Today’s post is a little bit different than my usual – in fact it’s a very special one indeed. You see I was invited by the lovely Natalie from NatalieCharlotte1992’s Blog to take part in a very unique campaign; and something I think many of you will instantly connect with too!
The #TakeBackWhatsYours Campaign was originally started by Chloe from www.chloesconcept.blogspot.co.uk – the following is an excerpt from her own blog post on the topic:
“This is a lifelong commitment, if you want to change the way you feel about yourself, or you want to act upon the message of this campaign and ‘Take Back What’s Yours‘, when better to do that than the start of a new year… This is notone of those “New Year, New Me” unrealistic resolutions. When I say “New Year, New You”, I genuinely mean it
I felt like it would be a wonderful time to pull together and boost the message of this campaign in time for the New Year – as I said, many make New Year resolutions, so why not influence people to make their resolution to take back what once belonged to them… maybe their confidence, maybe their control or even their happiness due to whatever situation has made them lack that ability.”
Here’s How To Get Involved:
1) Write a blog post talking about this campaign, the message it contains and why you are taking part
2) Take Back What’s Yours – What New Year Resolution you are going to set yourself?
3) Tag 10 bloggers to take part
4) Let Chloe know if you’re taking part! (again check here)
If you can – include a photo of yourself with a handmade poster (doesn’t have to be artistic!) with the words:
“TAKE BACK WHAT’S YOURS –
MAKE YOUR NEW YEARS RESOLUTION TO TAKE BACK WHAT BELONGS TO YOU. #TakeBackWhatsYours
In 2015, I’m taking back: *i.e., “my confidence”
So with those powerful words in mind I absolutely jumped at the chance to be involved and also help boost the message of this inspirational campaign…
Why I’m taking part:
I remember when I was 6 years old being at a family fun day with my mum. Leah, my younger sister, was wrapped up snugly in her pram sleeping the afternoon away whilst I surveyed a whole field full of fun. You’d expect a child surrounded by bouncy castles, toy stalls and candy carts to be in their element, but instead mum was trying her best to comfort me as much as she could. I remember the tightness in my chest, my pulse racing and gasping for air like a fish out of water. Little did I know I was having my first anxiety attack.
By the time I turned 13 I wasn’t celebrating reaching my teens like many of my friends were. Instead I spent it at home with my family, shut away from the world, reluctant to go anywhere or do anything. I was incredibly shy. School terrified me, socialising terrified me and the thought of meeting new people terrified me even more. It was pretty clear I had become a recluse, bound to the walls of my house – too scared to leave but missing out on so much that life had to offer. So instead I took to watching the world go by from my bedroom window… it seemed so much safer.
That same year I took my first grand-mal seizure getting into my grandmothers car on a chilly winter morning. I woke up in hospital hours later surrounded by medical staff, my family and an overwhelming sense of fear as I wondered what was wrong and why everyone looked so worried.
After my epilepsy diagnosis my parents became increasingly worried. Clearly my ‘struggling’ to live my life as a normal child/teenager was more than just a phase. They did their best to help me regain some sort of a life, however the more they tried they more they failed. It soon hit home for everyone that this was my fight and only I had the ability to win it. I needed to take back MY life.
Thankfully by the time I reached 18 I had slowly overcome many of the thoughts and fears that had held me back for so many years. I had started college, found a new job, made new friends and settled in much better at home. My dad always put an arm around me and reminded me of how far I had come, how much of a transformation I had made – I was a new person. I had won my fight.
In September 2012, at the age of 30 a new challenge swept over my life. Suddenly the anxiety that I had staved off for all those years was banging loudly on my door once again – worry, anxiety & depression all mulled into one. There were days I could barely lift my head off my pillow, nights I silently cried myself to sleep wishing life wasn’t so damning.
I clearly remember the moment I emotionally hit rock bottom. I was in a restaurant with Steve and our little girl. It was evening time, the place was bustling and everyone seemed cheery… yet suddenly the fear washed over me again only this time it felt like I was underwater. The sounds of everyone chatting at other tables began to blurr as everything slowed down around me. I looked at both Steve & Emma, and like the beginning of a great flood I felt the first tear-drop splash onto my hand.
I’ve no idea why it happened that night but I knew I had to leave early. I sat in the darkness of our car and emotionally broke my heart. Years upon years of tears streamed down my face. Even when I got home I cried for hours & hours & hours. Sobbing uncontrollably, even throughout a blistering migraine the tears refused to stop. Steve simply put his arm around me and promised he would always be by my side to help me through it. To this day he has no idea how poignant those words meant to me… I had a support system, but how many people battling anxiety and depression go it alone? It’s a harrowing thought.
When I woke up the next morning I knew what I had to do. Like before I had to take back MY life. I had to own what was mine and get myself better. After all, I had a family of my own now to care for… an incredibly supportive husband and a beautiful little girl who looked up to me & needed me. I’d had enough of having to cry as quietly as I could, hoping she wouldn’t ever notice her mum so broken by life’s worries. I made those changes for both them & for me, so I set myself some goals:
1) To sign up and complete a course in Counselling Skills & Counselling Studies
This was a life-changer for me, it helped me understand more than ever about myself and others. It gave me something to focus on and work towards… I loved it going back to college!
2) To change direction in my career
I fell in love with writing during my Counselling course. Needless to say it was the perfect transition from working in a busy bridal shop that zapped all evening and weekend hours to spending more time with my family – something I had missed so much. It felt like somebody had opened the door to a rather cramped birdcage! lol However through both writing & blogging I’ve had the opportuntity to meet such amazing & supportive people. People like you!
3) To not let the worry and anxiety of things try to ruin or take over my life ever again.
I’m still working on this one. Don’t get me wrong there are days I still struggle, those occasional moments I catch myself trying to battle a rush of anxiety, or something upsets me and I need a cry or (at worst) lock myself in the bathroom for 10 mins just for some alone time.
I’ve almost come to terms with the fact that my anxiety will ever leave me, but I feel I’m able to control it that little bit better… I’m not checking plug sockets 20 times to see if all the switches are off or running up and down the stairs making sure the front door is shut for the 8th time. Little things like that are slowly getting less and it feels good. Slow and steady wins the race, right?
Today I hold onto my hope & faith more than ever. I will try my absolute best to never ever let anxiety control my life the way it has done in the past… So here’s what I’M taking back:
I’m taking back my self-confidence – knowing that it will always be better if I set myself goals, never give up and always tell myself ‘I can’, even when I think I can’t.
I’m not going to nominate 10 individual bloggers but instead am personally inviting YOU ALL to get involved in this amazing campaign. So many of us secretly struggle with a range of issues that are close to our hearts… so now’s your chance to officially stand up and #TakeBackWhatsYours
Thank you so much for reading…