The way I felt about myself fuelled my anxiety and depression.
And depression and anxiety fuelled how I felt about myself.
I’d brave it and make some big changes in my life, like get a new job or move house, and it helped for a short while – like as a nice distraction and something to focus on for a bit but then this empty feeling would eventually creep back in.
It went on for years.
Little did I know that picking up a camera would be the start of putting this life long cycle to bed.
You see I never planned to become a photographer – it just sort of happened… a happy accident, a fluke.
Due to childhood trauma, my little yet awesome brain developed a little differently and the connections to my memory kinda got jumbled up. This left me unable to remember huge parts of my life – not only the bad bits but also the adventures, the experiences, the stuff worth living for.
As well as being an epic tool to remind myself of all the good things in my life, like a visual gratitude diary, I started using photography to explore emotions, like spotting patterns in my thinking or using it as a way to express how I felt, like when I was going through a painful break up. I wasn’t really a ‘talker’ back then.
I never expected the camera to take me on an adventure escaping the 9-5 and setting up my first business (FlukePhotography) – it was a success… well, for a few years anyway.
It wasn’t until I realised I’d slipped back into feeling deeply unhappy again that I knew I had to work out what was going on.
How could I be unhappy again? Was there something wrong with me?
I worked out that I didn’t trust myself.
I didn’t believe in myself.
And I couldn’t see myself for who I really was.
When it boils down to it, the truth was that I didn’t accept myself.
I thought by stepping out of the into the world of self employment that I’d be taking life and stuff more into my own hands, but that couldn’t have been further away from the truth.
You see when you do a thing, if all of you isn’t aligned to that thing – your words, your actions, your beliefs, you soon find yourself bumping head first into walls and you won’t know why. It will start to drive you insane.
Taking the plunge and doing a brave to follow my heart only highlighted just how bad I felt about myself. I didn’t know what I was doing and I didn’t believe in myself enough so I just starting doing what I thought I should. No one teaches you how to run a business, so I looked at what everyone else was doing.
And then it hit me smack in the face.
I had slipped back into exactly the same cycle I thought I’d broken free from.
Doing what I ‘should’ be doing – what was expected of me.
This is probably why most people stick to the path mapped out for us. It’s less uncertain. It’s less likely to have us rejected and questioned by our loved ones. The thing is though that this path also fills us with so many thoughts, possibilities and anxiety about all that we have to do to keep up.
We can never do enough, be enough – there’s always something we should be doing to lead these perfect lives expected of us. Everyone else around us seems to have it sorted.
By following this path we loose touch with ourselves. We get crippled by the things we think we should do and stop listening to ourselves and what we, as individuals, want and need in life.
We have stories playing in our heads, some almost as old as we are, clashing with what we dream of and stopping us from getting to where we want to go. We keep looking on the outside for acceptance and approval that we’re doing the right thing. We keep pushing and pushing, losing touch with who we really are and what we need. Doing what we should until we don’t know who we are any more – this is what’s fuelling our depression and anxiety.
I realised that when we hop on the should train, it causes us anxiety. Our heads go into overdrive.
And when we keep doing what we should and not what we want and need, we get depressed.
It’s the body’s way of telling us something is wrong.
But we don’t listen.
We keep going.
Until we don’t know who we are any more.
We try and fit ourselves into roles and boxes. But what good is it playing so small, squeezing ourselves to fit and live false lives?
We stop feeling. We listen to our heads instead of our bodies.
Picking up a camera initially to help me remember things lead me to on a path to really reflect upon my life and the lives of those around me..
When I realised what was happening to me, I wanted to step out of it. I wanted to stop listening to the voice in my head and start living from my heart so my life would mean something to me.
You see, I believe the world we live in today tries to make us feel bad about ourselves.
When we feel bad about ourselves, we keep looking for something to fix it – something outside ourselves to make how we feel go away.
Constant messaging about not being good enough keeps us inside our own heads, beating ourselves up like there’s no tomorrow, comparing ourselves to other people, feeling like we’re never quite where we should be.
The longer we stay in our heads, do as we’re expected and ignore our true feelings, the more pain we cause ourselves leading to things like anxiety, depression – but it can become too much to bear so we do things to numb out, activities, more thoughts, more doing what we think we should.
Honestly, if anyone actually heard the utter bollocks going on between our ears, we’d all be living in a mental hospital.
And nobody talks about it.
Which is why I DO talk about it.
I want to help.
You see I’ve realised that stopping all these behaviour and thought loops, we give ourselves a sense of freedom. No longer are we too worn out by our thoughts and trying to do everything we think we should. We get the headspace to live more purposefully and do more things that have meaning for us.
So I’m on a mission to do help people feel good – about life, about themselves, about who they are so the can send ripples of awesomeness and joy out into the world and make it a better place.
If I can help people feel better about who they are and do more things that matter to them, then so can you. It’s bloody life changing. And you don’t have to move to the other side of the world to do this… unless you want to ovbs!
p.s. if this resonated with you and you want support working through this, Professional Rebel’s Courage and Confidence Crew is just what you need!
A community for unconventional, creative and rebellious women who want to develop the courage and confidence to live life unedited – find out more here!
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