I’ve always had a voice inside my head telling me I’m not good enough. My inner b***h, as I refer to her, has been responsible for deep lows and bouts of absolute soul crushing despair.
- She whispers to me in the middle of the night when I’m wide awake worrying about work.
- She witters away at me in the mornings when I do my make-up and hair telling me I don’t look good enough.
- She drones on and on at all hours of the day slowly chipping away at my self-esteem, self-worth and happiness.
- She is the reason I have an issue with binge eating.
- She is the reason I go on spending sprees to make myself feel better.
- She is the reason that I truly struggle daily.
I have been fighting a losing battle with my inner b***h for as long as I can remember. In recent years, my predisposition to be sad and listen to her became a real problem. I had experienced all the usual stresses and difficulties expected of a girl growing up but had also experienced other traumas that made day to day living both a chore and a challenge. I got to the point that even getting out of bed was difficult.
Thankfully, I have a very supportive mother who forced me to visit the doctor and get a good old dose of the ‘happy clappies!’ I took my first tablet and felt instantly cured – oh how my inner b***h must have been chuckling away at this!
At the time, my medication seemed as though it was a miracle cure! I felt happier, I was more pleasant to be around and my inner b***h was kept quiet a lot of the time. I felt so much better that a year or so later I stopped taking my medicine as I was convinced I was cured. Mental illness be gone!! I felt so empowered and so relieved that my issues had been cured by the ‘miracle’ that is antidepressants, that when I came tumbling back down to reality and found myself crying for no reason, needing to sleep all the time and welcoming my inner b***h back with open arms. I felt like a complete and utter failure. My beloved pills had tricked me. They had masked the pain but had done nothing to treat the issues that were causing my depression.
I concluded that I was broken and would never be happy. This thought was soul destroying. I couldn’t bear the thought of feeling this way for the rest of my life. I went to my doctor and sobbed to her telling her I just couldn’t cope. She listened to me cry and shout and tear strips off myself, offering me a tissue at regular intervals. When I had worn myself out ranting about my inability to cope, she said something that I have carried with me ever since. She told me that it was utter rubbish that I wasn’t coping. She told me I have depression. This wasn’t something that would just go away and was clearly something I had been battling for years. “But,” she said triumphantly, “you have been coping!” She told me that for people like me, of which there are many, the mere fact that we get through the day is a testament to our ability to cope. She told me the fact that I recognised that I was struggling and needed help proved that I was able to improve my situation.
I left the doctors that day feeling as though the veil had been lifted. She was right. I actually felt proud of myself. From then on, I have become obsessed with finding ways to remain positive and to help me live with my mental illness. For me, even the act of removing my make up and slathering on face cream is a treat. It makes me feel calm and I enjoy making the effort to take a few minutes out of my day to do that for myself. Before I get out of bed in the mornings, I place my hands on my belly and take ten deep breaths and instantly feel calmer and more prepared for the day. If I have a stressful day coming up, I make sure that I write down what is bothering me before bed and then use a white noise app to play ocean sounds on my phone. I visualise that I am by the ocean and drift off into a peaceful sleep.
Don’t get me wrong, my inner b***h is still with me. Everyday she pipes up and I do listen to her sometimes (but nowhere near as much as I did).
I have no doubt that I will continue to struggle with bouts of depression for a long time and I have accepted that the little b**** whispering in my ear will never bugger off no matter how nicely I ask her to! But, I’ve learnt that little of acts of kindness, cutting myself some slack and practising self love can work wonders for my ability to cope.
I now welcome my inner b***h as I enjoy hearing what she has to say and then completely ignoring her!
Guest Post by Claire