Taking Back Control…

Taking an honest look at myself and my life, I realised had been continuously depressed for years (since I started this blog in late 2016) without ever properly working through it.

I thought I was OK because things like travelling, going back to college and meeting my now-boyfriend distracted me a little. But even when I wasn’t crying or feeling sad, I didn’t ever feel truly happy within myself.

Although I managed to cope and live somewhat normally for a while, the last 12-18 months have been a completely different story. Probably the most difficult time of my whole life.

It started with my struggle to find a passion/purpose in life as you’ll probably have read about on this blog before. That soon turned into a complete existential crisis.

The changes that I’d made such as going vegan, quitting alcohol and quitting social media went from being a positive thing in my life to something that made me feel weird, isolated and unwanted.

My self-esteem plummeted, I shut out almost all of my friends, felt awkward and weird around most of my family members… I became extremely bitter and negative and it was a fast, downward spiral from there.

I got a work from home job which, while it was very easy going, isolated me even further. I quit college (again) halfway through my second year because I couldn’t cope with the stress, and I started procrastinating constantly.

I couldn’t even get the simplest of tasks done, like washing the dishes or putting the rubbish 3 steps outside of the front door. It was embarrassing to feel so lazy.

I stopped going to the gym, stopped eating well… stopped looking after myself altogether and gained weight for the first time in my life. Then I soon realised I was only leaving the house 1 or 2 times a week, mostly just to get food shopping or visit my gran.

I went on a few holidays but even then, I didn’t feel that joy I used to get when travelling. Everything was just OK, never great. I felt like my happiness had been capped halfway- even when I didn’t feel sad, fine was the best it was going to get.

At the start of 2019, 7 months after I’d first asked my doctor for help, I received my first appointment for therapy through the NHS. It was then that I realised I’d had enough of living like this and wanted to change.

I re-joined the gym and started eating healthy again which helped me feel better about my body and got me out of the house, if only for an hour or two.

But I was still isolated, and still had this uncontrollable anxiety which prevented me from achieving anything else in life. My boyfriend supported me so, so much, I can’t even explain… but there’s only so much one person can be there for you before you start to drag them down too.

Sadly, therapy didn’t help this time either because I had to wait 4-5 weeks between every appointment, so I couldn’t get any momentum going. I was waking up every day feeling hopeless, just praying for a miracle that I’d magically feel better.

And finally, this past weekend I got that miracle.

The Turning Point

On saturday, I was at an event in Glasgow that I’d randomly found tickets to online a few weeks before. The event was called “anxiety, it’s time to go” by Kevin Mullen.

I swear I’m not being dramatic when I say this, but it totally changed my life. It completely transformed the way I see anxiety. I learned so many techniques that instantly dissolved my anxious feelings, negative thoughts and the physical heaviness I often felt.

I learned things I’ve never once heard from any therapist or read online. I felt completely in control for the first time in years and I realised that the power to take back control of my life was inside of me all along.

And that was just the first half of the day…

Before we broke up for lunch, Kevin told us to remember one thing when we came back: “be brave and be authentic”. And that really stuck with me for some reason.

When we came back, the first thing he did was talk about his brother. His brother had sadly committed suicide 4 years ago because he felt he had no one to turn to when he was depressed.

After he’d told us some more about his brother, Kevin turned back to the audience and said this…

Remember earlier when I asked you to be brave? Well now is your time. If any of you in this room have struggled with thoughts of suicide or felt that you couldn’t go on anymore, I want you to stand up.

Immediately a few people stood up, maybe 5 or 6. I looked around at the 395 other people sitting in that room and thought there was no way I could ever be that brave to stand up and admit that.

But as Kevin went over with his microphone to talk to the first girl who’d stood up, I remembered why I was there: to get help and make a change. Something completely took over me and I stood up. I have honestly never been more proud of myself as I was in that moment. I’m tearing up just writing about it.

Kevin continued to talk to that first girl about how her anxiety had affected her life, then turned to all of us who had stood up (maybe 8-10 people by this point) and congratulated us. Then, he said that because we’d shown a commitment to getting better, he was going to pair us each with a life coach and put us through his therapy course free of charge.

Wow.

I left that place feeling completely changed.

On the train home, I reached out to a couple of my old friends and was pleasantly surprised to receive back nothing but love and support. After all that time! I also met with another friend yesterday and felt completely comfortable opening up about how I’d been feeling, which lifted another huge weight off of me.

And as I was driving home, I realised that for the first time in 2 years, I felt completely happy. Happy way, deep down in my soul. Real, true happiness and contentment.

I feel like I got my life back all in one weekend. And although it’s going to be a work in progress, I feel completely in control now. I feel more positive and confident already as I wait for my first therapy session, knowing that I don’t have to struggle anymore.

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