Mental health for me, has always been an ongoing struggle, with room for dismissal.
My story of self scolding began about 7 years ago when I had tell tale symptoms of anxiety and depression. With a mixture of stress at school, balancing social activities, as well as aggressive & manipulative parents - I was starting to distance myself from everything. I very rarely thought of anything other then an endless depressive ringing. My thoughts of doubt, insecurity and numbing silences still creep in. I have just learnt to deal with it better. I was diagnosed about 4 years ago with major depression & crippling anxiety, given a concoction of anti-depressants to try.
In the beginning especially, I didn't want to appear to be 'attention seeking' so I put off the idea of getting help. I was always told that there's someone worse off, and so I just carried on for years in silence. Luckily, I had the most wonderful friend, named Katy who went to the nurse behind my back and sought me help. From there, I received some level of guidance from professionals. Katy supported me for many years but as we left high school we grew apart, and I found myself isolated once again. Unsure of what I wanted to do, I decided to take an apprenticeship on an eventing yard.
I had never Evented myself, yet alone groomed! Having loved watching events (such as Belton International) and following the likes of Oliver Townend and Gemma Tattersall, I decided to take the plunge.
The intensive atmosphere of grooming 6-7 horses a day and long, grueling hours on the yard tested every inch of me. I was 16 at the time, and it definitely made me mature! For that, and all the experiences, I am grateful. However, the lack of appreciation and time was something that took its toll. Grooms in the eventing world do not get enough credit. The anxiety of prepping and being at an event would keep me up all night, and have me in tears at least weekly. For a few months, it put me off horses completely and I had zero effort to even do my own 3 horses. However, not knowing what I wanted to do with my future pushed me to paint on a smile and continue to achieve the qualification within the apprenticeship.
"The anxiety of prepping and being at an event would keep me up all night, and have me in tears at least weekly."
After much determination and perseverance, the 2017 eventing season was coming to a close and I hated the fact that it ended! I was loving it! The pressure of it all had became something I thrived upon, and the sense of pride I had seeing the horses run XC and coming back clear will forever be something I hold close to me. It made me 10X stronger a person than I could of ever imagined, developing my people skills and my horse skills within the industry. For me, its the best thing I could have done mentally.
I still struggle now, but after my apprenticeship, I know I can fight whatever is thrown at me! There is a fire in me burning somewhere! I just had to push through, and believe in myself. With anything in life, there will always be a finish line to cross and there is always someone, somewhere with a shoulder to cry on. I am still figuring out what professional path I will choose but with the help of a few brilliant people, I am sure I can figure it out as I go along!
As long as horses are in my life in one way or another, I'll keep striving.
- Freya x