It’s honesty time: I’m struggling.

You wouldn’t know it based on just talking to me or being around me because I tend to hide my emotions. I always want to appear like I have it all together and that everything is okay all the time because I’m a perfectionist. I want people to approve of me and like me, so I try my best to make my life appear great, and while I am fortunate enough to live a pretty awesome life, I am struggling. I know that cannabis is well-known for helping anxiety, and I know of people that use it. I’ve considered buying off this cannabis shop, but at the moment I’m working through other methods. Despite the loneliness of struggling, I know that I’m not alone, there are plenty of people out there who are also struggling with something. Some might be finding it harder to cope compared to others though. Some people might be fine after just going for a walk whereas others might have to go to an inpatient facility like Honey Lake to help them with their anxiety. Doesn’t matter what you do though, so long as it helps you.

This past semester has been filled with anxiety, stress, long nights, tears, and lots and lots of emotions.

In the beginning of the semester, my anxiety focused mostly on school, specifically chemistry. Then, as the semester progressed and I started to work through some of that anxiety, some other things came up and it began to focus more on things going on within my family. Then, I started working through some of these things with my therapist and the intensity of the feelings started to lessen. Now that my anxiety doesn’t have those things to fixate on as much, it has jumped to something that I’ve struggled with from a young age but haven’t had issues within a while: my body image.

From as early as 8 years old, I can recall having issues with body image.

It only escalated as years went on, and the bad thoughts have once again appeared. I see my body in a very different light than those around me, and it’s unhealthy. Sometimes I struggle with justifying fueling my body, even on days where I dance for numerous hours. Often, when I look in the mirror, I end up staring for a long time. Instead of admiring my strength, I scrutinize my stomach and thighs. I pull at the skin and tell myself horrible things, things I would never say to anyone. This has become a daily occurrence, and it’s far from what can be considered self-love. Some days I ask my boyfriend if having a cup of hot cocoa (which is one of my favorite beverages) will make me fat, and even when he assures me that it won’t and that I’m completely beautiful and wonderful as I am, I will sit down telling myself every reason why I shouldn’t enjoy the warm, delicious beverage that I love.

I recently went up a jean size, and that has not helped my negative self-talk at all.

If anything, it has just added more fuel to the fire. I’ve tried to tell myself that clothing sizes don’t matter and that I’m no less valuable a person at a larger size, but it is much easier said than done. I often look back at pictures from a few years ago when I was much smaller (which was accomplished by unhealthy means) and long for those days. I lie to myself and say I was happier then, even though I know that’s far from the truth.

I struggle even more with these feelings because I am a huge advocate of self-love and body positivity, and having these feelings and thoughts about myself makes me feel like a fraud and a hypocrite.

However, I’m learning that what I really need to do is share my struggles. The self-love movement isn’t about every single day being full of sunshine and rainbows and always feeling amazing about yourself, because newsflash: that’s just not how life works. Just because I am having a rough time and am not being very loving to myself right now doesn’t mean I’ve failed as a self-love advocate. It just means that I need to remember what I stand for, pick myself up off the floor, and fight my toxic thoughts every single day because I am worth it and I am enough, regardless of the things I’ve been telling myself lately. Sharing my struggles can show the people that look up to me that struggling is okay and is a normal part of life. It can show them that even leaders fall to the ground sometimes, and this doesn’t make them any less admirable.

For a while, I was keeping it to myself that these thoughts had resurfaced because I didn’t want to worry anyone and I didn’t want to seem weak.

However, I’m learning that fighting alone is much harder than battling with supporters at my side. Even though I didn’t really want to at first, I shared my concerns with my therapist and we’ve started unraveling the many layers that make up this complex, deeply rooted cycle of emotions. I’m working each day to remind myself of the things I tell other people each day about how important self-love and self-care is.

For anyone out there who is having a hard time right now, I stand with you.

While owning up to our struggles and admitting that we need some help can be hard, it’s much easier than the wars that we fight with ourselves every day. Letting others know that you’re feeling bad is NOT a sign of weakness. In fact, it shows that you are brave enough to be vulnerable and show your true self. I’m not giving up, and neither should you. I know that I am stronger than any horrible thought in my head and that I can overcome this. It can be so hard to fight on your bad days, I can do it and so can you, if you are in need of extra help with therapy and you are in the south of the country, check out an anxiety therapist in Austin, TX to see if they can help, but do not despair as there are so many all around the country to help you. Keep fighting.

Yes, I am struggling, but no, I’m not a failure.

Like Colleen’s article? Check out more of her articles on The Odyssey Online Self Love Beauty community.

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