After my first post on this blog, where I wrote about what the past year has been like for me and how I have had to tackle with my physical health. What I hadn’t really touched on was my mental state during and after that time and how it made me feel. I’ve thought a lot about writing feelings of isolation, whether it be through health, or personal life choices or mental health issues, and even now I’ve felt too scared to write it. But as it’s World Mental Health Day and already I’ve read so many amazing stories and people sharing their journey’s, hearing all their words of encouragement and support, it’s inspired me to write about my personal experience of isolation and anxiety.
If you’d read my first post (you can read it here) you will know, from the year I have had, I’ve had to deal with health issues and had spent a lot of time in the dark not knowing what was wrong with me and what to do to fix it. I felt like I’d completely lost any control over my own body and my health. In short, I started getting chronic hives in early 2016 that covered my body night and day for months and months on end without hardly any relief and absolutely no answers after going from doctor to doctor to hospital and back to the doctor again. After around 8 months I then also began having very sharp, very painful upper stomach pains which left me not sleeping for months and as a case of overconsumption of very strong pain killers, I even became allergic to most prescribed medication. After almost a year, I finally got diagnosis relating to serious stomach and gut related issues. It was this that lead me on a journey to discover a more natural approach to medicine such as supplements, plant based and specifically anti-inflammatory food and drink and adjusting my lifestyle habits. Behold a miracle and months later, it worked. I healed eventually and all my symptoms went away. All done at home and with the amazing support of my family, friends and my wonderful partner.
However, having spent all this time at home, mostly in bed not able to socialise, to work or have any sort of normal life it did affect my mental state. It’s hard to say that but it did. It knocked my confidence more so than ever in my whole life, stripped me from any self esteem or self worth. Because I had to take such a huge step back from work I completely lost sight of what to do next and if I’m honest, knew I didn’t want to be in the industry I was working in (and even did a degree in!). So after finally recovering I wanted to get back in to it, this was the pinnacle question though – get back in to what? It was the reason I started this blog actually, to delve in to my own personal project, do something I enjoy and hopefully be honest in hope it will help someone else. I am still in search of the next chapter, what I know now though is I won’t ever do anything that will make me feel self doubt, unnecessary stress and prompt my anxiety – because it’s just not worth it.
I felt extreme isolation during the times I was poorly the most, I felt so far away from what everyone was doing. I felt like I was at a standstill and the only person going through something like this. I know I wasn’t, I realise that now. But then when all I was doing is watching all my friends blossom and progress, enjoying life, it’s hard not to feel isolation and loneliness. Especially now when we spend so much time looking on social media and at so much of what other people are doing, sometimes it’s so easy to fall in to the trap of believing it’s all real, when we all know it’s not. Isolation is scary, even though I had the most amazing support system I still felt so removed and left behind by everything I used to know. That made things worse sometimes by those who didn’t understand what I was going through, or didn’t show support when I’d decided to take more natural and plant based approach to food or stop drinking alcohol for a while because it was doing me damage. And well, when you’re 25 living in London…let’s just say not everyone will be as understanding about things like that and it used to really upset me, making me feel even more isolated and anxious.
Now, I don’t take much care in what other people think. Not of what I do, what I eat, drink or otherwise, because we have to do what’s best for us. I pushed through and continued doing what I knew was best for me, and it paid off, and it felt amazing.
I’m still very much catching up, and I do still battle through self doubt and confidence issues, I still experience anxiety or feeling like I’m on my own but… I know I’m not. I know we all have these feelings at some point or other and it’s ok and even more so it’s ok to speak up and talk about it, I sure wish I was more vocal during my worst times of feeling isolation or anxiety. Talk to your loved ones, accept the support and love and lets keep this conversation going!
If you’ve ever felt isolation through health whether it mental or physical, I would love to hear from you. And please do ask questions if you have any.
Thank you for reading.