This week I’ve learnt a few lessons about self-confidence. To an outside eye, I probably appear pretty self-assured; I’m very comfortable on stage and on camera and I’m happy to speak in public. But at my core, I’m actually somewhat shy. I often find myself becoming tongue tied at parties and I assume that there’s no point in asking people for work or if they’d like to collaborate with me because I believe the answer will be no. This is, of course, my mental illness talking and I have to work hard to contradict it. Recently, I’ve found that when I ignore that pessimistic voice in my head that tells me there’s no point in trying because I’m doomed to failure, things actually work out pretty well. I think anyone living with a mental illness will probably relate to the inner struggle between the part of you that wants to thrive and the pernicious voice that insists you’re going to make a fool of yourself and you should just stay home. Sometimes people don’t quite understand how much of a struggle it is to overcome that voice; it takes consistent effort and energy to tell it to fuck right off.
I’ve found that I need strategies to make myself as well as I can, and then I’m more likely to have the strength to pursue my goals. I know I bang on about exercise in nearly every post, but I do find that it works wonders. Also, when I’m feeling fretful and insecure and I don’t want to leave the house for fear of impending doom, I fake it till I feel better. I’ll put on my makeup and an outfit I like and force myself to do what I need to do. I find once I’m in the world and out of my head, things are actually ok. There are certain colours that pick me up, and this combination of deep red and purple never fails. I know this vintage blouse has more than a touch of Prince circa 1984, but that’s why I love it. I’ve worn it with a very old, well-loved Whistles skirt, vintage belt and boots from Kurt Geiger.
If you’re struggling with anxiety and low self-confidence, you have my support and sympathy. Keep trying and don’t give up on yourself. Maybe today isn’t the day you’ll make it out of the house and that’s ok. Try again tomorrow and keep going. Find the healthy coping mechanisms that support you and keep doing them, you deserve all the happiness and fulfilment the world has to offer. You’re only defeated if you give up, so don’t give up.