Negativity – it’s something that I try and avoid indulging in too much across my social media channels as people have enough shit going on in their own lives, without me throwing in my two pence. I would like to appear as a light when things seem dark, a source of motivation and inspiration at times when there might just be someone seeking it. Yet lately, I’ve become my own worst enemy.
There has been a lot of things going on in my personal life, which I will try not to bore you with too much. Here we are at the start of August 2017 and I find myself without a relationship I poured so many years into, disconnected from any ‘parental’ figure for guidance and financially crippled in a City that requires money just to exist. Since the death of my Mum in 2008, I’ve been an independent and fiercely stubborn individual who has learnt to form a coat of resilience, even in the most testing situations. You wouldn’t believe that I was insecure, needy and very often lonely – and yet I am. Having Crohn’s Disease doesn’t help, dealing with an invisible illness that takes it’s toll on you physically, emotionally and mentally. I find myself wading through a thick fog of confusion and despair, dashing between tantrums and the toilet, and I’ll be honest, it got to a very unhealthy place.
I was so unhappy with myself, so unhappy with what was going on in my life, so unhappy with the way that my body was letting me down that I began to shove my anger on to the people I loved the most. The habits of bottling up so much overwhelming emotion became far too frequent and the outbursts and arguments and irritation grew and grew.
Very recently, I realised I was at breaking point, and took myself to the Doctor and asked for help. I’m not afraid or embarrassed to write to you, my internet friend, and let you know that I did that; mental health is so important and yet so overlooked. There is still such stigma in being able to say ‘I’m not okay’ and often a sign of weakness to seek professional help. I was failing my friendships, my relationship, my brothers and sisters and I was struggling to find enjoyment in anything I did. Feeling constantly fatigued by my condition created a vicious circle of ‘cant do it, wont do it’ and luckily my Doctor recognised what I was saying, and reassured me that it was perfectly normal for people with Chronic illnesses to ask for therapy, as it’s emotionally taxing and many find it overwhelming to maintain some sort of ‘normality’.
A few weeks have passed, and I’ve been more or less on auto-pilot. I noticed that I had lost interest in myself, lost passion in ‘life’ and let things like my blog and social channels slip through my fingers a bit. On Thursday evening, I was walking home from dinner. Nothing new had happened, but I spent the entire time yawning and struggling to stay involved in the conversation, as all I could think about was how crap I felt and how much I wanted to be alone. Walking through London at night suddenly hit me – the busyness of the City surrounding me whilst I felt a massive void inside of me, and I broke down. I cried consistently the whole 40mins walk home and then continued to do so when I got home and saw my housemates. Every time I thought I had pulled myself together, another wave would come, washing negativity, hopelessness and anxiety over me, complete with very ugly-crying.
I went to sleep that night, drained. When I woke up in the morning, the sun was shining through my window and I lay there for an hour and thought about everything that had happened. I thought about how I was feeling and what internally I was doing to myself. It became very apparent, as I have always known and always taught myself, that the only person who could help me, was me. My mental health was struggling? Book a therapist. My body was struggling? Sort out your iron and B12 deficiencies, and get on top of your Crohn’s. My self-belief was struggling? Go back to the gym, stay fit, stay healthy and learn to love yourself again. Sometime’s it’s refreshing to just take it slow and re-align your focus. Everyone needs to refresh and reset, even the most reliable machines.
I realised that I was constantly looking at everything at 100mph and getting worked up about the bigger picture. The most cliché thing in the world is to take it ‘one step at at time’ but it is some of the most sound advice in the world. You can’t resolve all your problems at once, so take everything bit by bit. You realise that when you bite things down into little chunks, they become a lot easier to swallow.
‘We all need help in life sometimes and that’s normal, that’s okay. A shoulder to lean on. A loan when we’re in a tight spot. An ear to listen to us vent our frustration. A hand to hold. A hug and a voice to whisper ‘Everything is going to be alright, you’ll see.’ But it’s important to remember that no one can actually fix your life, except for you. No one can follow your dreams for you – you’ve gotta get off your own ass, and follow them yourself. No one can stop the obstacles that the universe will put in your path to test you with – you’ve gotta take a deep breath, get some courage and faith of your own, and jump, climb, crawl and run through them yourself. At the end of the day, other people can only help you so much. This is your life, and you’re responsible for yourself, so stop looking towards everyone else to fix your shit.’ – The Crimson Kiss
The point of this post (other than to vent, sorry not sorry) is to say that we all go through ups and downs. It’s very easy to get absorbed into the ‘best version of me’ life on social media and feel like you’re the only one who has fallen into darkness. But I just want to let you know that everyone gets sidetracked sometimes. We all have dark moments, days or even weeks. But the moment you take the step to make changes to your life and your self, the moment you reach out to your friends or professionals for help, the moment you acknowledge that you want to ‘be better’, whatever ‘better’ is for you, is the moment you’re stepping back in to the light again.