Today is World Mental Health Day, and I will be sharing more of my story this evening (check out the PS at the bottom of this blog for more details).
But right now, this is about you.
I know that you've gotten so caught up in everything you need to do, everything you need to achieve, everything that hasn't been done yet, all the reasons for which you feel that you are a failure.
All the excuses you need to beat yourself up.
All the times that you feel like you could have done more or been more or achieved more.
I want to remind you of something - you get to win.
Just now, sitting here with my journal, I started looking at some of the fears that I was feeling, the anxiety gnawing at my bellyband the reasons why I shouldn't do the thing that I'm going to do tonight (namely, lay out a few of the skeletons in my closet for you to see and to show you that there is a way forward, excuse me whilst I vomit with nerves!).
The fears that came up weren't unique; I'm terrified of being seen and judged, I'm terrified that one day I might need another job and someone sees this and refuses me a job because 'She's that woman who talked about her mental health OMG!". Fears that I will be unloveable, fears that I am somehow broken or defective, fears that speaking the truth about who I am is such a terrible horrible awful thing that I will clearly never work again, no-one will want to work with me, I will end up penniless and hungry and poor and cold.
Because that's what it all comes back down to in the end; our fears of being unloved, alone, and losing our safety and security.
Most people, the vast vast majority of them, stop right there.
I have this fear, it seems pretty valid, therefore I won't do the thing.
I won't apply for the promotion or the new job, I won't ask that person to spend time with me, I won't voice my needs for fear of rejection, I won't get out of bed today.
Here's what I did next that you can do too. It's so simple.
I chose not to ignore the fears or be fearless, but to choose the outcomes, choose the actions that best supported me through the path.
I got to not only acknowledge those fears but to give them a little hug and gratitude; thank you for trying to keep me safe, thank you for announcing yourselves like road signs, now I get to work around you, take action because of you.
Because here's what you forget so often.
You get to WIN.
You get to be loved, adored, to do an amazing job at work and get well paid for it, to have friends who want to hang out with you, pets who lie on you to comfort you.
Whatever it is that your heart desires, you get to have. You get to win at this game called life.
Your fears aren't there to stop you. They aren't dead ends. They're just the road signs - the warning to slow down because there's traffic ahead, or caution over the black ice; they also tell you when to speed back up, let the roof down on the convertible and dance along with the music.
I'll say it again because it bears repeating - your fears are NOT roadblocks, they're simply traffic signs.
You get to take action accordingly, adjust your route on the satnav and have an amazing journey.
You get to win.
Simply by being, you already have.
Read those few sentences again and again and again until you believe them, until you know them to be true, until they feel totally right.
You get to win.
Simply by being you.
PS This evening at 7pm UK time I am doing something that could have sent me out in a total tailspin, with nausea and hiding under the covers.
In honour of World Mental Health Day I am holding a live, free talk on mental health, specifically my own and the interplay that has with everything Searching for Serenity stands for.
And I'm doing it publicly.
Hop over to www.facebook.com/serenitysearch and RSVP on the event that's listed there. Come along, join in, share, stay silent and watch, it's completely up to you.
But I'm going to be honest, I'm going to lay it out, because we all get to win, regardless of our fears, anxieties and mental health struggles. We ALL get to win.
I'll see you there and appreciate your support