#MindYourself: Elaine Crowley... A letter to myself
Elaine Crowley's advice to her younger self, who struggled to be happy with who she was
I've been struggling with writing this article for a week. I've been ridiculously busy running around Dublin going to dance rehearsals, having dress fittings, sorting out music and all in all getting ready for tomorrow night.
What's on Saturday, you might ask? Well, I'm taking part in Strictly Against Breast Cancer at the Convention Centre. I'm doing the Salsa in front of a thousand people.
Me! In a little sparkly dress, dancing on stage for the first time since I was a child, so totally out of my comfort zone. And I'm not afraid.
It hit me last night. I'm not afraid. I almost cried with happiness and relief.
If someone had told me 10 years ago -or even two years ago, I would be doing this, I would not have believed them.
For most of my adult life I've put on a façade, but inside I've been terrified of being judged. Terrified of making a fool of myself and terrified of rejection.
But guess what? I don't give a damn anymore. I don't know when exactly this happened, but it has.
Thanks to admitting I had a problem with depression and getting the help and support I needed I'm doing something I never would have believed I could.
I know it's kind of weird for anyone who has not experienced something like this to understand. I have a job I love, amazing friends and an adoring family. And my life was grey.
For years it was all I could do to get out of bed and go to work.
I didn't actually remember what it was like to be happy. To look forward to anything. I just existed.
Attending a glamorous event was so difficult, talking to people I didn't know had me on tenterhooks. Mad isn't it - when talking is my job!
And now here I am about to make an utter eejit of myself in public to raise funds for breast cancer, wearing a dress that I would have worn when I was a size 10.
The best advice I could give to a younger Elaine would be, 'Be kind to yourself. Be proud of your achievements because you have achieved much. Trust and treasure your friends, and let them in. Let them help you. Don't be afraid to be yourself anymore because you're actually a nice person.
'And if you fall on your arse on Saturday it will be OK!'
Elaine will take to the stage as part of Breast Cancer Ireland's 'Strictly Against Breast Cancer' event on Saturday. To donate to Elaine's fundraising page visit: mycharity.ie