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My mental health journey..

If you've followed me on instagram for a little while then you'll know I'm quite open about my own mental health struggles.

I suffer with anxiety and depression and it's something I've had for as long as I can remember, in fact I don't ever remember a time when I didn't have anxiety.

It was just a long time before I realised what it actually was. For a few years now I've had counselling and medication. I have more recently gone back onto medication which has made a huge difference in my life. I could feel myself slipping deeper and deeper into a black abyss and would often have panic attacks in my sleep. Evenings/night times have always been a trigger when I'm feeling particularly bad. I don't sleep well, in fact when I'm going through a bad period I barely sleep. I'd reached the point where I felt like I couldn't carry on like that anymore, I couldn't bare t

he thought of living the rest of my life like that so I went on sertraline. It isn't a magic wand, it doesn't fix all your problems but it did help quieten my mind and allowed me to start my counselling back up again and be in a space where it actually helped.

I still have bad days, sometimes bad weeks but they're far less than they were without the medication. Mental illness is something I will live with for the rest of my life, it won't ever go away and that can be difficult for me to accept sometimes but I am always trying, trying to find ways to cope and methods that work for me, one shoe doesn't fit all and it's about figuring you out.

Mental illness can be debilitating and have an impact on all aspects of your life, including work. It has had a huge impact on my work life at different periods of my life. I have had to take months off work because of severe anxiety. I've hidden in meeting rooms to hide panic attacks and held back tears when being spoken to by my colleagues because I've felt like I just want to scream I CAN'T DO THIS. This was at my worst point, I have found different ways of coping and actually find it much easier now I am self employed, although that comes with it's own issues. Sometimes just the thought of having to spend a full day interacting with clients is enough, when you live with anxiety the tiniest thing can trigger you can cause you to spiral. Talking to people all day is exhausting in itself let alone when you add a mental illness into the mix.

My advice is be honest with yourself and your clients.

Tell them you're not having the best day and you might be a little less chatty. Self care is important, taking breaks is a necessity. You need time to breath, drink, eat and wee. After a busy day you need to take some time to ground yourself again. My go to is a bubble bath as soon as I get in, I'm alone with my thoughts and I can start to let go of my day. You also need to put yourself first and say no. Set boundaries and working hours, if a client can't attend an apt you have available but beg you to 'squeeze them in' don't be afraid to say no. Set working hours that work for you!

At the end of it all your mental health is far more important than anything else and you need to make sure you're looking after yourself first.

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