My name is Sheridan and this is my Open Letter…
The day I got admitted to hospital for extremely high heart palpitations I knew something wasn’t right, I got told it was an anxiety attack but being 18 and naïve I didn’t think anything of it and ignored it thinking it would go away.
Then it wasn’t until I made the move 5 years later to Townsville with an ex-partner that it crept back to make an appearance again. I still remember the day that I was told I had anxiety….
Sitting in the docs room I was confused, upset, angry and embarrassed because I thought they were just asthma attacks and the thought of telling my ex (who at this time was the only source of support I had as my family lived in Brisbane) scared the crap out of me so I went for a drive along the waterfront and sat on the beach with my toes in the sand, soaking in the smell of the salty air.. Waterside is my calming agent.
Now I don’t want to bad mouth my ex as much as he’s a piece of sh*t but he was like fuel to a fire, he accelerated my anxiety by mentally abusing me telling me numerous times a week (if not daily) that I had to get fake boobs and lose weight on my stomach (anyone who knows me knows that weight has always been an issue for me and have been trying to gain weight for YEARS!), that aside he monitored what I would eat and told me to go to gym every day so as you can tell myself worth diminished a LOT! There is a silver lining as much as this was a horrible feeling I was able to realise that like being by the water going to the gym stimulated me, I found another outlet.
There came a point in our relationship where we’d stopped being intimate, I wasn’t quite sure why after all I had been listening to him and going to gym so he would be attracted to me, then I found out he had a wandering eye and hands.. That had opened a whole lot of issues when it came to dating in the future, some that still pop up on occasions.
I began seeing a psychologist once a fortnight and here she introduced me into meditating but that still wasn’t enough for me to crush those inner demons that kept surfacing from the daily reminders that I wasn’t “good enough”, it all got too much for me one day and while he was out I got everything ready to, at this point I thought was the easiest way to end those bad thoughts.
Thankfully for whatever reason something clicked and I knew this is not the outcome I wanted, and this was the turning point for me. I actively started looking for jobs to move back to Brisbane and I was luckily enough to move in with a couple that I had met for a few weeks until I was able to move back home, in this time I shut myself off from everyone completely.
I didn’t know how to communicate to anyone, even family so I sat in my room and listened to music, mostly Amity Affliction, and here I started writing daily journals of how I was feeling, some days I would even write letters to the people I wanted to reach out to but kept them for myself, for some reason even writing this down felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders and I felt more lighter.
It’s hard to choose a favourite song but one that I really resonate with when I wrote was “Open Letter” by Amity Affliction, they are real and they express their struggles with anxiety and depression, so when I heard these lyrics from the chorus;
“So let me give you my heart, let me give you my tears,
Let me give you my life, let me give you my fears”
I knew that having “support” doesn’t always necessarily mean having someone it can be any outlet that works for you, so I encourage anyone who is struggling and can’t really “use their words” to speak, write it down, write your best friend a letter and sit with them while they read it.
I had this under control for a few years until the end of 2016 when I met a TOTAL douchebag, it was only a short and memorable encounter (to say the least) that threw me back into this black hole that I felt like I couldn’t get out of, I didn’t turn to those outlets that had worked previously.
Instead I thought I would try drinking so much that I would forget or doing drugs (sorry mum and dad if you’re reading!!), this made things 10000 times worse. It wasn’t until my sister’s partner picked us up from a night out and I was crying uncontrollably that he had to pull over and sit in the back while she drove home (she was sober) and cuddled me the whole way that I knew I had to pull myself together, I didn’t realise how many people were worried because that’s not the Sheridan they knew.
I bit the bullet and got back into meditating and fitness and I started to feel more like myself and was starting to see results, this opened up a new confidence so I downloaded Tinder, (they’re not all horror stories from that App or maybe I just swiped right to a Unicorn), here I met my amazing partner who has been so patient and supportive.
It’s a slow process but he has helped me find my voice, and I know he’s my Dwayne Johnson when it comes those dark days which are becoming less and less.
It is scary opening up and letting everyone see the raw side that I’ve held onto by myself for so long, but it’s to show everyone whose reading you are not alone and you will have your bad days but they won’t last long if you stick to your outlet.