Managing anxiety whilst achieving your dreams
CBeebies's Gemma shares how she overcame anxiety when everything in her life changed - at the same time she started her dream job.
Hey, I'm Gemma Hunt and I actually went to the university in Luton. It was called the University of Luton when I was there many years ago and now it's the University of Bedfordshire and I have a real soft spot in my heart for Luton so this is a real honour to be able to share a little bit of my story.
So you might recognise me from kids TV, I've worked on children's telly for the last 17 years and it was through my time at the university that I actually got into telly, because I met an agent through the university who then got me an audition at CBBC and I started at CBBC back in 2003, just as I'd finished my degree at uni.
And it was an amazing opportunity for me to go from a course where I was really hoping to get into telly, to then walk into a job. And it is by the grace of God that I knew that I got that job because I knew I'm meant to be there. I had a prophetic word that was spoken over my life when I was 16, at Soul Survivor which was that I would be salt and light in the dark place of the media.
So going straight into a job from my media degree was just like, okay Lord, this is exciting, what are we going to do? And I'd been dating a boy from my home town throughout university, and until I got to London where CBBC was based and I met somebody else. And that was a shame that I kind of changed everything in my life very quickly, and finished that relationship and started a new one with a guy who didn't know or love Jesus, so instantly I was in a massively compromising situation.
And I'd started off my career with good intentions and full of faith, and yet this relationship definitely, well, compromised a lot of what I stood up for and what I believed and I didn't like the fact that I was being such a hypocrite and so then it started to affect me. I started to develop anxiety and would feel very nervous about going into work, into the studios and appearing on TV and 'cause I wasn't sleeping properly. And I just had a knot in my stomach that I then couldn't eat properly.
And so then I lost a load of weight and my skin got really bad. I developed adult acne in my mid-twenties. And I'd never had a spot before that. But then I had a full face that was completely covered. Postules of oozing spots, red raw ones, deep-rooted spots that were just so painful. And yet, I still had to go to work because it was my job to go and appear on telly.
And people really judge you for what you look like on telly. They expect you to look picture perfect all the time, just have it all together and I didn't feel like I had it all together in my life. And my skin represented that and showed that I really didn't and it was really hard.
And I know that because of my faith in Jesus that I was able to get up in the mornings despite the fact that I didn't want to. That there was something, like a nudge from the Holy Spirit that just got me into the studio each day and the make-up artists would plaster loads and loads of makeup on my face to try and just, even out my complexion even though you could still see the spots through it.
And it was just so heartbreaking, and I knew that something had to change. And because I'd compromised my faith by being in this relationship and it just wasn't good for me and it was so obvious physically and emotionally and mentally that even though I thought I was happy, it wasn't good for Gemma, that I then had to come out of that and that took a lot of faith as well, and a lot of support from my loving friends and family and a good church community who just reaffirmed in me the truths that God loved me, that I was worthy, that I was enough as to who I was at that point.
And yes I'd made mistakes, but a God of grace forgived me. He forgave me for everything that I had done and I was so grateful, and it wasn't like I said a prayer and , everything changed overnight and my skin got better. It took a long time, but I think the most important thing is that I was working out who I was in Jesus, internally. And then all the external stuff changed over years.
It took time, and yes, my skin is much clearer now and I'm so grateful to God for that and I've never taken for granted that I have good skin care routine and I try and eat well to look after myself, but it took a lot of prayer and a lot of healing to get to this point.
So I'm just hoping that through me sharing my story, if you're in a situation where you feel that way about how you look, or there's something that you feel is out of your control, just to trust God, and I know that it's hard to do that when you're in it, but through my experience I know that God is faithful and that he loves you and he doesn't want to see you suffer.
So just spend some time working on your heart and your relationship with Him, and I hope and pray that you will then get the results that you are hoping for too. Thanks for sharing this time with me. I really hope that it has blessed you and I'll hopefully see you around sometime. Take care, God bless.