(Just a heads up, this is a long one, and I will be discussing some sensative subjects)
Mental health day.
Every day is mental health day isn’t it?
I’ve known that this date was creeping up for the past couple of weeks, and have been toying with the idea of writing a post.
Depression is all around us, and it’s not spoken about enough.
Its difficult to try and write about how and when it started, who contributed to it, and how, if you’re truly lucky enough, to overcome it.
This post will not be edited, I am writing, raw, and will post the finished piece. As that’s what mental health is, its raw, its unforgiving, and its honest.
My battle started when I was 10 or 11. That was when I first started self harming. I was one of those Tom boys who was forever climbing trees, getting mucky, and I had a mixed group of boys and girls in the neighbourhood, so skate boarding and playing football, you might get a litle roughed up, so any scratches were accounted for.
My family is wonderful and is my life, but I grew up with an abusive father. No more details, thats enough. But to grow up being terrified of one of your parents will effect you.
I’m mixed race, I’m half arabic. And I love that I am, I’ve always been proud of my heritage. But kids can be mean, especially to the ‘unknown’, I’m not an alien for crying out loud!
I’m curvy, always have been, and I shot up when I was about 11 or 12, so being taller and bigger, just became more for me to look ‘different’.
Apparently anyone with olive skin is caled one of 2 names… one begins with a N, and one with a P. Neither will I spell or repeat, but you get the jist. I love my skin colour and my background, regardless of what other teens said, I love my (at times frizzy) curly wild hair, and being tall, with long legs, and and an hour glass figure. I wouldn’t change a thing.
And I had tons of friends growning up and still do… but theres always going to be bullies.
Growing up feeling at times, scared, confused and upset at home, and school, did affect my school work, I loved school, but information didnt always stick. I’ve always been a people person, so lively, happy, outgoing, live to have a great time, and then the other side of me where I want to close my eyes and it just to all end. That I’d cry, and prey to not wake up almost every day.
Most people wake up in a good mood a then something bad will happen and they become sad. I was the other way round. I’d wake up sad, and then have to find something happy to perk up my day. It was difficult.
Feeling that you’re not good enough and that you truly believe that you’re a burden and that your family and friends lives would be better if you weren’t around. That’s alot to deal with.
Completing school, and starting college was incredible. My family took charge and threw me a party for my 16th birthday, I still have pictures of my friends and I dancing and doing kareoke… same year I did my GCSE exams, I wasn’t prepared for either, because I remember waking up on my 16th birthday and the first day of my exams with the same thought.
‘I can’t believe I’m still alive, I never thought I’d make it this far’.
The friends I made there are some of my closest to this day. Although I no longer saw my father, and wasnt bullied at school, depression followed me, and it got worse. It dug its claws in, and was part of me, regardless of how much I wanted to shake it off.
The loss of a loved one close to me at 19 years old shook me. I didn’t expect it. Non of us did. Staying strong for loved ones around me was automatic, but I didnt grieve properly, I pushed it to the side without realising. And the 6 months later it hit me. And I broke.
Trust me, I’m trying to keep this brief.
Becoming an adult, realising you have all of these responsibilities is overwheling regardless of how your mental health is. I am proud to say that through this all, I have always stayed in education,although I didnt always want to, and I’ve always kept a job to pay my way and keep a roof over my head, which again, I didnt want to, I wanted to be at home in bed crying alone, but I had to.
Is taking a ‘mental health day’ really a thing? If so, I feel like I should of!
From 16 to 23, One abusive relationship to another didnt help. I had so much love, and love in me, and then so much pain, and blame for anything that went wrong.
For years I was the definition of Sunshine and Showers.
There was no inbetween.
Relationships breaking down were my fault as well as theres as being with someone who has depression, who is so up and down and sometimes unreasonable can of course be difficult, but I tried my hardest.
But lies, cheating and a variety of abuse? Theres no excuse for that. And I didn’t deserve to be treated that way.
I also dealt with bullying as an adult, for 3 years, it was torture and those who I turned to, the ones whos job it was to sort these ‘issues’ weren’t interested, let’s just put that out there and stick a pin in it for now. But excuse my language, it was shit. It was a disgrace and a joke. And it’s still ongoing, not for myself, but others.
From 23, to 25, I look back and smile, I made some awful, and memorable decisions, but never mistakes. I took a lot of chances a just threw myself into the world, different jobs, places to call home, relationships, I learnt alot about myself.
And then in the mist of it, something earth shattering happened, a that’s maybe for another post or for never, but that’s when the panic attack started. Give me a break!
Have you ever been desperate not to sleep? Have you ever suffered from night terrors? In your dream, screaming, crying, panicking, trying to run away but you cant. You cant do anything to stop it.
Back in the real world, your whole body has become stiff, not being able to breath, you know you’re dreaming bt you can use your limbs to touch the peson next to you to get there attention to wake you up, and you want to scream but cant because you cant breath properly, or get any sound out. Every night, for 18 months I dread sleep, and dammit, if you know me you know Iove my bed!
I started drinking energy drinks, 2 big cans twice a day, and coffee on top. I didnt know what else to do. I’d rather have no sleep than a bad nights sleep.
How do you explain depression, and panic attacks to people who dont understand, who get frustrated because they dont know how to respond, who want to be there for you but then end up getting mad? Simple, you don’t.
You slap on that old smile, and act like everything is fine whilst you’re drowning inside. Because it’s easier for people to handle.
And you dont want to be seen as sad, crazy or difficult anymore.
And as always, the people who have hurt you, who have gone out of their way to be spiteful and cruel, walk on like nothings happened, like they’re a good person. It’s unfair. But I am a strong believer in Karma. Even if it takes years and years.
My family gave me extraordinary memories growing up and I know that I am dearly loved. The same goes for my friends, I wouldnt be here without them, and my boyfriend, I’ve never me anyone so sweet, kind, caring, thoughtful and patient, and he makes me laugh like no other.
It hasn’t all been bad, but it has never been easy.
Please dont get me wrong, this is not suoppose to be read as a ‘woe is me’ post, I’m not looking for sympathy, I’m hoping someone who may be able to relate to this, will feel inspired and be able to power through, and give them warmth and strength, that they are not alone and that they can come through the other side.
And yes, in case you were wondering, I had tried therapy, once, I hysterically cried at the poor woman and ran out to never return. And I’d tried anti depressants, for perhaps a year… they just weren’t a good fit for me. Therepy and anti depressants can and do work for others, but didnt for me, thats just my personal opinon.
At 25/26 … (I cant quite remember exactly bt dont want to Drudge up anymore memories) …
At 25/26, I finally stopped self harming everything began to ease up and I also grew stronger. I answered back, was able to grow from experiencs and stand up for myself more.
I wasnt depressed anymore. I of course have days where I feel low, and Im terrified of spiraling.
It’s taken years, and alot of heart ache because of cutting people out of my life who say they are a friend but arent. People are fickle. The people that want to be friends with anyone and everyone just for numbers, no thank you. You’ll realise you have a lonely life and that lut of those hundreds of people, how many are actually there for you? Dont have people in your life if youre just a number to them, who wont be there for you when you need them
If you dont have loyalty to our friendship, you arent a person I want it my life. I will be civil but know that you arent my friend.
Quality over quantity.
I am extremly thankful to have such wonderful people in my life, who have always been genuine, supportive, non judgmental, and here for me to just talk.
I apologise for any spelling mistakes, for now, I dont wish to look back over what I’ve written as I dont want to second guess how open I’ve been and delete anything.
When I’ve opened up before about my past mental health struggles, some peole have been so stunned.
‘You’re always so upbeat and happy and are smiling, I never would of known’. And that’s the point. Not everyone with issues walks around with mascara running down their cheeks, with a dark cloud over them, we dont all act and feel the same.
But be kind, always and listen. You may of never been in that boat but one day you might be?
‘The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention’ – Oscar Wilde