looking back and moving forward

Today I am very pleased to announce that I have Charlotte Underwood, mental health advocate and author on my blog!

Trigger warnings: panic attacks and suicidal thoughts

Mental health took over the most part of a decade. I think I have always been slightly different to most but it was not until I was 14 that life became so hard that I struggled to breathe. I remember my first panic attack, in which I was hyperventilating, I thought I was dying and I had no idea what was going on with my body, this was just the start.

I’ve had a life that is maybe harder than most, in respect to the level of trauma I have had to endure, not that I am worse or better off than anyone as there is no comparison in mental health. I think for a long time I just repressed it and buried it in the depths of my mind. How could I express my emotions when I didn’t fully understand them myself?

What was a shy and introverted nature, turned into a long battle with alcoholism and reckless behaviour. I suppose I was acting out because I had no healthy outlet and I would do anything to ignore the thoughts in my head, in retrospect, I was just scared.

I hurt so many people due to my behaviour. What I was feeling was a lot of pain and anger but what I showed, was a lack of care for anyone but myself. I always preach how it is to be selfish but in this case, it was not in a good sense – I was just bitter.

My life became a battle and I gave up on any hope of the future. I corrupted my health, my relationships and my grades because I wanted to because I felt like I didn’t deserve anything; I don’t think I expected to make it to my 20th birthday.

But as I have grown as a person, especially in this last year, I have learnt that my actions in the past were bad. However, it does not mean that this needs to define me, they are lessons but living in resentment will not fix what has already been. I have learnt to accept who I am, the good and the bad and the events that have created the person I am today.

Too often, we tend to hold grudges against people, for many reasons but does that solve anything? It’s something I think about often and really, I believe that without realizing it, this thinking only worsens our mental health and holds us back from our future. A big thing is learning to forgive but not forget, as we shouldn’t ignore what makes us human.

Since learning to let go of resentment and bitter feelings towards others, I have learnt so much about myself and humanity as a whole. I understand that there is always so much more to the picture and at the end of the day, all that matters is how you act from this day forward. Respecting yourself and others, that really goes a long way in recovery and the first step isn’t moving on, it’s letting go.

Thanks so much to Charlotte for being so honest. If you’d like to be featured on my blog, please DM me on Twitter or leave a comment below.

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