I have been wanting to write about this topic for a long time and have not had the “balls” to deep dive into it until now.
So many of us suffer from it and think that we are alone in it and that there is something wrong with us. We fear being judged when it comes to asking for help. I spent 31 years of my life anxious, worried, constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop and for something to go wrong. I never fully trusted anyone and was always worried that what I built for myself would disappear at any second. I spent my life questioning the motives of other people becasue I was always so worried. For 10 of these years, anxiety kept me from driving, from leaving a bad marriage, from being able to attend school events with my kid without worrying what the other parents would think of me, even from seeking proper medical treatment for female issues that were slowly killing me.
That was until one day my friend Kristen told me to go watch this funny musical show called Crazy Ex- Girlfriend…though the show was about a woman with borderline personality disorder, the concept of being able to openly talk about mental health became new to me. Of course it took a musical show where people were singing about their problems for me to finally realize that it is OK AND NORMAL to discuss mental health! I will never forget the episode about when she was diagnosed. I called my friend Kristen in tears and told her that I think it is time for me to genuinely ask for help. It was during that episode that I realized that I do NOT need to feel like this. That someone out there could help me with this anxiety.
I felt such a deep shame the first time I went to talk to a doctor about my anxiety. Would all of my credibility as a confident woman and boss just disappear because someone in this world would finally know the truth about my internal suffering?
Turns out no, in fact, I think I became more trusted by our community of women because I was able to relate and talk about this topic. It has taken me almost a year to be able to openly write about it, though during sessions, it is often a topic that comes up, as clearly stripping down for someone who is essentially a stranger will trigger even the least anxious human being to have some anxiety. I have bravely talked to clients about how amazing it is to have found an ssri that helps me to feel balanced, about how difficult it was to admit that I needed help, and about how much I struggled.
The truth is YOU DO NOT HAVE TO FEEL THIS WAY IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO. There is help out there and there should be no shame in seeking it. There should be no shame in talking about it. (If anyone has watched the cartoon on Netflix called Big Mouth, you will see the Shame Monster, and that is probably the best visual representation of how silly shame is – highly recommend this show only to those who are not easily offended by sexual humor!)
Can we please come together as women to support each other in this, to give each other safe places to talk, to relate to each other about this topic?
I firmly believe that the more we talk about mental health, the less stigma there will be around it and the more people will put the shame aside and ask for help when they need it. You never will realize who is suffering like you. Imagine my shock when Natalie sent me her blog and I found out that she too suffered from anxiety! Here is this incredibly fit and beautiful and successful young woman…what could this babe possibly have to be anxious about? Well friends, that is exactly what anxiety is, it is not rational, it is a voice that needs to be quieted and CAN be silenced if you ask for help.
Take a few minutes to read below what our newest team member of LRP, Natalie has to say about her own Self Love Experience, and let us know in the comments what you think!
“I locked myself in my apartment for a good six hours to try and write this blog. I was so excited when Lindsay asked me to write a blog about my self love experience until I realized that to be able to write about my experience I would have to re-open some of the memories that I’ve stored away in my brain for a long time. I don’t want to think about how I used to be because I’m not that person anymore and The people I associate myself with now don’t know me as that person and has never known me as that person. But I do think it’s important that I share my story with everyone in hopes that I can help someone who has suffered with a similar struggle.
Growing up I never really knew what self-love meant. The women I looked up to always spoke so badly about themselves, “my breasts are too small, I feel like a boy” “my breasts are too big” “I’m too fat to wear this.” As a child this made no sense to me these women were some of the most beautiful women I’ve ever known, if they didn’t feel comfortable in the skin they were in how could I? I wasn’t always comfortable with my weight, I hated that I had small breasts, and my thighs? Forget about it. I was made fun of a lot and Not only by kids at school but by Some of the closest people to me.
In high school I dealt with depression and Anxiety, I became a master at pretending like I didn’t care about the things going on around me or things that people would say about me. At the time I didn’t realize that I really did care about these things and that holding in my emotions only hurt me in the long run.
After I graduated high school I went wild. I started partying, A LOT. I partied all night and every night. The only memories I have from this time in my life are the traumatic moments, the stories my “friends” told me the next day, and some health issues that lingered on until this day. I knew this was all a big problem and I knew I needed to stop but I didn’t want to stop and I couldn’t stop because if I did I knew I would have to face all these issues that have been building up in my life. At this point I couldn’t be in any social setting without having a drink before. Family parties, barbecues, and even some work parties. The thought of being completely sober for anything that required socializing instantly gave me anxiety that I didn’t think I could handle. I didn’t feel pretty when I was sober I didn’t feel like people thought I was pretty when I was sober. People seemed to like me a lot more when I had a few drinks in me and I started to believe that to. I lost myself and I knew it. I hated who I had become, I knew this wasn’t who I was but it had been so long since I felt like myself that I didn’t even know who I was. I was sick of feeling this way, sick of looking at my reflection in the mirror with disgust.
I knew I was better than this, I decided to make the change. In a day I quit the partying, smoking, cut out the toxic people in my life, and started accepting the things I could not change. I focused all my energy on bettering me. I learned to cope with my anxiety by working out. The gym was my therapy, it made me feel alive. This was a version of myself I never new existed, I loved it. I was waking up for the gym at the same time I used to come home from bars. Every morning I surrounded myself with a room full of people who wanted to better themselves and the others around them. We all clicked, we supported each other, I dont know there stories and they didn’t know me as the party girl they knew me as Natalie, the girl who comes to the morning class and rocks crop tops. I was myself again, and that was enough.
My experience with self love has taught me that you are your own biggest supporter. When you’re a child and don’t know any better, when you’re struggling to get through tough times or even when you’re working on being the best version of yourself. Accept the things you can’t change, surround yourself with people who lift your up, ALWAYS put yourself first and most importantly love your damn self and OWN IT.” ~ Natalie