This is a completely different post to what I would normally write. It’s not a happy post but something I really want to share with all of you. Although hard to write I feel so proud of myself for being in a position to feel strong enough to publish knowing that I have overcome so much in the past year.
This is my Mental Health Journey….
From birth I have suffered from separation anxiety from my father. My father was a stay at home dad while my mum went to work he was there 24/7 I was never without him. I would jump if he left the room from as young as 2 months old, then as I got older my anxiety became more apparent. I would scream on the way to nursery and scream until he picked me up at the end of the day. My separation anxiety was clear for everyone to see.
Years went by, I was a quite child often silent or spoke in whisper even to close family. I never had friends and often played on my own or parallel to other children. I just wanted to blend in. I often got upset that I didn’t have any friends and I played on my own a lot however in truth I didn’t want friends or to play with others. I was scared and I thought this was normal.
By the age of 11 I had one girl that I could consider my friend she helped me come out of my shell and I looked up to her. I wanted to be just like her I remember telling my Nan. I was pleased that I was no longer on my own however I could not be happy I was forever worrying that she never liked me I was constantly in a state of paranoia.
I was lucky to get into the same secondary school as my friend. To me this was comforting and it made the transition from primary to secondary school smoother. I was growing in confidence and hormones took over my body. By this point it was as if I was a new person. I was loud cocky and outspoken, often getting in trouble with teachers for talking back to them. I started to have a wide circle of friends and on the surface I was happy however inside I was breaking.
My mind continued to fill with paranoia about every situation I was in, I was anxious and scared but I put a brave face on it. I couldn’t let anyone to know that I couldn’t cope. I needed everyone to think I was normal. During the same time I was being bullied, by older students and girls I considered my friends. I continued to come across strong however when I got home I would break often crying myself to sleep and wishing I was invisible. I stopped going into classes during my GCSEs years as it was just too much for me. I couldn’t pretend anymore. I was broken.
College came around and my anxieties grew, after being bullied again by another group of girls I considered to call my friends I was put on my first lot of antidepressants, offered weekly counselling and I was diagnosed with socialised anxiety disorder. College was tough but I got through it. My family and boyfriend was so supportive and thanks to them dragging me into college kicking and screaming I passed my course with a merit.
Two years went by and I continued putting a brave, happy confident face on but inside I was slowly shattering into a thousand pieces. By December 2016 I had a breakdown. I could no longer cope anymore, all the bullying, anxiety and paranoia that I had ever experienced erupted, I felt weak and I was in a very dark place. I knew there was people there to help but I didn’t want it. My brain was telling me I deserved it and I believed it.
By the February I was suffering with a multitude of anxieties including acrophobia I was placed on four different kinds of anti-depressants and the NHS offered me cognitive behavioural therapy but none of it worked. I felt as if I was ill, I felt I was never going to get better and my brain didn’t work properly. After five months of feeling this way I needed something to change.
May 2017 I went on holiday with my partner and his family. This was the first time I felt truly happy and that had a domino effect on my anxiety. I felt my happiness was stronger than the anxieties which enabled me to start engaging with the waiting staff and talking to the cashiers at the shop my social anxiety was being managed by my happiness, and this was something I planned to continue.
From then on I made it my mission to find happiness in everything I did, push myself a little every day and reward my small achievements. Little by little I was leaving the house on my own and doing simple tasks such as going to the shops. With every small milestone I achieved it motivated me to do more. It was hard and at times I would cry and revert back to the dark times but I felt strong and finding things that made me happy made all the difference. I started to live a healthier lifestyle and lose weight I gained during the dark times and this gave me even more motivation. I felt on top of the world and although my anxiety was still there, it was in a locked box under control.
A few months later My family told me that for years they have thought I had Mild Aspergers Syndrome but was too worried to tell me without another opinion. I started seeing a private physciatrist and they confirmed this. This made my recovery so much easier. I now understood why I felt the way I did and why my thought proccess seemed to be so different from everyone else.Although a formal diagnosis is unlikely due to my age, I am at peace with the possibility that I do suffer from this and in a strange way it helps me understand that I am the way I am because of the Asperger syndrome and that’s okay.
Mental health isn’t talked about enough, it’s a part of life that most of us at some stage in our life will experience. So let’s talk about it as openly as we would talk about our favourite TV show or what we are eating for dinner. My mission is to normalise mental health and to change society’s outlook of it, and together we can do it.so talk to your family, friends, children and neighbours and spread the message that mental health is normal. Being mentally ill has made me a stronger and more motivated person that I could have ever imagined and for that I am proud. I am proud to be mentally ill.
Cheerio For Now,