Women's Health (UK) - - STRENGTH IN NUMBERS -

‘“You’re okay. And that’s okay.” When I re­alised this in the shower a few months ago, I spent the next hour on my bed in a damp towel, hav­ing a happy cry. I’d read these words be­fore. But for the first time, I ac­tu­ally be­lieved them. For some­one whose anx­i­ety dis­or­der is made worse by low self-es­teem, this was huge.

School bul­lies’ taunts about my weight and an in­nate sense of shame around my body con­trib­uted to a life­long quest for val­i­da­tion. I went on to achieve ‘A’ grades, na­tional by­lines and even landed my dream job. But in­stead of paus­ing to pat my­self on the back, the pres­sure left me ex­pe­ri­enc­ing daily panic at­tacks.

Get­ting well has been a messy, un­pre­dictable jour­ney with no neat so­lu­tions. A low daily dose of an an­tide­pres­sant helps; fort­nightly ther­apy ses­sions are es­sen­tial.

Leav­ing Lon­don for Mar­gate, I’ve found swim­ming. Mov­ing through the wa­ter, I’m able to work through the noise in my mind.’ How To Be A Grown-up by Daisy Buchanan (£14.99, Head­line)

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