Mental health is something that is extremely common, yet here in 2020 its still something many of us don't feel comfortable talking about.
Since about as early as I can remember I’ve suffered from mental health issues – ranging from separation anxiety, generalised anxiety, depression, phobia, voices, self-harm, suicide attempts, and most recently and happily have received a diagnosis of EUPD. Which explains a LOT!
The things I’ve been through to reach this diagnosis have included various medications, and plenty of visits to people like CAMHS, Adult Support, Doctors, Therapists and psychiatrists. Many of us living with mental health issues have similar experiences.
My story starts as a clingy child who didn’t want to be apart from their mother, which turned out to be separation anxiety. Panic attacks when away from her. This led to panic attacks regularly, due to phobias and generalised anxiety. School was difficult for me – the separation, the anxiety, the pressures of being a teenage girl. I experienced bullying (as many of us do) which sent me into a depression and triggered self-destructive behaviours. CAMHS were involved at this point, and I started medication to help with the mixed anxiety and depression. My final year of school, exam stress and a diagnosis of anxiety and agoraphobia meant I only attended for exams. For me college was a big change, but a positive one! I got my driving licence, made some new friends, and felt like I gained some independence. I was still dealing with my mental health, and acting impulsively and I ended up back with mental health teams after an episode. Things were starting to look up until I lost someone very close, and I fell back into negative behaviours. September 2019 I saw a doctor who fully understood how I was feeling, and gave me a diagnosis. EUPD. Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder. He explained my diagnosis to me, and helped me understand it better. I really felt listened to, and finally things started to make sense.
Getting a diagnosis really made things easier for me. With help from professionals I began to notice changes in behaviour, and recovery felt possible where it hadn’t before.
I’m not over it. I still struggle. I have found it’s not a case of getting over it but adapting and learning to live with these challenges. I suffer from panic attacks when I go out. Separation anxiety when I’m away from my safety (my mum). Emetophobia. Dark low points, and extreme elation. I’ve heard voices when there’s no-one there. I’ve caused myself harm thinking it will make me feel better. I’ve taken risks without thinking of the consequences. I’ve done things I’m not proud of. I’m on a journey. I’m finding myself, learning to embrace my differences. Finding who I am inside, how things affect me, and how to work through them.
It’s different for each and every one of us. Some find a coping mechanism much earlier in life, others struggle to cope without medical intervention in the form of prescriptions, and support groups. If I’ve learned anything from living with mental health issues, is you’re not alone, and do not be afraid to ask for help. Asking for help or admitting you’re struggling is the first step on the road to recovery. Don’t be afraid to say ‘I’m not doing well’ to those who are your support. Don’t isolate yourself from your support group – be that your family, your friends, even your cat (yes, mine is a support animal to me every single day, and I love her to bits because she gets me!)
If you’re not ready to reach out and ask for help, remember to keep yourself safe. Some of the resources below may help you keep safe in a crisis, or offer you support when you need it. Be kind to yourself, and remember that recovery isn’t always a constant up, bumps in the road are expected, and it’s okay not to be okay!