Monday 6 March 2017

If I Could Talk To My Mental Illness...

If I Could Talk To My Mental Illness... help support mind time to change depression anxiety OCD eating disorder bloggers UK mental health disorder

For years and years, probably since the age of seven or eight, you've left me petrified of life. From the near deaths of both my mother and father to the illnesses that could have taken the lives of both my grandparents. You've made me cling on to the edge of the cliff, with only my pinky fingers like I'm the one fighting for my life. 

Life is unpredictable. The scariest thing of all is when something depressing happens to someone with depression. Life has teased me with this in a sick and twisted way ever since I was the age of three. Death and illness have been at the core of my life for the 18 years I lived. But as I watched my loved ones suffer physically, I battled internally with my own demons.

OCD, you are an old friend of mine. A friend that mislead and tricked me. You sold me comfort and relief from the uncertainty I've experienced in the seven years that I had been alive. When I performed these simple behaviours, you reassured me. You told me things would be okay, as long as I kept on doing these things. This often reminds me of those dodgy salesmen who try and flog you things in the market which you know are utter crap, but you buy them anyway. But this isn't a joke. There's no "ah never mind, it serves me right" this is happiness, sleep and life lost to you and your wicked ways.

Soon the constantly checking the doors, keeping my fingers crossed at all times and feeling the need to always ask for reassurance was not enough. I look back on my childhood now, and I realise the constant state of anxiety and panic I was in, wasn't normal. It wasn't a normal part of growing up. I was at the mercy of generalised anxiety disorder, from the ripe old age of eight or nine. 

OCD and anxiety aren't supposed to be a normal part of growing up. The things I lost out to because of my OCD breaks my heart. I'm no longer a child and will no longer be able to get the years I lost to mental illness back. Childhood was a time for learning, making mistakes and testing the boundaries. Conversely, in my childhood, if I wasn't worried that my house was going to burn down, I was worried that my parents were dying and if I weren't worried about one of those two, it would have been something else which in reality was never going to happen. 

Just like lots of the real friends in my life at the time, OCD leaves. For a short while at least. In the meantime I developed an unhealthy fear of talking to people, speaking on the phone and going into public places.This became exhausting and left me drowning in my own fear and worry.

As a young teen, mental illness carried on following me. Like a black dog, an unwanted companion no matter how much you want it to go away it stays loyal by your side. Now food had become my enemy. I didn't want to stop eating. I didn't want to weigh my myself nonstop, obsessively exercise or desperately feel for the bones in my legs, I just wanted control. And this was the only way my brain told me I could get control of my life back. 

If I Could Talk To My Mental Illness... OCD depression anxiety mental health buzzfeed NHS mind time to change bloggers support help

Skip forward a few years, and I'm in college now about to go through the worst year of my life. OCD and anxiety have been in hibernation for a while now. You haven't come to visit, and in all honestly I was overwhelmed by that fact, but as a result of a combination of bullying, ill health, stress and being treated terribly by the people around me, my mental health deteriorated and you my old friend, OCD, came back with a vengeance. 

You stripped me of my happiness, independence, and life. On my worst days, I would pour neat bleach over my hands multiple times a day, beat myself up and cry for hours. Why? Why make me suffer? There are people out that who commit unthinkable acts of crime and torture. Murders, rapists, terrorists, shouldn't these people the people to receive this brutal treatment. Why should an intelligent young girl with her whole life ahead of her be at the center of this pain and anguish? Why am I to blame for everything that's ever gone wrong in my life?

In my deepest lows of depression you would make me cry for hours and hours on end over nothing. Nothing has changed from one week to the next, yet I felt like my soul had been sucked out of my body, and all I could do was stare into space, hopeless, watching an internal movie of myself running around and around this maze with no escape and no way out. As I cried hysterically into the arms of my friend in the middle of the corridor, I could feel you creep inside every inch of my body. 

I've come to tell you something. I'm bigger and better than you mental illness. I now know that there's nothing wrong with emotions and feelings, we just feel them. They just are. But it's how we react to them that defines who we are as individuals. I can't hold myself accountable for my OCD or depression but what I can hold myself accountable for is the effort of trying.

You pushed me to the breaking point. You made me feel weak, unloved and unwanted. You made me want to drop out of college on multiple occasions. You've caused countless public breakdowns. But if there's one thing you won't cause is me giving up. 

I now know that there's no point in worrying because it doesn't stop tomorrows pain it just takes away today's enjoyment. By worrying, all you do is suffer twice, and that's if the thing I worry about really does come true. I've known you long enough know to know 98% of fears never do come true but if they do, I'm strong and brave enough to fight whatever it is.

I'm in therapy. I'm armed now with techniques, methods and strategies to fight hard and dirty if you come back again. I'm sure you will. Because life is no Disney fairytale, there isn't always a happy ending. But it's worth continuing the story on until the very end because you don't know who you're going to meet, what obstacles you will overcome and what amazing things you will achieve.

You deserve no pity or love mental illness. You are the stuff of nightmares. The real monster that can be found in way to many children's cupboards or under way too many beds

Thank you reading, as always X

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