Stop Hidding Behind A Mask - Elena

What does being REAL look like for you?

Being true to what you feel. Not hiding behind a wall and covering up what makes you, you. Stand tall and strong for all your positive attributes, as well as not being afraid of what makes you human and vulnerable. We are all flawed. Let's support each other in this. This perception that every other person has it together is what fuels and further drives down anyone with feelings of inferiority.

What's stopping you? Or what use to stop you and how did you break free?

I have always been my own worst enemy. Believing that everyone had their lives sorted, knew who they were and were confident in their place in the world. I suffer badly from anxiety, which can be incredibly difficult to deal with on days where I doubt my self worth to the world. This is made worse by the fact that I don't look or act it, so nobody would know to see me. I am perceived as someone who has their life together, and come across as very confident and self assured. On my bad days I hide in bathroom stalls to avoid trying to deal with social situations where I feel out of my depth. I am stronger than ever with a solid circle of support around me, and I draw this strength from knowing my people will be there for me if I reach out in vulnerable moments. Every day is a new day to start again. Speaking out when I am feeling low has been the biggest thing I could ever do for myself, and others around me who gain their own sense of relief and clarity that they are not alone in the world. I don't hide behind my anxiety anymore. I own it. It will not own me. I have days I slip. But I put on a happy beat, reach out to my people, and practice some self love and meditation until I can pull through. And a healthy dose of excercise does miracles.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Don't be so hard on yourself. You are doing ok, and you know what? People love you. Of their own free will. Give them enough credit to know a person worthy of this when they see it. You are unique, and you should own that. Don't wish you were more like someone else. You don't know their journey, or what they are going through. Just like they don't know yours.

Why are you standing with ChooseREAL / what does it mean for you?

It means to stop pretending we are OK if we aren't. And it's OK to admit that. Stand tall. Own your issues. Be real, and don't let them own you. You will be stronger for it. And you don't know whom you will inspire and give comfort to when they realise we all have our demons. Even when it appears to the outside world like we don't. We can beat them when we stand together, and offer a kind word and a strong shoulder to lean on in tough times.

Elena Liz Smith

I am a 30 year old medical sales professional. To the outside world, and those that don't know me, I have my life figured out and have nothing to bring me down. This is a misconception. Anxiety can effect anyone. It doesn't discriminate on social standing, looks or career. It doesn't care how others see you. It will drag you down if you let it. My message is, don't. Push through. Face your fears. At every chance, do something that makes you nervous. And if you fail, that's ok. We can't all do everything. But every success will bring you a step closer to realising your potential. Your abilities. You'll surprise yourself. You are amazing. And nobody except you can prove that. Prove it to yourself. And remember. You are not alone. That confident looking girl or guy next to you? I bet half an hour prior they were hiding in a bathroom stall fretting about this very moment. Be kind to them. And yourself.