“Today, at this point in time, I’m proud to be me. I’ve accepted who I am and that is a huge thing. Especially as I’m dealing with anxiety, depression and a Dad with PTSD.
I would imagine I’m not alone by saying that growing up I thought I was different. I knew my brain was different. And I didn’t think it was a good thing. After my parents split up and my Dad messed us around, I was in a state. Especially after he ignored my sister and I in the street and chose a woman over us.
This really had a massive effect. I started crying at the drop of a hat, having panic attacks, shutting myself off from the world and hiding away. One minute I’d talk excessively and the next, I wouldn’t say a word to anyone. I learnt to hide my feelings after being told ‘Don’t be silly’ and ‘What are you crying about now?’ when I got emotional. It got to a point where I didn’t want to be here anymore and would shut myself away to cry hysterically, banging my head on a wall and playing loud music.
This went on for years. After splitting with my partner of six years (who couldn’t cope with not knowing if I’d be depressed forever), losing two jobs due to my mental illness and my Mum having a go at me for these things, I decided I needed help. I’ve been seeing a counsellor for five years and it’s really helped me to open up. I’ve got a better relationship with my friends, my family and my own state of mind.
My new partner has been absolutely incredible. We’ve been together over three years. I blurted out on our third date that I suffered with anxiety and depression and if he didn’t want to see me anymore, then that was fine. He said ‘Why wouldn’t I? Thank you for telling me.’ His encouragement and support has helped me immensely. I don’t know where I’d be without him.
My mental health has actually pushed me to do so many great things. I found running after I realised it helped with my anxiety. In April, I ran the London Marathon (my first marathon) and raised over £4,000 for charity and in memory of my Nan and partner’s brother. I joined a running club, local drama group and became a Time to Change Champion. Helping other people is so rewarding and inspiring that I want to continue doing it through charity work and my blog My Anxiety Matters.
Just remember, you are an amazing person. You’re strong and so brave for getting out of bed every day to face your life head on. Some days it might feel like you don’t want to but remember, you’re still here and doing it. This is what I remind myself of everyday and that I never gave up. And neither have you.”