Sunday, 9 October 2016

Rollercoaster life: World Mental Health Day

Hi guys, I thought I'd write something a little more personal to raise awareness for Mental Health, especially as it is World Mental Health Day tomorrow.

Over the years, I've had a real rollercoaster of a time. A lot of it, I find far too personal at the moment to be able to share. But the basics, I'm happy to share. It's important that people realise they are not alone. I had an eating disorder (bulimia and anorexia) and clinical depression.

The worst year of my life. 

It was the beginning of 2014. I was studying for my A Levels that were due to take place in mid-June. I'd just passed my driving test and had a new car. I had lost a lot of weight in 2013 and was approx 5 stone. Walking around school was hell. I felt so anxious in my own body, that I couldn't even talk to anyone. I made my school aware that I couldn't study in the Sixth Form room because there were too many people which would cause my anxiety to distract me. So they got me my own office.

But after a while, people would be queuing up to their lessons which was near my office (including people from my year) and they'd laugh at me and point, because there I was, fading away into the 100 pages of notes I had made in only an hour. I couldn't take that people would try and come in to my office and they would be laughing and pointing. So instead, I decided in my free periods I'd drive home.

This was going well, I was getting in some solid studying and didn't feel everyone's beady eyes on me. But I ended up skipping classes because I didn't want to see people. I'd end up eating too much food (considering I had an eating disorder, this was tough). I couldn't cope anymore.

I couldn't stop thinking about food when I was at home. It was so overpowering that I couldn't even revise any more. So my dad said, why not go back to your office and try working there. Lock the door and get blacked our paper to cover the windows. So I done that. Little did I know that would make me feel so much more isolated than i'd ever been.

It worked for a little while, before I just couldn't take anymore. I told my parents I was dropping out of school and would not be going back. I changed my mind like 5 times until I finally could not read my revision books any more and just had to quit. My dad said he'd get me in working with him doing a work placement in Marketing (something I really enjoyed).

But that also went to pot. I ended up going even more down hill. I attempted suicide several times. I jumped out of windows. I ran away. And you know what, I don't even know why? I think the eating disorder was just taking control of my mind and making me depressed. I felt like a failure. I was a high achieving student at school, getting no less than an A in anything. And now this. What was going on? I wouldn't be going to university this year. How much disappointment must my parents be feeling? Turns out, none.

I still managed to go in to work most days, calling in sick sometimes when my mind couldn't take it. And then came my 18th birthday. I was meant to be in work, but I just had to call in sick. I couldn't stand everyone looking at me, saying Happy Birthday and giving me cards and cake. I couldn't do it.

When my mum and dad found out I hadn't gone it, she had called my therapist at the Priory (who I had seen once, but didn't like so didn't go back). He said I must be seen by a psychiatrist, of whom he recommended. And my mum drove me down there. I was crying saying I didn't want to go, she was threatening them sectioning me and I wouldn't have it.

I just thought she wanted rid of me.

Then I met Jeremy Broadhead. My psychiatrist at the Priory and that changed everything.

It was like a miracle. He explained why I felt like this. He understood me! I can't tell you how happy I was. I cried. My mum cried. We were all so happy that finally someone could help me.

H wanted me to stay in the hospital so I could be looked after better and basically "kept an eye on". Instead of that being a scary thought, I was over the moon.

I felt like this was it, I would get better in here.

The year ended brilliantly. I got Barney (my dog) and I got a new job. Everything started to feel just that little bit better. 

My life continues to be a rollercoaster - but the difference is, I'm stronger now. And that is thanks to the wonderful therapy I received and my amazing support network.

If you've suffered with a similar experience or going through a terrible time, get in touch with me via Twitter @iamayselulu or email me.



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