I think I have anxiety, but do I?
So many times I have been asked- how are you?
Before I have chance to answer it’s followed by ‘you look so well and happy’. I think to myself, oh well I must be fine then.
I think so much of the way we live our lives is governed by expectations of normality and ok-ness. This has made me completely unable to recognise the times in which I am really not o.k. Not only that but it has stunted my ability to say – ‘help me?’ without feeling like I am attention seeking or making a fuss.
Things have happened in my life and I have buried thoughts and feelings about these things away- deep. I am aware the whole time, not of myself, but of the affect my reaction to these events has on the people that I love.
Sometimes when I can’t face getting out of bed in the morning because I feel like there’s no point in my existence, or I have a social event to go to- where I know I will face questions about how I am, from my closest friends, I feel dread.
If I feel sad, I tell myself I don’t deserve to feel that way, there are others that have it harder and feel worse. I cannot seem to rationalise with myself that all pain is relative and being able to talk about it shouldn’t be faced with judgement and measured against others.
I have watched people I love die, people that I love slowly kill themselves due to their inability to cope with how they feel, yet I still harbour feelings of guilt when I feel pain. I feel like a fraud. The feeling of fraudulence and anxiety affects my work when I want to help others and I think to myself ‘but what the hell do I know of pain surely I can’t I help or relate to this person?’
I don’t actually know If I am aware of my own brain a lot of the time - I overthink everything, I always think that I am doing something wrong and I often don’t believe that I can do things or be a person that people can take seriously. I have never seen anyone about this direct issue; I have seen grief counsellors in the past but nothing in my adult life that I would consider to have shone any real light on making me aware of how I actually feel about things. The only time I ever really get clarity is when I talk. Talk about how I feel and have someone listen, like listen properly.
Everyone should be able to and have the chance to talk, to anyone, anytime, about anything, no matter how big or small the matter. Without sharing experience we become perpetually stuck in a war of our own insecurities and worries and are unable to gain perspective, help ourselves or help others.
Can you imagine the isolation of having no one listen or no one to hear you?
I am lucky enough to have people that will listen and people that will care, if I allow myself to talk.
Pain is clarifying, cleansing and true, I should not hide it.
On February the 11th 2018 we launched a crowdfunding campaign. We want to start a conversation about mental health that is powerful. No more treading on eggshells. We are not invisible, We do not want to be hidden away. Our work in the studio and shop is #SmashingStigma every day, and now we are going to be a little noisier.
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As part of the campaign we are also looking for more blogs about mental health stigma, so please get in touch if you have a story to share.