So this is a blog tour with a difference. Walker Books asked bloggers on this tour for the release of Siobhan Curham's Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow if they could see something for a different perspective so are posting a different bloggers post on theirs. These themes are seen in the book which is available in book shops now.
I get the amazing opportunity to host Shelley from Tales Before Bedtime on my
blog today. Shelley's posts details her struggles with Anxiety and Depression allows people to truly know what it is like to experience these and allows you to step into her shoes. As someone who battles with anxiety myself, I can emphasise with Shelley's position which is a very honest and wonderfully written piece.
So, now over to Shelley...
I’ve always had a rather vivid imagination. Always been a worry-wart and an over-thinker One of my earliest memories is sitting on the sofa watching TV. It would have been perhaps a Sunday afternoon rerun of a Bond film or a Saturday night family programme such as 3,2,1 or The Generation Game. I don’t remember the in’s and out’s but I remember being snuggled up next to dad. Cosy, warm and safe and listening to his heartbeat, strong and loud to my little ears and I remember worrying that one day it might stop. Yes I am sensitive and I worry about just about anything and everything. This isn’t a reaction to any early trauma. I had a very happy, loving family life growing up. Perhaps school could have been better but it’s not about the why, sometimes these worries and anxieties are just part of who we are.
I remember once someone who had been rather unkind telling me ‘I was too sensitive’, as though it was weakness, a fault that could somehow turn the blame of their unpleasantness onto me. Of course today we live in a world where we need to be seen to be coping with whatever life throws at us. Family - tick. Career - tick. Healthy Lifestyle - tick. Saving the World - tick. And all with grace, style and a sense of humour where we’re able to ‘not take ourselves too seriously’. We are quite often judged by our visual success and our ability to give ourselves (or be given) a label that we believe gives us stature, that will make people think we’ve got this and anything else that comes our way. At times I wonder if we are all too busy trying to carve out that success that we forget the casualties we leave along the way.
When I was pregnant with my son a friend told me that I’d never love anything as much as my child. She was right. Still nothing could have prepared me for the feelings I had and I was completely overwhelmed. For someone who was a worrier, there were now a million new things to worry about. I was confused. On one hand I was incredibly happy and on the other constantly filled with an overwhelming sense of fear and anxiety. Before long I spiralled into depression and anxiety. It was a time of light and dark. But then again you have to endure the rain to appreciate the sunshine. It took a long time but I eventually found my way out of it with a lot of help and support. I had a lovely counsellor and I was a willing patient. It’s incredibly freeing to be able to actually say out loud the thoughts that had been slowly driving you mad. However, It wasn't easy. It’s awful pulling apart your thoughts and admitting to the darkness in there. I remember describing them as like a film constantly showing all the terrible things that could/would happen to those around me. It was always that sense of loss. I was always terrified of losing those close to me.
Now one of the hardest things about depression and anxiety is that sense of hate. For a while I really didn’t like myself. That’s the toughest thing to overcome. I felt like I was failing at everything. Depression and anxiety began with my own personal worries but it magnified and became about things I just couldn’t reach. I remember telling my counsellor that I struggled to cope with the notion of bringing my child up in a world that seemed so full of hate and anger.
‘You can’t stop all the terrible things that are happening in the world all on your own but you can make a difference in the world around YOU.’ He wasn’t telling me that I couldn’t make a difference or that I shouldn’t care about the bigger picture, he was simply reminding me that I didn’t have to feel the weight of of it all on my shoulders. He reminded me that I can make a difference simply by being mindful of my choices and being thoughtful towards others. Our actions may not always have a massive impact on the world but each and every one sends out a small vibration, a ripple if you like, that all add up to something bigger. Imagine if those vibrations were filled with love, empathy and hope?
Quite recently I was chatting to a friend about some incidents I have faced recently where people who I have known and trusted seemed to act in a thoughtless, disloyal way or turned against me. She advised that sometimes people just don’t understand the effect their words or actions have on you. She advised walking away from the moment instead of responding with anger. I think that’s great advice. I believe that we need to show compassion, have empathy towards others and be able to put ourselves in their shoes. It’s not always easy and it doesn’t mean we have to agree with their actions or beliefs but we can try to understand and not add another dose of hate to the mix. It's not easy though especially for those who you feel have let you down.
Over the years I have come to terms with my anxiety. It will always be there but I do I feel that I have the upper hand and can keep it in check most of the time. It’s always rather empowering when I overcome it and do something that it might have prevented me from doing. I’m certainly not ashamed of it. It’s part of who I am. I will always be a worry-wart and a scaredy-cat. I will always be what some consider ‘too sensitive’ but now I don’t see it as a weakness, I see it as one of my super-powers. I can face my fears and feel like I’ve climbed a mountain. The constant rush of thoughts can be draining though and that is why I love reading so much. I can escape into a novel or the simple act of writing. For so long I always felt that I was rather weird/odd but actually when I come to think of it it’s simply the author in me creating a million stories to write, adventures to follow and battles to be fought. So, maybe now I just need to be brave and get them all written…instead of worrying about where it will (or won’t) take me.
Now I'd like to finish with one of my favourite quotes courtesy of Lewis Carroll.
Mad Matter: "Have I gone mad?"
Alice: "I'm afraid so. You're entirely bonkers. But I'll tell you a secret. All the best people are.”
Now here is more about Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow by Siobhan Curham...
Fourteen-year-old Stevie lives in Lewes with her beloved vinyl collection, her mum ... and her mum's depression. When Stevie's mum's disability benefits are cut, Stevie and her mother are plunged into a life of poverty. But irrepressible Stevie is determined not to be beaten and she takes inspiration from the lyrics of her father's 1980s record collection and dreams of a life as a musician. Then she meets Hafiz, a talented footballer and a Syrian refugee. Hafiz's parents gave their life savings to buy Hafiz a safe passage to Europe; his journey has been anything but easy. Then he meets Stevie... As Stevie and Hafiz's friendship grows, they encourage each other to believe in themselves and follow their dreams.
What did you think of Shelley's post? Leave it down below and don't forget to leave some kind words on her blog.
See you soon,