I guess it’s really only in the last week or so that the first signs of Summer have truly arrived, the flowers are blooming, the sun has finally made an appearance and it’s time to start getting your body and wardrobe Summer ready. Apart from the horrifying realisation that my skin is the same colour as a milk bottle, I always find the process of shedding my Winter layers and getting my skin ready to greet broad daylight really rejuvenating, like washing away those Winter cobwebs, a spiritual cleansing of sorts. As I was going through the motions the other day – exfoliate, cleanse, moisturise – it got me thinking about layers in general and more specifically those invisible layers which we can all carry around with us for days, weeks and even months, those unnecessary layers which we too often forget to shed or scrub away.
It happens to all of us from time to time, but towards the end of last year I was feeling really down. When I think about it now, I still cannot pin point one thing in particular that was getting to me but there was definitely a few things that likely triggered the descent in my mood. It was a challenging period at work, unknowingly I was suffering from stress and I started having huge problems with my skin – something I never thought I would have to deal with, having had perfect skin all my life. As the weeks went on, my feelings gradually started to worsen and everything outside of my daily routine (work, sleep, eat) were getting harder to achieve. I remember trying to get out of seeing my friends or making up excuses as to why I couldn’t go on nights out because I just couldn’t face pretending to be happy when inside I was feeling quite the opposite. I had even put off my Christmas shopping on more than one occasion because the thought of hearing Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas made me want to tear my hair out.
On one of the days leading up to Christmas, I went to meet a friend who was home from working abroad. Had it been someone else I would likely have made up an excuse as I was feeling particularly bad that morning but she had made a huge effort to come and see me and I didn’t want to let her down. In the end I was glad I went as we had a lovely cosy lunch by the fire and a great catch up. Although I was genuinely happy to see her, I was still itching to get home where I could set my mind back to blank.
After a couple of hours I said my goodbyes and dashed out of the hotel and straight into a torrent of rain. I had no umbrella and no coat. Common sense would have told me to stop in a shop for an umbrella or to seek some shelter in the 101 places within 5 yards of me but my friend common sense had deserted me and my new friend – who couldn’t think straight to save her life – told me to keep going. My car was a 5 minute walk away but as I ran along in the rain, it felt like hours. I remember feeling like each drop of rain was like a physical assault on my body, like the rain had rained just for me, just to make me feel that much worse than I already did. It did its job as by the time I reached my car I was wracked with uncontrollable sobs as weeks of feeling down and disillusioned with life washed over me like waves.
That day I admitted that I didn’t feel ok and even that act alone instantly made me feel a little better. Admitting to people close to me about how I was feeling somehow made it more manageable, at least I didn’t have to pretend anymore or make up excuses. Just as gradual as those feelings of dread had come, they slowly left and eventually I started feeling like myself again. Talking helped, looking forward helped and surrounding myself with positivity helped.
I think we can all let things built up inside us – a bad day at work, a snide comment, an argument with a family member, changes in a relationship or worse, the genuine hard hitting blows we have no choice but to take in this crazy thing called life – but how we treat these blows and how we let them effect our sense of self is paramount to our well being.
Looking back, it’s hard to say if there was anything I could have done that would have helped my spiralling feelings, however I do think I was carrying too many layers for too long a time and it was a build up of everything that was so damaging in the end.
Now I try to keep on top of it and actively do things that can help me protect against it. My dog does this crazy all over body shake every now and again and it always makes me laugh because it happens out of nowhere but lately I started doing it too (yes behind closed doors). It may sound crazy but it helps me to remember that I need to shake away any negativity I experience in the day, both physically and mentally, to ensure I don’t carry it into the next.
This has probably been my most personal post to date but if it helps anyone out there going through a hard time I thought it was worth sharing and as much as I adore writing about fashion, I think it’s important to write about things that actually matter.
So the next time you’re met with negativity, try shaking it off before it collides with the next negative thought, experience or person you meet – it’s easier to pick a weed than stumble across a jungle.
Remember every day is a new day- it’s okay not to be okay but it’s good to be alive – the storm will pass.
Photos by http://www.PawelNowak.ie