I never used to want to tell my story. I felt as though it was something that I should be ashamed of, upset about, embarrassed of. It’s never easy to try and convince yourself that you’re normal when nothing about your life is normal. It was only when I got older and left education environments that I realised how easy it was to turn the negative into a positive. Therefore, here I am!
I’m going to try and make this the least boring I possibly can, as my story isn’t exactly the most exciting. This will be a long post, as I have nearly 13 years of experience to talk about.
When I was around 7 years old I stopped sleeping. I just stopped sleeping altogether, I would scream and cry, refuse to go to sleep, have panic attacks. It got so bad that my parents ended up having to sit outside my room every single night before I would even consider going to sleep. Sometimes, it would take hours for me to go to sleep and stay asleep. It was stressful for me, but also my parents, as nobody knew why it was happening.
Eventually we went to a psychologist after a referral from my doctor and they tried to treat me for things like anxiety and insomnia, however to this day I don’t believe that their treatment helped me. Don’t get me wrong, most therapy I have had has been AMAZING! I think I was too young back then, my brain was shut down for business, there was no way I was listening to what they were saying. In the end, I managed to just get so sick of going to therapy that I trained myself out of my problems. I can’t remember exactly how long it went on for, you’d have to ask my parents!
Then when I started secondary school, things were amazing. For the first three years, I had good friends, a large group of people. You know how it is in Year 7, when everyone is friends with everyone? That’s exactly how it was at my school. When people started getting older and forming their own cliques and groups, was when the problems started. My best friend got a boyfriend (Hi Sophie! Love you girl.) and we sadly had an argument (honestly, can’t remember what it was about…). We stopped being friends, and it seemed as though that my entire group of friends that I mentioned earlier were only my friends, because they were friends with my best friend.
Year 10 was the lowest point of my life so far. Things were really, really rough. I can’t possibly begin to explain the amount of depression I was in during that time of my life. I started self harming, because I got bullied and I had no friends. I was actually miserable, and the boys at my school who bullied me made it worse as soon as they found out the rumour of me self harming. They still don’t know how much they affected me, but I suppose if they find this, hi! As you can see, I’m doing much better now, no thanks to you.
I remember one day in particular, I was sitting in my tutor room next to Sophie, who I mentioned earlier. We had kind of made up by then, but weren’t friends by any means. The boys that bullied me were shouting from their tutor window (Must’ve been over 15ft away!) into my tutor room window. They were yelling names at me, trying to get the people in my tutor to get my attention. After that, I walked out crying. That was definitely my lowest point, I think, to have to force myself to walk away from the situation because I was that upset. It only fed them to do it more.
Thankfully something great came out of that experience which I didn’t realise until later on in my life. Sophie, my estranged friend, came out to comfort me. It made me feel as though I wasn’t alone, and the best part is she didn’t even say anything to me. She just hugged me, and I think that’s such a simple but effective way to tell someone you still care about them. She doesn’t know how much that changed for me, but it did, so thank you Sophie!
Anyway, after that my life was still as bad but I was better at handling it to an extent. I had a blip at the beginning of Year 11, which was my first suicide attempt. I don’t really like to call it that, as I was never hospitialised or anything, but I remember wanting to die and trying to jump out of my bedroom window. Probably wouldn’t have killed me, now that I think about it.
My GCSE exams came around and I had somehow managed to weasel my way into a new friendship group with 3-4 girls, namely two of them, Ciera and Livvy. It was fantastic to feel as though I was a part of something again, we had our troubles in that friendship group (probably my fault), but we managed to get through them. It ended up just being myself, Ciera, and Livvy. We went to prom together, and Sophie went with her boyfriend, and there was no bad blood in the end.
I would say I don’t know how I managed it, but I do know. Sophie, Ciera, and Livvy were all the ones that managed to show me enough love and appreciation for me to pull myself out of it. Along with therapy, I had managed to complete my exams and go to prom, with averagely good GCSE scores. The kindness that they all showed during that time in my life must not have been easy – nobody wants to be friends with the girl that everyone bullies. I owe them the world.
I went to college to study Floristry. For future reference, this is NOT what I ended up wanting to do, and that’s absolutely okay. College was fine, and I’m using that bland adjective because that’s really all it was, just fine. I made some great friends at college, even though they were older than me. I found myself being able to get support from them without feeling guilty for it, which hadn’t happened before. Unfortunately, my mental health did take a turn for the worst during the end few months of college, meaning I didn’t attend the graduation ceremony. I regret that, a lot.
My anxiety got a lot worse, and I started having dissociation at this time. I wasn’t self harming, but I was scared and I didn’t know what dissociation was. I would just randomly blank out, from anywhere between 5 minutes and 5 hours. I wouldn’t remember any of the time period, anything I had said to anyone, anything I had done. Sometimes, I would come around from these episodes and not even remember personal information like my birthday or my middle name. It was extremely difficult, I’m not going to lie, I felt like giving up. When you get better for a short period of time and then you get worse again, it feels like the end of the world.
After college, I didn’t go to university. I’ll be writing another post about this so I won’t go into it too much here. I just didn’t feel comfortable in that environment, in my mind, the people who go to university are a lot different to me. Instead of this, I had a complete mental breakdown! Fun, I know. You should try it. (Don’t really.)
I ended up in hospital, which in fairness was my choice; I thought it would help me to feel like I could be somewhere safe. My dissociation was really bad, and at this point whenever I would dissociate I would usually self harm. I didn’t remember it, and I wasn’t in my right mind to look after myself after I self harmed, so it got worse in that aspect. Again, I’m going to write a post about psychiatric hospitals, but let me just say one thing. I hated it.
My experiences in that hospital happened in one night, two days, and they caused me more trauma than most of my life experience put together. It was absolutely horrible, and I don’t want to scare people out of going, but my personal experience was terrifying. The only good thing about it was that I got out so soon, after pretending to be magically cured by the meds they gave me.
Then I had the crisis team come to my house every day for nearly two months. The only way I can describe this is having a different stranger, come to your house every single day, talk to you for an hour about … something?! Then leave. I don’t know how it helped me, but it did, and I think it was because I knew I had someone coming to talk to me every single day. It was the security of knowing I could tell someone something.
I resumed normal therapy after that, with my community mental health team. I was still dissociating, extremely anxious, and depressed. It wasn’t affecting my life as much anymore, because I didn’t have any responsibility. I didn’t have a job, I wasn’t at university, I had nothing and nobody that relied on me. The weird thing about mental health, is that you think you can be doing the best you’ve ever done, and then suddenly something will happen that ruins it all.
There was one night that I went to Ciera’s (my best friend) house, I felt great on that day. I remember feeling so relaxed, happy, just content. We were drinking alcohol but it wasn’t anything crazy. Then suddenly I just felt absolutely horrible, I know that I just laid down on the floor crying because I was convinced that I was going to die. I don’t know why I thought that, I just did. I knew it, I was going to die right then and there. It escalated into one of the worst dissociation episodes I’ve ever experienced, I saw things that weren’t there, I heard things that weren’t there, I could hear Ciera calling the ambulance and speaking to our other friend about what to do; I just couldn’t tell her what was wrong. The ambulance came and they didn’t know what to do, it wasn’t a medical emergency, they had to wait for me to calm down. Ciera’s mum came home, and she said something to me that managed to pull me out of it. “They won’t let you go home if you don’t calm down!”. Obviously she meant that the ambulance crew wouldn’t let me go home, but in my mind I thought she meant the people that I was seeing and hearing wouldn’t let me go if I didn’t stop crying and screaming, so I stopped. It’s amazing how she didn’t know what that meant to me at the time, but it ended up stopping all of the problems that night.
Ciera and her mum hopefully know how much they did for me that night, but if they’re reading this and they don’t know, you saved my life that night. I literally owe you my life, so thank you.
After that, my mental health was on and off. Sometimes I would be okay, sometimes I wouldn’t. Meanwhile, I was growing as a person. I was gaining knowledge from being a volunteer at an online mental health charity, I was helping myself with online courses and still going to therapy. I gained a lot of wisdom from those things that helped me to clarify my thoughts properly.
Only last year, I was told that I might have Borderline Personality Disorder. I don’t have an official, legal diagnosis of this, because they refused to give me one. They said it would ruin the rest of my life, due to the fact that having such a severe diagnosis puts people off of me. It’s fair enough, it shouldn’t be like that, but it is. So there’s that. Getting this ‘diagnosis’ helped me A TON. I can’t even describe it, once I had a set list of symptoms that made sense to my personality, it was amazing. It meant that my family and friends could effectively help me with a specific set of problems.
I’ll be writing another post about BPD, what it is, how it affects me, etc.
I also got told earlier this year (2018) that I have OCD tendencies, but that hasn’t been explored at the time of writing this, so I can’t tell you much about that. My life is so much better now, I got a job that I like, I am friends with Sophie again, myself and Ciera are still great friends, and my friendship with my other best friend, Lottie, reaches 7 YEARS THIS YEAR! Crazy.
It would be impossible for me to explain 13 years worth of trauma and mental illness in one blog post, which is why I created Unlunacy. As much as it is my personal experiences, it’s also so that other people can read it and know that they aren’t alone. There are other people out there who feel or have felt exactly the same as you – all you need to do is reach out.
I hope I didn’t bore you to death, and that you will be interested in reading my future blog posts about specific areas I covered in this post.
Have a lovely day!