UPDATE: New Layout And A Bit Of Explaining20:59
Wow, I can't actually believe that my last post was in June, it doesn't feel like it has been that long at all! I have touched on my anxiety and depression in previous posts but I finally decided to take a small break and focus on myself and getting myself better. This process has taught me that mental illness is not something that I should be ashamed of and that I would like to help break the stigma surrounding it. That is why I've decided that my return to blogging would start with the most open and honest (and hardest) post I have ever written. Anxiety and depression is something I have struggled with on and off for the past 10 years and if I'm being honest I used to use this blog to escape that and to portray myself as someone I wanted to be, a person who didn't suffer from mental illness... happy and carefree. The truth is I found it easier to sit behind my computer screen than face the outside world for real. Over the past year my anxiety got worse and worse to the point I could barely leave the house without having a panic attack and all my self confidence just completely drained away, which is a bit of a problem when it comes to being a blogger and having to post pictures of yourself or having no confidence in anything you write about. I felt like my blogging really started to suffer and the pressure I put on myself just made me feel worse.
Many people experience anxiety in their lifetime but for some it is worse than others and it can manifest in many different ways. For me my heart starts to pound, I start to sweat, my hands start to shake, I struggle to breathe (feeling like I've just ran a marathon at 100mph), I get dizzy, feel sick, everything seems to get really loud and I start to feel like the walls are closing in on me. This usually progresses into a full on panic attack and I end up crying and wanting to curl into a ball and hide from the world. And this is exactly what happened, I decided to hide from the world and avoided any situation that gave me any single one of those symptoms which, unfortunately for me, was every situation. Unfortunately the stigma that surrounds mental illness just feeds this anxiety and I am ashamed to admit that this is exactly what I allowed to happen to me. I allowed it to make me feel stupid, crazy, an idiot, weak, pathetic, sad and isolated. I stopped going out, seeing friends and even family, I didn't want them to witness one of my "freak outs" and think all those things I just mentioned. What I have learnt though through this process is that I want to combat that stigma for myself and for others and that is why I'm sharing my story here with you. I still struggle with the idea of being open about my anxiety and admitting that I have a fear of... well... life. Every single day I face some kind of obstacle that causes me to feel anxious, whether it be going to the corner shop or bumping into someone or being in a crowd of people. As I was able to be more open and honest about my issues with mental illness I have been able to build a great team of support including my therapist, my doctor, my family, my close friends and most importantly my boyfriend, he has been my absolute rock. What I am getting at here is that if you suffer from any kind of mental illness do not be ashamed to ask for help, it is more common than you think and once you start to be more open about it you realise you're not the only one that suffers in silence and with other people's support and understanding it can be conquered. Now, I am nowhere near where I want to be, but I am learning to cope with my anxiety and face these situations again. It is a long hard battle and I still have my bad days (and really bad days) but after hitting rock bottom a few months ago I realised I couldn't sink any lower and I somehow found the strength to fight it with all I could. I have slowly but surely started to leave the house again even if it is only to walk the dog, go to the corner shop or visit my nan. But it's a step in the right direction and it's all these small steps that I am taking that are enabling me to get my life back. If you would like me to do a post on what kind of things I do to cope with my anxiety please let me know, as I would love to help others that are struggling with this in any way I can and if you suffer from any kind of mental illness, just know that you are NOT ALONE.
This leads me onto my new layout and blog title change. I have been considering doing this for a while, I've been looking for ways to improve it and find a title that was more fitting. As I just explained, I used to use this blog to hide behind and it mainly used to be about fashion, which is still my passion and will still heavily feature on the blog, but I wanted it to be a little more personal too and a place where I can express the real me and not just the person I'd like to be portrayed as. So if I'm having a bad day I don't feel the pressure to fake it on here and well if I feel like spending the day in my pyjamas then maybe the next outfit post could be a nightwear one, ha ha. I was really struggling to think about what the title could be, as I didn't want it to be something I'd want to change again in a few months. That's when I had the idea to change it to my instagram and twitter handle, what could be more personal than my own name?! So, there you have it, I hope you like it.
Wanting to end on a happier note Riley has a new baby brother, which you've probably already seen if you follow me on instagram. He is a little Cavalier King Charles Spaniel we have called Teddy and he has settled right in. He has also played a major part in my recovery recently too, dogs really are a mans best friend. I had been wanting a little playmate for Riley for a while and it was just fate that my cousin, who breeds them, had one little puppy left that she was struggling to find a home for as he had suffered with puppy strangles (hence his little bald nose) and was unable to be sold, so I offered to give him a home and it is one of the best decisions I have made, so the very next day, at 16 weeks old, he came to live with me. He is the snuggliest puppy and does not leave my side and if he's not following me he's busy chasing Riley around. Just watching them play never fails to put a smile on my face.
Looking forward to getting back into blogging and catching up on all your blogs.