As a lot of you know by now the last few months have been tough! 

I recently went on a last minute trip to Majorca with a friend. I used to do stuff like this all the time and be totally spontaneous, but it has stopped over the last year. This trip was the most relaxed I had been in ages. I guess it has been helped by my two weeks of intensive therapy, admitting that I was not okay, but also the fact I was with a wonderful person, Tatjana, who really portrayed so much positivity. 

Tatjana and Hope
Tatjana and Hope

We sat for hours chatting (and tanning... well, burning!) on the beach and I had these realisations. Over the last year things hadn’t been great. I had changed (and not in a way that I liked). I had stopped living life the way I used to; this fun, free girl; and had started to become so caught up on things. I thought maybe part of this was approaching my 30s, but it went deeper than that. I have talked about this in other articles so do take a look, but this was a huge realisation for me. And as part of this I had been left with so much anger and resentment.

I began resenting myself, judging myself, panicking when I had to see certain people. I remember events where there was this lady there, and I used to panic for hours beforehand; get in a bit of a state. It was strange as this was so unlike me. Yes I had my insecurities but they never made me act this way. I began resenting so much. But not just myself at this point but situations (and at times for no real reason).

I went through a period just after Christmas where I had to have some really difficult conversations with a few people. I would go in to these feeling nervous but trying to be positive. There were times when they went well but for some reason I was still resenting it. Reading into things. Convincing myself I wasn’t good enough or that I wasn’t capable. These behaviours began to escalate further and further and I hated so much of life. I was annoyed that I had lost myself (and people close to me), but I was in so much denial about that. 

In fact, I had been getting in to this instant negative spiral for quite a long. I was fine when I was with people, working etc., but again back to that hole when I was alone. It was frustrating for me but instead of tackling it, I burrowed it deeper and deeper. Putting it in a box! But what I always say is, yes we can supposedly function like this for a long time, but there is a time we have to challenge it.

I had to realise I had lost who I was, and going away with Tats help me start to realise I had. There were times the old me would come out but it wasn’t often enough. Having spent a lot of my life questioning what had caused my Anorexia in the first place, I felt the need to do this now! I wanted to get to the bottom of it. I think for me it was a few big things: 

  1. I was a workaholic and had let so much slide the last year. Friendships, quality time with my partner, and so much more. 
  2. Trying to please too many people - I always wanted others to be happy. And would rather put others ahead of my own happiness. But this sometimes meant my priorities got all skewed. I remember one weekend there was a problem with my family and so I headed home. This would have been fine normally, but I hadn’t seen my partner properly for quality time. He felt shelved by all this, but I didn’t know what to do or how to juggle things. And again instead of tackling I worked harder and harder. As if I had to prioritise work to proof myself... or maybe I was self destructing a bit! 
  3. Letting people get to me - this is the resent again! There are a few people (I am not naming them) who I really struggled with over the last few years. I worried a lot about them and a lot of my spare time was spent worrying, but reading into behaviours.
  4. Focusing on fixing others rather than embracing my feelings - this seems to be a recurring theme here! 
  5. Sexual abuse - I reported this back in September, a massive thing for me to do. But again was so hard having boxed something up for that long and then releasing it all out in to the world. I thought I was strong enough for no professional support at the time but when I had flashbacks surely this should have been a warning sign... but no! Instead, I let it get the better of me, as my guard built up round me to protect me. Again, hurting those closest to me. 

Some people could beat themselves up for realising this, and at first I felt myself slipping in to that pit. Thinking of all the things I had missed out on. What’s the point in mulling in how long it’s taken you to read our and admit something, and yes I felt I had messed up in so many ways but actually this could be the start of something new; making me stronger. And if people were able to wait for me then they weren’t really people I needed in my life. 

I had tried the positive each day, read all those memes online but they weren’t really working... so I needed to be more hands-on and focused! Yes, my therapy was great and helping massively, but I needed a few other things. 

So here is what I did next: (and this advice all comes from my amazing friend, Tatjana so I can’t actually take any credit for it but it’s been brilliant and helping me a lot already)!

  • I asked five things people love about me 
  • Saying yes more!
  • I wrote a list of things I love
  • I made a feel-good folder 
  • I deleted the things that made me feel s**t, music numbers etc. 
  • I thought about who is around me - what do they give me? 
  • Feel grateful!

I combined this with my therapy. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy at times but a step forward. And I felt stronger and ready to do that! 

Don’t let that rock bottom terrify you. It will be okay! Stand up and face the world and come back stronger and fighting! 

Hope Virgo

Author of Stand Tall Little Girl and Mental Health Campaigner / Public Speaker 


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