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We’ve all seen the posts/memes online about being so stressed that you are stressing about things before there are even things to stress about. Well, that’s me, every day. Sometimes I can hold it together and other days, I fall apart at the seams. But slowly but surely, I am learning to manage it. I don’t like change, never have, and never will. I think it’s the fear of the unknown and just not having control of how things will go. That’s just what it’s like living with anxiety, but that’s not all this article is about.

In 2019, I graduated from WIT. I did very well and made myself proud. I was looking forward to going into a career and making a name for myself. I wanted to become successful and be good at what I did. However, the start of my career didn’t go the way I thought it would.

I was in a bad job and each week the job became worse and worse. Not that we were treated badly or anything, but we were just under-appreciated. I started to hate the work but couldn’t get out. What would everyone think of me then? The failure that left a fantastic job because she was stressed. “Oh, she was just scared of hard work”. These thoughts played over and over again in my head and caused many sleepless nights. I kept saying how awful I felt but the advice I kept getting was “its just a new job and you need time to adjust”.

Then, the real trouble started. I won’t go into detail, but having finished college, I thought all the childish schoolyard teasing and bullying would have stopped, I was so very wrong. Each day I cried from the moment I woke up to the minute I went to sleep. The pressure in my chest was just constant. Each day would start with me driving to work 15 minutes early, just so I had enough time to cry my heart out and compose myself again before I started a grueling day ahead.

I didn’t notice at the time, but I became a zombie. I went into this little shell and just couldn’t see a way out. The anxiety and stress were crippling me. I cried over everything. I was stressed beyond belief. I didn’t want to communicate with my family or friends. I just came home, sobbed into my dinner, and was in bed by 8 pm.

I don’t want this to be a poor me story. What I want this to be about is putting yourself first! I remember waking up one morning and I cried my heart and soul out while hugging my dad. That was the breakthrough I needed. He looked me dead in the eye and told me “This life is too short for you to be this miserable, you need to do what’s going to make you happy, we need to see that smile again”. That day, I walked into the office and handed in my 2 weeks’ notice.

I didn’t care what anyone thought of me. It was one of the very few times in my life I decided to think of myself first and put my needs over others. I was selfish, and I haven’t regretted it! This piece is about me showing you, most situations you are in, there is a way out. Understanding your mental health and understanding when enough is enough, is just so important. I can’t stress this enough. I think when it’s important to do so, think of you, be selfish and CHOOSE YOU.

It may not be easy, but there is someone out there that will take a chance on you. If you know our worth and you are willing to fight for what you want, there will always be someone out there that will see your fire and your passion and take a chance on you.

I will be forever grateful to Tammy for taking that chance on me and giving me the opportunity to work with The Shona Project. I am only 7 weeks but I already feel like part of this big and supportive family!

This is by no means me telling you how to solve all problems. All of our situations are different. I just want to share my story and offer some advice from my experience. If you feel you are in a tough situation, please don’t feel shy about reaching out to a professional. See some of the supports that are available below.

Remember though, Its ok to choose you. You won’t regret it, I promise.

Ellen x

Some helpful supports:

SPUN OUT:  This is a one stop shop for all mental health issues. The articles are very matter of fact, helpful and all bases are covered.

TACKLE BULLYING: Lots of resources for kids, parents and teachers on dealing with bullying.

SAMARITANS: This helpline is open 24 hours a day and completely confidential. Call 116 123.

CHILDLINE: Helpline and online support, offering advice and support to young people under 18.

AWARE: Providing support and assistance to that section of society whose lives are affected by depression, bipolar disorder, postnatal depression or suicidal thoughts.

TURN2ME: Support for anyone feeling anxious, sad or lonely.

YOURMENTALHEALTH: Lots of information about Mental Health in Ireland.