In May 2017 I embarked on a very personal journey that I hoped would change my life for the better, but little did I know how much it would really change me and what a huge impact it would have on who I am now.
15 months ago I was suffering from some very severe anxiety, I was so lonely, I hated who I had become, I had absolutely no belief in myself at all and I was merely surviving.
I remember walking around as if I was completely disconnected from myself, I felt as if I was just floating above my body and holding onto a very thin thread.
I was waking up and wishing the day would just end, I would walk out of the house feeling so anxious that I often envisioned the worst would happen.
And was always ready for something bad to happen, I always thought I was more likely to have something bad happen to me than something good.
I’ll never forget all the times I was driving and thinking that my car would crash or someone would crash against me and I would feel like someone was standing on top of my chest like I was unable to breathe and had lost control of my thoughts and emotions.
One of the things that really stands out to me is the time I was in the cinema, which usually is quite a pleasant experience and something fun to do, but instead of being excited I remember this huge wave of anxiety coming over me and the awful thoughts starting to flow in.
I started imagining what if someone was to walk in right now and start shooting everyone?! I found myself looking all around me trying to see where all my exits were and planning in my own head what I would do if this were to happen.
Now that I’m in a better place and look back on that day I can think rationally and know how severe my anxiety was that it would invade my mind with such awful thoughts!
I used to get so nervous going out to places because there was so many people around me and would always think of the worst scenario and worry all the time that something would happen to me or my family.
I would feel sick every time my children were away from me, I would get so worried if Little Bear was 5 minutes late coming home on the bus.
The thoughts were completely taking over my life and stopping me from doing a lot of things I wanted to do.
And if I did push myself to do them then I would feel paralysed with fear and worry.
I came to the point where I thought I just can’t go on like this anymore.
It’s making me mentally and physically ill!
Thankfully I was able to get the help that I needed in the form of counselling.
As most of you may know I have been involved with the charity Support 2gether for quite a long time now, and it was through them that I was able to get the help I needed.
Support 2gether has their own counselling service which is offered free of charge to mothers suffering from antenatal and postnatal depression or anxiety, which often come together as a ‘lovely’ package.
To say this service has been a lifesaver is an understatement, I’m not sure I could have gone on much longer with the awful feelings I was having!
My counsellor truly helped me become the person that had been hidden under all the anxiety and everyday struggles.
I have never met such a wonderful, caring and passionate woman!
The thanks that I have given my counsellor will never be enough.
To know that someone took their time to help me and to make sure I was the best I could be not only for myself but also for my family is unbelievable and really restores your faith that there is such good people out there.
To say that it was all laughs and giggles would be a lie, it certainly was not all smooth sailing for 15 months, there were days I went in and felt completely helpless and broken, days were I shed many tears and days where I was challenged to think about my choices and what was going on inside me, which is not always an easy thing to do.
It was very tough at times but there was also laughter along the way, there was nurturing, care and compassion, all the things that for a long time I had been seeking.
She taught me how to be gentle on my self, how to nurture my own soul.
As a mother, you always think that your children need to get every little ounce of you , but it’s far from true, it’s so important that we learn that we need just as much love and care as we give out.
I learnt how to confront my thoughts and feelings, I learnt how to meet and greet them and think more rationally about them.
It’s not to say that everything in my life is so easy now and that in my head it’s all pink and fluffy thoughts because that would be wrong.
Of course, there are still days where I worry and days where I feel the anxiety creeping in, but the huge difference now is that I have learnt to take control of the feelings and thoughts rather than letting them take control of my life.
We always have a choice when it comes to our mind, sometimes it does take over and we lose control but I think once we learn to take control back then we can start dealing with it in a way that is better for us.
I will always encourage people to seek out counselling, even if you’re only there for a few months, it can make a huge change to your life!
I am now doing things that even a few months ago I would have been too scared to do, there is no way I would have been sitting here writing my personal thoughts and feeling for you to read.
Last month I went to my first ever social media event, I’m not gonna lie I definitely could feel my anxiety creeping in, mainly because I didn’t actually know anyone and went on my own, but I persevered through my feeling and just kept telling myself what’s the worst that can happen.
And I stayed the whole time and had an amazing time!
A few months ago I would have felt sick even at the thought of doing something like that, and now I’m slowly learning to take more risks and learning to enjoy the things I love again.
It’s all about taking your time, taking small steps at a time and doing what feels comfortable and right for you.
Thanks to my wonderful counsellor helping me to figure things out I have now come out the other side and can look forward to my future and all the great things that are waiting for me to discover.
I no longer feel I have to live in the darkness and have allowed myself to let the light back in.
I hope that by talking openly about my experience it will help other people who may find themselves in the same or similar circumstances to seek the help they need and start looking forward to a brighter future!