I started showing signs of mental illness when I was only 3 years old. I was more anxious and emotional than all the other children , but when something doesn’t seem right in your younger years it’s always brushed off and and people would say “she will grow out of it”. My parents tried to get me help when I was around 5, but the doctor said it was nothing to be concerned about and I’d be over whatever I was going through in no time. But I never got over it and things only gradually got worse. Primary school was bumpy. Sometimes my mum would have to come sit in class with me because the things we would be learning about would trigger an anxiety attack, but still people carried on saying “I will grow out of it “.
When I got to high school things only got worse. That’s when the depression started. I think after years of the anxiety and the years of people telling me I would soon grow out of it I believed them, so when I didn’t “grow out of it ” that’s when I began to think that I was just not normal, I began to believe that I would never feel or be normal ever & that was frightening. So I started to hide what I was feeling and withdrew myself from everyone. It got to the point where I wasn’t even attending school anymore and picked up a lot of bad habits to try and cope with what I was dealing with. After a while my parents decided to take me back to the doctors when I was around 12. After speaking to the doctor and explaining what I was feeling she apologised to my parents for not doing anything for me when I was younger because there is clearly a mental problem. So I began therapy, but I found that it just didn’t help. I just found it patronising and people were talking to me like I was a child. My moods stayed low and my anxiety attacks just increased. I stuck with the sessions though, I was willing to try and do anything to overcome all the anxiety and depression. But it just wasn’t happening.
I finished therapy at the age of 16 with the diagnosis of depression and an anxiety disorder. I was put on medication for the depression, but found that it didn’t help. I felt detached and had such horrendous dreams. In this time I also developed an obsession with my physical health. I was always worried thinking I was sick and made countless appointments with doctors to be checked over. After a few trips the the hospital I was told I had OCD but nothing was done about it.
Then at the age of 17 I had my breakdown.
I just couldn’t function anymore. I became so detached from myself and from the world around me. I was done with the crippling anxiety and the constant depression and felt that I couldn’t go on with it. I was admitted to a crisis unit where I spent 2 months. I talked to people everyday and tried new medications to see if anything helped and gradually things started to improve.
4 days before my 18th birthday i was discharged. I wasn’t cured of my mental health but it sure was a lot more easier to manage. It’s not been plain sailing since then either , but I’ve come to terms with that I might always struggle with anxiety and depression and it’s just finding ways to safely deal with them.
My home support system is amazing. Talking to people helps a lot! Just getting things off your chest I find helps so much and I couldn’t suggest it enough. Writing things down I find helps too, if I have a bad day I just rant on a piece of paper. I find that’s also another way to get things of your chest. I don’t hold things in anymore. I talk to someone if I feel sad, I tell someone if I feel anxious. I learned that communication is essential when struggling with mental health. My mum and dad are just so understanding and supportive and always try find help for me if things get bumpy. It took me a long time to realise and come to terms with the idea that sometimes you can never fully get over your mental health, but you can do things and find things that make it a whole lot better.
Living with mental health can be hard but now being 21 and come through all the things I have I definitely feel stronger for it. It’s important to find things that make you feel calm and relaxed, for example I love bubble baths . They always seem to relax me and help me through the rough patches in my moods.
Right now I’m on medication that helps my moods and I’m still working on my anxiety and health obsessions. Things are much easier than what they use to be, even though I still struggle. It has been about 3 years since I last hurt myself and I just feel that I can handle things so much better. And I now know that it’s okay to ask for help, you should ALWAYS ask for help, there is no shame in it. When I was younger I used to think that my mental health defined who I am , but now I see that that’s just not true. I am so much more than that.
Thank You for taking the time to read this 🙂