A life recap over the past two months? Well, I recently started seeing a therapist. There’s that. I also completed a 168-hour TEFL course (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) and am now a fully qualified TEFL teacher. I signed up for a 10km charity run, my bank account got hacked into, I sat and drank juice with my nana and papa under a lime tree, and attended the Anzac Day memorial with such pride and gratitude. I experienced my first panic attack, hit my savings goal for the month, read two new books, went on a beautiful rainforest walk, and spent a lot of time crying in public. Stuck in a place of limbo and confusion, I’ve found myself playing tag with mind, constantly running between a state of anxiety to a warm happiness plateau.
For a few months now I’ve been struggling with anxiety and life adjustment issues. At first, it felt like I was swimming parallel to these issues but as the months went on and these issues went untreated, I noticed the direction and effort of my strokes were getting a lot harder, eventually landing me in a riptide of doubt, overthinking, hypersensitivity and fear. I had never experienced anything like this before; I felt inadequate in not being able to control my emotions and weak for having them in the first place. And yet, that big trodding elephant in the room was now starting to make a raucous in all areas of my brain. I was frustrated with it, I wanted nothing more than for this metaphorical elephant to make a quiet exit and close the door on its way out. But it doesn’t exactly like work that; the “out of sight out of mind” falls completely redundant when you can’t even see the damn thing. So, these past two months, I decided to do something about it; to get off my couch, go see my GP, get on the mental health care plan and put myself in the chair of a therapist’s room. Everyone’s journey is going to be undeniably different, but for me, showing up and being ready to work on myself was already such an assuring first step. If I can do that, I know I can make it out the other side and be better off for it.
It was only yesterday that I watched a video of my favourite fitness influencer on YouTube sit down to a camera and tell her story of being diagnosed with PTSD, anxiety and depression. Mum walked into the kitchen where I was sitting with my laptop. “But, she’s always smiling! I would have never have guessed!” I said to mum. We always hear that telling our truths and our stories can be so powerful in educating, inspiring, and helping other people tell theirs. There is a camaraderie of sorts in knowing you aren’t alone, and I can guarantee you that if you haven’t experienced mental health issues yourself, somebody you love has. The one line that I keep coming back to throughout these past few weeks is that these thoughts and feelings don’t represent who I am, they are just happening to me. Between your GP, family and friends, blogs on the internet, therapists, podcasts, wellness apps, TV shows and books – there are so many resources to reach out to and lean upon. Yes, there is still so much unguarded stigmatisation around mental health, but the conversations are getting louder and more frequent. This is just one of them.