Monday 14th May 2018.
What do I want to say today? The first day of Mental Health Awareness Week, it seems like the right time to tell some of my stories.
So, where to begin, where to end, what to omit, what to emphasise. I am writing this to share more of me with you. and to explicitly show the impact Mental Health has had on me and my life. I am not writing this in a bid for pity, or anything of a similar intent, I am writing this to raise awareness.
No matter how many times people will convince themselves that mental health isn’t real and isn’t ‘that bad’. Not just I but WE will prove you wrong, so finally, this invisible illness can be seen and felt by all, even with their eyes closed.
I couldn’t possibly write my entire story, write all the contributions and all the minor traumas that may or may not have impacted the state of my now. So I am going to start at Ella, aged 16, starting sixth form and my AS-levels.
Summer, it was a dream, it was the kind of summer following your GCSE’s that makes a girl feel like she is in an American high school based film, with boys, drama and parties. The taste of being 16 and free. The drama was welcomed and greeted with laughs and battle arms.
September came, friends came and went, I found myself surrounded by new friends, unfamiliar faces that I was learning to love. The faint sense of not fitting in, not belonging, in the background of days as I knew my friends where ‘school friends’ not real friends. But it was normal, and the fickle jealousy driven friendship group was a part of the school experience.
Then came my mistakes, like a snowball rolling down a hill, searching for someone who truly loved me, cared for me, to stop it in its destructive path, and dust the excess away leaving me.
That person didn’t come, at least not for what felt for forever, I lost people one by one, I lost parts of myself as I crumbled within myself.
And what was left behind, was a mess, a mess that I am still trying to pick up the pieces of.
The saying goes that sticks and stones break your bones but words will never hurt you, the truth is they do hurt no matter how much we try to convince ourselves otherwise.
I could say I lost my friends but the truth is I didn’t have them.
What I lost was the one person who is always there to pick yourself up, and that is yourself.
I was living my repercussions, and they were chipping away at me leaving very little left. Nobody seeing the torture I was already serving, nobody seeing the lost eyes on my face, nobody seeing the irony in their attempts to right my wrongs.
Anxiety came gradually, but all at once, as I had more and more panic attacks and less and less time in silence with my mind.
I changed jobs, I went to school less, I quit school, I quit my job, I started going out less. I became a proud owner of the label ‘Anxiety disorder’.
Amongst all this, I met my boyfriend, he stopped the snowball, he saved me from the storm, he grounded me to allow me to start my recovery, keeping me from falling again.
My blog was born, the person I want to be was born.
And I am thankful for all of these things. However, it doesn’t make my past any easier to relive.
I am the reason for the start of my pain, but my peers, never stopped to recognise that what I needed was not torture, but kindness, nurture and love. I was truly alone with my mistakes, left with my worst critic, reinforced by the painful words of teenagers or failed to look beyond their selfish eyes.
I do not blame these people, but I do wish to make them realise that humans are delicate and mistakes are human, and forgiveness doesn’t mean they had to forget.
My story has so much more to it, but that’s the thing, everyone’s story has chapters only we will read.
As my mental health took hold and forgiveness was not in the sights of those who I saw each day at school, nobody knew what I was suffering, the battles I was facing, the pain I was fighting.
We are all fighting our own battles, and mental health leaves no-one at its mercy.
The person I was, and the person I was hoping to be:
I was driven, passionate, and academic with a competitive edge that tore me apart if I wasn’t the best. ( at least academically) I was in love with the magic of maths numbers and formulae, as well as the power of words, which complimented my love of sociology and psychology. As I was on the hunt to understand how society, people and everything else worked. I loved going out, going shopping and feeling like I was alive. I loved working, the satisfaction of earning and spending and saving. I was looking to the future at Nottingham Trent University, standing beside my boyfriend.
The person I am, the person I want to be:
The person I am now is very different. I am compassionate, kind, giving and loving. I have perspective on this world, I will always be thankful for. I suffer, each day, a prisoner to my own mind. I battle anxiety each day and my recovery, which is the reason for my growth of sympathy and forgiving nature. I love to write and explore the modern world that is social media. I have found a passion for mental health avocation, blogging and the online world. I have friends, friends who care, who love and who make me a better version of myself. I have no intention of going to university, back to education formally or living the life I had planned. Instead, I have every intention to recover, share my story, grow my blog and social media reach. And I want to spend my near future becoming a social media influence who promotes mental health and fights for what she believes.
And I have a fire burning deep inside, telling me I will.
The person I was, is amazing and would have been a huge success, but honestly, I question now if she would have been happy, truly undoubtedly happy.
The person I am now will be happy. Undoubtedly.
I fight each day, some days the battle starts as my eyes open wide, others it begins once I have climbed back into bed after having a snack, and on good days it may be the afternoon before I swallow deep and find the courage to shower. Each day is a different journey, but each day is a journey I will live. FOR TOMORROW.
‘ One day tomorrow shall come, deep breaths, a fast heart and a sweaty back will be because of the gym. And anxiety will come when I am about to stand and share my story with the world, not when I open my eyes as the sun rises. Tomorrow shall come.’
Today Tomorrow Forever