This time a year ago...
This time nearly a year ago I spent my first two weeks shooting for A Place In The Sun.
I'd spent years trying to get a regular gig and I couldn't have been happier when I got my shot.
When this picture popped up on my facebook as being a year ago I wanted to share it again because it was a huge milestone for me, not only in taking the next step in my career but making massive progress on my personal journey of doing things that at one time I didn't think possible.
Presenting on channel 4 for a place on the sun is a dream come true, but also a dream I worked hard for, pushing myself and going well and truly out of my comfort zone in a way that only someone who's experienced trauma, depression and anxiety can really appreciate.
Having said that I believe we all have or will experience anxiety and or depression at some point in our lives on some scale, and I'm pretty sure when anyone starts a new job there is a bit of anxiety attached to it, fear of the unknown and all that. I'll save the whole story of my journey through acrophobia, anxiety, panics attacks and depression for another time.
The week before I left to shoot my first ever episode I hardly slept, I was agro, had knots in my stomach and snapped at any questions my ex-boyfriend asked me.
I wanted to share this because one year in, it marks massive progress for me. I think most of us can understand what it feels to be filled with self-doubt, for me the week before leaving for my first few weeks presenting A Place In The Sun my anxietiy was through the roof, I was lashing out, had many sleepless nights and that familiar feeling of panic was back in my stomach. Personally I’d spent years trying to hide this part of myself and lived in fear that it would prevent me following my dreams. That’s why one year in, I wanted to reflect and share how feelings can change in time.
In this picture I look extremely happy, we'd just wrapped on my first week filming and I couldn't have been happier. I managed it, I surived. That sounds so dramatic but having anxietity is dramatic.
That week how I felt inside, couldn't have been further from what the picture looks like.
It’s so important for us to be aware and be kind to a family friends and even strangers, even if we don’t understand what they’re going through. Years ago when I struggled to get out of the car in the city without taking Valium I walked into the modelling agency, mum saying to me ‘just pretend to be someone else, you can do it.’
So I did and she was right, I still got very sweaty, and after the meeting was sick, I couldn't get home quick enough, to safety and comfort but I did it even if I was pretending to be someone else because I didn't want the alternative, staying at home and life being over, over before it even started.
Don't get me wrong the journey that took me from dropping out of Uni beacuase I couldn't leave the flat and as a result had to move home, and then to walking into that modelling agency took a few years, I think, some of it is honestly a blur, and I hit a pretty awful low. I ended up in hospital before I decided the want to try at life again.
Anyway, that first step going into the modelling agency was the hardest. The next step going to audition was just as hard, but I wasn't sick that time. The next thing was having to travel on my own on the train to a job, back to being just as hard as the first trip, but the next time it was a bit easier.
Nothing happens overnight and sometimes steps will be at that point in time the hardest thing you've ever done.
When this picture was taken, it was like the first time I walked into that modelling agency my stomach was in knots, I was sweaty and I was full of self-doubt.
Back to my first few weeks on A Place In The Sun, I was on location for two weeks, I hardly slept and I had extreme cramps in my stomach every day. The cramps were something I hadn't experienced before- not like that. One evening when we finished filming I went for a walk with the director along the beach, as we were chatting away I suddenly doubled over and couldn't breathe or talk clutching at my stomach, eventually she got me back to the hotel room, the next day it happened again, I felt so faint and I was getting such bad cramps that when we wrapped I went to A&E, they tested me for everything and did an x-ray, when the doctor showed me my intestine on the x-ray he said that I basically it was very enlarged, and asked if I had been stressing or had IBS. I had never had any symptoms of IBS prior to this trip but all the pressure I'd put myself under and all the anxiety of something new and being out of my comfort zone had brought it on.
The picture marks progress for me, when I go away to shoot now I genuinely feel excited, I feel comfortable and I love my job.
As happy as I look in this picture I wasn't, but I faked it, I went back I did it again, and again. It didn't get easier straight away, really it's taken until now, now I can do it and feel like I own it.
As much as I hate having anxiety the more that you push yourself slowly and steadily to break those boundaries the more you conquer it and the more you beat it. I just wanted to share the story behind this picture because if you're scared to make the first step I can promise you it'll get easier and if you think you can't do it pretend to be someone else, Mums are always right. Now it's finally just me there and doing it not Kate Moss.