Lifestyle / Family

Klair White-Shelver
5 minute read
29 Aug 2019
4:00 pm

Beware: Change can knock you right off your feet, but is it all bad?

Klair White-Shelver

I measured my self worth according to others. I put them first, always.

I have come to realise how little value I have given myself. How much pain I have gulped down because of other people, how much anger I’ve carried and kept fueling.

I measured my self worth according to others. I put them first, always. I listened, I cared, I loved and then, I got burned. I got burnt so badly that it made me bitter and cold and left me putting myself down and blaming myself for everything that I was. I was a wounded bird with beautiful wings that couldn’t fly.

And then one night, a few weeks ago, I cried myself to sleep. I sobbed so much it felt like my heart was physically breaking. I thought about all the effort I’ve put into other people and how little effort they offered me. I remembered times as a little girl with these big beautiful dreams, and reminded myself of how I haven’t achieved them yet. I thought about the pure grief I have experienced and how much sadness engulfed my heart after the death of a loved one. I punched my chest and covered my eyes trying to stop my own mind from beating me to a pulp…

“You’re a failure!”

“You’re not good enough!”

“People dont care about you!”

“But I try so hard!”

The next morning, with puffy eyes, I woke up with a renewed perspective. I felt different and couldn’t explain it. I then realised that I didnt just feel different, but that I actually was in fact, different.

Stronger, confident and unafraid.

This change baffled me, so much so that I asked many people if they have ever experienced a similar thing. Is it because I’m getting older? Is this an age thing? Is this normal? Well.. the feedback I received varied but there was a common denominator: pain. They grew tired of the painful experiences from rotten friendships, broken relationships and traumatic events. And so, it hit me…

I had cried myself clean. I faced my pain and anger head on and now it can’t touch me. That night pointed out the facts, of which I had hid away from for years and years. Buried anguish from relationships with people that I thought I understood. I was so afraid of being alone that I found myself constantly trying to “convince” people to stick around. Reflecting on this, I learned a lot about how there is a difference between being alone and being lonely. I noticed that I didn’t and don’t feel lonely and that I quite like being alone sometimes. Just like I love being with my family and being around people. This epiphany changed my thinking completely and so I made a pact with myself. That pact is a sacred one and one I refuse to break. It’s the basic premise of self-care. It’s simply, a declaration of saying goodbye to anyone and anything that devalues you. I encourage anyone who can relate, to do the same.

I am now the strongest and the happiest I’ve ever been. I am unbelievably proud of this wee woman standing today. I am proud of who I am, how I look, my kindness, my ability to love and be loved and that I am actually quite intelligent. Who knows why I dumbed myself down for other people! I’m incredibly chuffed with myself for having the courage to post this, but why should I keep quiet? So here’s to self-confidence and believing in yourself. Here’s to loving life and loving yourself. YOU are the only YOU and YOU matter more. Walk away from those that hurt you, even if they dont realise it. Be true to yourself, be kind and live.

As my mum says:

“Life is a classroom, you never stop learning.”

Not understanding her own mental illness, Klair embarked on a journey into the world of psychology, finding solace in the understanding of the human condition. She quickly learned how important it is to help others and to irradicate the stigma attached to mental illness. Klair utilizes her knowledge and her own experiences to write about what matters – mental health. Her writing became a huge part of her own personal recovery, and a means to offer insight, further understanding, and support to those who struggle daily. She chooses to write vividly, courageously, and honestly by exposing her inner vulnerabilities and fears in order to create more awareness. Klair also believes that there needs to be more exposure in light of mental illness in South Africa, specifically with regards to teenagers. She strongly believes in the importance of creating awareness in order to identify and prevent high-risk behaviors that could be a result of an underlying mental illness. Often, mental illness in this developmental stage of life is overlooked and put down to “teenage hormones”. Such assumptions are Klair’s personal bugbears and she aims to educate and alter people’s preconceived ideas regarding the topic. Changing the stigma associated with mental illness requires us to not only open up the conversation and talk about it but to action it too. She feels incredibly grateful to be able to write about her mental illness in the hopes of creating a safe community for anyone in need of help and support, and of course to change lives.

Klair Shelver


Klair, a kind-hearted and loving 27-year-old aspiring clinical psychologist, loves the simple things in life – the comfort of the ocean, long drives with good music as well as reading and writing. She is a deep thinker who encountered mental illness from a young age, having documented her own experiences in countless journals from the get-go she has decided to share her journey with the world.

You can find Klair over on Mental Health Matters More

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