The last two days have seen huge steps for me and have opened my eyes. I’ve thought a lot about recovery from mental health today and I’ve realised that we don’t put a big emphasis on how well people do. I have a lot of friends who are doing great things that make me proud of them it could be something small like taking a walk to make themselves feel better or something huge like quitting self harming or opening up about their illness. Mental Health is a really personal thing and today I was able to face something huge, one of my biggest triggers.
I had a disagreement recently about my school days, although not always said in the best of ways the message was clear it needs to be a part of my past, not who I am now. So I’m rephrasing that my school days were a big part of me and I don’t want to give them the credit for making me who I am. I battled through and came through the other side. It’s strange but I usually forget that people don’t know here and when I say something people are really shocked, I’m not. Which I suppose means I can’t get mad at the people who saw it happen for not making a big deal out of it, because they’ve seen me so much better and that’s how they chose to think of me. I don’t want to go into huge details about some of the things that attributed to my depression and anxiety but the basic facts are: bullied from the age of 11 on and off, mental and physical, was very ill from the ages of 15-18.
Bank holiday Monday (for my American readers it’s a public holiday…but no one celebrates), I found myself walking into my old secondary school, a huge trigger for me. My chest started to get tight but I kept walking, I was ok then while my Mum queued to get my sisters uniform for the new year I went back to the car. It was here I started to panic, it was as if I could see bad memories…like they were ghosts. I felt sick and just wanted to escape into my iPod (my main coping mechanism at school was blocking the world out with music) Then something incredible happened, the power of my own mind started owning those memories. I started thinking about the good things that happened, I pictured memories I had with Ali at school (after all I never would have met him if I’d never gone), the few friends I had and it started to work.
The main building
It sounds silly but I looked out the window, sat up straight and said ‘it’s just a building, the building can’t hurt me’. This thing of logical thinking about the past experiences I’ve had is new to me. I was able to stop myself before I got too bad and that’s the best feeling! I did it!
Just after my 16th birthday, I remember being really poorly when this was taken
Recovery is something that can take a long time and takes different paths for different people. I have weekly sessions and will soon have a plan with goals. Other friends I know have a therapy called CBT, some having medication and others are on a longer plan. My twitter followers have their own ways of coping. When I was at school (above) I really didn’t deal with it well, I wasn’t coping and I’ll admit that openly. I don’t think I started dealing with it until I started uni and had the right medical support.
It doesn’t matter how long it takes, although I’ll be honest I don’t always feel like that. I do want to be ‘normal’ and not have meetings, appointments and doctors appointments but I suppose it’s just a different kind of normal. Just like some people’s normal is shopping for new clothes when they’re recovering from any illness or for other people it’s taking certain things out of their life. Every one is different so rightfully everyone’s illness and therefore recovery will be different.
I want to say: celebrate your recovery, don’t feel ashamed of bad days and good luck.