On the road with…Rebecca Storey – The Simplistic Road.
The rewards of sharing my personal journey keep on coming. The most recent being reconnected with a friend from high school, who contacted me and opened up about her own story, one strikingly similar to my own and how she resonated with my own journey so much.
The truth is at high school we’re only just starting to figure things out, who we are, what we stand for – and we sure make a tonne of mistakes in the process. This interview has really highlighted that we’re far from who we used to be and have really come a long way.
Rebecca shares her journey on what it’s really like living overseas and how the tiles on your Instagram page don’t really portray how isolating and lonely it can be at times.
Something I have realised recently is that you are not who you were 5 years ago, you are not even who you were 5 minutes ago.
We are constantly changing and evolving and growing as human beings.
Don’t be so quick to judge someone else’s past or life journey, no one lives there anymore.
Can you tell us a little bit about where you live and what you do?
After finishing school, I left for London to pursue a Fashion Journalism degree at London College of Fashion. In 2016, after 6 years in London my partner and I contemplated moving to Monaco as it is where a lot of sports people reside and lets be honest, the sunshine of the Riviera sounded much more appealing than the grey skies of London! So, we packed and moved to Monaco, where we have been for two years now. I have just launched my photography business, where I sell prints of my travels.
What is your philosophy on life?
I used to plan my life vigorously and isolate myself to try and focus and plan my future. That got me nowhere, and I ended up anxious and lonelier than ever. So now my philosophy is that I take each day as it comes, try not to force things or put pressure on myslelf...and never ever take good company and friendships for granted.
What has travel and living abroad taught you?
A couple of months after moving to Monaco, the high of settling into an apartment and making it a home wore off and I hit a real low. I was slowly getting lonelier each day as my partner was away a lot and we didn’t have any true friends or family close by. I got myself into such a bad state I didn’t physically think I could fly myself anywhere to be around people. One morning I woke up and realised I had a whole day to fill in with nobody, doing nothing. My whole body went into a state of panic and was the scariest experience ever. Since that day I have become a little dependant on surrounding myself with people I love. Living abroad and being so lonely taught me how important it is to create meaningful relationships, and hold them close always. Followers on social media aren’t going to keep you company when you’re lonely!
What are you thoughts on social media when it comes to mental health and wellbeing?
I believe social media is great for building a business or spreading a positive message but on the whole I think it should be held accountable for a lot of the depression out there these days. Its easy to see peoples lives for something its not. You can see a skinny girl who’s been photoshopped and then you compare it to how you look in the mirror and instantly feel shit... that part I cant stand. When I was at my lowest, someone I confided in said to me ‘oh but you’re living in Monaco and it looks so good, sunny all the time, how are you sad?’ I think that was my biggest wake up call. We need to share the truth on social media. Its healthier for all of us.
You got in contact after I shared my story on birth control, anxiety led depression...why or how did this relate to you and your life?
The moment I read that I felt a huge sense of relief as I could 150% relate. After feeling very low and suffering from major anxiety (among many other things) for over a year I decided to do a full blood panel. I chose to do this as I knew my isolated situation was a cause for my emotions, but I also knew it wasn’t the only reason. It turned out that I had an extremely under-active thyroid, with the main symptoms being low mood, weight gain and lack of interest in life. Jackpot, I thought at this point I was FINALLY getting let off the rollercoaster of anxiety that I had spent years on. But after a year of thyroid treatment, my superficial symptoms like dry skin had cleared but my deeper issues certainly hadn’t budged one bit.
After endless nights of research, I was left with one final option - to stop the pill after 5 years. 4 months off the pill and I am slowly but steadily seeing the return of the old Bex.
Have you suffered from anxiety, depression or both before? What do you think brought this on for you?
For sure the root course of my anxiety came from the expectations I had put upon myself since leaving school.I am a perfectionist who thrives in having a routine, so leaving the routine of school really messed with me. I felt lost and thought life would flow more easily for me. My twenties have been my toughest years.. nobody tells you how hard it is to grow and blossom into the adult you always imagined yourself being, while being lost and vulnerable all at the same time. Attempting to tick all the boxes I dreamt of for my future has caused a lot of anxiety and depression over the past few years and its sucked the fun out of day to day life for me personally.
How do you overcome this and how do you manage it if it arises in your life?
I have started to be kind to myself, let myself live every day as it comes with no expectations, and surround myself with my family and people close to me. My emotional tank was literally running on empty when I arrived home from Monaco a few months ago, and its slowly starting to fill up again. I cant even explain how important family is when you're feeling low!
What is your secret to a better mentality, clarity and wellbeing?
RUNNING. I take my brain for a jog everyday - and more often than not, I don’t listen to music, I just think.
What are your views on birth control or the effects it can have on wellbeing?
From personal experience, my body reacts terribly to foreign hormones or any kind of hormone imbalance, especially because of my added thyroid problems too. The effect of the pill for me was very gradual, it wasn’t until my 5th year taking it that I stepped back and realised “i haven’t been my happy self in years!”
What does happiness mean to you? And how do you find balance in your life? Happiness is a state of mind, it has nothing to do with what you have. I have met the wealthiest people while living in Monaco, and 99% of them are miserable because nothing will make you happy unless you choose to be happy. Once I realised this, I was content and happiness followed.
What are your thoughts on The Simplistic Road being a platform to many others going through similar struggles in their life?
ABSOLUTELY AMAZING - the best idea ever, and very much needed!!
What would be your message to others going through hardships in their life?
Do not compare your life to those you follow on social media, surround yourself with family and TRUE friends and love yourself always.
What is your favourite quote or mantra you like to live by and why?
“Be where you are; otherwise you will miss your life." I have wasted so many years living in an anxious state, depressed about yesterday and worried about the future. My main focus is to now just enjoy what Is infront of me today.
For more on Rebecca and her beautiful photography and travel prints check out www.rebeccaimogenkate.com or @rebeccaimogenkate.