It covers so many things.
It is a wide ranging topic which covers all aspects of illness in the one place you should feel safe, inside your own mind.
Nobody wants to talk about it, especially not those who are tightly within its grip.
That was me for a year, stuck, going crazy inside my own mind, completely out of control with my emotions and my feelings and this reflected in my actions, doing things that no one could understand or control.
However, it isn’t permanent, I am living proof that things can change.
So, it all started November 2015, life was great, I’d just ran a marathon, I had supportive friends and a great partner, I had all my family around me, a good job and I had a life many people could be happy with, but it wasn’t enough, I’d had demons lurking inside me for too long and they came to the surface so suddenly and so quickly that no one saw it coming.
One day I was running a race with my boyfriend, the next day I was driving to work in floods of tears unable to explain my emotions to the doctor that was on the phone; he immediately signed me off work and prescribed me antidepressants, and I thought that would fix it. Surely in a week I’d feel better and be back at work, which was all it would take, right?
The second I admitted I had a problem my whole world crumbled around my ears, everything fell apart and I was powerless to stop it, I became an empty shell, completely reliant on those around me to make sure that I was doing the basic things I needed to survive.
And yet I still spiralled further down into the pit that is mental illness, swallowing your life as you knew it and leaving you powerless.
Now I’m no stranger to mental illness, many people around me have suffered and there is some history in my family, I knew about what it could do to a person but I had never been the person and that is something that you can never be prepared for.
I had some history of being a bit wobbly, I’d hurt myself in the past and had struggled with eating problems for quite a while but I considered it to be normal, and it was normal, for me.
The first time I tried to kill myself was before I was even a teenager, in my eyes everyone hated me and the world would be better off without me, the reaction I got when I made that attempt on my life made me feel even worse, I was blamed for wasting those tablets that I took to try and end it, not directed towards someone that could help me to deal with the reasons why I did this.
I moved past this and continued on, dealt with the bullying and the life that I was living away from school, tried to put what had happened behind me and move on, and I felt that I did but things didn’t get any better. People still didn’t like me and I was a pretty easy target as I had things going on in my life that were easy to pick at.
Once I left school things picked up, I made new friends and accepted myself a bit more but I didn’t realise that the monsters weren’t gone but just buried.
So, back to 2015.
There it was, everything that was inside me eating away at me bit by bit, and it wasn’t getting any better.
I lost control of my eating and started to gain back weight, I fell into a binge purge cycle which I had often utilised when I was a teenager, it felt comfortable, welcoming, to return to the clutches of my eating disorder. No one understood but why would they. I kept it hidden from most of the world. The voice in my head was telling me that people would stop me, they’d take away the safety which I was finding in this habit.
The doctors put me on antidepressants, which didn’t work for me, they tried new ones, some improvement; and then they decided to try a different one.
I wish they hadn’t, no one knew what was going to happen when I started taking those tablets, but luckily I wasn’t on my own to deal with what was to come.
One of the side effects of antidepressants can be increased depression, and in some cases suicidal thoughts. Unfortunately, this was about to happen to me. I used to cut myself when I was younger, another habit that made me feel better because I wanted to feel the pain that I felt I deserved.
So it started again, cutting my stomach and my thighs, places that no one would see.
It got bad, I got bad, saying and doing things so foreign to the people around me who were trying to pick up the pieces of the world that I was shattering.
Then it got even worse. I tried to kill myself; repeatedly.
I would wrestle with my boyfriend over packets of pills and anything that I could use to damage myself with. I would sit up at night screaming and crying and throwing things. I would go sleep on the sofa and then scream at him that he didn’t force me to stay in bed and try to tell him that he clearly didn’t love me if he left me alone when I needed him the most. But he was only trying to help, and one person can only deal with so much. I’m surprised he remained relatively unharmed by all of this. How he managed to get up everyday and go to work, carry on with life as if everything was fine, not to confide in anyone and seek help and reassurance; but he did do it, and I’m so glad that he wasn’t damaged by the hell I had unleashed.
I was lucky in that I had support, from family, friends, doctors, nurses, a psychiatrist and a whole team of mental health support workers; so this time in my life was temporary, although at the time it seemed it would never end.
In the end I had to see the crisis team who worked with me to help me deal with other ways to express my emotions, my nurse also helped to cope in better ways.
Unhappy with my progress my psychiatrist changed me medication following a diagnosis.
I have borderline personality disorder, or at least traits of; this means that I am unable to regulate my emotions very well and I have unstable relationship with other people, and I am likely to partake in activities detrimental to my health, and take up addictive habits.
The new medication was slow to work, but it did work.
After going through hell I was on my way back.
And now here we are, and I am almost fully recovered, holding down a full time job, cooking meals, being a functioning adult.
Something which I couldn’t have dreamed about a year ago.
So I guess what I’m trying to say is that it does get better and this thing that scoops you up and throws you down can’t hold you down forever, it will heal with time and treatment and support from your loved ones.
So here I stand on the other side (for now, at least) feeling glad for everything that I have conquered to get myself to a place where I feel better, and being so thankful for those around me who didn’t give up even when I was sure it was hopeless.
Mental illness shouldn’t be a taboo subject but far too often it is.
I want to take a stand against this creature that hangs a dark cloud over so many lives and say that if we all stand together and look out for each other to ensure that no one goes through their darkest of times alone then maybe we can save someone from something that they should never have to go through.