Today’s post is a guest post from mum of two Gemma from the Midlands, UK. I recently met Gemma on Instagram where we chatted, engaged and connected over motherhood and our journeys with mental health. This is the first post Gemma has written publicly and I’m honored to have her as a guest on a Life twintastic! Gemma is currently working on her own blog which is really exciting so a huge thank you and watch this space!
When I met Ellie online, before we even spoke I instantly felt a connection just reading one or two pieces she’s written on her blog and for others. I admired her honesty but most of all she is what I want to be- brave. Here in this wonderful and weird world of social media was a face, a person with a job and kids and responsibilities and she was openly telling us about her struggles with mental health.
I can trace my juggle with mental health right back to childhood, as many who are addressing issues as adults possibly can. Although happy as a child I was often faced with very adult situations and I had to make choices and consider feelings of others long before I really was equipped to do so. I’ve always had an issue with saying no. I’m a very empathetic person which is one of my favourite traits but hand in hand with this comes the need to please and accommodate.
I hit my teens and almost rebelled against that quality and in my late teens became a force of selfish and reckless living. I made rash decisions, lived for the moment and craved fun. I found this often in nights out and pub gardens. No real harm done, I came into my twenties ready to settle and that I did!
What happened? Mental health. I found that in contentment came fear. A fear that it could all slip away. A fear that I might make a bad choice. A fear that something even out of my control could take away my happy. Over the years I’ve tried to soothe depression and stress with a range of therapies, from alcohol to chakra cleansing. It sounds nuts doesn’t it? I’ve eaten clean, I’ve closed my circle, I’ve read positive books and I’ve done all the yoga and more. Truth is, it’s still there.
So, in light of the fear, hand in hand with the anxiety and with the invasive thoughts loud in my ears, I decided that I would no longer battle my mental health, instead I would live with her and see how it goes. I decided that this is never going away and fighting is exhausting. With some CBT online, an NHS referred block of counselling and a lot of strength I have faced it. I am no longer boxing up parts of my life as a rite off. I push those feelings of shame away. I am looking back and I am proud of myself.
These days I really concentrate on my wellbeing. I no longer search for this idea of perfect. I don’t pretend to be happy if I’m not feeling happy. No longer do I hide if I’m tearful, or avoid challenging conversations. No longer do I say yes to things I want to say no to. When I spoke about my mental health I realised something. People around me were not horrified. They were happy. They were relieved. They were in my corner. They were then finding courage to speak out. They were telling me about their struggles, their solutions, their worries, their coping mechanisms. The more conversations I embraced, the more I learned of not only myself but of this whole world around me. Feeling depressed was the best thing to ever happen to me.
So now I wear my mental health disorder with pride. I no longer write anonymously. I no longer look for a ‘theme’ for a blog or a project for an instagram page. I am here completely! I am here and I am being brave, just like Ellie. I look forward to talking more on my own blog in time about various issues I’ve faced and overcome, and the many I still live with daily. I also hope to help other people voice theirs too. For the first time i can remember, I really feel well. Hopefully I can encourage others to find away to live with their mental health too because I’ve been in the fight for so long and it’s tiring. If you made it this far, look out for my blog and instagram page and reach out. Hopefully you can find the strength to be brave too.
If you’re interested in guest posting on a Life twintastic get in touch here.