Anyone seen my marbles?
We’ve all been dumped haven’t we? But 3 days after Christmas Day and over the phone was pretty harsh! I thought I was just going through the classic teary, “I hate men” stage of a break-up at first, but what swiftly followed was a year of anxiety, panic attacks,depression, and months of therapy.
I spent months wondering what I did wrong, what was wrong with me, would I be single forever? My confidence had hit an all time low and the self loathing slowly ate away at me, unbeknown to me, until one Sat night out in Bristol with a girlfriend I experienced my first full on panic attack. I remember like it was yesterday and the fear went from 0-100mph in about 60 seconds.
I was getting ready to go out, doing my make-up, then within seconds I was locked in the bathroom a quivering mess on the floor throwing up and shaking from head to toe. The sheer fear of leaving that hotel room left me paralysed. Sad to say, I didn’t make it out that night and climbed straight into bed, shut my eyes and prayed to god I fell asleep quickly enough to block it all out. My bestie was a superstar and I will be forever grateful for her understanding during that humiliating time!
The months to follow were filled with counselling, face-to-face therapy in the form of CBT and putting on a happy face wherever I went. I discovered so much about myself during this time as well as where all these emotions had come from (turns out, the break-up was just the tip of the iceberg)
The only place I felt ‘normal’ was at work, where no one knew about my struggle, it was the distraction I depended upon and it kept my mind busy on other things. But behind closed doors I was falling apart. Sitting on my bed back at mum and dad’s (I’d moved home again for support) I opened up to my mum about how I was feeling. That night she hugged me so tight and she prayed for me. I felt like my faith was all I had left when inside everything else was gone. I was empty.
CBT really did help me and through counselling I finally started to understand what anxiety actually was! I read blogs, books, and websites and tried to get my head around what was happening to me. I say happening TO me, because at the time I genuinely thought I was losing my s**t and the men in white coats were coming for me! (I can joke about it now)
What I now know however, after 3 years of education, is that these feelings are all me. Created by me and I have full control of them. I have the ability to CHOOSE to fight and I did! I still do.
This is the first time I have spoken about my experience publically. But it needs to be said, not just for my benefit but for all the people who can relate to this post. I can proudly say I got through what can only be described as my darkest days ever and am out the other side all thanks to the support from my amazing friends and family. Stronger, more positive, more aware and more accepting.
I’ve only recently discovered Love Yourself Lean, but I actually know Kelly from a few years back when I danced with Anneli. (Good times!) I stumbled across LYL one day on Instagram and it couldn’t have come at a better time. I was so touched by Kelly’s honesty and openness about her own journey.
I love my LYL journal and make sure I spend some ‘me’ time every day filling it all in. I practice Mindfulness and Meditation, keep a journal of my own and attempt (and fail miserably) to learn Yoga. These all help ground me on a daily basis and it helps me manage my anxiety. The anxiety may never go away, but I have learnt to keep it under control and most importantly recognise the signs of unhealthy thinking styles much quicker than I ever did before. I have not had a major panic attack for over a year now and although the thought of dating again terrifies me, I have dated since, and I hope one day soon I’ll find someone who is accepting of who I am and supports me through my journey.
One piece of advice I can give for anyone dealing with a mental illness; remember you are not alone. Please don’t be ashamed or embarrassed about how you’re feeling. Talk to friends, family, or a professional and you will get through it, I promise. I found my marbles, they were there all along!
Quote to live by – “You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.” – Robin Williams