It is no secret that I suffer from poor mental health. This includes social anxiety and being prone to depression. These two bad-boys have always kind of taken it in turns to beat me, or even worse – they team up to destroy me altogether.
I like talking openly about my experiences with mental health, as not only does it take their power away, but it also helps others. If one person can read my posts and feel a little less crazy and alone, that’s a job well done for me.
So, how has my poor mental health set me back? Well, in a great many ways…
Anxiety has deprived me of social interaction. I have what feels like no real friends. I freak out every time I’m invited out anywhere. I overthink when I’m having a conversation. And I always come to the same conclusion – I am not good enough.
Anxiety and depression (amongst other things) stole my chance at a degree. The first time I went to university, I lasted under a week. I had massive panic attacks, didn’t eat and barely slept. And so, I called my mom (over and over) and got the hell out of there. The second time, it was more of an informed decision. I freaked out a few times, but then I looked within. I questioned what I felt. I chose to drop out after finishing the first year because it just didn’t feel right for me. I didn’t fit in. I had no friends. I was unfocused and wanted to just write my books and see my boyfriend. And so, I left. But perhaps, without the anxiety and depression, I could have made something else work for me, education-wise.
Anxiety and depression (amongst other things) jeopardised my career prospects. Working is exceptionally difficult for people with social anxiety, especially when it is in retail. As a young person with no degree or experience, I had little prospects. I worked in retail, mostly, and it was terrifying a lot of the time. I am proud of myself, though, for having the courage to go in every day. When it comes to an office job, my social anxiety seemed to still be present. But then depression came much stronger, telling me that these jobs were stealing my life. Perhaps without anxiety or depression, I could have lasted longer in jobs that may have helped me, at least money-wise, whilst I wrote other things and set myself up freelance. Instead, I have a bit of an unstable road ahead.
Anxiety and depression have put pressure on my relationship(s). I feel scared that I am not, and will never be, good enough for my partner, who is a strong, extroverted, amazing man. I feel like my head sets me back with everyone, close to me or not. I know they love me, but is love enough when someone is so difficult to love?
They set me back with my sense of style, encouraging me to limit my wardrobe because “someone like me can’t pull it off.” They limit my pursuit of education. They limit my concentration. They limit my confidence or knowledge of who I am and what I am capable of.
Limits. Setbacks. Shackles.
And this is just me.
Mental health is important for all of us. Just like our physical health, our mental health needs work, too, in order to stay healthy. Please, care about yours. And if you are like me, speak about it. Share your experiences, and more importantly, get help.
If you want to improve your mental health, my book You’re As Mad As I Am by S.R. Crawford will help you.
Or, if you would like to hire me to write for you in the area of mental health, then contact me.