Everyone feels anxious at times; it’s our body’s way of keeping us alert. But it becomes an issue when worry or fear starts to interfere with your day-to-day life. This week for Mental Health Month, our CARE Foundation partner ReachOut has shared Belle’s* story on how ReachOut, and connecting with others for support, has helped her manage her anxiety.
I was bullied when I was younger, there were lots of people I didn’t get along with and this to a lot of negative talk and actions thrown my way.
I wanted to be normal and to fit in, I everyone to like me. After a while I essentially bullied myself and eventually, I became my own worst enemy.
I wasn’t in a good head my body image was crap and my eating started suffering because of this. My health and my spark started to deteriorate. I didn’t even notice how much damage I was doing to myself trying to fit in, I was hurting myself emotionally and physically and out of control.
Everything started to be out of my control, my eating or lack thereof was causing my body and my mind to shut down. I couldn’t control my emotions - I was constantly sick and sad. The cycle just went round and round. I struggled doing daily tasks, like walking down the street. It wasn’t uncommon for me when in class or walking down the street by myself to start getting dizzy, I would see dots in my vision and feel a hot flush before everything went black and I passed out.
This went on for a few years and I was just about to turn 17 when I finally admitted I needed help. I couldn’t keep living like that, I wanted to be the bright, bubbly girl I once was. The girl with a million dreams and a spark in her eye. I was sick of hating myself and putting my body through so much torment. I reached out to my mum, and my family and my friends. I luckily had a great team of people by this point wanting to help me get back to being me.
After reaching out I was diagnosed with anorexia, depression and anxiety – it really hit me how unwell I had become. With the help of my family, friends and some amazing medical professionals - but most importantly myself I fought to get better.
At I would take two steps forward and five steps back, I’d have a great day and then three bad ones. But I kept on pushing through. I found lots of coping strategies, nature, breathing, yoga and meditation. There are some great apps that can help with all that, including the app Breathe which I still use all the time.
Flash forward a few years and I am now 24. I have a job, I have travelled, I love food and I have a smile on my face more days than not. I still struggle with anxiety, and my eating at times, I’m not saying life is picture-perfect all the time, but I have steps in place to help me, people to support me and lots of breathing techniques, oh the breathing techniques!
5 years ago if you had told me that I would be able to be this functioning, I probably would have laughed and cried and called you crazy. I never thought I would get here. For those of you who are struggling with fitting in, loving yourself, being kind to yourself or struggling emotionally in any way all I can say is you are not alone, and by reaching out you can find so many great resources and so much support!
Whether it be your friends, family, maybe the old lady you sent next to on the bus - she surely will have some wise words, or if reaching out to someone in person isn’t for you - offers amazing online resources at a touch of a button for so many different things, you can find online support or research what’s going on!
If you can only take one thing away from my words today- Know that you are worthy of happiness and reaching out for help was the best thing I ever did.
is the most accessed online mental health service for young people and their parents in Australia. Their trusted self-help information, peer-support program and referral tools save lives by helping young people be well and stay well. is a free service that’s available anytime and pretty much anywhere. If you need more support or information, head to au.ReachOut.com
*Not her real name