I feel like it’s been a while since I’ve talked about my mental health. However, most of my posts on here are heavily influenced by it.
For someone who keeps saying they’re uncomfortable with expressing themselves and talking about their emotions, I sure do have a lot to say in these occasional mini rants.
You could consider this a life update, irrelevant, or unnecessary if that’s what you want. But for some odd reason, I believe this is something most of you would like. Yes, I make decisions for you now, you’re welcome.
Lost In The Moment
It’s always been easy for me to shift the blame whenever I came face to face with anything that made me anxious. And I would somehow find a way to blame myself, regardless of what the circumstances were. It has been this way since I was a teen.
What started as light-hearted jokes soon turned into unnecessary jabs and incredibly low self-esteem. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that I’ve handled my issues terribly. It’s borderline unhealthy. But running away or burying it deep seemed to be the best option back then.
Every time my mood took a sudden turn, or I ended up getting an attack, I’d take it a few steps further by blaming myself for whatever it was. “If only you hadn’t said anything and just left it alone.” Or “Why do you have to go and make things worse?”. My thoughts have somehow taken a turn for the worse on various occasions, but for some reason, it always gave me comfort in times of utter chaos.
And this should have been my first indication to get some help. Because what even was teen Simone’s thought process?
Regardless of whatever I was going through back then, I always seemed to have the biggest smile on my face. Okay, maybe it wasn’t always like that. However, a big, toothy smile has always been my go-to. Any time I go through something, even now, smiling my way through it seems like the best possible solution.
But despite that, I’ve come to hide my smile a lot more than showing it off. Why? These damn insecurities.
I’ve always been insecure about many things in the past: my hair, my face, my body. But I’d never have to think twice about my smile, even though my teeth were as crooked as ever. Even when I’d got braces, I’d always walk around, showing off every single colour in there.
Ironically, people started making comments about my smile well after the braces came off. “I prefer a smirk compared to your smile”, “Why couldn’t your braces stick around forever? You looked so cute with them in.”, and my personal favourite, “Why do you smile so much?”. Even though none of these come off as incredibly damaging, I have come to realize that I’m now insecure about my smile as well.
Not only do I try hiding it, but I also try to avoid smiling in most, if not all of my pictures. It makes me feel like my face looks odd or unnatural now. And that’s a terrible thing to say, but I’m glad that the pandemic made masks mandatory. I really am.
I’ve always told people that I’m an incredibly anxious person. And everyone, including myself, knew that it was self-diagnosed. So instead of taking myself seriously, I’d start joking about it. That wouldn’t be my worst idea ever, but it was terrible nonetheless.
My anxiety hasn’t always been the worst, but I remember it affecting me the most back in 2018. Not only was waking up in the morning difficult, but I’d have the worst attacks throughout the day. I would spend most of my 8 hours of work in the public restrooms, bawling my eyes out for reasons unknown.
Upon looking back, I now realize that it wasn’t the best way to handle myself and my issues. But the thought of therapy never seemed to sit right with me. Instead of comforting me, it made my anxiety skyrocket. I’d even come incredibly close to seeking therapy, but I never could get myself to go through with it. And the anxiety only got worse when it resulted in me losing the job I once enjoyed. To this day, I keep saying good riddance to trick my mind into believing that it was for the best. I mean, it probably is, but I always wonder if things would be different if it wasn’t for my anxiety?
However, I hadn’t even seen the worst of it yet. After taking yet another sabbatical, I happened to get hired at what seemed like the coolest place back in 2019. Even though I was incredibly nervous, I was just as excited for what would be a fresh start. And it was pleasant for most of my time there, but my inner demons eventually decided to take control.
I’m not going to say that it was entirely the place’s fault. However, it did play a part in emotionally and mentally scarring me, which isn’t that hard to believe. I mean, I’m still talking about them in 2021. And when I say I was a mess, I truly was. From weekly mental breakdowns to eventually lashing out at just anyone because it seemed like the only way I could get my points across was by doing that.
I did eventually decide to walk away, and to this day, I don’t regret it. I just regret the fact that it had to come to that. And as expected, I happened to make this about myself by taking the entire blame regarding the situation. Not only did this further add to my crippling anxiety, but it also made me look at myself differently, and the self-loathing and self-hate went up ten folds.
Let Your Tears Fall
T R A U M A
Not only have many incorrectly used this term, but they also tend to forget that the definition of this term could vary from individual to individual. I don’t want to say that it isn’t easier to talk about mental health currently because it is. But this has only made it easier for many to either joke about or invalidate someone’s trauma solely because it doesn’t fit their expectations of it.
I obviously know and cherish people who know about my trauma and respect me enough to not comment on it. But that doesn’t mean that many have that privilege to either feel comfortable about discussing what they’re going through and/or have people respect them enough to leave it be.
And that’s the thing, judgment is inevitable, sure. But who would want to put themselves through this if all they’re going to receive is just that? I surely had the privilege to have supportive friends to talk about my issues freely. However, the stigma surrounding mental health had me hiding behind an invisible force, desperately trying to protect my fragile state of mind.
But what I didn’t realize back then was that there was so much more hurting instead. Whenever someone suggested therapy, I would try coming up with reasons like:
- I had zero money
- I’m doing a lot better now
- Maybe there isn’t anything wrong with me, and I just made it all up
- What do I tell people when they find out I’m seeking therapy?
- Do I even need it?
Therapy had always been something I found myself running away from. And it’s this particular behaviour that took a toll on me. I’d continue to have multiple emotional breakdowns, terrible mood swings, constant anxiety, and a terrible sense of humour at my own expense. But somehow, this never seemed to register in my head until I found myself losing my mind over the smallest of things with no sense of direction when it came to fixing the issue or myself.
I didn’t think I needed fixing because, in my stupid mind, I was beyond repair.
The Doctor Said
After eventually getting tired of not having answers and a much-needed push from my best friend, I decided to move past the reasons and get the help I needed.
Despite knowing that this is 100% what I needed, I was still a bundle of nerves trying to push this back as much I could. Oddly enough, I was a lot more afraid of finding out that there’s nothing wrong with me rather than getting any diagnosis. And even though I would have terrible days, I always ended up downplaying them or felt like they weren’t as bad as 2018 and 2019. So I should be good, right?
Apparently not. I was always under the impression that if I wasn’t going through something at the moment, then things were fine. And if I did go to therapy, it wouldn’t make much of a difference because I’m clearly fine. Oh boy, was I wrong?
The diagnosis and sessions helped find ways that made dealing with an anxiety attack easier. But in my mind, this meant that I wasn’t allowed to have a bad day. Why? Because this would mean that I have taken two steps back instead of forward. And that, for some reason, didn’t sit well for me.
However, I’ve come to understand that it’s okay to have a bad day. It’s perfectly normal. Everyone has bad days. And while it can be discouraging to watch all the progress you’ve made slip away. That’s okay because you get to evaluate what you think you did wrong, improve on that, and further implement it. In simpler words, things would only go up from here.
How could I be so sure about that?
Because you already feel like this is the worst that could happen, so things would only get better, right? Besides, bad days don’t sound as terrible. You get to recharge in bed by either taking a much-needed nap, binging your way through Netflix, or any other way you find comfort in.
So the next time you have a bad day, visit your best friend even if it means sitting in their bedroom talking or listening to music. Read that book, watch that show, or do that thing you’ve put aside for a while now. It is understandable if you don’t want to have a bad day. Nobody wants that.
But if you don’t allow yourself to fail, how do you expect to improve and grow?
Have you ever put yourself down for having one or multiple bad days? Let me know below.
And if you want to read more of my work, you can find them all here.