My name is Siana-Rose Crawford and I suffer with Social Anxiety. For a long time, in fact, I believed with all my heart that my Social Anxiety would never allow me to have a good life. However, I’d like to say, firstly, that despite those limiting beliefs, I have travelled to seven countries, published three books, became self-employed, spoke at events, and so much more.

You see, the worst thing about any mental illness or mental health problem is the fact that it makes you feel small and alone. It makes you believe very toxic things about yourself and the world. For years, I couldn’t eat in restaurants. I couldn’t even eat in a group setting of any kind. But now, while I’m still a sufferer of Social Anxiety, I am able to eat in groups and attend delicious meals in public.

Overtime, with help and changes in your beliefs, you can challenge your anxiety or depression. I am proof of that. Wind back four years ago, and I was a completely different woman to who I am now. I also recognise now that “mental health” does not mean “mental illness” like some may believe. Mental health is something we all have, just as we have physical health. Mental wellness should be a consideration and priority for all in the same way that physical health is.

It is in caring about my general mental health that I have now cultivated many ways of taking care of my mind. As a result, I have also gained relief from my anxiety. Do I still suffer at times? Yes. Do I still shake and get a bad stomach and lose control of my breath at the mere mention of social events? Hell yes! But I’m stronger than I used to be because I do the bravest thing of all: despite my fear, I still go.

It is in going that I am slowly but surely chipping away at the anxiety and its power over me. It’s imagined power over me. Because in truth, though it’s hard to see, I am the one in control. It is my life. The anxiety may rear its ugly head and try to harm me, but I know now that I am strong enough to send it back to the hole that it came from.

I have had many experiences of feeling like a fool. Feeling powerless, weak, judged, broken, lost, isolated, and wrong for being a person with a mental illness. Gosh, I can’t even count the amount of times I’ve wished and hoped and prayed to be normal. To not have to get scared just because my friends invited me out. But I believe now that I am normal. I know now that I may have an illness, but I am not my illness. There is a person, a pretty great person, aside from the illness and what it does to me.

And there is a wonderful person aside from your illness and experiences, too.

Check out Siana-Rose’s other work and books!




Instagram: S. R. Crawford

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