Every Monday I post Real Life Minimalists, a profile of one of my readers in their own words. If you’d like to participate, click here for details.
Today, Starlet Rose tells us how minimalism gave her the freedom and confidence to conquer her anxiety problems. She’s currently chronicling her journey and interests on her blog.
Starlet Rose writes:
I wasn’t born a minimalist. I was always organised but I wanted to collect something. I suffered anxiety problems from being young and suffered social phobia as a teen. By the time of fourteen I felt to terrified to leave the house in case I met ‘someone,’ saw me. I spent most of my time alone in my bedroom. My main contact with the outside world was via penfriends. I didn’t want to tell them I was housebound so I collected so I had something to say.
I gained an interest in alternative therapies. I started to collect crystals and other things like that. I was always looking for the answer to my problems. There was always someone out there selling a cream, or a bracelet or something that claimed that by buying it I would be filled with confidence and able to sort out any problem that life threw at me. It was like a magical charm only it never worked.
I felt that I had nothing to be proud of. I had suffered social phobia so badly I hadn’t taken exams at school. I had never worked properly. I was trying to feel pride in the possessions that I had because I felt so ashamed of who I was. I was trying to buy my identity because I was not sure of whom I really was.
I hid behind the things I bought, I was going to better if I bought one more thing, or read one more book or tried one more self-help group. I could put of my recovery off until tomorrow. I got to the point where I realised I knew all the theory about social phobia but wasn’t getting over it.
I felt unsure of what to do next. Then I saw a psychic on the internet that I had met in person years ago. I couldn’t remember much but knew I liked him and he had given me good advice. I decided to have a reading with him. As I am a single mother to a young child I chose a remote photo reading, where I simply had to email a photo and wait for the reading. His reading did make a lot of sense but one telling part of it was that in order to move forward with my life I had to de-clutter my possessions and my mind. He explained that my energy was liked a blocked pipe and until I unblocked it things would not change in my life. I knew he was right so I started on de-cluttering. There were possessions and beliefs I knew I no longer needed. I don’t drive so relied on the charity van making its monthly collection so de-cluttering sometimes seemed slow, but I was determined to do it.
The more I got rid of the more I realised I didn’t need it. But, even more scary was that I realised many aspects of my social phobia were being caused by materialism. I never had any interest in fashion, yet I bought clothes on the basis of trying to wear the right thing in other people’s eyes, I bought things to try to solve my problems, and I went in search of my true nature. It was then I turned to minimalism. I purged my home getting rid of excess and all the things that had been false dreams.
The more I got rid of the free I became. The less I owned the more clear my mind became and the more aware I became of who I really am. Once I stopped looking for the miracle cure outside of myself suddenly my confidence soared. I managed to look people in the eye for the first time ever in my life and I feel as though I am moving on with life. I do feel as though I owe my recovery to minimalist at least in part, without turning to minimalism I felt I was trapped in a prison of possessions. I had to buy more to keep up and be the person they represented instead of who I am.
I realise my interests consist of writing, nature, herbs and spirituality. I don’t need to own a lot of have those interests. My blog www.starletroseaskwith.com covers these subjects and more. I started blogging some years ago as a way of simply seeing where it took me. It is steadily gaining more focus over time, but covers a range of topics.