Six years ago, I hit rock bottom and had totally lost my identity. I’d always struggled to accept myself due to years of chronic bullying and was always worrying about the judgments of others.
I decided I needed some help and I began to really work on myself; diving deep into my past, understanding my emotional triggers, my body image and linked behaviors. I started reconnecting with myself. I was very overweight and had developed a bad relationship with food and mirrors. Self-hate was rife. It was a hard cycle to break.
I have always been very creative, but this was something I suppressed for many years. My journey of self-awareness resulted in me having a complete lifestyle change and with that, developing a personal blog.
Starting a blog
The blogging platform was a way for me to vent; a written account of my journey and the challenges I had to work through. After three years of writing, I received a comment on a post from a reader who said that I should consider creating an audio version of my blog.
I have never loved the sound of my own voice so initially, I ignored the idea. But I was trying to no longer suppress my creativity, and so the podcast was born.
Read more: Why telling our stories is powerful
Creating a mental health podcast
As a mental health nurse with over 13 years of experience, I know the power of sharing personal accounts; it encourages others to feel they are not alone and reduces stigma.
The podcast has always been about others; real people, real talk, real life. An opportunity to share our life experience, in the hope it will help others. At the same time, it has given me another avenue to be able to share my story wider.
Currently, I feel that there are a lot of hot topics that are very relatable to many and we need to highlight these to raise awareness; mental health, eating disorders, self love, body positivity, sexual abuse, sexuality and medical illness. I have had a lot of interest from people via social media who have either listened to previous episodes or who have seen an Instagram post and want the opportunity to share their story.
Everyone’s story is valid but for me, the content has to be relatable; not just for me but the listeners. I have also made contact with people after reading articles or hearing about their stories and offered the opportunity to share.
There is a clear balance in popularity when you look at the activity for all episodes but the most popular has to be ‘Gratitude is the Best Attitude‘. 2020 taught us many things but for the majority, it has made us more grateful.
This episode discussed the raw emotion behind the loss of a child and how such negativity can give you the power to create something positive; that not only became a memory but a business that supports and encourages others to have gratitude. This story is very real for so many.
Highlighting body positivity
The social media world is fake. Influencers don’t live up to their title and it’s like a pressure cooker to gain ‘perfection’ when there is no such a thing. Too many live unhappy and unfulfilled because of the comparisons we make; ‘I’m not good enough, I’m not pretty enough, I’m not skinny enough, etc’.
I’ve struggled with body positivity most of my life, until recently when the rest button was pressed.
Historically, I have been like every other woman; comparing myself to others. I’ve been known to get ready for a night out and then feel so low and rife with self-hate, I wouldn’t go out. I would sit at home and watch the girls on social media having a great time. This is called brain drama. We are so easily influenced by everyone else and are wanting what everyone else has got; this is disrespect to ourselves and our bodies.
If we make body acceptance conditional, the truth is, we will never be happy with ourselves. The reality is that our bodies are constantly changing and they will never remain exactly the same; we need to accept that. If we base our self-worth on something as ever-changing as our bodies, we will forever be on the emotional roller coaster of body obsessions and shame!
Advice to my younger self
Everyone is different and everyone is allowed their opinions. That’s ok.
You do not need permission to be who you want to be nor do people need to understand. Be true to yourself and when you are faced with a challenge, confront it; don’t hide. Life is too short to hover in the shadows of others; Just do you!
If anyone has a story they would like to share on the podcast, please get in touch at Plussizevreality@gmail.com
To find out more about Hannah’s mental health podcast, Plus Size V Reality, here.