Olivia Molly Rogers' tips & advice to dealing with Anxiety & Depression
Definitely, when I was about 19. I think I had known for a while, but I had been putting it off because I was scared to confront what was going on. I had seen counsellors when I was younger during some challenging times in my life.
I wouldn't say I have always 'struggled' with it, more that it has been something that I have had to learn to manage since I was teenager.
I remember it all very clearly, I had a major panic attack and finally reached out to my mum because I knew I couldn't cope on my own any longer. Mum took me to a doctor who diagnosed me with anxiety and depression. My doctor gave me a referral for a psychologist and I started seeing a psychologist regularly then.
It is definitely a very personal thing. My first couple of psychologists weren't quite right for me, but I was very lucky to find a fantastic psychologist in Adelaide after a close friend recommended her to me. I now have a wonderful psych here in Melbourne who was recommended by my GP. I think it is really important not to settle for a clinician if it doesn't feel right, you get so much more out of therapy if you really click with the professional.
When I was at my worst, with my anxiety, depression and eating disorder, all areas of my life were impacted. I avoided social situations because they made me anxious, particularly when there was food involved. My routine revolved heavily around exercise and my eating habits during that time, I felt very restricted in what I could actually cope with day to day. I feel very lucky now that through my recovery I adopted strategies that help me to keep my mental health on track. As a result, I don't feel that my work, social commitments or routine are impacted at all by my anxiety.
Definitely! I had to heal my relationship with food and exercise which took a long time. But now, I exercise regularly, not at all to 'burn calories' or to look a certain way, but purely to feel strong inside and out. I eat three meals a day and I make sure I take the time to prepare the meals & sit down to eat them. Mindful eating is a habit that has really helped my anxiety. I also try to ensure I get plenty of sleep, it sounds pretty simple and obvious, but sleep is so incredibly important for my mental health.
My psychologist taught me a breathing technique that helps to calm me down in the moment. One of my main triggers for anxiety is being overwhelmed by the amount of things I need to do on a really busy day or week. So, I write a list of what I really need to prioritise, then I write a list of things that can wait. I also talk it through with my partner and/or my mum, they are both so supportive & talking it out often makes me feel better instantly.
Talk to someone & use your support network, whether that be a close friend, family member or a professional. I know it can be scary but I promise it is way less scary than being stuck in your own head.
Jessica Sepel's book 'Living the healthy life' really helped me to heal my relationship with food. I also loved Clare Bowditch's book 'Your Own Kind of Girl'. 'The Strong Minds Club' and 'The Psychology Sisters' are a couple of great podcasts for mental health also. I have done many podcast interviews about my personal experience with anxiety, depression and disordered eating. If you search my name in your podcast app, the episodes should come up :).
"Don't be afraid to be you! Love you for who you are, don't waste time trying to be anyone else but yourself."
I spent too much time trying to change myself, my personality, my likes and interests to 'fit in'. I really wish that I hadn't, it was such a waste of time and energy. I have learned to love myself just as I am, but it took me a long time to get here.
For anyone who is going through a hard time at the moment, I want you to know that mental health struggles are nothing to be ashamed of. It is not your fault, it does not define you and it is not something you need to hide from the world. I know it’s absolutely terrifying to be caught in that headspace but you need to hold onto hope, because there is always a way out. No matter how bad something seems at the time, it will get better. Life is always going to throw us curveballs, but if we hold onto hope, we can always push through, stronger than before
If you want to hear more from Liv follow her on Instragram her handle is: @oliviamollyrogers
Liv is always so open on and honest about her mental health and is an amazing inspiration to anyone who struggles with anxiety and depression.