That’s me, my name is Megan, but I don’t know who I am. It’s weird being a person / existing and living a life but not knowing yourself or understanding the depths and the layers of what makes you, you.
At the beginning of the year, I realised that my mental health was the lowest it had ever been, and I was determined to change it and get better. I didn’t want my anxiety to hold me back anymore. So I started making little changes to work on it. Like making all my phone appointments face-to-face ones. It was scary at first, but slowly it got easier. I got more used to seeing people and just by making that one little adjustment, things got better. Slowly but surely.
I identified early on that I have very low levels of self-confidence and self-esteem which were fueling my anxiety. I wouldn’t be able to continue battling my mental health without addressing those particular issues first.
The job centre referred me to different organisations and that’s how I was put in touch with BOOST [the West Norfolk Council programme that supports young people at risk of being not in education, employment or training].
They signposted me to The Workshop [which runs one-to-one confidence courses], where I’ve got to come over the last few weeks to attend their confidence course.
Walking in for the first time, I felt a little bit nervous. Arts Engagement Worker Sophie put me at ease straight away. We got to know each other and that helped me settle in and made me feel confident in talking to another person.
The one activity that’s stood out for me the most across the five weeks has been making a collage of myself, where we included things like our likes, dislikes, hobbies, dreams and favourite things.
At first, I found it really difficult to pinpoint certain things I could add to the collage because I felt like I didn’t know who I was. I was a stranger to myself and believed I didn’t have anything interesting or unique to offer. That difficulty made me feel disappointed, like there wasn’t much to me as a person.
At the centre of our collages we took the time to draw self-portraits while sitting in front of a mirror. It was a shock to realise I’d never really taken the time to look at myself before. It was like meeting myself for the first time and realising the image I had of myself in my head wasn’t as accurate as I had believed.
Over the following weeks my confidence grew, and when we revisited the collage later in the course, I was able to add new things about myself and appreciate the face drawn at the centre of it all. It really showed me how much I was getting to know and like myself.
I definitely know myself a little better than before, but I also need more time to sit and learn who I am, and both those statements can co-exist.
Each week at the end of a session I set myself a goal, like researching plant breeding (which I’m interested in), looking at universities, asking for what I want / need (which I really struggle with).
I got a feeling of accomplishment when they were reached which helped build my confidence that I can do things when I set my mind to them. It was also just nice setting clear goals for my future. I don’t feel as lost anymore.
Confidence itself has layers. A distinct three that can affect you in different ways – an innate / core confidence, confidence in the things you do, like your hobbies or your work; confidence in the way you’re seen, like your appearance and the way you act.
Having anxiety has really impacted all of those layers for me and left cracks in the foundation of my confidence and self-esteem. My goal for this year was to start the repairs on that damage and build it back up.
I know it’s going to take a long time to climb that mountain but I’m focusing on little steps and rewarding my accomplishments to stay motivated, and it’s worked wonders.
So, who is Megan? I am. I know myself a little better now, but I still have a long way to go. And that’s fine. We evolve and change constantly; the me before / the younger me is a lot different from who I am today. I’m sure the me of the future will be even more different still.
It’s okay to not know who I am completely, and I say that with confidence.
“I am so proud of her journey over the length of the course, and excited to see what is next for her.”
The workshop is launching three new courses from 15 January – Music Foundations, Drama Foundations, and Creative Movement Foundations for young people facing challenges.
Organisations, groups, schools and individuals can join our Referral Network and suggest young people they believe could benefit from these free 10-week courses. It’ll be a supportive environment where participants will learn skills to help boost their confidence and self-esteem.
Referrals are open until 15 December for spring term. Interested? Call 01553 277919, email firstname.lastname@example.org, visit our website or arrange a chat with our Arts Engagement Worker Sophie.
To find out more about all of The Garage Trust’s work with people across Norfolk, view or download a copy of our Creative Co-Designing With Our Communities report.
Booking is now open for our spring term of classes. Our friendly front-of-house team are happy to answer any questions. Give them a call on 01553 277919, email email@example.com or pop into our space in New Conduit Street, King’s Lynn.