Since beginning her blog back in 2014, the entrepreneur and influencer’s attitude towards sharing her life is “boobs, pubes and all” – an ethos that extends to her struggles with mental illness. The 26-year-old mum-of-two has been refreshingly outspoken about living with anxiety and the importance of sharing that experience with her 231k Instagram followers.
“I think when I started to really suffer with anxiety what I found was most challenging was, firstly understanding what was going on, and then accepting that something was really wrong with me,” Sophie told Women’s Health. “Because I was under this misinterpretation or misunderstanding that if you had mental health issues you needed a reason to be feeling that way, something need to have happened in your life.”
“I found myself with a beautiful eight month old baby boy, I had a gorgeous fiancé who adored me and we had recently gotten engaged, I had a roof over my head and we were financially ok and I started to think ‘well I don’t have a right to feel like this, what’s actually happening to me’.”
She said it took her a while to understand that mental illness doesn’t discriminate, and opening up about her struggles helped her accept that she wasn’t alone with them.
“I had no idea what was happening to my body or my brain and so I vented it into a blog. That instantly made me feel better, because the amount of people who were coming back to me saying ‘I totally get how you’re feeling’, ‘I’m exactly like you’. It was so important for me to keep speaking about it because it was a healing process for me, being able to speak to people but to hear other peoples stories and to create some kind of understanding for myself and create a sense of normality for other people, that was important as well.”
Sophie admits that her exceptional honesty on social media is driven in part to combat the insincerity we see on the platforms, and the impact that can have on women’s mental health.
“When it came to pregnancy and motherhood on social media, it was all glorified, you know beautiful babies, set up photoshoots and mums bodies flinging back within three hours and ridiculous things like that, and I thought that can’t be true none of that can be true. I’m sitting here in a pile of vomit and I haven’t had a shower in four days, none of that can be true.
“So for me it was so important to show mums, and now that’s translated into young girls in a different way with my body confidence, none of it – well not none of it, because I’m sure some of it is true – but there is this other real side and it is ok to share that and it is ok to be ok with yourself sharing that stuff and it’s definitely ok to live like that because social media can be so detrimental these days.”
She says her anxiety will “be this tiny little bit that will always exists” in her but she’s developed tactics to manage it.
“For me personally, recognising that it’s coming and speaking about it straight away with my husband – and he even normally knows it’s coming before I know it’s coming, if I’m narky or I’m on edge – it’s as simple as saying I’m anxious and we’ll sit down and have a conversation about why it is I’m feeling anxious and we can nut it out.”
If someone you love is struggling, Sophie says that you don’t need to understand, you just need to listen.
“One of the biggest things I hear, and I dealt with at the start, is people not understanding it and that’s fine I don’t think they need to fully understand it because it is very hard to. I couldn’t even understand what was happening to me, myself let alone try to explain it to anyone else.
“I get a lot of women writing to me saying ‘my husband just doesn’t get it’ and whilst you want them to support you, I don’t think they have to get it, they just have to want to be there for you. So if you want to try and help someone… It’s just simply being there and listening and providing that ear providing that shoulder.”
Sophie Cachia is an ambassador for Liptember, a campaign dedicated to educating the community on women's mental health whilst raising funds towards specific women's mental health research and support programs. You can show your support by purchasing a Liptember lipstick from any Chemist Warehouse, My Chemist or My Beauty Spot during the month of September.