I will forever feel like my mental health journey will be discredited for two reasons: one because of the age in which it all stemmed from and two because I have never been diagnosed with my mental health issues. A small disclaimer though, that does not mean that I discredit anybody who has similar stories to me, I just feel like I’ve never been taken seriously because of it. Despite that feeling I am going to continue to tell you my story and share my journey because it is cathartic for me and also because it could help just one person.
*trigger warning, this post will contain mentions and insinuations of SH, multiple types of abuse and suicidal thoughts. If you feel like this may trigger you then please either read at your own discretion or not at all. Don’t feel like you have to. Take care of yourself first*
Let’s start at the very beginning (it’s a very good place to start..not now Julie Andrews please, you’re too upbeat for this post). Imagine this a 14 year old girl who meets a mysterious dark haired boy who played guitar and had all the girls hung on his every word, she didn’t know who he was but he seemed to know her. He showed an interest and she already had a low self esteem so she was flattered. He bought her flowers with his paper round money and only referred to her as beautiful. She fell hard for him and loved the way he made her feel free. Until he stole that freedom from her. Until he got angry with her and would scream in her face. Until he banned her from seeing her friends for a while and had complete control of her life. Until he put his foot through a door to try to hurt her in blind rage. Until his fist met her face during a small disagreement. Until he got her very drunk at a party and had sex with her whilst she was barely conscious and being sick. Until he cheated on her and started to release his grip on her. Slowly but not entirely, just enough for her to breathe but not enough for her to run away. Just enough that she still felt trapped when others thought she was free.
Yes I was 15 years old and just coming out of an abusive relationship and no it’s not any less valid than any other abuse. I was that girl who made everyone laugh, I was that girl who felt passion in everything she did, I was that girl who stood up for myself to anyone who stood in my way and I was that girl who was bright and bubbly. Yet I was still the girl who felt tortured by the love she felt for this boy. This misunderstood boy. This angry, scared boy. This boy who couldn’t control his temper and was just like his dad, that viscous cycle deeply imbedded in him. I cannot sit here today and tell you I hate him because at the end of the day I loved him and felt like I could save him, but god do I hate what he did to me. I hate that he made me lose myself for a few years and I hate that I let him in so deep.
For a good year or two after he still had some sort of hold over me, he would still ring me crying in the middle of the night and would intentionally bump into me at school or in my everyday life just so I knew he was there. He would come to my work every week with a new girl, he would get inside my head and try to plant poison. For them few years I felt such anger towards him, I couldn’t believe that he would treat me like that and then be disloyal to me. To me, the girl who stuck by him no matter what. I felt such strong jealousy and distrust that the first few months of my new relationship was a bit rocky. I felt like I was in limbo, waiting to be released from him and accepted by this new boy. During that time I had such low days and I began to take it out on myself, just like he had. But this new boy, now my beloved Jack, helped me beyond that. He showed me over the period of three and a half years that I didn’t deserve what he did to me and it wasn’t my fault. He helped me over come my jealousy and my distrust in him. He helped me be free again.
Don’t be fooled though, it didn’t solve everything. My knight in shiny armour didn’t save me and ride off in the sunset living happily ever after. I had to deal with the fallout and the aftermath, I had to deal with the trauma and the bought of depression like symptoms that came with that. During that time I had just finished my GCSE’s and was starting my A Levels, it was such a hard transition especially since my dad had fallen ill once again with a serious heart condition. I struggled deeply, I hated school and I struggled with my A Levels compared to how I did with GCSE’s. However I had Jack and I had my amazing friends to help me, god it was a struggle to change my habits and to let myself recover from it all.
Fast forward to the end of 2017, all of my friends were leaving for university and I suddenly felt all alone. I started at college which took a lot for me to adjust to, I started to develop more and more anxiety. I was anxious about going to college to the point where I would break down, cry and be sick. I was so anxious at my work placement that I would be shaking all day. I hated how I felt and yet I couldn’t do anything about it. After a few months I reached out to a very close friend of mine (I know she will be reading this and knows who she is) and she made me feel like I wasn’t alone. She gave the strength to talk to my college tutor and get a couple of counselling sessions. She managed to pull me out of myself and kept making sure I was okay. She helped make the start of 2018 much better and easier to handle.
Come April 2018, and my Nan passed away, this broke my heart and brought me back down to my lowest point. She was the person on this planet who I was the closest too, she replace the motherly relationship I never really had and became my guardian angel. The difference, however, between 2015 me and 2018 me was that now I had the tools to help me deal with the grief and the onslaught of low days and the right people around me to support me. I was able to not fall back into who I had become and helped myself grow into who I wanted to become.
So now you’re all caught up and we’re here in October 2018, I will give you a little report on how I’m doing on my mental health journey. Firstly, I’m having less of them low days however when I do have them they seem to be worse than before. Secondly my situation has changed, my dad is now in search of a new heart and is still seriously ill, but now instead of being scared and burying my head in the sand I am trying to talk to people and to make the most of what I’ve got.
At first when I was writing this I couldn’t think about what my point was going to be, I mean all I’ve done is tell my story right? Well I thought about it and realised that was the point. I told my story. I have told people on the internet what happened to me and how I’ve been dealing with it all. My point is that it’s okay to talk about your experiences, to let people know they’re not alone and to share your advice. Your mental health journey is yours and you can do with it what you please. I’ve decided I want to try to help people and to show people that you can come out the other side and start to get better. Jack and I were talking the other day about the way I used to be and the way I used to feel and how different that all is now, it shows that slowly but surely you will come back and be free once again.
Today is World Mental Health Day, celebrate your wins, and remember that it’s worth the fight.