Friday 16 March 2018

I Never Thought I'd Be Back Here.

I wish there was a lovely reason for why I haven't been blogging (or youtubing, or tweeting etc.), it would be so much easier. “Sorry! I had to nip to the shop to grab some Monster Munch ...and it took me 6 months :D”. Alas, that isn't why.

I have spent most of the last six months isolating myself. To be completely honest, I've felt like pure trash. At times, it has been physically exhausting to smile. As if to smile would mean that I was okay, when all I could feel was anything but. In truth, I felt alone, unimportant and neglected. I was engulfed by a feeling that no one was really listening to me. That I was screaming but no one could hear me. I am surrounded by loving family and friends so how could this be? It has felt at times, reminiscent of my 3 month episode of low mood and feeling completely lost in 2013. But upon closer examination, back then I was fairly numb to it all. Lately I have been feeling everything.

I feel it coming like an eclipse, all of a sudden I am in a place where joy cannot exist and recovery is just a fairytale. I struggle to get up in the morning, my contamination OCD often being the only thing that pushes me to get out of bed and have a shower. My hair gets scraped damp into a bun, fresh pyjamas, fluffy sock and slippers and that is my uniform. Often heading downstairs to start my day around 10:30am. Pretty much from then until bed time is spent filling myself with crisps, biscuits and tea. It's kind of like ground hog day with appointments and family visits thrown into the mix.
I never thought I'd be back here, especially to a worse degree.

I remember one evening in 2013 after three months of feeling low and sorry for myself, I had decided to take a shower before bed. I was standing under the water and I started thinking about my relationship with myself. 5 years previously I was working out, going to the hairdressers to have my highlights re-done every 6 weeks like clockwork, having my nails done, seeing friends, giving myself facials, taking pride in my appearance... Then there I was. Struggling to even get up at a reasonable hour, I didn't have any friends (except my family and then boyfriend), pampering myself seemed completely foreign to me. Right then and there I got out my Soap and Glory body scrub and scrubbed the heck out of my skin. The smell familiar, sweet. After my shower I applied my Soap and Glory Righteous butter all over my body, put on some fresh pyjama's and felt incredible. In the years that have past, I have referred to this as 'my epiphany'.

After this I strived to work on myself. I took back control over my situation, I didn't just wander through my life anymore, I grabbed life with both hands. I began to create a great relationship with myself. I practised self care, got a new job, began to eat a little better, got fresh air, made new friends. By 2014, I had started planning and creating content on my blog and YouTube channel. I was really, really happy. It's the strangest thing, when I think of 'who I am', I always think back to that brief six months or so when I started to truly love myself. I remember that for Christmas '13 I was given the Naked 3 palette, I was totally over the moon (those shades tho <3) and I used every single shade, created looks with them and then did a very detailed review on my blog and YouTube channel. I was so proud, and I was so happy with the fact that I had done so with such ease and enjoyment.

The rest of that year consisted of an OCD diagnosis, the breakup of my 6 year relationship and me falling back into familiar habits – staying up until 3-4am, getting up past mid day, wearing pyjama's, not seeing friends, over-eating, becoming distant with my family, watching poo TV. This time, OCD and anxiety were thrown into the mix so that played right into me struggling to go out and talking to anyone and everyone. 

No amount of self care will fix why I keep looping back round like this. I could have a glorious pamper day and wake up the following day struggling to work up the energy to get out of bed. This cycle of behaviour has really cemented a number of things for me. Firstly, the path to where I am now and what started it all off in 2013 were practically identical. For whatever reason, at the end of 2013 and the end of 2014 I was left to my own devices mentally. I had no job, I was spending a lot of time at home and all I had to focus on was the pain, loneliness I felt, going over everything day in and day out, feeling like I had nothing to give my attention. The difference is that 5 years ago I decided to do something about it. I picked myself up off of the floor and went on a mission to create an incredible bond with myself. Right now, I am doing exactly what I have been doing for the last four years. Day in, day out. I have literally become a prisoner in my own home... Both house and mind. 

This loop I have been on has also shown me in greater detail something that I've always been aware of, at varying degrees, but have never really paid it the attention it clearly needs. I have a tendency to put other people before myself. I've always felt that that was a good thing, a great trait to have. I put others' needs before my own while growing up, I became a full time carer to my (now ex) partner for years and in recent years have taken on more than I need to when it comes to those close to me. I end up exhausted because of an issue that someone else is having, even when it doesn't involve me. Call it a people pleaser, call it whatever you like but doing it to the degree I take it has caused me damage. Self inflicted pain. Being there for people is great, in portions. I feel that I have used this to fill the gap I have in my life. It's caused me to think 'if I fill up my time with everyone else, there simply isn't enough space for me'.

It has felt easier to distract myself by focusing on everyone and everything other than me. I feel scared for it to just be me and me. I have spent my life trying to cater to everyone's needs, placing them before myself. The last six months of feeling like I am unimportant and that no one is listening is all true, except, I'm the one who hasn't been listening. I have made myself completely unimportant and have neglected myself to a degree I didn't even realize. I know what to do when someone is crying or down, but when it comes to me? I push it aside and do my best to ignore it. I would never do that to someone so why is it acceptable to treat myself that way? What I do know is, I can't keep this cycle going. I cannot keep treating myself and my life like it doesn't matter and isn't important, because contrary to what I have taught myself, my life is important and I am important.

I think about that epiphany often, with such admiration for who I was at that time in my life. I am so proud of what I did. I took a leap of faith, I made a decision that bettered my life and began to make a beautiful bond with myself. Just looking back at the last four years, even in the grip of my OCD and anxiety, struggling to get out of bed, having zero motivation, every now and then something wonderful happens. The 2014 me, the plucky, go getter who knows what she wants, who enjoys her life shows up. It can be from the moment I open my eyes in the morning or even mid way through a fairly ground hog-ish kind of day and I feel it. Suddenly I feel energized, have motivation, chatting away with family and friends, cracking jokes, practising self care and having a truly beautiful outlook on the future. Sometimes she sticks around for a day or at times a week or two. Each time that she fades away I am saddened. It's as if she pokes her head out to remind me that she's still there. And it reminds me that I have let myself be totally eclipsed from my own life.

A LOT has happened since 2014, it seems like a lifetime ago! But that person I was has always been a constant in my life. She may have been buried very, very deep at times but she always manages to push through ...even if it is just for a Tuesday on an otherwise very gloomy week. I feel like if the last 6 months – or 5 years! - have taught me anything it's that, if left unattended, my mind will always drift back to harmful, unproductive ways. It will block out the sun and I will be forgotten all over again. It has also shown me that when I think of who I am, I don't think of the person who hides away and makes everyone else number one. I think of me 5 years ago, I finally gave her the space she needed and she spread her wings and flew. She is me, I just haven't allowed her the room she needs. I feel that my recovery should be a constant focus in my life, the thing I pay most attention to because with it comes everything I could ever dream of. In concentrating on myself and my recovery, I gain an amazing relationship with myself, which then leads to endless opportunities : self care, happiness, creativity, improved relationships with people...

So no more scrunching myself up, hiding from the world, putting myself at the bottom of my list. I am allowing my true self to step forward and give myself as much space and attention as I need to live my life the way I set out to. I owe it to me 💖😍