The problems started for me, when I was nine. I didn’t realise it then, but I don’t think anyone does, not straight away. Things in my life had spun out of control. Life events meant that things would never be the same again, and I struggled to accept that. At this point, I felt alone. From this point onwards, life continued to turn normality on its head and, to put it bluntly, I had to grow up fast.
You don’t notice it at first.
I dealt with my problems, if you can call it that, by keeping my thoughts, the events that were occurring in my life, everything, a secret. It was my problem and as far as I was concerned, my weight to carry. Nobody wants to add to other people’s problems, so I didn’t.
Hearing those words.
I was 15 when I was first told I had severe depression. I didn’t understand. This was my life, I dealt with it fine. Then, they pointed out how it wasn’t normal for a teenage girl to want to die. That didn’t make sense either. I didn’t act on it, so surely that was okay?
Turns out it’s not. I realise that now. Yet at the time, that was all I knew. It took me a while to understand this. To realise that self-harm can come in many forms and that I was dabbling in all of them. Anything to make the pain that crushed me, fade. Just a little. Just for a while.
Learning to understand and accept who you are.
Things got a lot worse before I even admitted to myself that I did, in fact, need some help. I have received many different types of counselling and therapy. I’ve been on numerous different medications. What makes it worse is that you begin to question yourself. Everything you know, or at least thought you knew. What is reality, and what’s in my head?
Why am so sick some days that I simply can’t do anything? Why can’t I physically leave the house sometimes, even if everything in me wants too? Why do I still think of suicide in a found way? Why do I drink, smoke, forget to eat, put myself in danger? Is it all just to feel numb? To hurt myself? Why, when I do feel numb, do I do anything to feel again? Anything again. Anything but sadness.
These feelings are signs of my current state of mental health. My current diagnosis is a Generalised Anxiety Disorder, Severe Depression and Agoraphobia.
Why am I telling you this?
I’m telling you this, not to ask for pity or out of hope you feel sorry for me. I don’t want, or need it. I am telling you this as a warning. If you experience symptoms of mental illness, seek help. If you are diagnosed with a mental illness, don’t feel ashamed. Don’t try and hide it. Except it as part of you. Something you may need help with, and that’s okay. We all deal with stress on a day to day basis. That’s to do with our mental health. One in four us experience mental health problems. It’s normal.
What’s important to remember, is that everyone experiences these things in different ways. Nobody is the same. We are all unique in some way. The important thing is to share, to trust, to communicate and to spread awareness. To unite together, so that instead of accepting the stigma of mental health as a normality, we shun it as a collective society.
If you feel you may be experiencing mental illness of any kind, it is recommended that you speak to a Doctor. If you feel that this is not an option, or you already know that you have a mental illness, you can call the Samaritans Hotline on 08457909090 for help and guidance. Alternatively, you can sign up to a website like Elefriends, which allows you to speak to others who are experiencing mental illness, with the option of remaining anonymous.