MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS DAY - ABI’S JOURNEY

I’ve always said my life changes come in huge waves and I don’t do things by halves. Every shift in my life comes with its fair share of drama and tears and the last month has been no different.

About a month ago, I woke up, got a shower and promptly passed out in it. Nevertheless, I got myself on the train to Leeds and proceeded to go and try to smash the day. But it was as if I was empty. There was literally nothing in me left to give. Every single interaction was a struggle, every breath that I was trying to take was difficult, no task could have my focus. All of the stuff that’s usually inside me pushing me on, was just gone.

I made a doctor's appointment (that in itself was a battle) but by the time I got home, we realised I needed one a lot sooner so Jodie dragged me to the clinic the next morning where I proceeded to howl and wail at a Doctor. She said the words; ‘crisis point, anxiety, stress’. Then told me to get the bus to Sefton Park and take a walk. Queue me having a meltdown in the middle of Church Street and Jodie screaming down the phone at the Doctors surgery. They gave me a sick note. 2 weeks off and do things that you enjoy.

It took me approximately 2 days to realise this was going to be long and difficult. Over the past couple of months, maybe even more, I had literally reduced my life down to going to work, cooking dinner and going to sleep. I didn’t know what I enjoyed and I definitely hadn’t been doing any of it lately. It took approximately 3 days for me to realise, I needed to make some big, BIG changes in my life and now needed to be the time to do them. The anxiety had been so wrapped up in my own absolute thunderstorm of high-performance, my own emotions had been so covered up the responsibilities that I’d heaped on myself. It literally took me to the point of breaking to go… ‘Abi, what have you been doing to yourself?’

If you’ve read Jodie’s blog from a couple of months back, you will have read about her struggle with stress and without me realising (I’m only now reflecting back on it), so much of her emotions were echoing my own. I couldn’t face making decisions and was thrown into a panic if anything outside of my own control happened. I would stress about making dinner in the evening, from thinking about what to cook to buying the ingredients, thinking about what time I’d be able to cook at, the cleaning up, the whole thing stressing me, unnecessarily. Those kinds of scenarios in my head took up nearly all of my energy. And they could be around anything from the huge (where am I going with my life?), to the innately mundane (why can’t I find the energy to clean the bathroom?) At the end of the day, I was left with nothing, just felt totally depleted - like a deflated balloon, just mustering up enough energy to fall asleep in front of the telly and drag myself the bed.

Those couple of weeks off gave me a tiny pause in my life, and that tiny pause said to me: ‘Is this how you want to continue?’ ‘Can you do this for another ‘x’ amount of years?’. The answer was so clear. 

I’ve always been pretty open on social media, but as such, I don’t want to glamourise or feign light-heartedness. These last couple of months (and in particular, this month) have been wildly tough and sad and just every single emotion you could think of. But it’s also been exactly what I needed. 

I left my full-time job last Monday and now I really have made that big change. I left it because it no longer served me and I left it because I now know how fiercely I need to protect my energy. I’m positive if I carried on I would have made myself very unwell. 

But more than that, I left it because it’s time to build the stuff that I’ve always wanted to build. It’s time to become the architect of my own life. I’ve been so privileged to work on so many other people's projects and goals for a really long time but this is when I get to build my own; as part of WEDGE Collective and a (secret) new brand that is in the making. I’m going to be working on projects that excite me and with projects that serve the communities, I really care about.

None of these changes are quick fixes for anxiety, and all of the things that are ahead of me, will, of course, be challenging and tough. But I am really sure now that I’m doing the right thing for myself and my pursuit of happiness. And that’s what’s important, right? 

ABI INGLIS
OPERATIONS DIRECTOR