Anxiety and depression are still subjects that we mid-lifers just don’t want to talk about. For some reason it has been seen as a weakness, something to keep to ourselves, and for most we have suffered in silence.
Not any more I say!
It’s not shameful, it’s not embarrassing and it’s defintely not a weakness. I can tell you in my midlife, I am finally free. It’s bloody liberating, it didn’t come easy but hell it was worth it.
The best part of ageing for me – and there are many – is that I’d spent many years in anxiety hell. The year this picture was taken was the year I was finally able to walk the streets by myself without fear of being attacked, I could fly in a plane without a sedative, when I no longer hated myself, when I realised that forgiveness is freedom and not weakness.
The year I challenged myself with both little steps (leaving the house) and big ones (flying in a helicopter and hot air ballooning). This was the year I set myself and my mind free.
Today this image came up in my feed as a memory, and it reminded me anything is possible. I was determined to not let someone else’s behaviour ruin my life. It didn’t and I’m proud of myself.
To anyone going through or suffering anxiety, depression or post traumatic stress, you will get through it. It’s possible, it really is.
I’m better in my midlife, I’m happier in my midlife, more confident, kinder, wiser, empathetic and grateful that the more years I gather, the happier I am.
It’s not easy facing your fears, talking about them, reliving them or sitting down with a professional and asking “what the hell is wrong with me?”.
When I did, I was scared of the answer, but I shouldn’t have been. My anxiety was caused by a past trauma, but I had to work through that, relive it, I hated it, I didn’t want to do it, but I did, and that year of hell was worth being able to live the rest of my life free. It took me 12 weeks to even write on a piece of paper what happened to me. 12 weeks! I cried every time I started to write, my anxiety was at an all time high over this period, but I can 100% tell you, it was worth it.
I couldn’t have done this when I was younger, I wish I had, but I just didn’t have the strength or the capability to cope with it.
Midlife gave me that, and that is something to celebrate.
Here’s to embracing midlife, it’s not half bad (now, if only I could sort those bloody hormones out).
Side note: If you need help, please see your GP, they can refer to you a counsellor. You are entitled to up to 12 sessions free. It does help to talk to someone. Most importantly be kind to yourself, don’t be hard on yourself, and put yourself first, because you deserve it.
Let’s talk about it more, let’s share more and let’s help take the stigma away. As a community we can support each other and that is bloody brilliant.
Before I finish this editorial, I want to touch on social media, because for some it has become a real problem. I am thankful that when I was at my worst, we didn’t have social media, because I think it would have made me feel even worse. The self hatred I had for myself would have only been amplified. The social pressures to conform. Let me tell you, if any account makes you feel bad, un-follow.
The most important thing in life is to be happy, healthy and mentally well. Let me tell you, when you are looking down at six stories and wanting to jump, your size doesn’t matter, your looks don’t matter and the latest handbag that people are posting about, doesn’t matter. Here’s to better mental health, not being afraid to talk and putting more emphasis on health. Let’s just be happy being us, healthy, happy and content. There is no right size, there is no right lifestyle, there is no right ‘look’. You are good enough!
Do I still have the odd bad day, hell yes, I’m only human. But now I know it will pass, the next day will be better.
If you feel you need to vent or talk, please don’t hesitate to email me. I don’t mind providing a platform to share. Together we are stronger, and our community of women are here for each other.