In the last few years, I decided to speak out about my mental health and I've been very honest on my blog about my anxiety and panic attacks. After doing a few things in the last few weeks I wouldn't have even dreamed of doing a few years ago, I thought it was time for a bit of an update.
Finally mental health is starting to get the recognition it deserves. It's life changing and it's incredible the impact it can have on your life. With even royalty starting to open up we can get rid of the stigma because it's not just in your head.
Recently I've been taking myself well and truly out of my comfort zone and doing things I never in a million years would have thought I'd be doing. As I'm getting older I think I'm becoming more comfortable with who I am and being more relaxed. I no longer dread walking into a room full of people I don't know, nor do I worry what they think about me.
Since I've had my baby, I've set up a mums meet up group and I'm part of a 'social butterflies' group for women and mums who want a night out but don't have any other 'mummy' friends. It's amazing just how many of your friends disappear when you can no longer go out partying on a whim. A few years ago, there would have been no way I could have gone and met up with a complete bunch of strangers, somewhere I didn't know. I used to have to make sure I could either be dropped off by my hubby or make him come with me. I'd even do a dry run the day before to see where I was going. Now? I go out at least once a month for a proper night out with a bunch of people I've never met. I meet up with a massive group of other mums for picnics in the park, exercise classes and ice creams on the beach. Only Saturday did I go for a buffet and night out with some fab ladies which resulted in a serious red wine hang over and dancing to a rock cover band in a tiny cramped and sweaty bar.
Easter Sunday saw me driving to Margate (a 13 mile trip) to take part in a vintage style photoshoot for a fab vintage shop. (more on that soon!) It meant driving on roads I never ever would have attempted a few years ago, going to a part of Margate I didn't even know existed and meeting 14 other people I'd never met before, posing in front of a camera and generally getting involved. While I was of course nervous, I did it. Something 20 year old me would have never of been able to even attempt.
I don't know if it's because I can control my mental health or because I'm more relaxed now but I do know that it no longer defines me. I no longer let it win, I no longer make myself feel bad because I can't do something. Yes, I still have bad mental health days and I can feel the panic attacks creeping back in but I accept that some days will be worse than others. I still get that horrible feeling of my skin crawling as the anxiety rears it's ugly head but I've learned that I can overcome those feelings and that I've missed out on so much of my life it isn't going to take control any more.
I now take super long beach walks and I do find it helps. There's nothing like getting out and about when I'm having a bad day as it makes me appreciate what I do have now. Long gone are the miserable tube trips, sitting in traffic jams and the over crowded shops. While London will always be my home, I think I've found where I belong and that's helped a lot with my mental health.
Here's to another full on, action packed summer because I'm making up for lost time.
Until next time,