My Life: One Year On

Carmen BryceBlog posts

The author of this article shares her experience of life before starting therapy at MyMind and one year on.

Therapy and Generally Dealing with Life a Bit Better One Year On

Then:
I second-guessed every social interaction I had, even with close friends and family, and would often regret saying anything as it sounded stupid to me.

Now:
I feel very comfortable in my own skin and relaxed socially.

Then:
I couldn’t be alone. I would text people until I found someone who was doing something that night (usually drinking, which didn’t help my anxiety) in order to avoid being by myself.

Now:
I’m sociable, but I equally love spending time alone. I love meditating, which (if this isn’t too cheesy) feels like paying a visit to myself.

Now Part Two:
In the past year, I replaced these friends I used to text – who were really more like drinking buddies – with people I have a much deeper connection with. They can drink too (!) but they are healthy humans who I can discuss anything with. I am so lucky to have several close friends. It is life-changing to have people who were happy to see you even when I wasn’t happy to see myself.

Then:
I ignored my own wants and needs. This might make me sound selfless, I wasn’t that either. I was so unhappy in myself that I couldn’t truly be there for other people. I had no idea what I wanted or needed and ignored my feeling through drinking, forcing myself to be busy and – my biggest downfall back then – ‘relationships’ that were cold and hurtful.

Now:
I consistently journal and meditate, and during this time I ask myself how I really feel about various things. This means that if something doesn’t feel right, I now take steps to change it, or remove it from my life completely if possible and necessary. For example, if I feel like I haven’t been taking care of myself, I’ll schedule extra time for exercise, sleep, and to shop for food and cook properly.

Then:
I had a lot of guilt around feeling that I hadn’t grieved for my mother in the way that I should have.

Now:
I realise that there is no ‘should’, I see my young cousins going through a similar time and I realise that the ‘getting on with it’ is not only normal, but necessary. I put photos of her in my room for the first time and, now that I no longer feel that guilt, I think about her more regularly to feel she’s involved in my life.

Then:
I was completely fixated on romantic relationships. There were other, deeper issues that I needed to talk about and deal with, but I kept focusing on my love life in order to distract from this.

Now:
I’ve realised that there is so much more to me than whoever I am or am not dating. I enjoy my job, I got back to yoga, I go on meditation retreats, I spend more time with my friends and family.

Then:
I had a strained relationship with my older sister. It didn’t feel natural for us to be around each other, we just did not get along. It would be somewhere on the spectrum from just normal awkward to kinda wanting to kill each other, and it was all her fault. She was terrible. Not me. Not a bit of it. Totally her.

Now:
I don’t fully know what exactly changed but I think relationships in general are just easier when you have a good one with yourself. People absolutely always say that but it took me 29 feckin’ years to figure that out for myself. Now we get on great and she is one of the loveliest, kindest people I know. I always got on well with my Dad and little sister, but now my whole family is a huge support.

Then:
I would stick with dating a man who clearly didn’t care much about me, because I was afraid of being ‘alone’. I could not, could not bring myself to walk away. I would be grateful for any scrap of attention, and idolise the man as though he were perfect. This meant that I would be treated progressively worse as the not-even-a-relationship went on. It got pretty bad at times. The last in a chain of these ended with him leaving me and I felt DEVASTATED. But there was part of me that knew that the relationship didn’t deserve that level of heartbreak, and something needed to change. That’s how I ended up at MyMind. Hurray!

Now:
After some time in therapy I started to date again. While I would still get excited about a new prospect, if he turned out to not be what I had thought, or if some alarm bells were ringing, or he was just generally being a bit crap towards me, I had absolutely no problem in walking away. None. Good luck! I’ve since met a wonderful man who is so kind and loving, and affectionate and fun, and he cares about me as much as I care about him, and as much as I now care about myself.

Then:
I used to feel lonely, even when I was surrounded by friends and family.

Now:
I feel incredibly lucky and loved, even when I’m alone.

The transformation has been so incredible that you could almost say that I’m a different person. But I don’t feel like that. I feel like I’m finally myself.

A massive thank you to the author of this article for sharing their journey with us!