It is Mental Health Awareness Week and this year I was tentative about writing something on the topic.
Perhaps that uncertainty shows that when it comes to my own mental health, the journey continues.
I was hesitant because I've written about it in previous years. Do people really want to hear about me again? Is writing about myself self-indulgent?
It's exactly these sort of social anxieties that have troubled me most throughout my life.
However, I have come a long way in the past few years and if writing about my journey shows others its okay to talk, it's okay to reach out and ask for help, then it's more than worth it.
I think anxiety can be a scary word when you're going through it. I prefer to think of it as worrying and some of us are simply more inclined to worry than others.
Sometimes that worry is about something specific. For me, there is usually a social theme. Do people like me? Am I being annoying? Does my employer value me? What if I'm on a social outing and I say something dumb?
Other times, I will wake up in the grips of anxiety for no apparent reason. I think the best way to describe the feeling is to imagine you are waiting for potential bad news.
There are staffing cuts at work and your boss wants to talk to you. Your relationship isn't going well and your partner wants to talk. It's that sick feeling at the bottom of your gut, the potential consequences on a loop in your head.
It's that same feeling but you have no idea why. It just happens some days.
About five years ago it got really bad. The anxiety became a deep depression. I wouldn't say I was suicidal but there were certainly times I did not want to be around anymore.
So, I went to a counsellor. It was the best move I could have made. He explained to me the way my brain works, how my previous experiences have hard wired me to worry more than others, to be oversensitive.
I have learned that I won't necessarily rid myself of the feelings of anxiety. However, I have learned that I can fight it and I can stay in control.
In the last year especially, I have become much more comfortable in my own skin. Every day I get better with my self-talk. When the old feelings come back I ask myself: "Do you really have anything to be worried about? If you do, is worrying about it going to help?"
Part of that growth was losing weight. When I sat at 120kg at the start of 2019. I was uncomfortable, insecure and constantly worried about what others must think about me.
However, I think it was more the habits I developed on that weight loss journey that have made a difference mentally.
I turn my phone off at 8 every night and read, rather than scroll mindlessly through Instagram, because I've learned how much a good night's sleep can improve my mental wellbeing.
When I wake up, I read a chapter of The Daily Stoic, a book designed to be read a few pages per day and based on the Stoic philosophy of concerning ourselves only with what we can control.
There are negative voices in your head but you can learn to question them, to challenge them, and the more often you do that the more often you will win.
I see a nutritionist who makes sure I'm fuelling my body correctly and I exercise at least six times a week.
When combined, these lifestyle changes have had an overwhelmingly positive effect on how I feel every day.
They don't have to be massive changes either, it can be one thing at a time. Go for a 30-minute walk a few days a week, set yourself a bedtime, read more.
Get comfortable with your own thoughts. There are negative voices in your head but you can learn to question them, to challenge them, and the more often you do that the more often you will win.
I think Newt Scamander, the main character in the film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, said it best when he said: "My philosophy is that worrying means you suffer twice."