Like a huge amount of the population, I suffer from anxiety and depression, as you might already know. And despite the fact that I had bought a house and had so much to look forward to, I was becoming less inspired and less motivated by life. And then 2017 came along and I became happier. Today I thought I would share why and how. This isn’t to say, “Do this and you will get over anxiety and depression,” because you won’t. And I am not over those things. Mental illnesses don’t go away but they can be helped.
I SOUGHT PROFESSIONAL HELP
A couple of weeks before Christmas, I decided I needed to go back to the doctor’s and get medication for my depression. I had used medication before and tried therapy but at the time, it wasn’t the perfect solution. Several circumstances had changed since 2014 (when I was diagnosed) so I thought I would give medication another shot. The doctor recommended that I try a higher dosage and see how I felt after a couple of weeks before I continued. And luckily, I didn’t feel the numbness I had the first time. Instead, I felt like I had a clearer head. That I was able to deal with my problems rather than wallow in them.
Whenever I was frustrated, I would lash out or burst into tears. Often I would wake up with a black cloud of emptiness. Nothing and everything were causing me to have compulsive actions and aggressive, over emotional behaviour. And a lot of the time I would take that out on Paul or even worse – the dogs. I didn’t want them near me and I even considered giving them up. But I knew I loved them and wanted to try to better myself first. I found out that the dogs weren’t the issue, it was me. I had even had doubts about my future with Paul. Not a place I wanted to be in. So, going to the Doctor was the first step in feeling myself again.
I LEARNT TO LET GO OF WORRIES
I’ve always been a worrier. I worry about the stupidest things like the fact Chaplin chewed my brand new table. I was so upset. And now I look at it logically. That’s what dogs do. Shit happens. I can replace a table, it’s not the end of the world.
It’s a message I have to tell myself often. “Is it the end of the world? Is someone going to die?”
If the answer is no then I let it go and deal with the problem, however small it is. Or ignore it. I know it can be harder for other people, but when you start asking yourself those questions you start to do it naturally. And I feel so much happier for it!
I PUT LESS PRESSURE ON MYSELF
For years I have put an unnecessary pressure on myself. The first thing was food and weight loss. Something we all sadly do. And then I realised in January that I wanted my resolution was to be happier and enjoy what I eat. Instead of getting pizza and Coca-Cola guilt, I eat it happily. I enjoy it. But I also do my best to eat well during the week. I snack on chocolate every now and again but I also work out at least three times a week. I know I’m healthy and I’ve decided to put less pressure on how I look and focus on health and how I feel in my body, mind and soul.
Which leads to the pressure of self-worth. Blogging and social media can either make or break your confidence. And being a blogger who is watching others get paid to share the products you want or to travel to destinations you cannot imagine going to sucks. It’s wonderful for them. But hey, I wanted a piece of that! I decided to let them do what they do and just enjoy what I am doing. No more focusing on how much or how little I have in terms of followers, views or campaigns. No more concerning myself that I have crammed this post with iPhone 6 photos (mostly).
Since having that mindset, I have got more blog collaborations with small businesses (which I am more than happy to work with!) and more views (I check once a week rather than daily). Being content driven now has made me want to write and share more. It’s created a lot more inspiration in me. I’ve never been happier as a blogger. I write for me now. And I hope you guys like it to. Yes, all three of you.
I DO WHAT I WANT WHEN I WANT
As mentioned in the last point, I eat and drink what I want. But I do try to be smart about it. It’s not like I eat McDonald’s for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I just feel no shame when I eat a tray of chocolates. Or a tub of ice cream after a salad. Balance is key, guys!
I’ve also started eating fish (and chips) again despite being vegetarian for two years. I like it so I will eat it. Okay, I know an animal has died but I’m sorry fish are a food product I have zero guilt in eating. I don’t have any connection with them like I do with mammals so I will eat them. I may be called a hypocrite but so are vegetarians who have leather Chanel bags and wear Mac make up. Technically, I am pescatarian.
Anyway, as well as eating the odd cod and chips every now and then, I have also started drinking alcohol again. Originally, it was just champagne on special occasions. And then we found you can buy it in bulk for cheaper and it’s one bottle is the perfect amount for feeling a bit tipsy, so we have a drink once or twice a week. We’ve definitely learnt our limits since we were last drinking. Back in 2013 I would happily drink eight cans of Strongbow and mix it with something vile like Amaretto and coke. I’d then wonder why I felt awful.
But now it’s Champagne. Sounds snobbish and expensive right? Well, it can be expensive when you have the stuff that doesn’t taste like piss. But I don’t get any horrible effects from it like I do with other alcoholic beverages. What’s so bad about that? I mean, I will occasionally drink other things (not beer, cider or spirits though, ew) like Prosecco and sparkling wines (unless it’s from Champagne, it’s not Champagne don’t challenge me on this). However, I will have soft drinks in between to prevent me hugging a toilet bowl and being comatose the next day.
SEE AND DO
Not that I have done it much but when I can, I will ensure I will just do things as and when I want. For example, a few weeks ago I went shopping. Clothes shopping. For me. Whereas before I would feel worried and guilty, I just did it. Without thinking I just purchased what I liked the look of, with my budget and made the most of it!
I WAS RELIEVED BY MY ABUSER’S DEATH
I think this was the big one. In the first week of January, just a couple of weeks after I started medication, I was informed my ex-stepfather had died of a heart attack. As soon as I read the words, “He’s dead,” I collapsed against a wall, felt dizzy, found it hard to breathe or think.
This man who caused me so much pain and ruined my childhood was gone. I would never confront him for what he did. For his years of making me feel worthless. For locking me outside naked in the rain. Destroying every single birthday present I received on my 7th birthday and burning them.
The man who would push my face in my food whilst I was eating. My stepfather who would pretend to be hugging me while I sat on his lap as he dug his elbow into my ribs. Mind games, threats, causing confusion, hitting, starving and using my mother’s illness against me. This person was dead.
People mourned him. All over Facebook “the great man” was dead. The “sweet, shy, funny, kind” man who got away with abusing and beating a girl (very clearly behind everyone’s back) for six years was gone. Dead.
For days I had no clue what I should be feeling. Should I be angry? Do I speak ill of the dead? Do I forgive the six foot two monster who was so terrifying to poor little Laura? Shall I move on from the man who even after I left home, stalked and tormented me? Called the police on twelve-year-old me for trying to vandalise his home.
After talking to my mother-in-law, she spoke some wise words. The chapter was closed. He was gone and I am here. Alive and with so much more than he could ever have hoped to achieve in his life.
I’ve let go of him and I’ve found a new lease of life in his passing. And I have no shame in admitting that.
I HAVE MORE ME TIME
Moving away from a morbid topic…
Nowadays I have bubble baths with face masks. I take more than five minutes to put on my makeup. I try and I feel great.
When it hits 5 pm I read, I watch some TV, I play with the dogs. I’ve basically found more ways to enjoy myself other than sitting online all day mindlessly scrolling. It’s not healthy for my mind or body. Which is why I barely go on my computer unless I’m blogging or working. I also occasionally play Sims 4, so that’s fun as I don’t play computer games (I’m shit at them. Yeah, all of them.)
I’ve also signed up for Open University again. Now I’m not travelling as much, I feel it’s a good time to get back to learning and completing my degree. It’s a personal accomplishment as opposed to a professional one but it gives me some time to work on developing my knowledge on things other than social media and Marilyn Monroe.
I BECAME HONEST ABOUT WHO I AM
I’ve learnt a lot about myself since I stopped caring so much about who I am and just enjoyed who I am instead. I just roll with everything now.
Not everything needs to be published on here or even on Twitter. But I am so comfortable with myself, physically and mentally that it’s become incredibly liberating.
I CUT OUT NEGATIVITY
I block the bullshit. Ignore the liars and the fakes. I unfollow those who make me feel insecure. And I’m happy about that. It’s not their fault in a way, but if it’s good for my mental wellbeing and makes me feel happier then bye bye!
I WANT TO HAVE AND TRY NEW EXPERIENCES
After three weeks of thinking, I decided to get two tattoos. One is the Disney castle (for obvious reasons) and the second is the Moulin Rouge windmill. Not only do I adore the film obsessively but my wedding reception was themed around the Moulin Rouge, windmill and all. Paul and I also went there just after our engagement. These may not seem like a big deal however, before I became a happier person, I would never have considered tattoos. But I decided why not? They’re small, they’re personal and after a few weeks of thinking, they became a part of me.
As well as getting the tattoos, I’ve decided I want to try new things, branch out a little. What, I’m not sure yet but I’m sure I will feel great when I do it!
I am completely aware that happiness and positivity are not always the easiest emotions to achieve. And depression can sneak up on you at any time. But this blog got it’s name for a reason. Because I want to enjoy life and be happy as much as I can. So when depression has hidden away somewhere for an undetermined period of time, I will enjoy it while I can rather than wait for it to come back again.