The past couple of months I took an unplanned break from blogging and the reason is, I got completely overwhelmed by it. I'd been trying my best to keep up but it got to the point where even opening my inbox was just too much. Something I've never mentioned online, and hardly ever talk about, is that I suffer from anxiety and depression.
For me the two are linked - when one is worse so is the other, but my anxiety is the most severe. I know I'm not alone and that anxiety and depression are the most common mental illnesses. A few of my favourite bloggers suffer from anxiety and depression too. But talking about it still feels like admitting there's something wrong with me. For years I suppose I thought if I could keep up pretending that I was fine, then eventually I would be and no one would need to know otherwise. But it turns out that hiding the problem is completely exhausting.
When I first started this blog my anxiety was at its worst. A major trigger for me is anything to do with being around people. The more crowded a place is, the more I feel trapped and start to panic. I couldn't leave the house on my own, and even when I had someone to go with me, I would usually have a panic attack before, during and after.
Starting this new hobby, blogging, was wonderful - I had something to be excited about, be motivated by and enjoy doing. It gave me a creative outlet where I could talk to lovely people with the same interests as me, all whilst staying at home. Writing this blog definitely helped my mental health, along with medication and counselling. It was a complete escape from my anxiety.
But the last few months I've felt so much pressure when it comes to blogging and of course it's pressure I've put on myself. My anxiety somehow became all mixed up with anything to do with my blog, even just trying to take a photo for Instagram or writing a tweet. I'm trying to find a way past it and I'm very much hoping that writing this post will help. I've never been open about my mental health problems, even with some of my closest friends. It's very difficult to talk about.
Especially online, it's so easy to portray an image that everything is fine. I absolutely want to keep this blog a place of positivity but I also want to be honest. If you suffer from mental health problems too please know that you're not alone. I thought I'd share some links to websites and organisations that have helped me - Mind and the Samaritans. I'd also really recommend counselling, being conscious of what you eat and exercise. It's the standard advice but they can make a big difference.
I'm hoping to get back to a routine and manage to flip things around again, so that my blog is something that helps my anxiety rather than triggers it. My plan is to embrace what I like to think of as 'slow blogging' - more thoughtful posts, a relaxed schedule and blogging for the joy of it. Already having written this post I'm feeling much more optimistic, and as always thank you so much for reading.