So Girls, for all of you who were there on Saturday at the House Of Vans London - Girl Skate Camp you would have seen myself, Stef Nurding, Lucy Adams and Daphne Greca talk about issues around Mental Health.
Stef openly talked about her issues with Anxiety and how Instagram has lead her to question her own body image, self worth and has quite frankly burnt her out. She opened up by saying that despite her having all these 'Followers' it did not mean a thing and that it was all a fake reality the posts we all share online, a little snippet of our "So called perfect life."
Stef gave us some of her tips on how she is tackling this, by focusing more on her Skateboarding, reducing her time online and self love.
Following on from Stef I began to tell you my story of a lifetime of Self Doubt, Depression and Anxiety.
During my 20's ( 2000's pre social media) I was faced with the demanding pressures we all face, who am I, what career am I supposed to be pursuing, am I pretty and thin enough, do I have the right clothes, why I am not fluent in seven languages, play a musical instrument, travelling the world on fancy holidays and making loads and loads of money. Plus being a pro skateboarder was a big deal for me at the time.
When all of these things seemed unobtainable I started to slip into a dark place within my own mind which I like to call "The Monster". Throughout my whole life this Monster has stayed with me, most days I wake up with a huge fear of anxiety, even at 34 years old, I'm still worrying am I good enough, damn it I didn't go to the gym yesterday, I burnt the pans again when cooking bake beans, I'm not travelling the world as a blogger, photographing myself in a bikini in exotic locations, constantly working out, I can't speak French and therefore feel this huge amount of guilt because aren't we all meant to be aspiring for this so called 'Perfect Life".
This perfect life notion has always been around, however I feel with Instagram we have all got ourselves into this negative mindset that we should all be these perfect humans achieving everything in life but instead of being ourselves and becoming beautiful in our own right we instead spend hours scrolling through Instagram feeling sorry for ourselves that we are not on that surf holiday in Bali, with a perfect ass and abs! Ok maybe thats me sometimes however we all have a tendency to compare, the thief of joy ladies!
Now the one thing I hope, can bring you joy from Saturdays talk, was did you notice that all the women sat in that room were gorgeous, talented, confident enough to try a new skill and make new friends but more importantly we all felt the same. We were together making each other feel better by just talking and being open about a taboo subject. I don't know about you but just seeing how many of you felt the same as me actually relieved my symptoms and made me realise, I'm not alone and that we can all take on "The Monsters" together!
Now after a tough few years of several psychologist therapy meetings, anti-depressants and the sheer strength and support of my family I have finally got a hold on "The Monster" and I would love to give you my tips on how to beat your Monsters.
1. SKATEBOARDING - First and foremost the most amazing thing I have ever done in my life, it is really good for your fitness, keeps you toned and healthy, you get out in the fresh air which is amazing for your skin.
Its learning balance, co-ordination and strength which is also really beneficial for your brain, it keeps you feeling positive because you are learning a new skill.
You get to travel, make friends, smile, have a laugh and be yourself.
Skateboarding can be enjoyed at all levels, I went from not being able to push, to grinding ramps and doing flips tricks, to an injury, to just cruising. My point is you don't have to be throwing yourself down a set of stairs or competing in the XGames to be a skater, just get on your board and find whats comfortable for you.
2. FRIENDSHIPS - Skaters are the nicest humans on the planet FACT! You will make a friend on your first day of skating I promise you and obviously with the amazing Girl Skate UK and all they do for the scene you can always pop along to one of the events and they will be there with open arms to get you started.
Its important to remember girls, you will always have haters, I have loads of people who either don't agree with what I'm doing or we just don't click as people and thats ok, my motto is "If you don't like me, I must be doing something right" but also try to be kind to people even if they are not being so nice because they will be dealing with "Monsters" too and 99.9% of the time its got nothing to do with you.
Plus kindness always brings them around eventually.
Ask for help, when I told my friends and family what was going on I felt scared and ashamed would they think I was insane, or just feeling sorry for myself. However it was the complete opposite true friends will be there for you no matter what. Through opening up I have got the help I needed and made more friends by being honest, open and myself.
"Hi my name is Charlotte, I'm anxious and have depression every now and then, if I need some alone time or haven't replied to your text or Instagram update, its nothing personal I will, but I'm just doing some me time right now and thats ok. "
3. 30 MINS SOCIAL MEDIA TIME PER DAY - So as I mentioned on Saturday Social Media feeds that "Monster" so in order for me to feel happy and positive about myself I allocate 30 mins per day where I upload content to Instagram, answer any messages and have a quick look at what is being put out there that day. Then I switch off, or put my phone away.
The one thing I noticed was the world isn't going to end, I'm not going to miss out on anything and I had more time to focus on learning a new skill, skateboarding more, taking more photos and actually talking to real humans in real life! Laughter was something I missed staring at technology all day long, when I started getting out and about more, organising "No Phone Catch Ups" with my girlfriends we all benefited from it and had a laugh. More of this please, plus its good for your heart!
4. FOLLOWERS V FOLLOWING - I only follow people who inspire me, who make me feel positive and skateboarding. Plus cute animals and funny accounts who take the mick out of everyday life, this is always a winner.
@fuckjerry and @celestebarber - Hilarious!
5. FIND YOUR INNER ARTIST - Skateboarding has so many artistic avenues it can be hours upon hours of inspiration. I love decorating my board and Stef Nurding has some great ideas over on her blog. Danni from Girl Skate UK always has some really cute creative ideas she's amazing in the garden too, watch skate videos old and new, start a band, watch documentaries, be inspired by Eloise Dorr and her incredible illustrations, learn to draw.
Skateboarding can bring you so much creativity, if you just look at your fellow skaters and get inspired by them.
6. TOGETHER - Most important thing I want you to remember is we are all in this together, skaters stick together and I hope we see you at the next event which is the 31st March 2018 in Leicester Broom Skate Park - GIRL SKATE UK 4th Birthday - PARTY!