“I have been on the path to recovery and have come a long way in the past few years. At 14, I was diagnosed with generalized and social anxiety, adhd, and depression. However, due to my strong anxieties, low self-esteem, and some outside criticisms, I also developed body dysmorphia.
My mind has always been an overly active one, which is great for my creative side. However, when it comes to my mental health, this did not positively influence the negative intrusive thoughts I have experienced over the years.
I had a lot of trouble staying in school as I got older because my anxieties prevented me from being able to leave the house some days. I experienced these spells of agoraphobia again during my move to the UK and again with the COVID lockdown, which rehashed a lot of these old feelings of social anxiety.
There are a lot of things that have helped me over the years. I have tried different forms of talking and CBT therapies, which have been a huge help in managing and understanding my emotions in positive ways. I have also tried a few medications, which were not always a positive experience on my body or my mind. However, I have found one after a lot of trial and error which works for managing my overactive mind. I have also made a point to be honest with my friends and talk to those close to me when I am struggling. Keeping a clean house is something that also helps me, because when the clutter builds up, it makes it harder for me to focus and stay positive.
I also enjoy going on walks and getting fresh air when I am feeling stressed. Yoga has also had a huge positive impact on my ability to take care of my mind and body by reminding me of its core practice values. I also love journaling, writing poetry and fiction, and reading. All of which allow me to connect with myself, my emotions, understand other situations, or just escape for a little while. Additionally, my dog, my son, and my partner get me through many hard days.
Having these mental health issues has been a struggle, but I know they have taught me that I am strong, and I am capable. Even though I am an emotional person and had many negative experiences because of this, I know that it has made me strong and helped me to care about and advocate for other people going through similar or other issues.
I have had lot of self-doubt throughout my life, and by coming to terms with everything and working through my issues, I have been able to feel confidence again.
I wish that when I was younger, I would have understood the value of not missing out on all the opportunities that I could have experienced because I was anxious (within reason). It is not fun to look back at times which should have been exciting for me, like vacations/holidays, and my only memories were about how much I focused on my body or what I said or did that was “embarrassing”. Missing out on life was not worth the stress of my appearance or my happiness.
Similarly, to what I would have told myself, I would tell someone else dealing with the same insecurities or stressors that life is an exciting thing, and it is not worth missing out on opportunities or experiences because of viewing yourself negatively and filling the days with negative self-talk. It is easier said than done, but with time, it can improve and get better.
Find something you enjoy and embrace it. In my spare time, I am a creative person; these creative endeavours have helped me so much in embracing myself and my good qualities.
I also run my own social media marketing business called JM Marketing, which allows me to thrive by employing a creative perspective towards business.”