The main problem with mental health is that so many people around you, won’t know you’re suffering. In a word of social media and selfies, no one wants to project an image of themself that is anything less than perfect. And that’s just part of the problem…
Society puts so much pressure on young girls to look, dress and act a certain way. I’m lucky that I grew up on the cusp of social media, and wasn’t really affected by the pressures that teenagers face today. And for the that, I’m so grateful! However I was still exposed to all the celebrities and models in the media, and the pressure to look like the prettier, skinnier girls in my year.With the weight and significance of other people’s opinions that young girls face, there is no wonder how easily mental illnesses can develop.
I briefly touched on this in my body image post, but when I was 15/16, I developed anorexica. After being quite a big child, I decided it wasn’t a way I wanted to be for the rest of my life. At first, it was just simply making healthy choices. However, my portions eventually become smaller and smaller, to ultimately I was barely eating and a tiny size 4. I had constant arguments with my family, and my friends were beginning to make comments. After my periods stopped for 4 months, I knew I just couldn’t carry on punishing my body like this. Luckily I managed to change my relationship with food on my own. However, I don’t think anorexia is something that ever fully goes away. And to this day, I still can’t weight myself.
Since then, I have become quite insecure as a person. My friends tell me it’s in my head, and how can I be a blogger and be as insecure as I am? But toxic friendships, relationships and situations, then combined with a teenage eating disorder, really has had knock on effect on me as person. I’ll moan to my friends when I’ve had a drink, being like don’t you think blah blahs prettier than me, and don’t you think she’s got a nice figure? But that is just what I’m like to my friends, because to me, confidence is attractive and insecurity is weakness. So I’d rather present myself to the world in a way that I’m not…Or I don’t think I’d get anywhere in life.
But I do feel like blogging puts so much pressure on me as a person. I really really want the perfect body, like the one so many of the Instagram bloggers have. Which to be honest, probably isn’t healthy outlook considering everything what I’ve just spoke about. But I do feel sorry for my friends who’ve helped me work on my blog. My friend Beth pretty much proof reads every blog post, just so I feel like the content is good enough. And my friends Katy and Cathryn have had to take literally about a hundred photos of me. Just so I can find one with where I think the angle doesn’t make my head look too round, or my thighs look really fat. But when you’re putting yourself out there as a blogger, you do want the best photos and you do want the best content, and it’s hard.
But I have had a lot of friends who’ve suffered a distorted relationship with food and their body image too. With anorexia, bulimia or over eating, each one being as detrimental as the other. Through ignorance you can tell someone to eat a salad, or a few burgers, but it’s really just not helpful. If you don’t understand something, don’t let ignorance get the better of you. You’ll only do more damage then good. I’ve also got friends who’ve developed really bad distorted insecurities, just because someone has made them feel that way. Off the cuff comments can do more damage than you think, and if you care about someones opinion or approval, you will take what they say on board. So it’s not fair to make someone feel like they’re not good enough.
The last thing I want to talk about is panic and anxiety attacks. I started having them when I was 17, in a period where I was really upset and stressed. A few of my friends suffer with the attacks too, some even find them very distressing. However, after the first one where I got rushed to A&E ’cause I thought I was dying…they really don’t bother me anymore. I’ll be laid in bed watching telly, and I’ll just have one for no reason whatsoever. But as long as I can control my breathing, which 99% of the time I can, I’ll stay calm and wait for it to end. To me, it’s just part of life and there’s nothing I can do about it.
I think the best thing to do if you feel like me, is just to talk to your friends. My friends around me are so amazing, and they’ve got me through everything. And we’ve even come out laughing…eventually! I don’t think ‘mental health’ is anything abnormal. There’s no such thing as normal. Everyone’s coping methods and outlook on life is different. There shouldn’t be any stigmas.