I’m sure most people can relate to this: when I look in the mirror, I see a mishmash of imperfections. The image staring back at me has big thighs, a crooked nose, small eyes and a pot belly (something resembling Roger the alien from American Dad). But what if we didn’t see those things we dislike? What if we saw the good things? What if instead I focused on my long blonde hair, my slim high waist and my reasonably straight teeth? In fact, if I was to be critic free, I’d say I like my feet and my slim ankles too!
Last week I wrote a post about publishing an old letter I wrote to myself at age 18 during my first year of university. I have spent all day fretting about whether or not this is a good idea. Whether it will leave me vulnerable to ridicule and judgement.
Reading it has however made me wonder about the role society plays in nurturing psychological disorders amongst young adults. For instance, how much does our society cultivate and even benefit from low self-esteem and does it trigger a host of serious mental health issues such as social anxiety, self-harming and eating disorders?
And how much did my own insecurities about how I looked, feed the dark demons of my depression?
When backpacking, you have to make decisions every day about where to sleep, how to get to the next destination and which travel agencies to choose for excursions such as Machu Picchu (eek!). In this video I talk about why I find it so hard and also how to not let anxiety stop you from going out and living your adventure!
Hello my wonderful followers. I just wanted to send a quick message to you all and say a personal “hello” and that I haven’t forgotten you or why it is you offer your support to me. In fact I haven’t stopped thinking about you all and how I can further help/inspire/give more of what you need. I have been struggling with one simple fact: while mental health has been a big part of my past, it is not as much a part of my present, nor I hope my future. It is true I suffer from anxiety, yes. And I will continue to post about this when I am anxious. But it’s not always so severe that it takes over from the beauty of my experiences. And at times I am finding that digging around in my past struggles, into depth I had long dealt with and buried, has come at a cost to my own personal wellbeing. Because I am now a happy and positive person (most of the time!) and I have moved on. And there should be no pressure for me to feel bad or anxious, just so I have something to say.
My purpose has always been to show how dark it was for me, to show how it can be better. And I want to continue to do so! Unravelling a psyche that is no longer a part of my life, has sometimes been disturbing and is not going to serve me or you in the long run.
But do not fear. I do not feel like the work I have done has been a waste. In fact, for many I know it has been a lifeline. I can never say that my stories were meaningless or pointless. And I am still passionate about ending the stigma surrounding mental illness. I am therefore opening up the blog to others who are suffering and have a story to share. To continue the ground work that The Unmarked Road has started.
But for me personally it is time to show how life can be AFTER surviving. My website will keep the stories of my past to continue to help those struggling not to feel alone, to give hope. But what I would like to show more of is how my life is now IN-SPITE of having had those problems. That POSITIVITY and GRATITUDE are my life’s goals and daily ambitions.
I know I will lose some of you as the transformation of this starts to take shape. That’s ok and I wish you nothing but love and peace; I cannot be there for all.
I am not 100% sure how it will all progress, but for those of you who want to stick around and find out, thank you. For now, I wish you a beautiful weekend in your beautiful lives.
I hate not being able to hide behind layers of clothes. Days before I know I have to be in a bikini in front of people I get anxious to the point I don’t want to go on the trip like the one in this video.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we were all a bit more tolerant toward each other? We are all guilty of judging others at times. We criticise people’s behaviour, their beliefs and their choices, usually because we don’t understand them or they’re different to ours. But who are we to look down on them?
It’s ok to not agree with others, to not always empathise with a situation. We are born to be unique and different! But there’s never a need to think we’re above somebody else or to lecture, because we each of us experience life differently.
If you can’t support someone, at least don’t be unkind. Just because something is different, does not make it wrong.
So let’s practice love, generosity and praise today. Be a support to those around us. I challenge all of us to make the choice to build people up instead of breaking them down. To highlight the good instead of the bad. There are enough critics out in the world already #bethechange
Hi I'm Dani and I survived :)
Ambiguous statement but true. I've survived suicide attempts (both my own and that of family members), self-harm, domestic abuse of a parent, depression, anxiety, bulimia and more.
I remember feeling so alone and like a freak for being different to everybody else. I founded The Unmarked Road to share my story, in hope it gives comfort to those going through hard times and struggling with their thoughts and emotions.
Your past does not have to define your future.
No matter how dark things appear, there is always a light. I know this because I have come out the other side of some of the deepest depth of despair imaginable.
Through sharing our experiences, we can end the stigma of mental health together.