be afraid or insecure anymore… that is what I long for. And so that is why I write, and why I share my writings with the world, despite my incredible fear and immense anxiety, despite every fibre in my being telling me NO – DO NOT SHARE THIS WITH THE WORLD!

Well, you know what? I want to prove that little voice wrong. Maybe it won’t ever go away. That’s okay. It’s a part of me too. You wouldn’t be human if you didn’t have fear. However, our world is so accustomed to telling us to hide away our fears; to be strong, to always get back up, to laugh, to smile, to be perfect in every way shape and form.

No.
I’m here to say, no.
That is why I have made this blog. To say no in the face of mental illness stigma. To preach, as much as possible, that it is okay not to be okay. Always. In sharing my story, if I can move at least one person to speak up about their inner demons, if I can convince one person to stay on this earth, if I can remind one person that they are so beautiful and needed and worthy of this life… then my purpose is fulfilled. I feel this wholeheartedly.

Then I started to think about how this blog has changed ME. I feel as though in the smallest but most significant ways possible, this blog has opened up traits in me that I never thought I had… I am able to express my thoughts and feelings with less fear, I am becoming more content with myself, more open with my loved ones, more open with myself, more at peace, more accepting, more confident in the person I am, and just… happier. If it weren’t for this blog, I really do feel as though I would still be possessing a lot more self-hate and fear of being open about my mental health. That’s not to say that I don’t still hold some self-resent and fear… but I have realised how immensely this blog has helped me on my journey. It has been so cathartic to write about my struggles, my recovery, my relapse back into struggling, my recovery again, as the cycle continues… Writing has always been there for me.

So… if you want to know the reasons why I decided to suppress my fear tonight once and for all… there they are.
I want, more than anything, to help others. And to help myself.
And, as I see it, this blog is a pretty good place to start.

However… I have also remembered that I have actually done brilliantly in my first term of year 12. There have been a lot of obstacles, both in terms of school and my mental health, and I have powered through them all like a queen. And you know what, I am proud of myself.
So that is why I am not apologising for not having posted in the past few months… because this blog is for me to help others, to help myself, at my own pace. The whole point of this blog is to teach others to put their mental health first. And you can bet that I will be putting that into practice as much as I can.

So… I won’t be saying that I will write to you all soon. I will instead say, that I will write to you when I write to you. When I feel passionate about something, or creative, or needing to write. Not because I feel “pressure” to.

Lastly… I want to thank you for reading this. You.
You are beautiful.
You are needed.
You are worthy.
Your thoughts and feelings are valid.
And you have so much left to give ❤

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Exhaustion

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 presetHey everyone. So I haven’t updated in a while.

If I’m honest with you all, the past four weeks have been especially draining on me, having started back at school for my final year of high school. A lot of expectations, a lot of pressures have been riding on my shoulders. Mainly from myself, being a perfectionist and over-achiever.

Funnily enough, my mental illnesses have been barring me from posting on here, my mental health blog. Lately I have felt a mental block in my mind. As in, an actual slab of concrete that just bars me from having some or even any motivation. That is the best way I can describe it. I have been experiencing depressive episodes far more frequently due to heightened stress and anxiety; my most recent one started on Friday, leaves temporarily for a few hours, then another freak-out kicks in and I’m back on my depressed path. It’s still here. Squeezing my chest, plaguing my mind. Most days of the week I get home and have a breakdown, and either have to keep carrying on with what I need to get done, or have no choice but to limit or cut down my work load because I am too depressed or anxious to continue.

Tonight I feel super depressed and low on confidence. It just affects all aspects of my life. My schoolwork, for starters. I struggle with self confidence and motivation, my productivity or performance in school decreases, I get lower grades than what I was hoping for or a talking to by my teacher, and then I feel even more doubtful of myself. It’s such a cruel cycle. I just wish it would end.

I know a lot of people who meet me, even a lot  who know me well, would say that I am an extremely motivated person. I guess, in some aspects, this is true. The way that I see myself, however, is not motivated. I am literally driven by fear of not succeeding or being less than what I expect of myself, despite EVERYONE in my life telling me that my best try is good enough, and so I run myself into the ground until I have a meltdown, whether that’s at school or at home. It’s happening so frequently. And no matter what people tell me – friends, family, teachers – no matter what they say or how many times they say it, no matter how much I want to start doing what they say, I CANNOT, for the life of me, slow down.

Genuinely, I am starting to believe it is something ingrained in me, this perfectionism. This need to run myself into the ground. To burden myself with exhaustion. I honestly feel as though if I am not exhausted, then I am not trying hard enough… even though I don’t WANT to be exhausted!

I am trying so hard to do everything they’re telling me to. Self care, regular exercise, drinking heaps of water, voicing my feelings, taking breaks. But for a person like me, taking breaks is not so simple as a click of a finger. I constantly feel the need to get absolutely everything done in one sitting, and so forcing myself to take a break requires immense strength. I don’t think people actually realise how much strength it actually takes me. That in itself is exhausting. And – even though I know this is a trick of my mind – I feel extremely guilty for taking breaks. I feel like I should be doing something. I feel like I need to run myself into the ground again. I NEED to feel my exhaustion. Otherwise, where am I heading to? At the same time, I am finding it extremely difficult to concentrate, both in class and at home, and I know this is because I am hardly ever taking breaks, and when I do I don’t allow them to be restful.

I am also constantly feeling like I am behind on ‘schedule’ all of the time. No matter how much work I’m putting in to everything. There is always a mountain of things left to complete… and every day that mountain gets bigger. Surely this cannot be true. Surely I am not as behind in things as my mind is telling me I am, because of the sheer amount of work I am doing, right from when I get up every morning at 6-7am up until 9-10pm at night at the earliest. One thin is for sure… The mind is a powerful tool… often used against me.

It’s currently 11:52pm on a Tuesday night. Not the best time to be up and contemplating thoughts. But when has my brain ever abided by that rule? Overthinking is my speciality. But I am so in desperate need of sleep… I wish I could just let go of all this self doubt, self loathing, self degredation and do what I’m coming to school for, do what I love doing… TO LEARN. Why does my brain have to bar me from that? There is so much I want to do. I just feel so physically restricted by my own head. Why is that? How is that?

Maybe one day we’ll be able to answer those questions… for now I just need to accept my mind is racing. I hope tomorrow I will wake up and feel differently to how I’ve been waking up these past 4 weeks… like I don’t want to wake up again. I will keep persisting. There is, however, a fine line between persisting and fighting against mental illness, and pushing myself until I break. I hope one day I can find balance on that fine line. Until then, I will keep on trying my best to cope…

Despite my insomnia, my anxiety, and my anxiety about my insomnia, writing this out has actually helped me feel less sick to my stomach. I’ve been neglecting my writing a lot lately, and not just on here. Fear of people judging me, of being offended or triggered by what I say, fear of being seen as inadequate in other’s eyes as well as my own, and my mental block as I said earlier have all been restricting me from being able to let my words flow as usual. As I’ve said… it’s been a difficult past few weeks.

Goodnight beautiful people. I send my love to you. Remember you are all full of worth, you all make this world brighter, and you are never alone. My instagram DMs on @breannas.blog and email inbox are always open ❤

Until next time… hopefully soon 🙂

Keep fighting xx<3

 

Detachment. (You’re never alone.)

Do you know how it feels, to not be able to work up the spirit or energy or motivation to do anything, anything at all?

Do you know how it feels, to lay in bed and genuinely never want to get back up again?

Do you know how it feels, to have a heavy blanket thrown over your happiness, pinning it down, so that you feel as though you’ll never feel it again?

Do you know how it feels, to have a thick dark cloud pass over you, whilst everyone else around you is seemingly bathing in sunlight?

Do you know how it feels, to want to go out into the world and accomplish all that you want to accomplish, but some unseen force is barring you from taking another step, despite all your best efforts to just push through this sludge?

Do you know how it feels, to be surrounded by so many people, but in your heart you feel so despairingly, agonisingly, painfully alone and detached from everyone else here?

Do you know how it feels, to try your absolute hardest to keep pushing, pushing, pushing through this mess, to have so many things riding on your shoulders that without you they would all come tumbling down, but it just becomes too much and you feel yourself begin to break?

Do you know how it feels, to have the hurt in your heart and voice in your head haunt you everywhere you go, that even if you’re able to run, for minutes, hours, days on end, no matter, you cannot escape from it?

Do you know how it feels, to have anxiety shouting at you from all angles to “keep going and never stop”, whilst depression sinks a heavy weight into your shoulders so that to move even one step forward would require immense strength and willpower?

Do you know how this feels?

This weight of the world?

Does anyone?

Sometimes, I feel like no one does. No one understands this pain that I go through. I know with every fibre in my being that this is not true. But it doesn’t stop the voices in my head. And I know, hearing this won’t stop yours, if you know how any of these things feel.

Tonight I am here to tell you, from one depressed person to all you beautiful people out there, that even if you feel alone? You most certainly are not.

I can tell you right now.

You. Are. Never. Alone.

It may feel like you will never get out of this slow-moving sludge, or this torturous hell-hole, or this heavy blanket isolating you from the rest of the world. It’s never easy. Especially when you are there for days, weeks on end.

I’m not here to tell you that it will get better. Because really, who knows. I’m here to tell you that you are, unequivocally, without a doubt, never alone. And that in itself is a reason to stay. ❤

So… stay.

What Depression Feels Like… A Unique Story to Everyone

…And this is my take, on the story of depression. Keep in mind that others experience depression differently. This is mine.

It’s back.

The blanket feeling.
The sinking emptiness.
The hollowness in my core.

It’s back and I don’t want to deal with it. I can’t stand it when I know there are people who are entitled to suffer, who have reason. Me? My reason is the sinking emptiness in my pit. It is no reason at all.

I feel guilty for being here. I feel like I am triggering others. But I don’t want to hurt anyone. I want so desperately to help others, to help myself…

Yeah, the emptiness is back. I feel it grasping outwards from the very core, the very centre of my being, reaching its tendrils out to link onto every fibre of my body and pin me down, pin me down into this nothingness, this horrible entity of nothingness. I am choking, choking in its grasp.

I want to cry. I force myself to cry. But the truth is that crying does nothing to take away my emptiness. I cannot feel anything, but the feeling of being a weight. Sinking further, further, into the abyss, like heavy rocks seeking the bottom of the ocean.

Time is immeasurable right now. I look at my phone screen after what seems to me like 5 minutes has passed, when in actuality I have been lying here encased in my blanket feeling for over an hour, shut away from my family and everyone I care about. But I can’t bring myself to see them. I can’t bring myself to talk, to anyone. I feel as though I’ve reverted back to my old ways, to the dark days where my depression was ever-present and clutched me daily, shutting me away from the world. It brings back horrible memories, where I felt completely and utterly alone in my terrible abyss of nothingness. This loneliness impends on me, like the increasing darkness of the sky outside my window. I missed the sunset tonight. Something I wanted to see. Now all colours are gone.

The truth is, I haven’t felt like this in weeks. It’s always been there, this dark empty nothingness, its tendrils tapping on my shoulder like an impatient lady’s freshly manicured nails on a desk. Waiting. Waiting for the moment I slip up, even just slightly, before it swallows me entirely. I’ve just been so busy, I have had so much relying on my functioning mind and body, that I pushed, pushed, pushed this blanket feeling away with all my strength and might. “No, I will not let this take over my body! I will not let this take over my life.”

All I can say now, however… is that I believe I fought brilliantly for those few weeks that I kept my depression monster at bay. But now it’s time for me to rest at the feet of this monster. It’s time to feel the gnawing pains that have been slowly dragging me further and further down. I must feel them, I need to feel them… because if I keep fighting it, I’m going to break. And I don’t want to break. So instead I succumb to my monster… I let the tendrils wash over me… the blanket muffle the world around me… until I rise out of it again. I know I will rise out of this again, because I always do. I just need to accept this is where I need to be at this moment… and remember, that every storm does pass.

I will feel the pain of numbness tonight. And tomorrow I will wake to the sunrise, and it will be a new day. Maybe the pain won’t go away, maybe I’ll still be muffled, maybe I’ll still have the despair clutching to my core. But I will see the sunrise, and know that I have power beyond words imaginable, because I. Will. Get. Through. This.

Yes, it’s back. But each time it comes back, I am stronger than I was when it last found me. Because I have lived through every single night it’s come back. I’m a survivor, and I’m not giving up now.

“It’s just another night,
and we’ve had many of them.”
❤ Bastille ❤

The Girl in the Photo (An Early 2019 New Year’s Resolution)

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Today I want to talk to you all about the girl in this photo.

This photo was taken around this time last year. Nearing Christmas, having just finished school term for the year and taking a long deserved break, this girl was on her way to Melbourne to visit her well-missed family, whom she hadn’t seen in a few years. This photo was taken by her father, who had driven her up to the airport in the early morning, sending her off with love and well wishes. This photo was taken right before she left to board her plane. Alone. Hunched over, embracing her pillow in a lung-crushing embrace, scared to let it go out of fear she would become imbalanced and topple over. Smiling awkwardly and shyly, painfully, to try and mask how absolutely terrified she was feeling in that moment.

Admittedly, this girl was petrified of heights. She had been on planes before, but not for a long time, and never without the comforting presence of her parents right beside her. She had also been watching a TV series called Lost around this time, whose story plot revolved around an airplane crash.

But I know, looking back on this photo, taken a little over a year ago, this wasn’t all that this girl was afraid of.

This girl was afraid of loss.
This girl was afraid of the inexplicable fear that gripped her daily.
This girl was afraid of the despairing emptiness that so clutched at her heart.
This girl was afraid of herself.

How many nights did she spend tucked away in a corner, weeping to be rid of her thoughts? I cannot say; there were so many, she must have lost track. How long did she let herself suffer, by sitting in her silence? For too long. So much to say, yet so much left unsaid. Why did she hate herself, despise every inch of her outer and inner self, when she still gave so freely to others? Why did she feel the need to conceal all that was sure to burst out of her sooner or later? Because it was going to happen. And it did.

I guess I will never know the answers to these questions. What I do know, however, is that I now need to put these questions behind me. I need to let this poor girl go. Because this girl was me. But she is not anymore.

A year ago today, I was so afraid of myself. So afraid that I was ashamed. I was ashamed to be who I was. I was ashamed to have such dark and horrible thoughts about myself, when everyone around me was telling me how great I was. “Why can’t I just believe them? Why can’t I just be great like they say I am?” I don’t know, beautiful. I really don’t. I don’t know what was barring me from accepting who I was. All I know is that something bad was eating away at me last year. It had been gnawing on me since an early age, and last year I finally started to feel its effects. I started to feel like I was becoming the monster that once fed off of me.

The year of 2017 was a dark place for me. Everything was numb. I felt hopeless, worthless, devoid of colour. I wanted so desperately to be rid of myself. To just get out. The year of 2018 brought me some of my most difficult obstacles to overcome yet. It also brought me some of the most breathtaking scenery, and life-lasting memories that I will never forget and will sustain me until I’m old. The year of 2018 brought me out of my dark hole, but it took me to such extreme highs that it in turn caused me to come barrelling down – not back into my hole, but to the ground, with such force that it often knocked the wind out of me and left me paralysed. Left me to pick up my shattered pieces again and again and again and again. It was an oscillating graph, a fluctuating rollercoaster that did not stop even when I begged and pleaded for it to.

The year of 2019, however, is like a light, drawing closer and closer to me. This present year saw me at my highest moments and my most extreme lows, and left me exhausted for most of it. But this year has also made me stronger. It’s made me hungry. Hungry to change. Not out of hate for myself; to change for the good. Hungry to make a difference. Hungry to make something of myself. Hungry to learn. Hungry to be hungry. The year of 2017 left me broken. The year of 2018 left me devastated. But the year of 2019, will be my year. I can feel it in my pulse.

The change in myself that I am most amazed at, however, is over the past 5 months. 5 months ago, I was still scared of myself. Still loathing to be in my own skin. Still living in fear. It is over these 5 months that I officially began my journey of self-recovery. It is over these 5 months that I discovered the true meaning and importance of self-compassion, and how to build it for myself. It is over these 5 months that I realised my worth as a human being and a young woman, that I realised just how freaking awesome that I am. And you know what? I truly believe that I kicked the year of 2018 in the ass. This year threw me to the ground so many times, and every single time I got right back up. Whether I got back up with a hardened stare and square shoulders, or I got back up crying and damaged for all to see, I don’t care. Because I STILL GOT BACK UP. (Take that, mental illness.)

I am still learning to love myself. There are some days where I am totally in love both with my body and who I am inside, but there are also some days where I feel like I sink back into my hole of self-loathing. And that’s okay. Recovery is not linear. Recovery is guaranteed to come with relapses. What I have learnt in the past 5 months, is that this is okay.

Looking back on this photo, and even looking back on the girl I was 5 months ago, I am blown away by how much I’ve changed, for the better. I have not changed the person I am inside, but I have become so much stronger, so much more resilient, and I am so proud of myself (though I am still terribly afraid of heights!). Dare I say it, but I am proud of this fragile girl who was once me. I owe all of this to her, after all, for she was the one who opted for my recovery. And I thank her for it.

So, this is my new year’s resolution: 2019 is going to be my year. What I mean by this, is that I am no longer going to hide in fear. I am going to start putting myself first. I am going to be more aware and conscious of myself in that I do not put too much on my plate even if I feel at the time like I can handle it, and to focus not just my studies but all aspects of my life in important areas instead of just trying to do everything like I did in 2018, which is what broke me a thousand times over. And I am going to more frequently devote set time for myself, really devote time for myself, where I can just appreciate sitting with my thoughts, and do what I like to call ‘checking in with myself’. But most importantly, I am going to accept me for who I am, anxiety and depression and flaws and all, no matter what. Because I am doing the best I can.

Yes. 2019 will be my year. Because I am the stronger Breanna, the Breanna with fire in her soul rather than an empty matchbox.

And you know what, my loves?

2019 is your year, too. Whatever you make out of it. ❤

Control

Hey everyone! How are you today? 🙂

Bit of a short one today but thought it worthwhile to share 😊

Today was ehhh. Like, there’s no other way to describe it. Running on 2 hours of sleep. Counselling appointment this morning, which I cried my eyes out during half of it. General feelings of being unmotivated, worthless, anxious. Everything is loud for me today. I spent the majority of it in bed.

I could sit here listing the bad stuff (which I basically just did), which is important. You gotta write that list. You gotta acknowledge what’s bugging you.

But you know what else is important? Writing more than 1 list, so you don’t dwell on the hard stuff. I wrote 3 day.

1 – for all the things that are keeping me down today.

2 – all of the benefits that I get from my suffering.

3 – factors in my life that I can control.

The last 2 were eye openers for me. I was amazed to see how much I’ve grown as a person through these hard times. My compassion & awareness of others and myself has increased significantly over the past year. My courage, perseverance & resilience have hardened me into the accepting strong person that I am.

What I want you all to think about today, however: is what YOU can control.

YOU can control your thoughts. I know it may feel like you can’t, but you can. You get to choose what thoughts you invest in. You can choose what views you have on yourself and other people, but you can’t choose what others think of you. You can choose how you perceive a situation and react to it. You are in control of your actions. You can control who you interact with and the type of people you surround yourself with. You can control how you use and manage your time. And most of all, You can control your outlook on life.

There’s something to ponder for a while, lovely people ☺️

I hope you all have a great day/night. Any questions, again feel free to email me or comment below, or visit my Instagram page – @breannas.blog!

Much love ❤️

My Anxiety Story

Hi everyone. How are all of you today?

If I’m honest, I’m not doing all that great right now myself, but hey – all the more reason why I’m writing this blog. To help spread the message that it’s okay… to not be okay. 🙂

Today I’d like to talk to you all about my depressive voice and my personal journey with anxiety. I think it’s a core part of me, and so it’s hard to share. It makes me feel vulnerable, sparks my fear of attention seeking, opens up fresh wounds, etc. But the wounds are already open right now. So I may as well delve deeper for all of you, for anyone who is struggling to grasp what their own inner demons are telling them, for those who know all too well what they are saying and just need to know that someone else is experiencing the same thing, and for those who want to help broaden their knowledge about depression and anxiety… maybe for someone you love, or for other people in general. Whatever the reason, I’m glad you came. I’m glad you’re reading.

I think I might start with a bit of background knowledge of me. Personally, I think I’ve always known my anxiety was there, in the back of my mind, nudging me in directions I wouldn’t otherwise think about. Causing me to make small decisions out of fear (or the opposite – to be paralysed into indecisiveness out of fear!!) which would over time build to something as big as to what it is now. The problem is that I only knew it was there subconsciously. I didn’t know what to call this voice in my head. When I talk about voices, I’m not talking about some creepy whisper seeping into my mind, I’m not talking about hearing things or being possessed and going crazy. I’m talking about the small, frail girl who is my core, pleading for help. I’m talking about my conscience, my deeper thoughts that I sometimes fail to let rise to the surface.

My voice, my instinct, my conscience, whatever you’d like to call it, has often kept me safe. It’s barred me from acting in a dangerous situation, forced me to retreat from things that it thought would cause me harm. But bit by bit, this voice was slowly degrading my sense of self-worth. It would make me feel unsafe at random times and occasions, when I couldn’t actually see what it was that so disturbed me. That’s the funny thing I’ve learned about anxiety over the years… it makes you feel so totally vulnerable, so at risk, so completely unsafe, when you know in your own head that you are perfectly safe. And yet, your blood runs cold, your hands feel clammy, your heart starts to race. But why?

I could go into a whole sciency-ramble about just “why” our brains like to trick our voice that we are in some deep and serious trouble. Because that’s all it is – it’s science. Yeah, anxiety is a real condition. It is a real illness. And, oh yes, anxiety can affect you physically, in immense ways might I add, as well as mentally. But I won’t delve into that. Today is more of a philosophical discussion.

My point is, I did not KNOW that this was anxiety until recent years. How could I? I’d never even really heard the word until I reached around 10 years old. But it was always there… pressing in… like a shadow protruding from the darkness, or a hand gently pressed against my throat. Not constricting, just there. Threatening to tighten its grip. And that was the scariest thing of all, that feeling of impending anxiety. Knowing that it could, and would, strike up again when I least expected it.

At first, it started off just as little nigglings when I’d do something out of my comfort zone. Walking down the road to the shops, talking to someone I’d never met before, standing up on stage in front of my primary school to deliver a prayer or say a few lines during assembly. All normal, healthy stuff you’d expect a normal young girl to feel a little apprehensive about. Only, it got bigger. The squeezing in my chest got tighter. The niggling more incessant. And with the divorce of my parents, the weight continued to pile. Soon I reached high school, now at the age of 13 years old. Transitioning from primary into high school was a major milestone for me, with the anxiety I had to overcome. But it was something I could overcome. I had my friends, caring teachers, and always my family and pets to come home to. I was nervous, but I was happy.

It wasn’t until around the age of 14 that I really started my downward spiral into anxiety. If I could describe my anxiety in the earlier years of my life, I would say it was just there… sitting on the periphery of my life, getting comfortable on the edges of my mind, often dipping its toe into the waters of my thoughts to make a few ripples, but never a huge splash. To describe my anxiety over the past 3 and a half years to date… would be an absolute disaster. I simply cannot explain it to you in words. The pain, the fear, the attacks, the isolation, it is just something you need to have experienced for yourself to truly understand.

I have to say: I am in a much, much, much better place right now in terms of my mental health overall than I was about a year, or even 2 years ago. But in those early stages of learning the reality of what I was going through, I descended rapidly into a dark hole. And it was absolutely terrifying, my first experience in this horrible place. I felt as though I had no one to hold onto. My mind was playing tricks on me in the dark. This is the place where my small, little voice of anxiety turned into my great, big, nasty depressive voice. “You are alone.” “Nobody cares about you or understands what you are going through.” “Everyone is lying.” “You are a waste.” “You drag everybody else down.” “You’re just a hindrance to everyone else.” “You’ve caused all of the problems in your life, and in those around you.” And you have to understand: I had no problem looking the same as I always did on the outside. It’s not that I wanted to fake my emotions. I had just become very good at hiding my internal struggle, and it was my go-to instinct rather than bringing these attacking thoughts to the surface for others to hear. It was all within my mind, and no one, not even those closest to me, knew the real depth of what I was suffering.

I regret that choice. I lived for over a year with those attacks eating me from the inside every day. Some days, they were diluted, but I could not escape from them, because they were me. I had no idea how to formulate these thoughts into words. I was ashamed. I was confused. And I felt very, very alone and detached.

Around the time that I turned 15, I finally realised that this struggle, although internal, was far bigger than I could handle. I couldn’t take it any longer on my own or I would cave in and break. So I reached out to my parents, reached out to my two closest friends, and they pointed me in the direction of Headspace, where I got counselling for the next four months.

I then learnt that my anxiety comes and goes. Yes, it is always there, in the back seat, watching over my shoulder. But there are periods of time where it tries to take control from me, and periods of time when it lessens its hassling and sits complacently behind me. I learnt to acknowledge that these periods of time occur sporadically, and whilst I could never schedule in a time that I knew it would come, I learnt to recognise the symptons of it; “yep, I can feel an anxiety attack or depressive episode coming on tonight”, and live with it.

Thus came the period in my life I was at my best. I thought everything was past me (foolish, I know.) I thought I was “cured”. That I was better. I’m sorry, but there is no cure to anxiety. There is no cure for depression. There are only things that can help us lift out of it for a while, every now and again. But it is enough to sustain us. We do not need a cure.

Anyway, yes, I believed I was finally free for those couple months after my counselling, and so I broke off with Headspace. It took a mere few months before the demons came rolling back in to sweep me back into my hole. But this time, I knew I needed to reach out. Now, at 17 years old, I am back at Headspace, and I have to tell you it honestly helps so much to talk to someone that is outside of your life, looking in to give you perspective. At the same time, if you are able to talk to people in your life about your suffering, you must do so.

In some respects, my depression and anxiety is worse because of the busy life I am living, being a full-time ATAR student, working 2 jobs, and everything else in between. It is worse because I am so much more aware and attuned to my struggle. It is worse because of the strain I put on myself to be better, to help others. It is worse because the moments of panic are harder to deal with, and becoming more frequent. The nights are getting longer. The voice in my head is louder. The hand on my throat is tighter. The fear in my chest is too scared to let go, and is clinging for dear life.

But… I do feel, compared to this time last year, I am in a better place despite my mental illness growing stronger. I feel better because I have chosen to let people in. I feel better because I have let my anxiety and depression in rather than fighting it. I feel better because I have learned more and more (and am still learning!) about this important issue. I feel better because I have developed healthy strategies that help me cope in desperate times; such as doing things I love, like going for runs/walks, listening to music, riding horses, spending time with people and animals I love to be around, writing, singing and drawing. I feel better because I have learnt to read both my body’s and mind’s little signals that I am breaking down, that I am about to panic, etc. and – most importantly – LISTEN to these signals and give myself permission to have a break. I feel better because I talk. And that’s what I want each and every single one of you to do.

My mental illness is becoming stronger. But so am I. I am becoming stronger, every day.

So, even though my depressive voice is a little louder than usual today, the hand is a little tighter round my throat than it normally is, it’s ok. Because I know I will be ok. Everything will be ok. And we are all here to help each other, to stand up to the stigma around mental illness and say “no” to its face!

I think I’ve covered everything I’ve wanted to talk about today. It’s a long winded process, talking about this worldwide issue. There are literally millions of topics and aspects I can talk about, but I will do my bit, piece by piece. If there is anything else you’d like to know about, or have any queries or requests, send me an email or a comment below! 🙂

Be well lovelies ❤️

Here’s to Tomorrow

Here we go again. Another sleepless night maybe? I don’t know. All I know is that right now I’m listening to soft lyrical music trying to soothe a soul that’s not very soothed right now. Trying to pretend maybe I’m calm.

I have my dog here with me, which is nice. Nice to feel I’m not totally alone. He’s like a massive weight on my foot. Could say he’s my anchor right now. Much better than the weight I carry in my head.

It’s pretty disappointing that I feel so worthless right now because I had such a good day. I felt elated even, because I was doing things. Keeping both my mind and body busy. But I knew in the very back of my mind: “this isn’t gonna last, you know it’s going to end sometime, you’re probably going to finish your day crying in your bedroom.” Well, looks like I was right about one thing.

My brain is just very good at being overactive it seems! And that’s ok. It’s a pretty cool brain when you think of it. All these thoughts stringing together and making meaning out of literally anything. It can be used to hurt us, sure, but if you look at those thoughts like a pretty neat invention, it’s not so bad. Just takes a long time to empty them. Which is pretty hard for someone like me… and it’s not just an on and off thing. This happens to me, every night. The hopelessness kicks in. It’s just whether or not I can let my mind swim into an unconscious, flowy state.

I don’t even know why I’m crying to be honest. It’s like I feel everything, hitting me all at once, and yet I feel nothing. My body is buzzing and yet it feels numb. How can that be? Depression is a funny trickster it seems. I am safe, in a house full of loving family members, I’m well fed, good education, clothes on my back. So why do I feel like my world is falling asunder?

This writing thing is pretty grounding though. If you’re feeling as hopeless as me tonight, I definitely recommend you try it. It’s quite a beautiful escape.

You know, maybe my suffering is in retrospect of everything unfolding around me. Maybe it’s not just me. Maybe I’m not the only one to blame.

I’m just glad we always have a tomorrow! I mean, we don’t REALLY know that we have a tomorrow – how can we? But we always, always, always have the thought of a tomorrow. No one and nothing can take that away from us, not even the end of the world. A tomorrow… it’s the picture of a bright warm sun rising over the deep foliage of trees, wide open plains, colourful arrays of flowers that gives us our hope, our sliver of dignity, our humanity. We wait for a tomorrow. A better day. There’s always that hope. That hope will never go away for as long as you keep it around.

So yeah. I’m waiting for my tomorrow. Hoping that I won’t sink down again, even though I know I will. Quite tired of it if I’m honest with you. But I keep breathing, don’t I? I’m alive and here. So are you. And you know something… that’s incredibly full of worth.

Well, I best try and get some rest. That is the most essential thing I can do to gain the perspective I need. Sure, I’m feeling a little shitty. But it’s gonna get better. My mind just needs a little kickstart from an ounce of self-compassion is all 🙂

Anxiety

Yes, I have anxiety.

Yes, I have depressive thoughts.

Yes, I have self-esteem issues.

Yes, I am an insomniac.

Yes, some days I feel like my struggle is pointless.

Yes, some days I feel like I shouldn’t be here.

~

But you have to understand:

I am still me.

I am still a person, exactly the same as every other human being, and yet different.

I may be battling something deep inside, but I can still function just like everyone else.

I can still be, and am, happy with my life, though I have my days.

I go through hell and pain but I am still loving my life.

~

Just because you’re going through a difficult time, or suffering mentally, does NOT mean you are any less of a person than anyone else… it does not mean you are not living like you should be… it does not mean you are not still you… you are not limited in any way, apart from what you make of it in your head. You are who you are meant to be in this moment and that’s freakin amazing 💖

Breaking Point

This day last week was a really shit day. I had no reason to feel so crap, it was grand final day, I had a great day the day before, and my family were surrounding me. And yet I woke up late with an awful feeling in my chest. I didn’t wanna get up. I didn’t want to do anything. I missed out on riding horses, something that I absolutely love doing, which just made matters worse, and so I just laid there.

My anxiety took hold of me that day and would not let go. I was exhausted from being exhausted, and this was my body’s emergency shutdown, telling me I was over working myself.

I guess the point of what I’m trying to say is don’t let yourself get to that breaking point. Get to know your mind’s and body’s little hints that you need a break.

But you will reach your breaking point somedays. We all do it. Life does that do us; for a lot of us, it’s just one thing after another. So when you do, listen to your body. Allow yourself time to take a chill, let yourself relax, even if you absolutely despise yourself doing it.

I hated myself for resting up that day, I always feel like I’m being “counter-productive” when I’m not DOING something. But I made myself do it, and it will make me stronger in the long run, as it will for you ☺️💜✌🏼 And, most importantly of all: surround yourself with good people. My day would have been twenty times worse than what it was without letting in my loved ones 💓