Welcome back my lovely people, today I wanted to do a slightly more personal post… When I started secondary school, a lot kicked off in my life and I refer to it my ‘dark place’, so today I just kind of want to touch on it a little, but mainly how I got out of that place and built by confidence up.
The Term Confidence – Now, I find the term ‘confidence’ is read and viewed in a zillion different ways to a zillion different people. In society today you get comments like ‘you’re to confident for your own good’ or ‘have more confidence in yourself.’ No one singular person is ever happy with the way they are or with the way another person is… For example, if you come across as loud or funny, stereotypically you are seen as a very confident person, perhaps even too confident. On the other hand if you are super quiet, don’t give much input, stereotypically you are seen as lacking confidence. No one is ever happy!
Today, I want to banish the stereotypical terms of confidence. I want to talk about how I attempted to build myself back up, coping mechanisms I used and how to know you will be okay.
For me, I was always reasonably confident as a child, I would never take part in any drama things at Primary school, hated leaving my Mum and would shy away from being the centre of attention – but I wouldn’t say I wasn’t confident because I was. In my own little 8 year old self way I was a reasonably confident girl. The problems struck when I hit secondary school… an all girls school and started getting bullied. To be honest I wish I had kept a diary of this time, because looking back on it now the whole 5 years of Secondary School are a little hazy. The single one thing that stands out is… I was a mess… even that could be an understatement. I may one day go into all that in another post, but the point is I had zero confidence – that energetic young girl I used to be was completely lost in a tangle of despair, confusion, panic and stress.
It took me a long old time to build myself back up again, with help from plenty of people, be it family, friends, counsellors etc. I’ll never be over it or forget it, but you learn to live with whatever’s gone on in your life. I believe the sooner you accept or even realise what’s happened/happening and accept it, you can move on and know that you will be okay, then you can start to build your confidence.
During the mess that I was, I remember being soo worried about what people were going to think of me, as if that was the biggest factor going on in my life. Looking back on it with maturity there are obviously plenty of things I would have done differently, but so is life. Step 1 to building my confidence was definitely accepting that it will always be a problem to me, my history would always be there and I just have to live with it. Its not a fault, a bad thing or a problem with me as a person, its just something that has happened. The biggest thing was realising I wasn’t ‘messed up’ or weird or any of those things and that plenty of people experience negative things, have panic attacks, have crazy thoughts etc.
I was in this ‘dark place’ for probably about 3-4 years, it was definitely at its worst in years 7/8/9, I was refusing to go on school trips, hardly left the house, cried at the thought of leaving the house and just general was far from loving life. When I was in Year 9 we got my dog Louis and to this day I believe he saved my life. We have always had dogs, but he was like my guardian angel, I started leaving the house because I had to walk him, I cuddled him, talked to him, cried to him, everythinggg. From the day we got him, he became my best friend and he always has been to this day. I know he’s a dog and it sounds ridiculous to some people, but back then I genuinely felt like he was the only one I could rely on, the only one who was always there, and I just loved him completely and still do.
Again, it is all a little hazy in my head nowadays but I remember seeing a few counsellors and nothing really worked. Until I was in Year 10, and I met this lovely women who was a counsellor, we sat for 2 hours just talking over every single thing I could remember about the last 4 years. I remember walking out of the session with the biggest sense of relief and like a cloud had lifted from over my head. I have no clue what it was because we literally just spoke, but it was probably, after getting Louis, the second thing that saved my life. I met with Karen every week for the first 6 weeks, then changed to every 2 weeks and so on. I could see the change in myself instantly… I was determined to beat it and not let anything defeat me. I mean school was still tricky, an all girls school is always going to be bitchy, and my friendship groups were a little here and there constantly, I couldn’t say I always had one solid friend who I could talk to throughout all this, because I really didn’t.
By the time Year 11 came round I was definitely in a better head space, the clearest it had been since starting school…. good timing really with GCSEs coming up. Saying that I was in a better head space however, does not mean I had forgotten it or that it wasn’t there because it was. That dark place will always be in my head, just tucked away, sometimes it pops up, but I believe I’ve learnt to deal with it, calm it down and have the confidence to send it away.
Sixth form was next on my list, and I feel as so these were the 2 years I did the most growing. I was in a small sixth form with lovely people, went on so many lovely school trips, Paris, Lourdes, London etc. and generally had a really supportive group around me. Sixth form was sort of my defining years of my life, I believe I changed the most in those 2 years but also found myself, and became happy with myself. This then followed on to Uni and basically to where I am now. That dark place will always be there, and thoughts creep up every now and then, but that’s just life for me now. I know it will effect me some days, but I’ve also learnt what triggers it and how to try and prevent it.
Becoming knowledgeable about what was happening to me, why I was feeling how I was, what triggers it and how to prevent it were all big things that helped me ‘fight back’. Along with Louis and Karen, learning tips and tricks, as such, to help me through was such an important factor in my come back. All in all, I believe stress triggered everything in the first place, but it wasn’t necessarily that that triggered it the zillion other times!!
I basically just wanted to write this post to say there is always a way back, you will always be okay and you will make it through whatever hard time you are going through.
So much love as always,