One of the hardest things in life is admitting you need help. People even find it hard to ask for support with everyday tasks so it's not surprising that when it comes to mental health, we shy away from the biggest thing that can actually make it more manageable. There is no need to be ashamed of not being able to cope alone. I for one know that now more than ever.
It took me over 15 years to realise I needed help. 15 years of not understanding my triggers and being totally confused with my rollercoaster of emotions. For a long time, I 'coped'. I didn't quite see that my whirlwind of feelings could actually spiral out of control.
During my early 20's my anxieties presented themselves in different ways. Although on the outside appearing confident and full of life, I often found myself, unknowingly, using these traits as a cover up for the worry and stress I was really feeling. I had relationships that were toxic. Allowing people to use my good will and nature to their advantage. Don't get me wrong, I didn't spend these years feeling constantly upset and down. What I did do was get in the habit of being a bit of a pushover. 'A bit' putting it nicely.
When we present ourselves in certain ways it is easy to attract the wrong kind of people. If we give off negative vibes or constantly speak badly of ourselves we attract negative people, people who aren't good for us. I presented myself as someone who wouldn't stand my ground and was happy to just coast along without speaking up. This being my way of life, I attracted relationships that allowed people to be in control of me. I do want to point out that not all my relationships were like this. Moving to Scotland I have met the most amazing friends and support system. Those friends that have stood by me at my lowest and supported me when I allowed people to treat me so badly. For those, I will be forever grateful! My point here being, even one bad relationship can trash your sense of self!
Looking back now, knowing what I know about mental health, all the things I was doing was my way of surviving. My way of getting through day to day. It is so important to get to know your triggers and behaviours in order to help yourself in the future. Knowing should have to just 'cope' in life. Life is for living, and living in the best way possible. Which I can promise you, with a the support of others, in my case I did seek professional help, ( which has now lead to me owning my own business to be there for others) you can learn to own your mental health.
There comes a point in life where you begin to see just letting things be isn't enough. If things aren't working it's time to change. Although it is not easy to change the habit of a life time, can you really go on being a person that you're not? You're born to be amazing and achieve anything you set out to. So why do we let bad habits control us?
For many years I sat back, whether it be discussions with friends, making decisions or voicing ideas during staff meetings, my confidence was that shattered and I'd become so used to allowing people to control me, I felt like my voice didn't matter. Who cared what my opinion was? And so, I kept it to myself. I had a fear of loosing people ( at the time I had no idea this was an underlying issue). I'd lost my Dad and best friend at a young age who I loved dearly. I'd also lost friendships which as I child and teenager thought would last forever. This, along with other traumas became the driving force for my diminished self-esteem and total lack of self-worth.
Not having the confidence to speak up really can bite you in the bum! Everyone's voice is worthy of being heard. A quality we teach our children in school so why was I not doing it myself?! It took a long time to work out exactly what was causing my pain. Years of feeling like I'd hit rock bottom and then thinking I'd solved the problem was one of the many bumps in my road to recovery. It took an extremely toxic working environment for me to really hit the bottom, to which I will not go into but those of you that know me understand how horrific the ethos became. It was at this time I spiraled out of control and had no idea how to get better.
A powerful quote from Andy Warhol...
I cannot agree with this quote more. I've had therapy, I've attended sessions with psychologists, counselors, life coaches etc, all of which have dramatically helped me. However, the real way to success, the key to unlocking your own greatness is yourself. I'd served my time struggling, I knew I had. The horrendous working environment pushed me to realise that time was not going to make things better. I needed actions. We all need actions. It's vital to recognise in yourself when you are ready to take the next step and when you are, it will be the best thing you ever do!
Firstly I started by looking for alternatives. I couldn't change the behaviour of the individual causing the hurt but I could get myself out. Even feeling as low as I did I knew I had to find it within me to show off my qualities and what I had to offer in order to get myself a new job. I did exactly that! That for me was the start of the main road out of the hell hole I'd allowed myself to 'survive' in for so long.
Here, I also want to highlight that although I have experienced deep trauma, I have not suffered every second of everyday. Anxiety and mental health isn't always like that. We can still live alongside these issues and have days, weeks and even months where everything is fine and dandy. The key is knowing what triggers our negative emotions and behaviours and teaching ourselves how to remap the way we react to them.
Through many different types of therapies ( hynotherapy, NLP, IEMT to name a few) I have become the best version of myself. Learning how to remap memories and emotions to stop the negative downward spiral has been vital in my recovery. This is why it is so important to ask for support. Speak up when you need the help and don't be scared to admit you can't do it alone. I certainly couldn't!
Having a Life Coach or a Therapist is nothing to be ashamed of. They are amazing people ( if I do say so myself ) and they are trained to guide you, so you to, can make the changes and live your best life. Therapists and Coaches are equipped with a number of techniques and strategies that can assist with recovery. Helping us to gain back the control over our emotions so we can begin to be the true us. They are great teachers that support our learning journey so that when we are ready, we can be released from the cacoon that we get trapped in and flourish.
I am now the butterfly. I have fled my cacoon and have a toolkit filled with ways to allow me to own my mental health. My anxieties, history of depression will be with me forever but now I am the one that decides when they surface and how I deal with them. I will always live with mental health. No matter how many therapists I see, how many strategies I learn, it will be something that is a part of me. BUT I have chosen to own it. It's my mental health, it is also my life. I have chosen to make the changes. To change my mindset. Alter my outlook on life. I have stepped into the best version of myself and can now say "I've got this!"
Are you still sitting waiting for things to change? Act now! Be your own change. Allow yourself to be empowered and unlock your inner hero! The road to recovery begins with a single step. What step will you take?