So as it’s mental health awareness week I want to talk a little bit about my experience with anxiety.
I was the kid at school panicking about my work, always feeling like I wasn’t clever enough and the worst of all, comparing myself to others. I distinctly remember performing on stage at my school prize giving when I was younger and once the evening was finished my Mum told me I needed to have more faith in myself because I just watched and copied the other dancers. Even though I knew it off by heart and my mum had seen me practice, I just felt like the others were better, that they knew it better.
But that’s the thing with anxiety, you never think you’re as good as everyone else, you don’t believe in yourself because instead there’s always this voice in the back of your mind telling you that you aren’t and that you need to work harder.
It’s not something that has gone away for me but in fact, in the past couple of weeks has only gotten worse. Being at University definitely takes a toll on you, mentally and physically. It’s challenging, you’re all of a sudden living on your own, away from home and you have to take care of yourself. It can be quite tough but also incredibly rewarding!
However last week, I only attended one lecture on the Friday, the rest of the week I woke up every morning exhausted and not wanting to go outside. I didn’t want to talk to my flat mates… I just wanted to be alone. I was still motivated enough to do uni work but I just couldn’t be around other people, and when I did I just sat there in my own thoughts feeling so distant from everyone. And that’s the thing, you know you’re still as close to the people around you but at the time when anxiety is swallowing you whole you think there’s no way they’ll ever know you! Because they don’t see behind that smile you’re putting on that your thoughts are picking you apart. Thoughts that are telling you that what you’re thinking isn’t important to others, that your joke isn’t funny and your opinion isn’t necessary.
The thing is with anxiety you have good days, weeks, even months! But then you have the bad ones too, and they are the ones that hit you harder, that dwell on you and make the time go by so slowly. And every morning you wake up not knowing how you’re going to feel.
But the only thing we can do is breathe. Even when our chest feels tight and our mind can’t focus on a single thing apart from critiquing ourselves and making up scenarios to tear down our life, because we don’t believe we deserve the happiness and love we are receiving.
We do though. Except the happiness. Except love and share yours with others, because your love is so valuable.
And just remember to breathe, that’s the best advice I can give, because it will always get better.