Recently, I had was able to interview the wonderful blogger, Adventure and Anxiety. Beth is such a wonderful woman, who is always an absolute treasure and steals my heart by being an avid reader and also fellow BPD sufferer. Beth was also kind enough to include me in her post on Mental Health Bloggers You Should Be Following last month.
First up, tell us a little about who you are, your interests and your favourite album of all time?
I’m Beth, I’m 27 and from Edinburgh. I live with my husband and our two cats, and I enjoy road trips, writing letters, reading, blogging and naps (I wish that was a joke haha!) My favourite album of all time is probably ‘Rumours’ by Fleetwood Mac, although Biffy Clyro’s ‘Only Revolutions’ is a close second!
Why did you start Adventure and Anxiety?
I started blogging at the beginning of the year after leaving a job that left me feeling awful about myself. I felt unfulfilled, like I was wasting my life, and that I had nothing of interest to say. My anxiety was at an all-time high, and I felt like I couldn’t do what I wanted to do. Blogging gave me a bit of control back, encouraged me to get outdoors and explore, and gave me the confidence to share how mental illness affects me.
How do you feel mental health affected you and your life?
I think I’ve probably been dealing with mental health for around 15 years, so it’s fair to say that it’s had a big impact on my life. I was around the age of 13 when I started struggling with depression and self harm. I felt so alone and so empty inside, harming myself was the only release I seemed to have for these emotions I was struggling to express.
My adult life has been more affected by anxiety. I feel like it has held me back so much, and it can strike so randomly that I find it hard to figure out coping mechanisms. I can feel a bit helpless and have become slightly dependant on my husband which isn’t ideal. Alongside this I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. This in particular is the hardest one for me to deal with, as I find it affects my relationships to a much greater extent. It’s hard to see your mental illness impacting the people you love.
What has your experience with mental health services been like?
Luckily when I was first diagnosed, I had the most incredible GP who listened to everything I had to say, took me seriously and really cared about me. She was amazing and probably saved my life. She put me on medication and referred me to counselling, but for one reason or another (the extremely long waiting list in a town I was only in for uni being the main reason) I didn’t end up going.
Once I graduated university I did try and go to private counselling, but it wasn’t really for me. With BPD you often hear horrible things abut how sufferers are manipulative, and I ended up being so worried about whether I was manipulating the counsellor to feel sorry for me that I couldn’t concentrate on what we were talking about. I do think that CBT could be useful for me though; if I could afford it I’d love to try it one day.
How do you feel writing has affected your mental health?
I love having an outlet to get everything off my chest. I can spend days worrying about the same thing, but as soon as I write it out it feels like a weight off my shoulders. Plus it’s always kind of reassuring to see how many other people are in the same boat – we all support each other.
What motivates you as a person to keep going?
Knowing that ‘this too shall pass’. I know that no matter how awful I feel, it can and will change. I am determined to do more with my life and spend as much of it as possible happy and content. I won’t let an illness win.
Honestly, how do you spend the inevitable dark days?
I like to be alone, as I’m quite introverted as it is. I try and sleep it off, read a book, or I stick on Netflix and mindlessly watch something. I’ll also always have a nice hot bath with some Lush bath products – they always brighten my mood a bit.
Many people in the public eye are coming out as having mental health issues at the moment. What are your opinions on this?
I think it’s brilliant that we are finally beginning to recognise that this is an issue that affects so many people, and is not something to be ashamed of. It’s really motivating to see that you can still live a fulfilling and successful life even with a mental illness. I do think we need to be clear on what constitutes an illness though – feeling nervous is not the same as being too anxious to leave your house. I also hope that we could extend the conversation to cover a bit more than the main focuses of anxiety and depression, as we still don’t hear enough about other illnesses in my opinion.
What are your top tips for self care?
I like forcing my cats to give me a cuddle; they might not enjoy it but it makes me feel better. On really bad days I don’t necessarily want to talk, but I do still like just spending the day under a duvet on the sofa with my husband. I also like a nice hot Lush bath to relax – something with lavender to encourage sleep as I have a lot of sleep issues, or bergamot to ease anxiety.
Any last words of wisdom?
There are people in your life who would do anything they could to help you. You don’t have to face any of this alone; reaching out and talking sounds scary but you won’t regret it. And remember that it’s totally fine to put yourself first sometimes. Mental health is just as important as physical health, so be kind to yourself.
Again, you can find Beth over at Adventure And Anxiety!