I'm sharing this story to hopefully help some people who may have found themselves in a similar position/situation to me.
I have a huge amount of empathy for anybody who has suffered with anything mental health related. At times this story may be too much for some people, but stick with me... things get better!
Please note; I'm not a qualified mental health professional therefore I can't offer advice, I'm sharing an experience with you and I hope you find it an interesting read.
The past 4-6 months for me have been stressful, painful, dark, lonely, anxious and extremely self destructive...
On a positive note I have been working very hard to pull myself out of this dark hole.
I felt so lost and empty, I completely forgot who I was.
This happened due to not looking after myself and my mental health, and finding myself in some difficult situations last year.
I left my London life in December 2017, after 7 years of the big smoke, I went travelling for 2 months alone (cliché break up; find myself - you know the drill). I travelled alone to help clear my anxious mind, travelling makes me feel content, present and free!
I was completely myself and relaxed. Unfortunately I didn't prepare myself for how strong I needed to be for the next step of my life.
Vulnerable; one word I'd use to describe myself at this time.
Completely open, no barriers, no idea what I was doing, even though I was actually okay with that. I wasn't scared of my future, I was excited.
I often describe myself as a 'sponge' I take on everything people say into my mind, my body and my soul; mainly the negatives.
I take the negatives and bury them deep into my soul so they become part of me. Unaware I was doing this, as its a natural thing for humans to do, I subconsciously started to believe all the negatives. I'm sure many of you can relate to this.
So with this in mind...
I had a very unpleasant person enter my life.
They entered my life and hated me.
They used to tell me to my face they hated me, my voice, my hair, my nails, my presence...everything about me.
I sometimes wonder if they'd come into my life when I was in a better place mentally how I would have dealt with this.
As I stated, I wasn't in a secure place so I took full responsibility for their hatred. I know it sounds ridiculous doesn't it.
I took on their jealousy, their deep routed pain, I blamed myself for who I was, I apologised for who I was, I actually said 'sorry' to the person who hated me for no reason.
I remember someone asking her outright 'why do you hate Bryony' and she had no reason, absolutely no explanation for it whatsoever, just 'I'm jealous'.
They once cried to me and apologised for their jealousy, and you know what I did, I gave them a F&*%ING HUG.
I started to feel very nervous around them, I started to hate going into my work incase they were there, I never spoke around them, I was scared. I regularly got emotional about it, it was a huge part of my life day to day.
I carried their hatred around with me like I deserved it and like I was being punished for something.
The bullying lasted approximately 4 months.
This was who I became in my mind. A victim.
I started on this downward spiral; looking for approval, looking for compliments, looking for somebody to help me and guide me. This was all in my mind, I never spoke about why I needed this gratification, I just needed so much.
There was no space for a positive comment in me, it bounced off me back into that person where I would leave it.
This meant I would put everybody on a pedestal above me, I'd think the absolutely world of everybody, look up to, be inspired by the cleverest people I know. Okay that's a positive, I still do that, but at this time I would always compare myself and think I'll never be as good as them.
I thought; this is my life, I'm at the bottom looking up to everyone.
The bully made me believe everyone hated me for who I was.
So the next year was spent subconsciously with this in my mind, my body and my soul.
The affect this had on my mental health was only going to get worse and my content, free, happy, positive self was getting further and further away. I kept thinking, please take me back to the Bryony I was before but then I continued to beat myself up for not being good enough and that I didn't deserve to be her.
When you're in this deep, you believe you don't deserve any happiness. You're not good enough.
"Just think positive and don't overthink" Yes that's great, but when you don't believe you deserve anything good, you have the ability to change a positive into a negative - without knowing your doing it.
Believing this about yourself and carrying it around everyday and night is extremely tiring. It made me very emotional and put huge stresses on all my relationships, as I started to think, maybe I'm better off alone. If you've every felt like this and can relate - its a very dark and lonely place to be.
I lost my identity, my voice, I became mute.
I'd gone from being an extremely passionate person to a mute.
You're probably thinking when does this end Bryony? Self loathing, self involved, negative story.
I asked for help.
I reached out, put my hands up and said I need help.
I can't do this alone and I haven't got any strength to pick myself up and get myself out of here.
I wanted it to end, I didn't want to live in this negative lonely state anymore.
I had no control of my mind. My mind was controlling me, in the only way it knew how, because this is what I have fed it for years.
I've built a muscle every day with a million reasons why I'm not good enough.
I'm very lucky.
I had and still do have some incredible people in my life who didn't want to see me hit rock bottom, even though not everybody understood was I was going through, they still stood by me.
I don't know how I'll ever thank these people, as they had no idea they were saving my life.
I held onto hope.
I stopped and observed my thoughts, patterns and anxious triggers.
I reflected on these, and listened to what was happening in my body, not just my mind.
Reflection slowly turned in to Action.
Instead of feeding that huge muscle I'd created with the negatives, I take a deep breath, look into the negative thoughts and have control of them.
I'm slowly starting to have control of my mind through mindfulness.
Which helps you have control of your thoughts, triggers and patterns.
It is without a doubt the hardest thing I've ever had to do, and its not easy, it's an intense, very slow process.
You have got to put in the hard work to see results... you hear that all the time with our bodies! Why don't we put this much hard work into our minds?
Ending on a positive note, I feel better and I'm so thankful I have received help.
I hope, really really hope, that if anybody is feeling or has felt how I did, or experiences similar thought process' :please ask for help.
Help is out there, don't ever think it isn't or think you're alone and nobody can help you. Because they can and absolutely will.
Thank you so much for getting this far, I know it isn't an easy read and at times you probably wanted to slap me!
Thank you for reading, thank you for listening, thank you for sharing.
Be brave, be kind and be free.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you.