Hey Lovelies! This post is going to be a lot more serious and very personal. I recently started feeling quite low again so started looking for inspiration to lift my mood. I realised that the things that were lifting my mood was other stories people shared about their anxiety and depression. This made me think – what if my story helped other people too? So here I am, preparing to leave my heart on this post in hope that it helps just one person. So here goes…
I will start at the very beginning. It was March 2010 when my mom and step dad told us that we would be moving from where we currently lived to the other side of the River Severn to be closer to family. It was an overall nicer place to live. Where we had previously lived it was a huge council estate that saw a lot more crime and drugs than where we were moving too. This meant I had to leave my school and friends that I had grown up with and move to a place where I didn’t know anyone in my year and only knew a select few people, 2 of them being my cousins. I said goodbye to all of my friends, classmates, people I had grown with and we left. I was so nervous, a sickening nervous. I didn’t want to start a new school with people I didn’t know…
The first day was horrible. I didn’t want to get in the car to go to school. I stood in the reception with my grandad who had to tie my tie for me because I had no idea how to do it. I was greeted by a girl called Becky who would be my new “mentor” as so to speak. She introduced me to all of her friends and we got on really well (thank you ladies for taking me under your wings!). I got the lesson over and done with when I was then asked if I had bullied one of the girls that was in our year – I hadn’t. This questioning lasted for a few days and then stopped which I was so thankful for. However, this was replaced with stares, being called ugly behind my back when someone thought I wasn’t in the classroom. I think the whole room heard and we just pretended not too – all of the girls friends laughed and told her I was actually just a table behind her. I have never forgotten how that made me feel. I had never been told I was ugly before and for someone to say it out loud, laughing with their friends, hurt me so much. That night I went home and told my mom I wouldn’t be going back, but I did.
After a while everything calmed down. However, I didn’t feel ok in myself. I didn’t feel like I belonged there and that I would never belong there. My previous school didn’t feel that way, we all got along. I fell out with a few of the girls in our group for a little while and our group split in half almost, we soon made up again and decided we were too grown up for petty arguments and carried on with our lives. When we moved into the schools new build we had another argument which meant our group split again and me and a couple of other girls made friends with a bigger group which lasted through to the end of year 11. I spent a lot of my school time in the behaviour support room where I discussed issues I was having and how I never really felt happy, they told me that I should speak to a doctor and get their advice – I didn’t.
Throughout year 11 things started sliding. I had a male friend and we got very close, some information about our relationship got out and we fell out. He hurt me a lot by sharing something personal about myself with a lot of people in our year. I spent a lot more time out of the classroom and in BSR where I finally told the staff there, after telling my best friend first, that I had been self-harming. I also had stopped eating. I felt disgusting and I needed to control the way I looked. I showed them the almost healed cuts on my wrist and they asked me if I had anymore on my body – of course I lied and said no and that had been the only time. They helped me a lot, built up my confidence and supported me. I had my hair cut into the “scene” style and started listening to rock/alternative rock music in front of my friends. I finally felt like I could be the person that I was at home, at school. I got a job, worked a lot of hours and tried to block out the sadness I had felt for the past 3 years.
One day I read something that Demi Lovato had posted online – she was talking about her self harm, bipolar and experience in rehab – it was then I decided to face the fact that it was not normal to constantly feel sad for 3 years. I needed help. I confronted my mom and told her that I thought I had depression. We made an appointment at the doctors and I told them everything. I told them how sad I was, that I had self-harmed, that I was tired all of the time and had no energy, that I wasn’t eating. He sent a letter to the hospital and told me I would have to wait up to 5 months for a reply. That was in the June, at the end of August I had a letter come through, my first appointment.
I was terrified. My mom and baby sister had come with me but had to stay in the waiting room at the hospital. I did an assessment (which I can never remember the name of) and scored a very high 28/30. They were deeply concerned and asked me about whether or not I was suicidal. No one had ever asked me this. It was something I had considered but obviously never put into action. My response was – I’m not suicidal, I’m numb. I don’t want to kill myself but if I was put into a situation where I would die I wouldn’t care. She asked me about my self-harming, not eating and whether or not I wanted to take tablets. I didn’t have any tablets as I asked to be scheduled in for appointments every week. She diagnosed me with depression and anxiety. She called my mom into the room and told her. She told her that my cuts weren’t severe so I they shouldn’t tell me to stop. She then discussed with my mom that I would need to see me every week. I saw her every week for a couple of months and then just didn’t go. For me, it wasn’t working.
A lot of people at college would ask me about my absence every Tuesday, a few people knew but I wasn’t honest with many. In February 2014 I fell in love with my current boyfriend. I hadn’t told him much about my past and one day someone told me that Gareth would regret that he was going out with me if he knew. My heart broke. I confronted him, told him everything except about the boy who shared images of me at school. I thought about it everyday though. I found a new job in December 2014, just in time for the Christmas meal and my anxiety was so high, I hardly ate and people asked questions. In March 2015 I fell pregnant and the pregnancy was hard for me, I was severely depressed. I didn’t seek any help.
When I had Kiah I wanted my pre-pregnancy body back. My slim size 6 figure had gone. I had gained 4 and a half stone during the time carrying Kiah and I felt disgusting – I regretted eating. I starved myself. At most I would eat a bowl of cereal a day. I breastfed her so I had no energy and I hated myself. I couldn’t go out anywhere and I look back and feel awful that I didn’t take Kiah to baby groups or to go and meet new people. I lost 2 stone in 2 months through starving myself and Gareth became concerned. In the April he told me I needed to see a doctor again so I did. The doctors solution was tablets but that meant I had to stop breastfeeding Kiah which I couldn’t do as that was the only thing keeping me going.
I carried on with my life, preparing to return back to work. I felt incredibly anxious and considered not going back to work but I forced myself too. I reflected on the past 8 months since I had Kiah and realised that so many people found it so easy to try and pass off my depression as postnatal depression. I knew it wasn’t. I knew that it was the worst I had ever been but that’s because I felt like I had no control. I cried a lot. I hate to admit it as it kills me but at one point I wanted to give Kiah up for adoption. She wasn’t sleeping very well and I felt so alone because Gareth was going to see his brother and his friends a lot. As soon as I told him how I felt he realised that he wasn’t as free willed as he seemed and that I needed his help deeply. He helped me so much.
I still have days where I question how good of a mother or a girlfriend I am. Days where I can’t cope and think “one little cut won’t hurt”. I don’t cut though, I have to be strong. Not just for me but for Gareth and Kiah. I have always felt like I was the failure friend, sister and daughter. I felt like it didn’t matter if I existed or not and I still think that some times now. I query often as to whether I should ask for more help, push to be offered something other than antidepressants and anti-anxiety tablets! I wish that someone would look at me when I am struggling and tell me that this will end, that I will be ok. Because if there is one thing that I want people to learn from this it is that where you are now, today, that is not your final destination. You have so much more to explore, to learn, you have so many more people to love!
I haven’t self harmed for 5 months now. I am so proud. I am proud of myself, I am proud of everyone that has asked for help or is getting help. I am proud of the people who might be reading this thinking that they are worthless. You aren’t. You have so much worth.
I know that this is an incredibly long post and very unexpected but I wanted to speak out and offer my help to anyone I can. I hope this inspires one person to ask for the help they need. I hope this inspires one person to speak out and share their story. I hope this inspires one person to realise their self-worth. It does get better, I promise.
Thanks for reading! Xx