If you have been keeping up with my Progress Journals, or have followed me online for a short amount of time, you will know that I’ve been bustling away on my photography work alongside a full time job as an editor in video production. Initially I had decided to stick with these plans until the end of the year, in order to save more money and build up my experience. Then I thought maybe I could resign from my job to finish around August-time. But last week all of that completely changed.
I tried to continue keeping up appearances, but I wasn’t in a good place. I felt sick with overwhelm and I couldn’t concentrate. I’d cry most days. Sleep wasn’t a thing that was happening. Anxiousness was a constant tightness in my chest, a headache that ran around the sides of my head, and a dropping sensation in my stomach; the same kind you experience during turbulence on planes, rollercoaster rides, or even on a swing if there's a drop in pressure.
I have been attempting to manage varying levels of discomfort, uncertainty and unhappiness for the last two years or so. This was due to near-consistent worry, pressure, and lack of control in and over my life, as well as a huge unsureness over who I am. Despite working really hard in therapy to tackle these things, I was ignorant to how depression and anxiety were slowly creeping back into my life in a big way. I was irrationally trying to rationalise my pain, forcing myself into spaces I didn’t fit, and compressing myself down so much I was merely existing. I may have been trying to keep my mind preoccupied, but how I felt began to fight its way out of my system physically. It was as though my body was screaming “If you’re not going to do something about this, I’m taking the decision out of your hands”.
You may think I would have realised that I was dealing with long-term stress at this point… But, it was only something that hit me after a Google search. And, if you’re a user of The World Wide Web, you will know that typing any symptom into a search engine will only lead to one conclusion; swift, impending death. Usually, I’d take any online diagnosis with a pinch of salt, but noticing the worry line etched into my 25-year-old forehead, my inability to switch off, and realising the last time I felt truly relaxed was sometime last year, made the likelihood of sustaining a heart condition not so far fetched.
The reasons that had kept me bound - the security of a full time job and wages, and not knowing what would happen if I went self-employed - came from a place of fear. I was scared to take a leap. I was scared to fail… But the thought that my life would be over before I had the chance to do all of the things I have dreamed of, made me feel a fear that does not compare in any way. Even typing this made make me feel sick in my throat.
So, I handed in my notice, and, as of July 2019, I will be ready to pursue all the things I’ve never fully had the chance to until now. I get butterflies when I think about it. Nervous ones, but also giddy optimistic ones I haven’t felt since childhood; something I never quite expected.
Despite my best intentions, I hold my hands up and say that I couldn’t keep up with the plan I set myself in last month’s Progress Journal… and you can probably understand why. I’ve been busy feeling a lot of feelings, but also being brave, and the time to be brave is only just beginning. Wish me luck!