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Hi guys. This is my first article for We Heart It, and while it is written with depression and anxiety disorders in mind, specifically, this is an important truth for any woman, whether or not she struggles with anxiety or mental health problems.

I'm Pixie, and at 28, I might be a teensy bit too old for We Heart It, but I hope not! I've been here since 2012 with a personal account, and now I'm making it my mission to speak out on anxiety, depression, and mental health, things that I have been battling for the last 15 years (or 28, but let's say 15 "officially"). And I know that a lot of you girls fight this battle, too - I've seen you with your collections, and believe me, I know what you're going through. I've been there, had the labels slapped to my forehead, bought the t shirts and sent the postcards "Wish I Weren't Here." To be specific, I have been diagnosed with social anxiety disorder, general anxiety disorder, agoraphobia, OCD, and originally, body dysmorphic disorder, after leaving school early. And of course, depression. This year I decided to create a blog, which had been my dream for the last few years, and while it is difficult to be so candid and vulnerable, I know it's the right thing to do. I'm determined to find the key for change, and I hope that in chronicling my journey to self-discovery (or perhaps my journey of self-creation?), I can also help others in their struggle. So, today I am writing about the single most important point I have realised so far on my quest:

You've got to "have yourself."

Let me explain!

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right on!

I have never felt strong and secure within myself. All my life I've felt lost, overwhelmed, strangely confused and completely out of my depth, in any situation. School was tough, and I was filled with so much anxiety during my years of formal education that I cannot understand why it wasn't observed in me and evaluated by a professional. As it was, I got steadily worse in high school (as you do), and eventually couldn't face going. I left school to be home-tutored, but it never got to that; that summer I developed depression, and exhibited some sudden, worrying behaviours, like avoiding windows, covering mirrors, and spending all night downstairs in the dark with the TV on. My parents brought in a doctor, and that day, I got my very own file in the mental health system, a file that is now probably a great slab of a book and is brought out frequently as it's passed between doctors. I've been doing this a while. And these well-meaning, overworked professionals can't fathom why I've failed to progress and move forward. I've remained relatively stuck in the same place, and they have given up on me, as I have all but given up on them. Something inside me is just fragile, delicate, and this is an innate quality that I can't seem to shake. Whether it's purely nature or a strong dose of early nurture, I cannot be sure; but it is well and truly fixed, and resistant to change. So what am I to do? I have spent a huge amount of time looking within, and I have come to the realisation that I just don't have myself: I don't support myself, I don't comfort myself, I don't, truthfully, rely on myself, and I certainly don't like myself. I cower at the inherent cruelty of the human species and hide away, incapable of dealing with it. I have successfully avoided other people for so long that I now avoid myself, and feel distant from myself, like a sentient cabbage. Aware of life, aware of pain, but without a stable sense of "self." I am missing ME.

Somehow, I've got to find, or create, a sense of inner peace and stability, a sense that I can handle it. I've got to feel strong inside myself, feel secure in who I am, and be completely self-aware and in control at all times. Truth is, I will not improve or progress so long as I'm distant from myself, as though I'm a stranger that I'm just tethered to against my will. I observe life and feel pain, and spend all of my time dreaming, wishing for what I "can't have." I understand that to move forward in any way, I MUST feel strong, and I must have real, genuine self esteem. I have to find this, or else create this, inside myself and grab hold tightly, and carry this feeling in all that I do.

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At the end of the day, you have YOU. You are with yourself through it all, the good and the bad, and you are the only one who can put the pieces of yourself back together in those times that you fall apart. Others can support you, but ultimately, it is only you who can take those crumbling pieces and put together the old you, or a new you - whichever you choose. It's imperative that you have your own support, your own love, and know in your heart that you can rely on yourself. Yes, you will fall and make mistakes, and the road will continue to be treacherous and heartbreaking; but if you have yourself, then you will get through it easier, and quicker, and you will come out a true warrior, changed for the better. It's time to be your own best friend, no matter what people have told you about yourself, no matter what opinions others have thrown in your face (I'm sure you have some opinions on them, too), you need to decide that you won't believe it any longer. You need to be friends with yourself again, like you were years ago before anyone told you there was anything to be sorry for. It'll take time, it's certainly not an overnight fix. But I promise you, it's worth it.

It's also a lot more fun than disliking yourself and watching life slap painful event after painful event in your face. When you have yourself, you feel lighter, freer, and have more fun and enjoyment in your day to day life. Low self esteem has bored me to tears. Think of the fun I'll have, now that I've decided to enjoy my own company! I want you to think of that, too. Think of the fun you're going to have, and all the smashing you're going to do on your life and all that hurts you, and decide that today, you're going to do it. You're going to have yourself.

And we all have your back, too.

Image by § Fancy Mushroom