For the longest time, I put pressure on myself to blog about certain things at certain times with certain photographs and certain products. And honestly? It made me truly dislike all things blogging and for the past few months all I’ve wanted to do is run away and pack it all in – although ironically that same pressure I put on myself, stopped me from doing that (thankfully!).
So I compromised with myself, and forced myself to slow down. Five years ago, my younger brother became really ill, and has been ill pretty much since. Our family life totally changed, and priorities shifted. Things have been up and down, and can change in an instant, but it’s been a huge learning curve – one which has not only taught me the importance of the little things, but also the importance of doing what works best for you.
It’s no secret that I’ve struggled with severe anxiety and depression since because I’ll admit that I’ve really found it all overwhelmingly difficult to deal with. Not even the physical symptoms, but the mind games living with someone with a severe eating disorder does to you. Siblings are often really overlooked when someone is ill (I’m thinking about doing more on this in a separate post – let me know if that’s something you’d be interested in) and it’s taken me 5 years to admit that I am a carer along with my parents – my priorities are simply different to other peoples.
But that’s okay. For the longest time I’ve worried it’s made me a cold person, because when I see people complaining over the smallest of things I just wanna scream that things could be worse. Dealing with the prospect of having a sibling that could die really does change things.
I’m by no means brave, but I pride myself on being pretty resilient – even if I can’t always acknowledge it.
Blogging originally was a way out for me, a way to take a few hours out and talk about things that I like that didn’t involve illness and food and hospitals and all things really grim basically. But the pressure started, and blogging came a chore. A competition for instant validation of whether I was good enough, which I know now is completely ridiculous – but I think a trap we all fall into at one point.
Here I was, one minute stressing that my following number wasn’t picking up as quickly as others and the next picking my passed out brother off the floor. My life became this never ending circle, and when that one thing that you enjoy becomes something you loathe, then it starts to damage you.
Pile on a final year of University too and you’ve got a real recipe for disaster. I’ve not spoken about it much but in November last year I crashed. I don’t know what happened, but something clicked and I couldn’t cope. I was going days in a row without sleep because I was in a constant state of panic that something bad was going to happen. I wore gloves around the house because the thought of germs truly terrified me. I couldn’t eat because I feared everything was contaminated. And I cried, a lot.
So I made the decision to take some time from University – I didn’t really have the chance when I couldn’t even stand to leave my bedroom for days on end nor be left alone. Something inside of me realised I had to finally put myself first. Maybe it wasn’t the way other people worked. Maybe it meant I was behind everyone else around me. Maybe it meant I’d be doing something a little differently.
I had to stop with the self-blame. I had to stop taking on other people’s responsibilities in expense of my own (even when I was in first school, instead of playing out with my friends at break time I’d sit and teach my brother to read..!). I had to just stop.
I realised, that I run my own race. And although it may not be going the way I’d expected it would, that is 100% okay.
That’s why my blog maybe hasn’t been so consistent the last few months. I’ve been finding my feet again and blogging primarily when I wanted to – and not when I felt like I had to. I’d be telling fibs if I said I was better, because I’m far from it, but recovery isn’t linear and I now know that. I have my bad days, but I now have my good days too, which haven’t happened in a long time.
I’ve just started with my fifth therapist for some intense weekly CBT sessions and I’m feeling good about it this time. I do still struggle somedays (hence the weekly meltdowns on Twitter oops – huge thanks to those who’ve helped pick up the pieces!) but I’ve accepted that it’s okay to feel sad or scared. It’s okay to admit you’re having a tough time, to say to yourself ‘hey, you’re doing the best you can’ and then sit it out.
Taking off that pressure that was totally self-inflicted has been a huge help, and I’m not really sure where this post is going as I can’t bring myself to read through what I’ve laid on the table here, but what I’m trying to say is – you are running your own race. Forget about the numbers, the comparisons, the dramas and just do you. You are good enough.
I’m going to be documenting my CBT journey this time as I have a lot of high hopes, and only one introduction session in I’m starting to feel changes – so watch this space!