I had a list of things I wanted to achieve by the time I was 21. When that didn’t work out, I decided I was going to achieve them by the time I was 25. Now that I’m 26, some of those things seem further off than ever and its difficult not to feel like a failure. I can see everyone around me appearing to have their lives together and I feel like I am being left behind.
In an age of technology and social media, it’s very easy to gain immediate access to the lives of others and make comparisons with our own lives. I see perfect people with their perfect lives and wonder why I haven’t been able to achieve my own goals.
I have suffered with depression and social anxiety since I was 10 years old. For most of my life it went undiagnosed and there were days when I just wanted to give up, disappear and stop trying. There still are. It used to feel like a storm was coming. The sun would disappear, the atmosphere would go cold and I could feel the clouds creeping over me, ready to bring the rain.
After counselling and cognitive behavioural therapy, I have learnt to combat a lot of my insecurities, self-doubt and a lack of self-acceptance. I have come to appreciate that every unhappy period has been a lesson which is all part of the process. Now, each time I feel down, I force myself to remember that there is a lesson to be learnt in each negative moment and that lesson can be used to beat the next cloud that passes over.
I have stopped spending so much time trying to redo the past and am learning to focus on the future and the next steps in the process. I focus on implementing the lessons I have learnt and use them to ensure that every thought is positive and significant in order to make every action valuable. I still can’t stop the storms from coming but instead of ducking for cover and hiding inside, I put on my proverbial rain mac and wellies and face them head on. I embrace the rain like we’re old friends, ready to take on everything it has to offer. After all, rain makes things grow.