David James Softley – Believe in yourself, be brave, be strong.
Throughout my life I have suffered with major anxiety. There have been many times when I felt like the world was against me, I’ve been on the verge of ending my life numerous times. However, I am proud to say that over the past 3 years I have been able to turn my life around and cope with my anxiety in a way that allows me to continue being my true self. I thrive on making people happy and my life is dedicated to helping those who need support or advice.
In 2016 I took one of the biggest steps of my entire life when I joined Barbara Priestman Academy in Sunderland after 2 years away from education due to bullying. I can honestly say that my decision to join a new school has impacted me so much and turned me into the person I am today. Before starting Barbara Priestman Academy, I had no confidence whatsoever, my morale was low, and my mental health was slowly decreasing. However, after joining Barbara Priestman Academy, I began learning new skills and building on my confidence and social skills. Not only was I able to build my confidence but I was able to enhance my awareness of my health and it was with this awareness that I was able to push myself to lose 3 Stone (see transformation images below).
Without Barbara Priestman Academy I wouldn’t be who I am today, if it wasn’t for them, I may not be here today. If you or anyone you know is affected by anxiety, autism or any form of mental health, I’d recommend considering Barbara Priestman Academy. Their staff are experienced with every situation possible and can support you so much.
I went from being this shy lad to standing on stage as a dedicated actor and musician. I’ve performed at Sunderland Empire, Tall Ships and Northern Stage, as well as many other venues. I am also currently the vocalist and bassist for a heavy metal band called Blood Brigade. Sure, I may still have anxiety, but it definitely isn’t as bad as it used to be. I have better ways of coping now, whether that be listening to music or watching my favourite show Red Dwarf. They may seem like something simple but to me they make me forget about all the negativity in my life.
I also decided to write this to not just help myself with my own anxiety but to help anyone who suffers with mental health. I believe mental health needs more awareness in this world. If you’re afraid to speak up, just remember that there are people all over the world just like you who have been mentally struggling for months, years, even decades. We need to unite, we need to be in this together.
When it comes to the choices of life, there is no bigger deal than your future and how you shape it to be. In life, you need to show yourself who you are because everybody has an addiction, it’s that motivation and determination that makes us fly in the darkest of times.
The higher you are, the further you’ll glide among the wind. The longer you walk, the further you crawl, pick yourself up out of your shell and achieve the goals you set out to do. Work hard for those achievements because nothing in life comes easy. Pride yourself with the emotions and feelings around you, for you are unique in your own individual way.
Life is in your body and your temple, your choices define your character. Your choices should be the decisions that make you express your fondness of yourself, they should make you admire life. Every time you make a small decision, your future is shaped into something bigger than your eyes can see.
As you take each step at a time, you’ll realise that choices are all around you every single day. It’s up to you to make the right choice that will lead you down a path of greatness and enchant your future to be the brightest it can possible be.
It won’t be easy, some choices will have many roadblocks in front of them, but as yourself, you need to conquer those roadblocks and become who always dreamed you would be. You need to believe in yourself and have the urge and determination to get out of bed every day and do what you do best.
Life will always throw punches back at you, but you need to pick yourself up and give it your all, every time a choice stands in front of you, think about how the future will be changed, for the better or for the worse.
The choices of life are what shape us, motivate us and encourage us to be the best individual we can be.
So, what are you waiting for? Aim high, dream big and make your mark on history!
I am now studying Performing Arts at Gateshead College where I am hoping to eventually advance to University for a Performing Arts degree. Not only this but one day, I want to become an ambassador for mental health as helping people and supporting people is what I thrive on. I thrive on making people smile and it doesn’t matter if it’s only one person, I want to support anyone who has suffered with any form of mental illness.
Never forget. It’s okay not to be okay.
Believe in yourself, be brave, be strong.
We’re all in this together, fighting back at the darkness one day at a time.
I hope I’ve been able to help anyone who feels trapped or alone. Just remember, you will always mean something to the people around you.
The world needs us.
David James Softley
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