The other day I was thinking about my ‘mental health journey’ and I began to realise how much has changed since I was diagnosed in October last year.
I just looked back at some photos from that time and I was going to add one in here but just seeing it made my cry so I think I’ll keep those private for now. However, what I will say about them is that I look awful. I remember when these photos were taken – I hadn’t eaten properly in days, I had cried so much I had made myself sick and I had had some pretty dark thoughts. I said at the time that I didn’t feel like me, Sophie, I felt like this completely other human being. I didn’t feel in control of my own mind and it was absolutely terrifying.
Over the next few months of being home, I saw my friends, I went on medication, I started an internship, I began to eat properly and I probably had about 5 panic attacks in all. FIVE! Compared to having 2-3 a day this was an incredible improvement.
I wasn’t completely me again but I was getting there. I started my Stopping the Stigma mini-series which you can read here and I started vlogging (channel link here) and I began to see that I wasn’t alone. Being able to talk freely about my experiences on this blog and with people I connected with through it has honestly saved me from a dark place I thought I would never escape.
Flash forward 6 months and here are some of the big things I have achieved that I had once thought my mental illness would never let me:
- Working in London – my anxiety would send this huge big WARNING whenever I stepped on public transport & having a long commute on trains and tubes would have been impossible. But I did it.
- Driving long distances – I used to be too scared to drive more than half an hour in my car. This year I have taken up to 3 1/2 hour trips which I thought was never going to happen. But I did it.
- Going out with my friends – this used to end up with me crying uncontrollably, ruining the night for everyone and hating myself the next day. This one took a little longer to accomplish but I recently went out, had a great time, didn’t drink too much and ended up being the one to console a crying friend. I didn’t know I could do this. But I did it.
- Going to America – after spiraling during my time studying in America the thought of traveling there again filled me with dread. I was even supposed to go and see my boyfriend at one point but got into such a state when I booked the flight that I cancelled it. I was even deemed, unfit to fly by a doctor. Look at me now – I just came back from three weeks in the US, going to unfamiliar places, navigating unfamiliar subways and having an absolute blast. With only one panic attack. I never dreamed I would go back. But I did it.
The long and short of it is – IT CAN AND DOES GET BETTER. Don’t feel disheartened if you’re not there yet – it’s a journey & we all believe in you.
I’m sending all of my love & good vibes to you all out there & you know where to find me if you need to talk.
Huge shout out to the friends & family & internet people who have given me nothing but love & support. You’re all amazing.