Trigger warning: discussion of depression.
This Free to Spiel guest feature has been written by Amy, founder of the My Honest Mentality blog and Instagram page. Amy bravely opens up about her year-long battle with depression back in 2019, and how a series of events in her personal life ended up being the turning point she needed. Over to you, Amy:
“I often speak about my younger self as if she is a separate person”
My name is Amy, I’m a 22-year-old from the UK who just so happens to be the face behind My Honest Mentality.
My Honest Mentality is not only a blog, but also an Insta blog where I share the nitty-gritty parts of mental health, with the hope that someone out there feels heard, seen and supported.
The journey to sharing my most vulnerable moments with the internet began properly in 2019; although I started my blog in 2016, I didn’t start oversharing with my readers for another 3 years.
I often speak about my younger self as if she is a separate person – and well, she is. Younger me was shy, anxious, insecure and struggling, but 22-year-old me is semi-confident, loves herself and focuses on all those small wins that used to go unnoticed. I went from being my biggest bully to my #1 fan, so let’s talk about how I got there.
“I remember feeling that something had to change, but I didn’t have the energy to change it”
2019 is a year I don’t speak about without crying, but I also think it’s important to share both your wins and losses on the internet – not everyone posts about their losses, which creates this false idea that nobody is losing apart from you.
2019 was a year where I experienced the worst mental health yet.
I didn’t leave my bed, see my friends or even wash my hair. It was a year where I gained a lot of weight, learned to hate my body rather than love it, and discovered that sometimes people you think have good intentions for you actually have a hidden agenda.
I remember feeling that something had to change, but I didn’t have the energy to change it. I want to make it clear that I am not religious nor am I particularly spiritual, but I truly believe that the universe saw me going through something so difficult and dealt me something I thought was just another bad strike of luck…but which I would later find out was the change I needed.
“I think sometimes you have to build your own ship to come out of the stormy sea“
I moved back home for summer, was preparing to move into my final year where I had decided to live alone, and then went through a breakup.
This was all very daunting at the time, as whilst I had been physically present in 2019, I was mentally absent. I was going from relying on other people to prop me up to standing alone.
Guess what? It turned out to be the best thing I could have ever done; it was my turning point.
I moved out of a grotty student flat that had caused me a lot of anxiety, to a lovely studio. I broke away from people who drained me of energy, and I gave that energy to someone who deserved it more: me! I started to better myself by doing things FOR myself and BY myself. I started to see friends more, I went on dates by myself and I achieved for myself.
It was so utterly terrifying to leave my comfort zone, but it showed me that comfort isn’t always good. In 2019, my comfort zone was confined to my room and Netflix as a form of escapism and once I left that comfort, my life changed.
A lot of people say that you just have to ride it out, but I think sometimes you have to build your own ship to come out of the stormy sea. In my year of self-development after a year of depression, I put my all into my degree and achieved a 1st class honours.
I began to celebrate all the small wins, and most importantly I started to cheer myself on. I decided that I would allow myself to have bad days, but I also decided that I would do everything in my power to never return to the me that luckily found a way out of 2019.
“my light is not only back, but also burns brighter than before”
I often refer to 2019 as the worst year of my life – and many of my loved ones agree.
My mum always says that it was as though I had been drained of all energy that led to me becoming a shell of myself, almost like the spark that had always burned brightly inside of me had been stamped out.
We regularly talk about how far I’ve come, even with the added pressure of a pandemic. My mum believes that my light is not only back, but also burns brighter than before. Even my best friends say that it was like I had a cultural reset, almost as if I had to reach rock bottom in order to bloom – something I truly believe.
I set up My Honest Mentality to create a safe space where people can come free from judgement to be heard, seen and supported. I want to make sure that people have something to relate to and a story where they could see that sometimes life can hand you a bad card, but there is always a way out.
Whenever anyone asks me if I have any tips on how to adopt a positive mindset, I always answer with the same 4 points:
- Talk to people
- Change the way you talk to yourself (after a while, you will begin to believe yourself)
- Remember that every situation is temporary
- Allow yourself to feel and celebrate every small win. Celebrating small wins helps you take on those small tasks that can seem so grand when you are struggling mentally.
I am here to tell you that things always have the potential to get better, your feelings are valid, and you are allowed to be your own #1 fan. I encourage you to be your biggest supporter because when you are, things change, and change is the one thing you can always count on in a time of struggle.
So, be your biggest fan always!
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