If you've ever seen me around online, you'll probably see me promoting books, talking about music, and most recently, talking about wrestling (All Hail King Justin Sysum, WOS Wrestling Champ!).
What I do is talk about what I love. Because, frankly, there is already too much hate out there and I don't want to be a part of it. Very occasionally though, you'll catch glimpses of what lies beneath. Glimpses of insecurity. Glimpses of sadness.
Those things, those feelings and emotions, are part of what makes me. I could talk for a long time about the things that have happened in my life that have been painful, but, as I said before, I don't want to put out negativity.
But there is one thing I do want to talk about. One thing everyone is talking about now, and yet, it's still scary to open up about.
Anxiety. With touches of depression.
In my life, I have experienced many levels of both of these things. The first happened when I was fourteen. I literally woke up one morning and the world felt dark. Empty. Lonely. It's probably the single most terrifying feeling in the world to feel so cut off from everything. From there, the panic attacks began, and I became more and more isolated from the people who used to care about me. My own friends were mocking me, and pretty soon, I had very few people on my side.
But you know what? I pushed through. I had enough people on my side to help lift me up.
For many years I was anxiety free (mostly), until I hit my early twenties. A bad break-up sent me spiralling again and I became agoraphobic. To the point of being too afraid to leave my own bedroom. It was weeks before I was comfortable enough to even go into my garden, months before I felt okay to go outside with someone, and years before I felt okay to go out alone.
Now? Ongoing. Thanks to having the best friends and family, my anxiety is a lot lower, but it still remains. It's a constant presence in my life, sneaking up on me when I'm happy, telling me to stress over it, because, surely, something will happen to make that happiness goes away because I don't deserve it. It whispers to me when I'm feeling confident, "Hey, are you sure you should be wearing that outfit? Makes you look fat. Also, you should consider wearing more make-up. You look hideous." - It's a long and irritating thing, but you know what? It's not in control. I am in control. Every day, I choose to tell my anxiety to back down, and even though it's not easy, and it doesn't ALWAYS work, most of the time, it does. And those times I succeed help me on the days when its harder, because it gives me the strength to remember it CAN be beaten.
The problem with anxiety is that it makes the mind busy. (For a writer, this can be both a blessing and a curse!) It means that some days, when I want to create, I can't. Because there is too much noise. It means that some days, I don't want to get out of my pyjamas and brush my hair. It means that some days, I want to eat chocolate and not healthy stuff. It means that some days, the smallest thing will be taken to heart when, in reality, it wasn't a big deal. It means that some days, I don't want to talk to anyone, and on the worst days, I CAN'T talk to anyone.
And that's the thing. The thing I struggle with. Allowing myself to be open about whatever is going on in my mind, and admitting to anyone that some days are hard.
Maybe this is the part that you'll relate to. That fear that if you tell someone how you're feeling, they won't understand. They'll ask you what you're sad/upset/depressed/anxious about when, sometimes, you just don't know, or it's not just one simple thing. But you SHOULD open up. With people you feel safe with, you should open up. Because I know just from writing this, I already feel a bit better.
What I also know is that those down times pass by. I started this post a few days ago (but what better time to post than World Mental Health Day?), when I wasn't feeling so great. But now, the me you see online most often is back, posting silly Snapchat photos and talking about writing, and the things I've been doing.
I know this is kind of a rambly mess of a post, but perhaps that is what it should be. Mental health is not easy to define, it's not pretty, and it's certainly not organised and tidy. Most days, it's just plain ugly. But you are definitely not alone. There will always be someone out there who understands. Don't be afraid to ask for help.