1) Possibly the most reoccurring thing that I’ve learnt is a little understanding and kindness can go a long way. I’ve had terrible days turn good because someone has said please and thank you, happiness is definitely contagious! More than that though it has definitely made me think more about the way people act and why they might be feeling that way. It has started a lot of honest conversations that have led me to have deeper more meaningful bonds with people I know. It made me think about how small things can turn a person’s day around, like a text, sending a stupid photo. I read this and it couldn’t explain what I mean better! I can be a bit intense but I don’t see the point in ‘playing it cool’ when it’s something I’m really not! When I have something positive to say I no longer fear people’s reaction to that. It doesn’t mean I love everything and never disagree with people. It means I’ve been able to stop and actually think about why I feel negatively about something or a situation put myself in someone else’s shoes and approach them with an open mind and honesty. I have anxiety to thank for that.
2) Weirdly anxiety forced me to be more out going, to talk and be open more as a way of destroying it. At first I found it hard to leave the house and even go to the shop, I started to be very hard to get to go anywhere, this left me feeling so isolated and alone. I found a self-help group and started forcing (and I mean forcing) myself to go. Being inside and alone made me think about what I loved, what I wanted to do, be involved in. At this point I was just 3 months into my Masters, I thought about what art I wanted to make, what I was trying to say doing this pushed me to take step after tiny step towards, people and events that spoke to me. I have to say the people I met were so supportive. I was lucky enough to find some creative forces to be reckoned with, who I collaborated with or was just plain inspired by! It was terrifying putting myself out there but I found some amazing humans who continue to make me smile, inspire me and hold me up! Recently since moving to Sheffield I’ve met and reconnected with some beautiful amazing humans, who have motivated me when I’ve felt tired, who have laughed with me and been my backbone when I’ve been unable to stand. Thank you so much to everyone in GIRL GANG Sheffield!
3) I got to know myself and became more sure and decisive. Don’t get me wrong, I still get anxious and indecisive, but I’ve come from a place of being too scared to talk to a person at a till (I never paid for anything for myself) to being able to go to events I want to alone and talking to people I don’t know. It might not sound like a lot but it’s amazing for me, if I didn’t have anyone with me to buy me food, I just wouldn’t eat! Now I can eat alone. I do not know what I want to do with my life, but I do know what I love and what I want to do now. Up until last year I ran my own clothing label, somewhere along the line I stopped loving it, it became a burden I still love creating clothing and the manufacture but I didn’t like working for myself or running the label. I decided to close it because it was no longer what I wanted. This was a really hard decision for me as I had worked very hard building it and I was terrified of letting people down. There was a time in my life where I would have run myself into the ground and made myself miserable trying to do what I thought would keep everyone happy panic attacks taught my I could no longer put my mental health behind other people’s expectations, I think that is the most important thing I’ve ever learnt.