I was about 16 when I was diagnosed with depression, my doctors think that it stemmed from my parents divorcing and struggling with school really. It all started when my father died when I was at high school. It all started in university during my final year. It all started when I was 16, I came out of a relationship I was in at the time and I started purging and self-harming. I first realised I had a mental health problem when I was 15. I was cutting myself every day and crying all the time. Soon after the attack happened I started to feel throes of anxiety, panic attacks started creeping in. I first realised that I had a problem when I really wanted to stop all the things I was doing but I just couldn’t seem to stop no matter how badly I wanted to. I was suffering from hallucinations which at the time were really scary because I didn’t know what was reality and what was my imagination. At my worst I felt like I was absolutely worthless, alienating and destructive with no help of recovery.
I felt like I had this black cloud hanging constantly over my head and it’s just a feeling that stays with you and you can’t seem to get away from it all and you feel completely alone. I felt like this was going to be it forever. I felt as though I’d never reach any of my ambitions or my goals. I felt like I was in my own bubble hearing muffled voices of people around me. When I had my first mental break, proper mental breakdown and I decided to run away from home. I felt like the world will be better off without me. My mental health problem means that I go through many highs and lows which I struggle to control. Sometimes I just want to hide away. I feel that I have to my make everyone else happy and every day is a struggle but I just remind myself that I’m strong.
My mental health problem means that sometimes the world can be a very scary, very dangerous and very dark place. Everyday tasks can become the most mammoth missions that seem like you’re never going to be able to do them. My mental health problem means that a life is hard. The hardest thing about having a mental health problem is people not realising that there’s something wrong with you and that you can be really ill even if you look absolutely fine. I think especially having an eating disorder people assume that you’re going to look a certain way or be a certain size or shape or you know they imagine certain stereotypes that aren’t necessarily true. Like the social and in my case like the cultural stigma associated with it.
If I’m having a bad day, no matter how small it is, it feels like the whole world is crashing in on me and things just keep getting worse. Just trying to get the people around me to understand what I’m going through when they haven’t gone through something like me is probably the hardest thing. Social situations in particular can be really difficult. I sometimes can’t commit to what we’d call sort of normal everyday activities. The word schizo, I think it has a lot stigma attached to it, I really don’t like it. What really reassured me was knowing that there are so many other people out there who have got the same diagnosis as me and that I’m not alone. Having my two rescue dogs to look after and to take care of because I know that they need me around and they always happy to see me, so no matter how bad my days is how awful everything seems to be, I know that they need me and they always make me smile. Having such a great network of friends, family and people who are out there who can help.
I’d look at how far I’ve come and everything that I’d gone through and realise that I am still standing. It really helps me when my friends treat me the way they did six years ago before this all started. I was the happy laidback person and that’s the person I want to be and aspire to be again. It really helps me when people just treat me normally. I’d like people to treat. To treat me like, like you would your own mother I guess. That’s, yes, I think that’s a good way to treat people. I don’t want people to tiptoe around me. I’d like people to treat me like any other normal person but also just to be a bit more sensitive around me, not to, pre-stigmatise depression and everything and telling me to cheer up and everything. I wish I’d known how much I was going to grow and learn as grew up and grow older. I wish I’d known how much therapy was going to help me and how much I was going to gain from that.