As a nation we love having a quick chat. From who’s bound to win the Maltasong, to the day’s latest political developments to which creams you found best to treat that dry skin on your elbows. Everything, it seems, except for mental health.
Considering that one in four Maltese people are affected by mental health at any one point in their lifetimes, we still seem to find it difficult to broach the topic like we do with any other ailment. Which is why when people in the community begin to speak out, it offers hope to breaking down the barriers to its discussion.
Local fashion and travel blogger Dorianne Mamo is one such proponent, using her platform AskDorianne to get the word out on anxiety disorder and her struggles with the same mental health issue.
Through blogs and Facebook posts, Dorianne has begun to garner significant interest from the online community as she shared her experiences.
In one of her more recent posts, Dorianne bore it all.
“Today was all about my anxiety hitting the roof,” the tell-all Facebook post begins. “I woke up panicked after weeks (actually months) of feeling postive and calm as if I had everything under control.”
Dorianne went on to say how she got through it all through the power of determination.
“Instead, I just dragged myself out of bed and hoped I’d manage to get through my busy day,” she said. “As I tried hard to focus on the simple chores whilst preparing to go to work (wash, makeup, wash teeth, comb hair – easy tasks which are all unbearable when you’re feeling anxious or panicked), I tried my best to remain as calm as possible.”
And it really seemed to have paid off in the end. “Somehow, it did get better,” the blogger said. “I focused on seeing the good things and people were so helpful as if somehow sensing it and hence giving me a helping hand. And ok, I did get some bad news after that but I got through it and boy, I’m feeling better now.”
Dorianne’s posts have been steadily gaining traction as the blogger continues to open up about her own personal experiences, but this particular post seemed to resonate even more powerfully with her followers.
Some took the time to congratulate her bravery and candidness, while others pointed at how, by no means is she alone. “Don’t know if it’s a January thing but feeling the same at the moment,” one comment said.
Through her transparent posts, Dorianne has ended up creating a small, much-needed haven for like-minded people online.
“I really count on making it clear that [despite anxiety] one can still manage with flying colours and actually succeed in so many areas.”
Lovin Malta got in touch with Dorianne who told us that she used to post about her anxiety in the past at random intervals. “I’ve been writing about anxiety for the past two years, because whilst I’ve always had a tendency to overanalyse [and] somehow felt more limited by this blessed anxiety. I write about it because it helps but mostly because of the feedback I receive.”
“I’ve always received plenty of feedback and personal messages [about] my posts, both from females and (surprisingly) from males,” Dorianne told Lovin Malta.
She was happy to see the positive response, fearing what she describes as the unfortunate “usual feedback” she has often met with when talking about anxiety. “Stop exaggerating” and “grow up, you’re not gonna die” were a few choice examples.
“What they don’t realise is that when you don’t turn up to parties or are just distracted, it’s not because you’re not professional or a good friend […] it’s just because you’ve had a bad day.”
Dorianne describes her relationship with anxiety as one she is now more open with. “It is only now that I have decided to post about anxiety more frequently, just because I really count on making it clear that [despite anxiety] one can still manage with flying colours and actually succeed in so many areas.”
Dorianne’s outlook is certainly a positive one, and is determined to not let her anxiety define her. “The only thing I will never do is allow it to stop me from achieving what I’d like to achieve.”