After hearing the very wonderful Bryony Gordon talk about mental health during her Thinkbomb at Blogfest16 I felt like I had to write more about my mental health and how things are right now for me really. I don’t talk about it enough on my blog which is really stupid. I kind of feel like I should talk about it because blogging really, really, really helps with my anxiety and because I know that some of my readers suffer with anxiety.
I’m not very sweary on my blog, which is quite a surprise because I swear a lot (not in front of my grandparents though) but anxiety is a real shit. It’s like living with the person that used to bully you at school because your thighs were fat. It’s like living with the first person that dumped you when you were twelve. It’s like getting a big fat F at life.
Anxiety for me is always being stressed, always overthinking and over complicating really stupid things. My anxiety might come across as laziness to some, because I don’t do much, well, I used to not do a lot but now I do some things. Anxiety is not wanting to leave the house because you are literally scared that someone that sees you might think something bad about you. Anxiety is not having control of a situation.
I typically have anxiety because my parents divorced when I was young, I moved schools, I was ignored a bit because I was relatively clever, I was sexually abused, I drunk far too much, I was bullied, I was used, I was lonely, I was fearful, I was in a controlling and abusive relationship and, well, because I’m fat. All of these things have happened in my life and over time I have let them control me. I have let them make me into a victim, into a self pitying, boring (to some) slob of a mess. Not one of these things are to blame, but collectively they have lead to me hating going anywhere alone, hating depending on any other person, thinking negatively about myself, obsessing that other people are thinking negatively about me, not taking care of myself, constantly putting on weight, being with controlling and abusive people because I, for some reason, thought that’s what love was and was so terrified they’d leave me alone, again, that I stayed with them.
Until one day I said no.
Until one day I changed.
Becoming a mum started that transformation. It made me see that I have a tiny person that will always love me and care for me. That will always need me. Now, I am needed.
Joining Ann Summers helped because I started seeing the flaws in a relationship I wasn’t happy in and that was toxic. It showed me I was worth more.
Living in a women’s refuge and doing the freedom programme helped me to see that I am not a victim, that I can overcome my demons and that I can say no. I can always say no.
Meeting a man that is wondeful, kind, funny, supportive and helpful taught me that love is not toxic. Love is forgiving and uncomplicated. Love is safety and passion and contentment.
Getting a full time job in an area I didn’t really know much about again proved that I am smart and resourceful. Being made redundant, starting a new job, hating it, then becoming a writer and becoming self employed showed that I can do whatever I put my mind too.
Starting a blog and finding other women, that feel the same way as I do, and surrounding myself with those people has built a secure and supportive network that inspires me all the time to be better, to do better, to do what I love. Because if they can do it, if they can make it then I can.
Anxiety, to me, is sitting here at my laptop and writing about the things in my life that broke me down. That ruined me completely. They have left long, deep hard scars across me and they will always be there. But those scars aren’t as red anymore. I am still stressy and anxious but I live alongside my anxiety. It doesn’t control me anymore.
Blogfest was a huge thing for me to do on my own. A conference of hundreds of women, not having met any of them before, and just going anyway despite being terrified no one would speak to me. But every single person that said “I know you, you’re Kat from Candyfloss & Dreams” made me want to cry because they know who I am and what I do, they know what is right there in my heart and soul. They identify with it. They made me smile, laugh, think and feel amazing. I went on the underground on my own despite bloody hating those escalators because everytime I go on them I think I’m going to fall backwards to my death (I hate going up on anything, lifts, rides, stairs…) I changed trains, without getting lost. I nearly missed my train but I didn’t get anxious or worried or stressed. I ended up sitting next to a lovely lady named Becky on the train home and speaking to her.
Anxiety would never have let me even say hello.
Blogging has helped me gain control over my anxiety because it has allowed me to say what I feel needs to be said. It has let me pour everything out, sort it out and adjust. It has introduced me to other like minded people and allowed me to go to these wonderful conferences where I can be with these people. Now blogging is like my medication, my therapy, as so many writers or bloggers say it is. Blogging keeps the anxiety at bay because I am doing something I fundamentally love with all my heart every single day.
So whilst I still battle every day, I am okay. I can talk about it. I can say that my life is better now because I am coping better. Anxiety doesn’t rule my life, and it certainly doesn’t have to rule your life either.