5 Lies My Head Has Told Me

They started when I was around 16. The lies in my head. I remember the first one that told me what to eat and how to live till, well to be honest still a little this day. I’ve quietened it down, challenged it enough to stay on the safe edge of healthy though it only takes one bad day for it to get real bossy. Yep, mental health is something I’ve struggled with for years. Our family home fell apart and ever since I’ve been grappling for a sense of control, trying to find my place in the world. Gripping tightly to friendships, routines, anything to make me feel safe. Funny, because if I was to break down some of those routines, the last thing they ever were is safe.

I’ve never wanted to write about this stuff. It’s been easier to pretend It’s not there, crack on with a smile. Though here I am, 35 years old, back at my Mum’s house on the verge of burn out and thinking it’s about time. I know how terrifying being alone in your head can be, the lies it tells. And I am slowly learning that the only way out is to face them. Deep breath, here goes.

1) Everyone’s a liar

Oh, this one’s a goody. When I was at the height of an eating disorder surviving on little more than fruit and vegetables, it’s what kept me going. My Mum who loves me more than I ever let myself believe was deeply concerned by my jagged hip bones, thin face and pasty skin. As were friends and most strangers, I recognised the alarm in their eyes though I refused to give in. They were all against me, they didn’t understand I was fine. Though of course I wasn’t. And it took me a long time to realise the biggest liar was in my head.

2) You are not good enough

Hands up people pleasers. I joined this club very early on, from teachers, employers, friends. I was constantly trying to outdo myself never quite satisfied. Every time I hit a goal. I was on to the next one. Never letting any of the praise sink into my bones long enough for it to nourish a sense of accomplishment. Working with a career coach helped nurture my drive, though long chats with my Mum over lazy mornings restored my self-worth. It really is to good talk, and trusting it’s ok to take my foot of the pedal has been life-changing

3) You don’t deserve to be happy

Happiness is simple, they say. Though it takes more than two Weetabix to wake up every day and catch it. You have to believe in your whole heart you deserve it. Not a little bit, or not as much as your sister, mum or social media stories that make you feel less worthy. There is enough to go around. It took me years of hopping on and off the happiness train to trust I deserved a spot. Fill your cup up, even on the hard days. A burst of afternoon sunshine when racing towards a deadline, PJ’s and ice cream straight from the tub. Sometimes, it only takes a spoon of sugar to smile through the storm.

4) Love isn’t real

Hmm, this a tough one. I want love, don’t we all? Fell head over heels at fifteen and again in my twenties. I devoured rom-com after rom-com though however many love stories I watched, there was one that played in the background. My Mum’s. She gave her heart to two men though neither of them looked after it. I watched it break over bottles of Bacardi while we played move-around houses. Though there were many hearts that loved her through it, my brothers, my sisters, her friends, my Nan’s and mine. Some love stories are short. Though I know, the strongest love, last forever.

5) You will never make it

However high I climbed, money I made or qualifications I bagged. This little lie bought me to the brink of exhaustion. Friday night I climbed into a cab leaving my swish Chelsea pad and fancy lifestyle and cried my heart out to a cab driver on the two- hour journey back home. Surrounded by my family, Mum’s crazy dogs, nature and a fridge full of food, that lie is being evicted. Making it is making nothing unless it makes you happy. And the truth is, everything I ever needed to be happy was what I left behind rushing out to chase it. The hum-drum of normal life. Fixing sticks for my nephew, walking the dog, nosing through Mum’s face creams.

Before you rush out to make it, dig deep and ask yourself what that really looks like? And it doesn’t have to be fame and fortune. It’s perfectly ok to get up wiggle your toes and have as much mischief as possible.

Whatever lies your head traps you in, it’s never too late to find the truth.

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