I’ve typed and deleted this about….15 times. And I’ve not even completed my first sentence.
I’ve never been a confident person.
On reflection, the confidence I appeared to have 3 years ago was clearly an act I had convinced myself was true. That’s not to say my whole character wasn’t me, but more so the confidence of being comfortable in me wasn’t pure. I think we all go through that stage in life. You know, ‘finding yourself’. We’ve all read it on an Instagram post or in a book or had someone who has gone through that journey tell us were going to as well. Some say it’s a bunch of bull. Others have that niggly feeling inside, that feels things…just aren’t in place.
I sat in front of a camera 3-4 years ago, in my eyes, ‘very confident’ chasing my passion as a presenter. I loved and still do to this day, love presenting. It doesn’t feel like work, it brings out a true happiness in me that I cannot describe. Almost like delving into a book or film and getting so lost in the story line, you feel that is reality and nothing else in the world is going on. Sounds cliché but…it’s the truth.
As you do in life, you tackle what you’re faced with. I had people I was working with closely telling me to take a step back. Not to pursue my passion. That bollards in my life were overpowering and would affect my chances to move forward, to not do the work I was doing at all and let nature take its course; at this point I was very persistent. If you know the industry you know it’s very tough and you need to be pretty tough skinned – and that I was. I was dealing with health issues I had been pushing to the side and trying to cope with and not allowing it to overtake me. I was adamant it wouldn’t affect me progressing. At the end of the day I thought we all have problems and these where mine that I just needed to cope with; others have far more difficult things going on so keep it in your head, man (or woman) up and deal with it. But this is where it all starts, bottling up and being scared to talk up to anyone.
3 years ago… My life tumbled. I was faced with several life scenarios, which turned my life into a live domino display. Each life bollard knocked down one after the next and soon after the last domino had fallen, my mental state was destroyed.
Health, Financial, Living arrangements, Relationships of all kinds, Job issues you name it, it was happening.
By the last hurdle, which in this case was the roof over my head, I had spiralled. My confidence, inspiration and drive to do anything had gone. I was basically playing a live version of Human Jenga and the last piece had been pulled. My patience and strength had been tested to the limits and I had crashed and tumbled.
Nothing was worth it anymore in my head. My threshold for pain, both physically and mentally, had reached its threshold and I felt like I was in a pitch-black room with no windows and doors to get out. Everything that I was doing to try and get back on track was being knocked and tested further.
Now the stigma attached to sharing stories like mine is one reason I haven’t wrote this up until today.
Even now, I’ve tried to keep it minimal to avoid that stigma. When really if I want to write about this to the depths and darks, I should be able to without feeling anyone is going to react negatively. But, because there will be a handful of people that will read something like this and sadly assume someone is seeking attention, focusing on the negative or something ridiculously stupid like that, its often that which will cause so many people not to share and cope alone. I was one of those people. It’s a shame they don’t see it for what it is, a release or to help someone else.
On reflection, I’ve always been an anxious child. I wasn’t exactly the life and soul of the party; I required close relationships in order to feel secure. I didn’t like social scenarios because of a fear of being judged and I was happy to sit by myself most of the time and get lost in my own thoughts. But in 2013, Anxiety arrived fully charged and decided to build nest in me.
Let me make this very clear; every human being on this planet has suffered some form of Mental Health struggle. Some form of anxiety and some form of depressive behaviour at some point in their lives. So to frown upon anyone who is suffering or has, would be hypercritical because we have all lived it whether it be one moment or longer. Worrying; contemplating and obsessing or becoming tense, restlessness, agitated, low in mood for no reason and gaining a loss of interest – are all behaviours and feelings of anxiety and depression.
Anxiety and Depression crashed and burned right into the centre of my dangling confidence. I woke up with no energy to do anything; everything took longer to think about and needed much more attention to detail than need be. My worry had heightened and being safe was my haven and safe usually meant being by myself, locked away with my thoughts. I’d push those close to me, away in fear that I was destructing them and bringing negativity around them, when in hine sight, pushing them away did that anyway. My thoughts where magnified and analysed and I often created a heap of scenarios before they had even happened for me to worry about in my head. Your mind compresses to take up all of your thinking space and works at a ridiculously high speed to run through Every. Single. Thought you process. Every individual passing thought I had, rang warning sirens in my mind and would conjure the smallest bit of fear or doubt – while all of the logical thoughts get thrown to the bin.
This feeling increased, daily. The severity of these thoughts and feelings spiralled me into a very dark place. Things that seemed simple and easy to do before where the hardest things to do; getting up in the morning, walking out of the door, going to work, eating, drinking, being around people in general all caused me to reach a point where my anxiety would peak. I started developing panic attacks and feelings of not wanting to be here anymore. Mood swings, erratic emotions; happy sad angry then one full circle back around, all day, every day, for no reason and no ability to control them.
It took me a long time to seek help.
Because as mentioned, why would anyone want to sit down and listen to my problems when there’s so much awful stuff going on in the world? For countless amounts of people who had previously said to me ‘others have it worse off’ or ‘things will get better’ or ‘it’s not that bad’ why would I share? It took a couple of close people to me to suggest seeking help and one day I did. I was diagnosed with clinical depression and severe social anxiety.
Writing that breaks me because of the fear of judgement attached to it.
I saw a counsellor; Well more like a few, some I rejected because I didn’t feel they understood, to soon learn it was again my mind trying to keep me locked in this dark place. I soon found someone who didn’t judge me nor tell me the easy escape comments. Such as everything’s going to get better, there are others out there worst off, cheer up, be more positive; all the stuff your mind mentally doesn’t allow you to comprehend – because in a mind like this, logic goes out the window.
To people not so close to me, id seem fine, because acting became compulsory. In order to keep the minimal that I had left intact in my life, showing struggle, weakness or destructiveness could cause more damage, so to act ‘normal’ was the only choice in my head. When I had been quite open about my state, things tumbled quicker. Like the company I worked for at the time was not understanding nor compassionate; therefore they saw it as laziness and more pressure was put on me. People around me were unable to understand what was happening, so became more stern and distant. Everything just didn’t work when knowledge of the problems where visible to everything and everyone.
There came a time of the day I’d crack and remove the ‘happy mask’ though… that tended to be when I was alone; almost a mental projectile vomit of emotion would pour out of the bottle id hold it in all day. This was reality and the only way to get through. Those who knew always struggled to understand and questioned the depression/anxiety; a lot of people didn’t understand. They’d say ‘you look happy / you seem fine’ and it’s true I did – I LOOKED fine. Because again you can’t see these things – It’s internal – and the media has built up depression to be this extremism of being a constant crying miserable individual that puts it on display 24/7 – and don’t get me wrong, every individual is different and some do show they’re depression in a physical form but majority. Hold it internally and you have no idea it’s going on because they generally don’t want you to know.
If you know anyone that is suffering from Anxiety or Depression, please know;
- The way they are behaving has nothing to do with you.
- Anxiety and Depression beats you up from the inside, and if my body was reversed the scars would be very visible. I think a lot of people find it hard to comprehend someone is suffering so bad if they can’t see the physical impact it has on people.
- Support is important but UNDERSTANDING is the most important thing; a lot of people walked away or distanced from me in those times because they simply didn’t agree or understand why my mind could not just switch back to positive happy mode. Because they found it easy to do so and the things I worried about seemed too mediocre to them and their conclusion was I needed to get a grip, that I am in control of my mind frame and I can change it at any time, that it was pathetic and not something they felt required attention.
It was comments like that, that pushed me to trying to commit suicide several times.
You have to understand the impact your words have on people.
Please understand when someone’s in that mind frame, seeing the positive or possibilities are so difficult, to borderline impossible. You have to trust that people with these problems are fighting every day to fight against battles you cannot see and that words in this case do hurt because once it’s processed through a destructive mind; it becomes a force field against you. It becomes out of your control.
I have fallen out with several people, because they didn’t understand my actions. As to why I may have been behaving differently and understandably, questioning who they truly know or knew. If I can explain one thing to anyone who knows someone dealing with these problems or even to those around me, is that every action I or someone in this mind frame does, is either out of their control or in aid to help themselves, where there mind sees fit – even if you may not agree it’s the best way.
I isolated myself and closed off from everyone around me. They didn’t take this too well because I didn’t open up and say what was wrong; when in my head all I wanted to do was keep negativity away from them and protect them, deal with things by myself as I knew talking would just process my speedy thought process again and spiral into a more negative outcome. But to them they took it as rejection, selfishness, questioning who they knew and if they even knew me. This just shows how different the two types of minds think.
Who was correct? Neither. As individually were all allowed to think what we want and do what we want but both however do take learnt lessons from each scenario we were faced with. I’ve learnt who I can open up to, and who to keep quite around, who understands the damage of words and who is innocently naïve to those words. Please, anyone who suffers from these problems do the same; figure out who you can talk to and who you feel comfortable around and try to understand not everyone is going to understand.
If your on the other side of the table, before you react on impulse emotion and judge someone for not speaking up to you or acting in a certain way towards you, ask yourself if the impact of how you’re asking or behaving could do more damage or harm. And if you’re going through it, ask yourself how you would receive what you’re giving and how would you want them to deal with it.
After 2 years of going through the darkest points in my life so far, I have worked on getting myself back to an acceptable place. With the help of the most remarkable people helping me through the toughest points I didn’t feel I could get out through, I did. I have my days, and even up until recently have dipped up and down, but fear of not wanting to dip fully back into that world, on top of strength and persistence, has helped me get through it this time. I’ve grown a protectiveness towards myself, and I urge anyone going through similar emotions, to work on finding yourself so you can also feel you have purpose to protect something; yourself.
I sat in front of a camera a year ago, to try and talk this through in a visual, a video, but couldn’t bring myself to do it. I have pondered for years to put pen to paper…or should I say fingers to keys, to share what exactly has been the storyboard the past few years and what i’ve learnt, and maybe if you want I will share in detail one day…
but I haven’t done it until now as I felt emotionally people would disconnect due to the stigma attached to Mental Health – but then I thought….if I had read something like this 3 years ago, knowing someone is going through similar feelings, maybe it would have made that time not so dark for me.
So today’s the day I do.
This isn’t to say this whole blog is going to be based on Mental Health; because it wont, but it is a subject I feel very strongly about and is a part of me. We live in a heavily social media focused world where people show only what they want to show; a ‘perfect’ life, which can naturally shake anyones confidence and drive, I don’t want to be that person, if i’m going to share things I want it to be the true me no filters no persona to appear a certain way, just the pure version of me, as I start this fresh new chapter, as I re-launch into chasing my dreams again.
What I write and post here today is with disregard to people’s reactions and with hope that it helps someone, even if just one person, to know they’re not alone, that there are people out there that understand or even help give a clearer understanding on the subject at hand, maybe even just an escape from whatever they’re going through, when unrelated.
It’s been a while but I’m back and in a good place. If you’re new to my journey, I’m Chyna Desveaux and welcome to a fresh new chapter, a new page we start today. I’m excited to share my creative side once again, thoughts, experiences and most importantly, the true Me. I hope you join me on this forward journey, and if not, thanks for stopping by…I hope you take away something from this post and we one day cross paths again.
Please, never give up.
Please share with who you know so we can open awareness to such a stigma surrounded subject #killthatstigma
Have you felt this way before? Do you know someone who does? How have you coped? please share in the comment section below 🙂
Don’t forget to subscribe for all things visual 😉
Speak soon 🙂 xx