I lie awake drenched in sweat and shame. That overfamiliar feeling of dread makes me want to scream out, but there’s a crushing weight suffocating my mind, my body, and all my hope of ever escaping this unbearable feeling.
My name is Jazz Mino, and most know me as a positive, uplifting girl who loves to sing her heart out, to socialise, and to care for others. I hid my battle with anxiety from my friends, family and fans for far too long.
Every day for two years, negative, self-destructive thoughts infected my life. I overanalysed everything, and I was consumed with unconstructive worry, unhelpful thought processes and overwhelming dread. I was desperate to just let go, feel free and truly embrace every present moment, whilst remaining trapped in the fear that taking a break would destroy every hope of future success and happiness. I was terrified of making mistakes, terrified of being a burden, and terrified of speaking out. I felt isolated from society and from my true self.
Eventually, as months turned into years, my family started to notice that something wasn’t quite right. They encouraged me to talk, and were so loving and supportive when I finally confided in them. Although they may not have understood the cause; they helped me feel positive towards overcoming whatever it was, together.
After a lot of hard work over a long period of time, and thanks to my family and friends, I can finally say that I’m in a place where I truly enjoy each moment without painstakingly overanalysing it. Amongst other helpful remedies, I made such a conscious effort to immediately override every negative thought with a positive one, to the point where this became a natural habit. I now feel so much more confident and worry much less about what others think.
A few months ago, I was speaking with a close friend about her struggle with anxiety and the more she spoke, the more I realized we’d fought the same battle. Talking face to face with somebody about their experiences really helped me be able to deal with my own anxiety. I now feel so strongly that this topic needs more exposure in society. Nobody should have to suffer alone for as long as
I did. There are of course so many helpful articles online, but no amount of listed symptoms written in an article can make you understand how it truly feels. People suffering from anxiety need to know that they’re not alone, and that there’s always someone out there to talk to.
I feel very fortunate to be playing a UK Schools Tour this year, where I’ll be helping people from the youngest age to help identify, understand and overcome anxiety within themselves and their friends. I feel like society needs to help break the stigma and taboo around mental health issues, and by helping children to treat their mental health with the same importance as their physical health, we can start to make a real difference.
When I talk about overcoming anxiety, I don’t mean that one day it just disappeared completely. It can creep back at the least expected moment. It’s funny how I can now sing on stage in front of thousands of people, but a simple task like making a phone call, or writing this article can trigger the symptoms.
Overcoming anxiety is about making small, brave steps which enable you to cope better with your symptoms over time. As a result of these small steps, I now take my mental health much more seriously, I love myself more than I ever did, and I’m more aware of when I need to mentally take a break. As I’m so much more mindful of my mental wellbeing, I recognize the symptoms of my anxiety much earlier on, and I know the best ways to alleviate them.
Anxiety was a huge part of my life, and the journey from then to now is one I’ll never forget. I’m about to release my new single, Crush which is about really enjoying the moment and not overanalysing every tiny detail. This is something that I’ve been able to achieve by overcoming anxiety, and singing Crush is a constant reminder of my journey and how I now finally feel free.
It feels good to finally open up and talk about my anxiety. It’s really important to me that when people watch me on stage and are uplifted by my happiness, energy and freedom; that they’re aware that I also have cracks. We’re all human and we need to accept that it’s okay to not always feel okay, we need to support each other, and we need to embrace every inch of ourselves; the good and the bad.
You can listen to Jazz’s brilliant Jennifer Paige cover of ‘Crush’ below: