My Anxiety and I.


You may or may not know this, but I have anxiety and have had so for a very long time, even before I ever started my blog. I couldn't tell you how long I've dealt with anxiety, because it feels like a lifetime, but it feels so right to tell you about my experience up to this point in time. I don't want to share every single detail of my anxiety and every time I've had an anxiety attack up until this point in time, but I still want to share my experiences from recent times in the hopes of opening up and creating a much needed conversation regarding mental health.

I like think of my anxiety in two different areas of life; not being able cope with new experiences and being a perfectionist and putting too much pressure on myself. In the past couple of years, I've mainly struggled with getting a job, being in chaotic, overwhelming places, transitioning out of high school and into college and the fashion industry, and being in new and extremely unfamiliar environments. For some, this might seem so easy and achievable, but time and time again, I've allowed my anxiety to get in the way of all these life experiences. Constantly letting worrying prior to events and anxiety attack after anxiety attack take control over me and made me want to give up at pretty much anything. All throughout high school (and to some extent now) I've put so much pressure on myself to do well and immensely succeed in my academics. I was never kind to myself, had a horrible fear of failure and never wanted to make a mistake... EVER.

In the last 12 months, I've been to therapists and counsellors 7 times in total; 5 times during Year 12 and twice during the time I've been studying at college. (Wow, that sounds like a lot when it's written down) The school counsellor was a pretty good help for the things and feelings I was experiencing during my last ever weeks at high school, but seeing a psychologist outside of school was definitely not the greatest experience I've ever had.
 After having applied for a work placement with college and realising I was not able to go along with my closest friend and would have had to travel on the train by myself to a new and unfamiliar place, the feelings of immense worry and fear had hit me once again... or in other words, my best friend, anxiety, was back. In the days leading up to this work placement, I had to come clean to my college director and tell her the truth about how I was feeling and my plans to (finally) seek help. And it was during this time that I realised I hated talking to the psychologist...a lot. I took me two sessions, an hour of crying and a 30min rant to my mother that made me realise that I hated opening up to a person who only wanted to focus on things that happened in the past, when all I wanted to do was move on with my life and look ahead to the future in a more positive way.

And that I did.

One week later, despite the incredible fear I had, I got myself on a train into the city for my very first internship, and looking back on that day now, that was the best decision I ever made. It's now been about 5 weeks since that day, and every time I have to hop onto a train by myself to get to my internships, the process gets easier and easier... with less to no anxiety at all compared to the first time. This has made interning and experiencing new aspects of the fashion industry so much more enjoyable for me. They are now some of the best experiences in my life!

At this point in time, I've been getting more and more confident and am slowly having less anxiety. I always be so grateful for having a support network of people who see my drive and passion to do big, amazing things in my career as well as life makes this so much easier as well. Their encouragement, advice and overall ability to sit and listen when I genuinely and truthfully feel like talking has definitely helped in taking back my control over my life and helped me learn and realise so many things about myself and my best friend, anxiety.
Learning to manage my anxiety has definitely been a major learning curve. I've learnt that its so much easier to talk to people who care about me rather than someone who knows nothing about me. I've learnt that investing my energy into creative outlets, like (especially like) my blog and Instagram, relieves so much stress and anxiety and allows me to use my knowledge, creativity and freedom to create amazing content without having to worry about failure or mistakes. I've learnt that although my anxiety may be something I have to deal with for a very long time, its something that I can manage. I've learnt that its perfectly ok to make mistakes, ask questions if I'm unsure and not be 100% perfect in all that I do. And through sitting here, writing my experiences down for all of you to read, I've learnt that through the saturated, so-called perfect images seen on Instagram, its so hard for followers to see what happens on the other side of the camera lens. I don't blame my followers for this either, it's been solely my decision to deal with my anxiety away from social media.

I'm not in any way saying that this is goodbye for anxiety, I may have come a very long way in terms of my personal growth, but I still have plenty of things to learn and maintain. I'm still learning to be kind to myself; my college director said to me a few weeks ago that I should give myself a pat on the back and give myself a break, definitely learning to take a break from things sometime, but also to be proud of the things I achieve, as big or small as they may be. I'm learning to stay calm and try not to get overwhelmed in new, unfamiliar situations; the first time will always be the hardest but from there the process only gets easier and more achievable with time. I'm learning to stay positive in these first time situations as well, to not think of the worst possible situation, because chances are, the worst case scenario in my mind is so incredibly unlikely to actually happen.

And at the end of the day, I'm always learning to cope with and be okay with my anxiety. To take every day as it comes. Because just like my friends from school or college, anxiety is a friend of mine too.

Much love,

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