My Journey With Anxiety: From Self-Sabotage to Self-Healing

From not being able to fill the fuel tank to appearing on TV

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As far as I can remember I had always been an anxious insecure person. I struggled to make friends throughout school always appearing needy, making myself cry to get attention from teachers and always judging myself on my appearance. I was criticised for the way I walked (apparently to robotic) and the way I talked (apparently too fast). I was quite studious which was always interpreted as boring and not fun. 

In my first year at University I had a devastating break up with my first boyfriend and this led my insecurities and self-hate to escalate. My boyfriend broke up with ME, surely that meant I was not good enough? I nearly quit university, tried to end my life, put my parents through great heartache, and this was all in the first 6 months of turning 18. I sought help and counselling and just about survived my degree. 

At 23 I married my rock, I thought this is it. This is when my life can begin, a qualified optometrist, married having just come back from a 6 week honey moon, what more could a girl want? What I didn’t realise was that circumstances, people, surroundings wouldn’t make a difference until I healed the person within. 

I never felt I was enough in any way or form. I wasn’t out going or confident like my husband, or fun and bubbly like my cousins, smart and beautiful like colleagues. I put everyone else on a pedistool because I just didn’t like me. I never had a go to group of friends to lift my spirits; instead I would spend my nights locked in the bedroom crying whilst my husband sat on the on the other side of the door gently trying to persuade me to let him in. I couldn’t walk in a shopping centre without paranoia of someone laughing at me;or even sit in a coffee shop, I didn’t even like to go out to eat with friends because the anxiety of putting food in my mouth in front of others was too overwhelming. It took me over a year before I ate in front of my husband.

I tried CBT, exercising, reiki and lots of other therapies. They all worked in the first instance but the results were only temporary. When I had my first baby the loneliness and anxiety again escalated. I struggled to meet other mums, if I had to go to a new destination my husband would have to take me on practice runs before hand in case I got lost, I couldn’t push the stroller on a busy road in case people in the cars were staring and judging me. There was no way I could fill my car up with petrol. Firstly, the thought of parking in a public place and then, secondly, having to get out and fill the tank with petrol, whilst the car behind me watched me was a definite no. I didn’t fill my own petrol for 10 years. 

It came to a point where I made a decision that something had to change, I needed to inspire my 2 girls and not let them see the state I was in. They needed a strong role model, not the mental nervous wreck that I was. This is when I began practicing mindfulness and meditation. I kept to a daily ritual of practicing this, reading motivational books and watching inspiring YouTube videos. My self judgement began to reduce, and my self healing began. What I found, was when I stopped looking for people to fill that void of loneliness, the most amazing people seemed to appear in my life. When I practiced gratitude and believing I was enough, and that only I could love me unconditionally, the shifts started to appear. When I stopped looking for approval and simply approved of myself the positive vibes seemed to spread. The change was such that I slowly found a whole community of like-mindedpeople, my businesses began to flourish, I was honest about my insecurities, and I didn’t judge myself. My passion forhigh lighting mental health issues grew, and since then I’ve been working in schools helping children, holding work shopsand retreats and even appeared on the radio and TV for the work I do. 

I no longer put any pressure on myself, if things don’t go to plan that’s ok, if things fall apart that’s ok. If self-doubt creeps in I witness the moment, accept it, and move on. I still have low days, and anxiety-ridden moments but my recovery from these moments is now a few hours, I’m not consumed by it for days. I have my go to coping mechanisms and aids to help thisprocess. Whether its meditation, listening to music, playing with the children, watching a motivational video to simply reset and fall in love with my imperfectly perfect self once again.

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