Whenever anyone that knows me reads about my body positive journey and my struggles throughout the years the first response I get is ‘But you’ve always been confident ever since I’ve known you!’ I respond by telling them that I am like a swan because what you see is not necessarily a true reflection of what is going on below the surface.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve never really been one to fade into the background or hide from a fight. My mum taught me better than that! So to most people I just come across as fine while the internal and external battle rages on and that’s the way I like it.
Because of this, I tend to internalise a lot and it’s often difficult for those who are not that close to see how I really feel because they can’t see past the mask of confidence I wear. The problem is, all that internalisation soon takes its toll and can escalate into mental health issues and that is exactly what happened to me.
I’ll let you in on a little secret that not many people know… when I was 18 I was sent to see a psychiatrist. I had left home to join the Royal Air Force, my parents had been posted back to Germany and I was under a lot of pressure studying at university in order to become an Operating Department Practitioner but most of all I was struggling. I was angry with the world and even more angry with myself because I couldn’t be the person that everyone expected me to be, the person that I wanted myself to be!
It has took me a long time to truely accept who I am and thankfully over the last few years I decided to do something that I had never tried before. I began to get to know myself again and shocker, I actually liked myself, lol. Everything I used to see as a weakness I am now able to see as strength, strength and experience that has turned me into the person I am today and you know what? I’m not mad about it!
Do I have bad days, of course, everyone does – there are some days where I don’t even want to get out of bed because I know it’s going to be a shit day before it’s even began, there are days where I can’t help but cry and the funny thing is, I don’t even know the reason behind the tears and there are times where I just plain feel like crap and don’t want to see anyone – these are usually the days that I have to drag my ass out of bed to go to work and smile while a bunch of people shoutat me down a phone because they have a problem that they want me to solve – oh the joy! These are the days where the mask is even more necessary than ever and the only thing that gets me through the day is the thought that tomorrow might be a better day.
So yeah, in a nutshell, I am and have always been confident because that’s how I want the world to see me but that doesn’t mean there aren’t more complex emotions bubbling below the surface.
If you are struggling with your mental health please visit my resources page for information on people you can contact for help. Most of all, please know that if you are struggling, it is nothing to be ashamed of, you are definitely not alone and as we are friends now – I’m always here if you need me!
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