I’m a very open person when it comes to talking about mental health, I’ll share my ups and my downs and have been online for 3 years now in the hope that it will help others to talk. It’s been raised more than once whether I worry if being so open will hinder my chances of getting a job, something I’ve written about before. I’m a firm believer of using your past to enhance your present and not being ashamed of who you are. I write about mental health often because I refuse to be ashamed of this part of me and I know that it’s just one part of me! I’m so much more than one diagnoses, I’m a daughter, sister, partner, friend, writer, blogger, musician, book reader, former horse rider, world traveller, the list goes on.
I also think it’s important to take stock of how far I’ve come every now and again, because I’m thankful for the opportunities I’ve had. While I’ve been at uni I’ve learnt to deal with depression and anxiety, I’ve learnt methods to stop the thoughts before they get too much. I’ve had jobs that I’ve fallen in love with and have made me genuinely happy and excited to go to work, something I hope to continue. When I started university I wasn’t sure of myself, had very low self confidence and was so, so anxious. I remember trying to go out drinking in a club for the first time and being paralysed with fear, I came home and cried begging to be normal for once. Then in second year I went the opposite way, all my new friends went out a lot and go drunk, I hadn’t had a close group of friends like this so I did that too, even though I was going off of the effects alcohol. It took a long time but now I feel comfortable with myself enough to just tell people I don’t drink to get drunk, it doesn’t make me happy in the slightest and the people who matter accept this.
When I look at the girl I was on my first day to who I am now I’m impressed with myself. I’ve overcome a lot to get where I am today and that doesn’t mean that I don’t sometimes have days where I’m low and struggling or nights where I can’t sleep because my mind is going 100 mph. With my sessions with my mentor, blogging, living I’ve learnt and am still learning ways to just live alongside my illness, just like anyone else with an illness would. For three years now I’ve tried to notice what makes it better, what makes it worse and when I just need to step back and breathe for a minute.
3 years ago the thought of having to get busses and possibly getting lost was enough to send me into a panic attack, this was one of my ways to feel better, sending silly selfies to Ali to make me less anxious. Now I don’t even think twice about busses.
What I know, and what I want others to know, is that having a mental health condition doesn’t make you any less of a person. Actually, I think what I’ve had to go through has made me a better and stronger person. The hours in A & E when I was a kid checking the bullies hadn’t broken my bones, the sneers from other kids because I was ‘fat, ‘ugly’, a ‘slut’ or ‘couldn’t sing'(none of which were true but to a 15 year old it hurts), the kids who would find my blogs leave comments and then try and embarrass me in class, the fact it was better for my health for me to study from home, the fights, the bruises, everything else they tried to do, ALL OF IT. People ask if I wish it had never happened, I’ve gotten to the point now where I think if that hadn’t happened I wouldn’t be the strong, smart, independent woman I am today. If this didn’t happen it might not have triggered my illness, sure but I choose to look at the positives. Being honest and open about my life and experiences has meant that I’ve met incredible people, made amazing friends, won awards, it’s all about what you do with a shitty situation when you’re well enough.
I had rough times, times where I couldn’t see a light at the end of the tunnel and I wondered what was the point. I never want to feel that way again and that’s what drives me. I also want other people not to feel alone and if my blog can show one person that your diagnoses isn’t your life then I’ve done what I wanted to do. Mental illnesses are annoying but they don’t mean that you can’t have a life, it might have to pause for a while but that’s ok, when you’re ready you can take baby steps to put it all back together again. Right now I’m feeling ok, a little anxious because I don’t know what the future holds but I just remind myself nearly all 3rd years feel that way. All I know is that I’m going back to Basingstoke a different girl to the one who left, one who’s 100% stronger and more kick ass.