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ANXIETY: Why We Can Feel Like A Fraud In Our Own Lives

Anxiety, we should we all lift the mask, FashionBite, World mental health day

With World Mental Health Day (Tuesday 10 October) it’s so important to recognise our mental health as crucial to our wellbeing, with equal weight to our physical health. Anxiety is something most of us struggle with at some point in our lives, to varying degrees, and it’s something that can be manageable or completely debilitating.

Donna Lancaster, founder of therapeutic retreat The Bridge, talks about anxiety in the form of masks, that we put up to defend ourselves and keep ‘safe’ from the world. She explains: “So many people find comfort in being this way and yet in doing so, they are often covering up unprocessed grief, anxiety or pain. We often have many masks that we wear for different occasions: one for work, one for family, one for the school gates etc. All of these masks are ultimately about seeking approval and a desire to belong. However, these different masks all make up the false self and leave us feeling like a fraud in our own lives.”

Anxiety, we should we all lift the mask, FashionBite, World mental health day

Her therapy focuses on allowing individuals to drop these masks and reveal their true selves. This takes a huge amount of courage, in a world invested in us striving for perfection. She believes that authenticity is the key, allowing us to remember who we really are.

It’s an interesting perspective. We all have different masks, I can definitely relate to that and even more so now with a “Mum mask” to add to the mix. This year has been an extremely hard one in many ways, with the death of two people very close to me and another with cancer. The mask goes up and you keep going, you have to for your children and family. You have to be strong. But with too many masks, one layered after another and another, you struggle to breathe and who is the person underneath it all?

Social media, as much as it can be a force for good, is also a force for bad when it comes to our mental health. It portrays a completely unauthentic life, one we strive for but that doesn’t really exist. For every ‘natural’ shot you see on Instagram, there are 400 other ones that have been deleted because they’re not quite right. Behind every photo there is another story.

Drop the mask and be yourself. It’s easier said than done. But, if there’s one thing you can do today it’s be kinder to yourself. Talk to yourself as you would do a best friend: be positive, be encouraging, be loving and be supportive. Be your own best friend today and you might just surprise yourself.Sign-Up To FashionBite’s Weekly News

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