Confidence – I never used to have it. 

Ok. I’m gonna say this. I have always been self conscious, for the most part of my adult life but lately I’ve come to the realisation that I’m still a good person regardless of the body I am in. So I’m gonna be over here living my chubby life. 😂
I’m fat – I know this. I don’t need people to tell me that I’m not fat. I am not blind and I know that I could do with losing a few pound. 

I live in this body, I know it pretty well after 30 years. I also don’t care that I’m a fat bastard anymore. 
Could I lose weight? Probably. 
Is it your place to tell me so? Unless you’re my doctor [who probably doesn’t know what i look like seeing as I can’t get an appointment anyway] then NO!  
Should I do it for the benefit of others? Hell f*cking no! 
Being fat doesn’t mean I’m not healthy. Yeah I could be healthier but most of us could.

I also probably eat better than 50% of the skinnier girls you seem to love so much. If it affects your life so much then maybe you should do something about YOUR life because I’m living mine the best way I know how and my weight or shape [ROUND🤣]shouldn’t bother you.
You’re uncomfortable when my shirt rides up and my chubby belly shows? That’s a shame because I’m quite comfortable not sweating my balls off in this heat. 

I’m human too. I just happen to be a fatter one than you. Big deal. 
Don’t like it? Then see ya later, because I just don’t care anymore. I’m going to flash my Caspar white tummy all I want.

I’m not 100% confident all the time but for now I am, so I’m gonna enjoy it. 

The importance of quiet. 

Life with depression can have an almost deafening silence or a ridiculous amount of noise to it. Everything can quickly get too much and out of control. It’s important to make time for you, to be ‘quiet’.

To sit and read or listen to music, have a bath watch a film, whatever it may be – make time to do that for yourself. Something that relaxes you a little but keeps you engaged enough that you’re not asleep. It’s good for your brain to have that little time focused on something that isn’t taxing.

Thrive.

Breathing in and breathing out. 

Big deep breaths, release the doubt. 

Free your mind, empty your head. 

Get on up, up out of bed. 

Start the day with a grateful soul.

Too much sadness takes it’s toll.

Love fiercely, drop your guard. 

Push yourself and work hard. 

Follow your dreams, that’s what they say.

Open your heart, it leads the way. 

Push through the struggle, against the tide. 

Wade through life, it’s a beautiful ride. 

Soak up the sun, gaze at the moon. 

Live life fully, ’cause it all ends too soon. 

Oh but you don’t look depressed…

Blimey! I must be cured then. Thank you for that incredible remedy, you really should bottle that up.

I am stressed, my anxieties are through the roof lately and my black dog is back for a visit. Crushing me with the cuddle I don’t want. Life is a little bit shitty right now, and it isn’t made any easier by people saying all those unhelpful things, like my mental illness isn’t justified because I am not moping around crying. Incidentally, I am, just not in public and not all the time.

I don’t understand where the idea that depression has a ‘look’ came from. I can’t make out what I am supposed to look like. What the hell does depression look like?

It looks like ME, you, the guy down the road and your best friends uncle. Your sisters boss or the lady working the checkout at the local Tesco. Depression doesn’t have a look.

We don’t walk around with a big shiny arrow pointing at our heads. We do laugh. We have been known to smile – even daily. We go outside, we go to work, we eat, drink, shower and do all those normal things. Most of the time. We function, we fit in and we live.

Depression is an invisible illness, you can’t look depressed. Having a sad face or teary eyes doesn’t mean depression. That person is quite possibly just feeling sad. Depression is so much more than feeling a bit sad, looking a bit down and moping about.

I feel my depression like the ocean, sometimes I am just paddling in the surf enjoying my life with my emotions swirling happily around my toes. When the tide comes in it goes one of two ways. I take a few steps back and re-evaluate the situation, keeping that little pool at bay. Other times I am stuck. Glued to the spot, helpless. The emotions, the emptiness, the anxiety, the feeling lost, incomplete, lonely, sad, overwhelmed and pretty much completely hopeless crash around me. The tears stream and pool in the water. The water that feels as though it’s rising too quickly. The ocean swells, the waves get stronger, the water heavier, tugging and thrashing around me. And then it hits me. That final big crushing wave and all of a sudden I am drowning. Invisible, struggling and fighting with all my might under the heaving flow of water that engulfs me.

 

but I don’t look depressed…

 

How are you?

This quickly becomes one of your least favourite questions when you suffer from mental illness. The majority of people who ask this, generally mean in it in a pleasantry kind of way. Not in a literal, spill all your internal feelings kind of way.

I have got to the point now where I generally answer ‘Tired’ or ‘Getting There’ because I am not okay most of the time and the constant need to be positive is more detrimental than not.

When suffering from mental illness you tend to address things differently, you see things in new light. When I ask someone how they are – I am genuinely interested in how they are, regardless if that happens to be ‘My world is crumbling down and I don’t know what to do’ or if they’re happy as a pig in shit, having the best day of their lives.

I like to listen, I always have done. I’ve spent many years feeling like I am not heard, like nobody wants to listen that I always make it my goal to be the ears that do. To be the eyes that read that message and the shoulder to hold all those tears. I know what it feels like to not have it, so I have to do all I can to give it. Some days it’s harder to do that than others, but I still do my best.

Lots of people think depression means weak, scared, overburdened and many more of those awful negative things, and it is in its own way. However, we are still humans, still capable of that connection and are still loyal to our friendships. We may feel like the universe is going to suck the life out of everything we do like a Dementor, but we still have the ability to listen and communicate – for the most part. We still want to hear how you are doing, what life has in store for you. We can still celebrate in your happiness and grieve with you in your sadness.

Compassion doesn’t fade because the black dog came for tea. I feel like people are too scared to talk their problems with me any more, because it might be too much for me to handle. Most people would never guess I have anxiety or depression, I should win an Oscar for my ability to play the ‘everything is great girl’ to the general population.

Don’t feel like you are going to drown us by sharing your woes, you won’t.

‘How are you?’

Tired.

 

344 days 

That’s how many days in a row I have left my house now! I’m feeling really proud of that, even though I have felt increasingly overwhelmed this past few weeks. 

I have made huge progress in my anxiety/ agoraphobia recovery. I went to the park, with the dog and let him off his lead on my own for the first time. ​He was great and I didn’t feel out of control with my anxiety and manage to keep my cool, despite the weather! Hooray for progress. 

Walk a mile in my shoes…

Every person in life will have a different journey. Though experiences may be similar, events, friends & family may be the same, the journey will always be different.

It’s all personal, the way each of us experience the same situations and encounter various people. We’re built up and broken down at different times and in different ways. You may be able to relate to certain things other people say, or do but you will never truly know exactly how the rest of the population experiences things.

People struggle with different things, and everyone has something they are dealing with, whether you know it or not. I happen to be very open with my mental illness journey, ergo many people already kind of know what’s going on with me. However, there are days and weeks where I don’t show just how I feel, where the wall goes up and the ‘smiley, I am okay’ Emily surfaces. This isn’t because I can’t say anything, but because I don’t want to.

I have gotten quite good at my Emily act and it’s very easy for my to keep the sensitive, troubled Emily Rose hidden away to the outside world. Many people who meet me are surprised when I reveal that I suffer with mental illness. It’s almost comical to see how their faces simply can’t compute the bubbly smile with an internal hatred of self. It’s a constant draining battle to keep that façade but ultimately, it’s the way of the world. Most people ask how you are as a pleasantry, not because they’re genuinely interested in the inner workings of your brain that day.

You see, despite most people knowing that I have mental illness, I still feel the stigma and I do feel [insert a million negative emotions] for the way certain things can completely change my mood. The happiest situations can still bring on a negative emotion in my head. Which is then followed with a butterfly effect of things that begin the anxiety fuelled spiral into the darkest depths of my beautifully broken brain.

I don’t think we will ever fully understand each other, but we still need to spend the time being open with those we trust. Sharing our experiences and feelings on the different things we all experience, even day-to-day things. It’s important to talk and to listen. To have that human connection and grow strong relationships with people who can help you along in your journey. To build each other up and support each other through the good and the bad times.

Walk a mile in my shoes!?  All this gets you is a mile travelled and possible sore feet because my shoes won’t fit you properly. However, your feet will heal and at the end of it, you won’t know me any better, you won’t feel anything like I feel.  My journey is mine and it’s never going to match yours.