I have a little part of my story and journey so far that I want to share with you today. Something I really want to talk about is a lesson I’ve learned about not letting our circumstances keep us small, but before I dig into that I think it’s important that I share a little of my story and the journey that lead me to learning this lesson along the way.
Three years ago I was in my second year of university when I experienced my first mental health breakdown. A year and a half later, just a few months after graduating, I experienced my second breakdown. At this point I had to quit my day job and move back home to live with my parents after completely hitting rock bottom. With my better half Alex and our pesky cat Marcy in tow, we moved back to Manchester completely broken and beaten from trying to stay on top of an illness that was controlling so many areas of our life. I shared little bits of this journey in the past on this blog, but the part I didn’t quite go into was the shame that came from being unable to hold down a steady job due to my illness. I’ve spent the last few years going from doctor to doctor, waiting list to waiting list, from diagnosis to diagnosis, and rarely finding any clear answers along the way. I was completely broke, I felt completely useless, and I struggled to even give myself any kindness or patience as I was so ashamed of how my life had turned out.
Somehow, with so much thanks to Alex and my family and friends who still saw what I was capable of even when I couldn’t, I started to find the fight I needed inside of myself to change my life and really start living again. I started leaving the house, I stopped being so afraid of my symptoms, and I quit telling myself the lie that I was worthless and without hope. I started therapy where I was able to really understand my illness and the different ways it can manifest, and I took the leap into the world of freelancing and started the creative coaching business where I now spend my days.
Last week we signed for a beautiful (albeit tiny) apartment together that we’re moving into in September, and I couldn’t quite believe how far we’d come since we moved home just over a year and a half ago and felt so ashamed and broken for being unable to provide completely for ourselves. From the girl who experienced two mental health breakdowns before her 22nd birthday, to now being booked out weeks in advance doing a job that I love and planning my first grown up home with my favourite person in the world, the biggest thing that allowed me to get from there to here was when I stopped allowing my circumstances to keep me small.
I’m always going to be sick. Living with mental health illness isn’t something you can just shake off one day - for many of us, it’s there for life. But it’s no longer this scary controlling part of my mind that I live in fear of - it’s a part of me, one that I’m starting to understand and resent less and less each and every single day. It’s taught me that it’s okay to be a little broken - that ultimately the things that break us can be the things that push us to do big and beautiful things that we never thought we’d be capable of. It’s not an excuse to just sit back and let life happen to me - it’s a reason to fight harder, work harder, and dream bigger than ever before. Because when life showed me how fragile it can be, I decided to not waste anymore time staying small and insignificant just because I have an illness that is damn hard to live with.
We all have circumstances that could keep us small.
But we’re not the things that have happened to us - I know it’s such a cliche to say, but it’s also undeniably true. We are more than where we came from, and we are more than the plate that is handed to us in life. We are more than just the stepping stones we take to get from A to B - I felt so ashamed for moving back home in my 20s, yet now I know that without that I wouldn’t be where I am now, and there’s absolutely no shame in leaning on others in your hour of need.
Jennypurr is for the movers, makers and doers who are working crazy hard to make big and beautiful things happen online, but so much of the conversation I want to have with you is more than just the strategies and practicalities behind the work that we do. Life is seriously tough sometimes, it can kick our ass every single step of the way, but we do have a choice to make - whether we allow our circumstances to keep us small or not.
You’re so much more than the crap that has come your way.
You’re also so much more than the mistakes you’ve made and the things you wish you could change. Keep on making big and beautiful things happen - I know how damn hard it can be, but I also know that we are so much more capable than we think we are. Don’t let your circumstances keep you small - be bigger, bolder, and braver than all the crap life throws your way.
Because throughout all of that there’s some pretty awesome moments too.
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