Self Esteem, Insecurities, Anxiety and Depression

Monday, 9 September 2013

I've mentioned before my struggles with depression, anxiety and all that goes along with these things.  I always find it so lovely that I seem to get such positive responses whenever I post about these topics, or mental health in general.  At the same time, it makes me really sad to know that there are so many of you out there suffering the same way I have, doing it tough.  Mental and emotional health issues are so common nowadays, yet there is still so little understanding from people in general when it comes to these illnesses or issues.  There really is no way to explain, or make others understand, unless they have been through the same thing themselves.  For that reason, most of us feel so incredibly alone, even when we do have support from family and friends.  This is why I choose to write about my own experience from time to time - because I feel like maybe by sharing with you all, and refusing to be ashamed - maybe I can help someone purely by doing this and letting them know "you are not alone".

One of my biggest issues has always been my self esteem.  I've always had self esteem issues, but once the depression and anxiety set in, it got a lot worse.  I can't tell you the amount of times I feel like such a hypocrite for running a beauty based blog and giving beauty advice, when I myself feel ugly, fat and ashamed.  The truth is, I've always loved all things makeup, skincare and beauty, but when I look in the mirror I feel that no amount of these things will ever make me beautiful myself.  I have no trouble seeing beauty in others, but myself - nope!

I have a lot of trouble shopping for clothes, because I always assume that the sales assistants are looking me up and down and laughing at me for thinking I could possibly look good in their clothes.  Add an anxiety disorder into the equation and shopping trips can often lead to running to the bathroom to be sick!  For that reason, I tend to shop online wherever possible, because that way I don't have to face anyone.  No one can laugh at me, or judge me if they can't see me, right?

I'd be a hypocrite to give advice here on how to cope with these insecurities, because the truth is, I haven't figured that out for myself yet.  But I wanted to share a little of this with you, because I feel that a lot of people think of beauty bloggers as being conceited and full of themselves - when in reality that's not always the case.  Certainly in my case, that couldn't be further from the truth!  I long for the day I can walk through a shopping centre with my head held high, or look at a photo of myself without cringing or wanting to cry.  It's tough when you don't feel equal to those around you - when you feel that you'll never be as pretty, or as skinny, or as smart, or as nice as everyone else.  When it's constantly playing on your mind, you start to wonder "why do I even bother?" - and that's where the mixture of this, with depression and anxiety can become really serious.  I have been suicidal a few times over the years, and that's a scary place to be.  It's so easy for others to say "no, you're not fat" or "you're really pretty", usually followed by "don't be silly!" - but what they don't realize is how deeply rooted these feelings are.  A lot of people tend to think we are just seeking praise or attention by putting ourselves down.  If only they knew how much it hurts, and how genuinely we believe these things about ourselves.  In our minds, these things are facts.

As I said, I'm not in any position to give advice on this subject - however, one thing I can do is offer understanding.  I get it - I know how you feel and how badly it hurts.  I know how desperately you just want to feel ok about yourself - not even great, just ok!  So please do contact me if you would like to share your experience with me, or if I can offer some support.  You don't ever need to suffer alone! x
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3 comments:

  1. A really brave post well done! I think this is a common misconception about most bloggers, often I'm thought the same of because I blog about positivity! I hope blogging has helped with your issues, though it isn't easy to love yourself, but it's very important! X

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    1. Thanks, Emma! That means a lot to me x

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  2. You are extremely fortunate never to have been bullied and never to have been called “ugly” or “plain”, it (the bullying) happened to me on an almost daily basis for 4 years at high school. I was targeted by boys for being quiet and smart, as well as being called ugly and not wearing the ‘right’ clothes’. I was suicidal at 15 partly because of this. Guys were not interested in me until I went to uni. Even as a adult there’s been incidents of bullying at work (by females this time) that have dragged me down again, as well as insults to my looks (being called ‘plain’, endless rude comments of ‘Are you pregnant’ (I am not obese but have a stomach), a woman suggesting I join Weight Watchers and another woman having a go at my fine hair, which I try and present as well as I can, saying ‘she could see my scalp’).

    This has impacted me to such an effect that I can barely look at myself at the mirror, because I honestly see a fat, grotesque monster. I don’t see myself as pretty as all, just plain and dumpy. Even when I do my best to fix my hair and makeup, I still look hideous in photos. There is not a single body part I like about myself. Huge, fat, round face. Crooked, bumpy nose. Teeth too big for mouth. Dull-coloured eyes. Limp, fine dull-coloured hair. Fat, sagging body. And so on....

    Complements from my husband and on Facebook don’t reassure me because, well, he’s my husband, and most of the people who complement my looks on Facebook aren’t my friends and family who know me in person, it’s overseas friends who have never met or seen me in person. One of the reasons why I will never have children is that I would never, ever want them, or any other young person, to go through what I’ve been through in regards to bullying. Especially now with the advances in technology.

    This ties in with your recent article in plastic surgery. If I had the money, I would definitely go for it, despite my husband insisting that I don’t need it. As long as it isn’t excessive, I don’t have a problem with ‘natural’ looking cosmetic surgery. I have consulted psychologists, psychiatrists and hypnotherapists during the last 10 years and even after all this I still cannot ‘love’ myself. For some people, cosmetic surgery is the way to go for make themselves heal and feel more physically attractive. They’re not hurting anyone, so if they want to do it, then why not?

    I do feel guilty and probably sound so selfish because I am not disfigured or physically impaired in any way, and should be grateful for that. But for those who haven’t been through prolonged, daily bullying, you need to understand that it can literally brainwash you and completely rewire one’s way of thinking. Before the bullying I used to think I was quite pretty, but years of hurtful comments have taken their toll. I try every day to tell myself I’m not ugly, but it’s easier said than done.

    Stephanie, you are beautiful and I would love to look like you. You have beautiful long blonde hair, a petite heart-shaped face and small nose that I would pay for, and a slim figure. You are blessed. Trust me when I saw this x

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