Wednesday, October 11, 2017

A Mental Health Discovery

Today's guest post is from Beth, who is sharing her personal journey with mental illness. So please give her a warm welcome and support in the comments! :)

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Trigger warning, mention of Medication, suicide, self-harm, depression and anxiety.

Mental health is something we as a society tend to shy away from and don’t discuss the importance of. This needs to change, nobody should feel scared to talk about.

I was 11 when I started showing symptoms of depression and anxiety. Back then I had no idea about mental health as I was only young. I remember feeling sad all day every day and not knowing what was wrong with me, I shut myself off from everyone as I felt like I wasn’t worth anything. I spent every night crying myself to sleep. I began to pretend to be ill, this meant I wouldn’t have to leave the house or face anyone. I was feeling all of this at only age 11. It got to the point where my mum started forcing me to school, telling me I can’t be ill every single day. I’d go to school, then tell them I was sick. This was a cycle going on for around 2 months until a teacher had picked up on my behavioural tendencies. My mum began to be concerned as she had noticed it too. I didn’t have a very good childhood as my dad wasn’t a very nice man. I was referred to counselling at the school, this was all so new to me, I was 11 and having to deal with speaking to a stranger. I didn’t take much from this, I stuck it out for the new 2 years but never felt it got anywhere. I was still horribly depressed but not knowing so. I began to self-harm, something which I’m not proud of, but it helped for about an hour each evening. 

At the age of 14 my mum took me to the doctor and I was diagnosed with clinic depression and anxiety. Having this label at the age of 14 was scary, I didn’t know what any of these words meant. I was put in a system for counselling, telling me tablets were an option when I got older. The mention of tablets freaked me out, I was 14 and felt like a freak. I’ve had on and off counselling until I turned 18 and that’s when you stop being helped, taken out of the system. It was awful, going from getting support to getting nothing and trying to cope alone, was simply terrifying. I took myself back to the doctors and we spoke through options, at this point I was put on suicide watch as I spoke about wanting to die. I had to try 3 different types of anti-depressants over the course of 2 months. 

Therefore, mental health needs to be acknowledged and why we need funds in the mental health section of the NHS, we’re having cuts and simply not helping those who need it, meaning they’re afraid of trying to help themselves or even ask for help. We need to recognise when people show symptoms of this, I’m thankful that my teacher notices and that my mum was loosely on the case too. 

I’m turning 21 this week, October 4th. I’m at the best possible state in my mental health that I’ve been since I was diagnosed. I’m currently on 150g of sertraline and I’m coping with writing about things. I’m one year self-harm free and I’m in my first year of university and I couldn’t be prouder of myself for accepting help and being able to live my life without constant fear or sadness using medication and knowing bad days do exist, but they have to for good ones to happen.

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Thank you so much for sharing your story with us, Beth! You can find her on Twitter (@bethanyxaldrich) and on her blogs, All the Bright Places, and The Crime Files