Sunday, 18 August 2013

Anxiety Diaries | Blossom

'Do not be afraid to blossom!' 

Until two or three months ago I wouldn't have listened had someone told me 'you deserve to feel better and you are capable of feeling better'. I didn't want to hear it. All I wanted was to hide away and wait for an external source to deliver the 'answer' as to why I was feeling so sad and confused. I pleaded with the world to deliver me some kernel of hope, a sign, a message. Could someone please just tell me what to do! I wanted the missing information, the puzzle piece I was convinced I lacked.

Lately I've been coming to terms with the idea that I already have the answer. There is no grand external source that I need to seek. I have everything I need, and I might always have done but I didn't have the tools to figure it out. This is both scary and liberating. I can free myself. I can free myself! I used to think my anxiety, fueled in party by a sense of not having the 'missing piece', meant I was lagging behind everyone else, not reaching certain mature milestones on time, instead remaining trapped and stuck in my thoughts. I now believe that everybody 'blossoms' at different times, and there is no 'right' or 'expected' time'. I can free myself, and I can blossom, at the perfect time for me. 

 I used to think I should be blossoming at the same time as my friends. Why wasn't I enjoying the freedom of leaving school? Why wasn't I finding university to be the best time of my life? Why wasn't I able to tell people with confidence and determination what I wanted 'to do with my life'? But it isn't a race, and you do yourself a disservice if you constantly compare your own path to the paths of others. This is a habit I'm finding very difficult to break, as I've been doing it for best part of twenty-four years! But I'm on my way and through reaching out for help I've discovered a deep determination I never knew I had. 

We all blossom at different times, and it's never too late. In fact, you blossom at the perfect time for you. Every shitty experience I've been through, every panic attack I've had, every job role I've quit, every opportunity I've turned down out of fear has led me to today, to right now, and to a better understanding of myself. For the first time I'm really working hard at unpicking my feelings and healing in order to allow me to move forward with confidence and love. Although I have moments of fear, moments when I think what if I never blossom, I'm starting to trust that in time I will. That actually, I'm on my way. We're all on our way.

I've been attending employment support sessions run by my borough's mental health service, which I assumed would be run by a useless Jobcentre Plus employee intent on forcing me back into work... But I was very wrong and I've found the sessions invaluable in helping me move forwards and make positive changes to how I view myself. They're run by a mental health adviser and a qualified and experienced careers adviser, and something the latter said during my latest session really struck a chord and has resonated with me since:

'You owe it to yourself to allow yourself a second chance.

You deserve better.

We're all the same, really. Any of you could stand here and do my job. Any of you could do anyone's job. We're all people. You deserve a second chance.'

I felt so empowered and hopeful hearing this. Because it's true. We are all people, we are all so similar, we all have potential and there's no reason why you are any less deserving than anyone else.

For so long I have been afraid to blossom, torn between the comfort of anxiety and the lure of trying to make my dreams a reality. I feel ready now to make positive changes, to take steps away from fear and towards who I can be. Who I am already, today. Who I've always been, waiting, underneath it all. I'm ready to give myself permission to blossom, to give myself a second chance; to work hard on making changes, on boosting my self esteem and self belief. I want to achieve what I know I have the potential to achieve. 

I've had a taste of how good it feels to talk myself around when I'm feeling low. This gives me hope, step by step, that I'm on my way to blossoming. It's helping me believe that I do deserve a second chance, we all do, and if you're reading this and suffering from anxiety please know that you do deserve a second chance, you owe it to yourself to allow yourself a second chance, and you can and will blossom. 

It feels empowering to be able to reason with myself and 'parent' myself in a way that I wasn't able to before. 'Is this thought really true? What could an alternative be? Let's look at this objectively and decide.' It might sound crazy but that's what I do, and it works! Recently I've been slacking a bit with my CBT but I'm getting back on track and I'm remembering something so important and valuable and holding it close to my heart:

Do not be afraid to blossom

You are allowed to blossom

You deserve to blossom 

And there is no time line on blossoming

 It's all happening as it should. 

I don't have a detailed 'plan' of what I want to do or how I'm going to do it, but I am no longer as afraid as I was a year ago. I'm on my own path and I'm trying to see the beauty in each day as it comes. I am where I need to be, and I'm open to blossoming!

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  1. I'm literally sitting here with tears in my eyes. Imogen, you are so fantastic, and you truly have a gift with words. And what's more, you know how to give life to our struggles and uplift those who are suffering alongside you. Reading your thoughts, your epiphanies, your triumphs makes me feel like I can do it, too. I just need to have a little faith and take it a step at a time!

    I'm so honored to call you my anxiety buddy and cheerleader, and am so glad that I've met you. You always just "get it", and you never judge. You are just there with open arms, and I just thank you so much for being the wonderful, loving, kind person that you are!

    We're going to beat this! We're going to blossom! We are found! xx

    Megan | Little Miss Average

  2. Oh Megan now I'm sitting here with tears in my eyes and a huge smile! I am so so glad we 'met' through Twitter as I feel I can always turn to you when I'm feeling well and truly down in the dumps, as well as when times are going well. Through good times and bad!

    I have to admit, your positive attitude inspires me so much. I've always been a little afraid to show lots of positivity in case people don't receive it well, perhaps that's a British thing?! I've always been a little afraid of saying hopeful things because sometimes people prefer to be left in their negative frame of mind, but seeing you tweet such positive and uplifting messages everyday has made me realise what joy and comfort such an attitude can bring to others. You set a wonderful example for so many with your compassion and I think it's important that you know that; you're serving such a purpose everyday!

    We are so going to beat this; we are going to whoop anxiety's ass!!! Yes we have difficult times and I'd be lying if I said it was all epiphanies and positive realisations, but through the tough times I know we can support each other as anxiety buddies and cheerleaders, and it's so essential, life saving even, to know that we are never alone in our struggles!

    We are found, we are blossoming, and I can honestly say that I believe we are on the right paths xxx

  3. Absolutely amazing post!!!! It's nice to know other people feel the same way I do. So glad to have found ur blog! 😄

    1. Thank you so much! I'm so glad you stumbled upon it too, it's great to connect with others experiencing similar struggles and journeys. We can support each other along the way :) xx

  4. This is a great post and really inspiring, its comforting to know other people feel the same, it can be quite lonesome. :)x

    1. It really can be lonely at times, I'm so glad you enjoyed reading and I hope it brought you some comfort xx


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