Behind Kim's Mind
I remember the moment I realised I had anxiety so clearly. After what I thought was just normal anxious feelings during some stressful life events, it was when I was sitting in my Psychology 1B class at university in 2016 when I had the sudden realisation. At this point in time I didn’t have any prior education about mental health disorders because they were never spoken about so I wasn’t aware of them in my upbringing or prior schooling. But it was when I was sitting in that class and they were discussing anxiety disorders when my inner dialogue went “crap I think I have anxiety”.
From that moment I took the most pro-active step, I went to my GP and took the K10 test. From there, I was diagnosed with both Generalised Anxiety Disorder and Social Anxiety Disorder. The first option for treatment immediately was medication, but I declined because personally I knew it was a band-aid solution for me.
Although I only realised in 2016 (aged 23) that I had anxiety. There were many signs of anxiety throughout my childhood such as – being that shy and quiet kid, having difficulties making friends, feeling physically sick before any socialisation, I couldn’t speak up or ask for help, avoiding situations and people (just to name a few!). Then my anxiety really manifested into my early adulthood where it shows up in people pleasing, lack of boundaries, avoidance, skin picking and perfectionism.
I knew there was a deeper layer to my anxiety in which medication would only become a placebo affect amongst it all. I had to deal with it head on. I’ve tried a lot of things for my anxiety which haven’t worked and therefore had left me feeling really deflated. I’ve tried speaking with a psychologist, taking a holistic approach of supplements, dieting, eliminating coffee, and also ignoring and avoiding recovery. I had to accept that treatment for anxiety (or any mental health disorder in fact) is not a one size fits all approach and what might work for someone else, might not for me and that’s okay.
It wasn’t really until I started my Instagram account in 2018 when I was introduced to the world of personal development. Facing head on with the discomfort of doing inner work was the game changer for me. It has really allowed me to explore my thoughts and learn my triggers while being gentle and compassionate with myself. But also forgiving myself, challenging my self-talk, being present and setting boundaries have been huge contributors to supporting my anxiety. Not only has it been a personal learning experience for me, but I have also learnt from many other warriors in the mental health community who show up and share what they’re going through, it makes me feel safe to share my story too which has been incredibly therapeutic.
But the journey of living with anxiety never stops and it’s never truly a one and done type of journey. Sometimes it doesn’t look as aesthetically pleasing or positive like my purple quotes on Instagram may show. It’s actually a really uncomfortable, messy and unpredictable journey.
There are still many times where my anxiety shows up, sometimes in heavy waves and it’s usually when life events occur or/and when I don’t look after myself. But the difference between 2016 me and current me, is that I have the awareness and tools to keep me moving forward – even if it’s one day at a time with one foot in front of another.