My Mental Health Story
My inner world started to collapse on me when I realised that I had feelings for another girl- my best friend. Back when I was in high school, nobody was openly out as gay and the world I grew up in never taught me anything about same-sex relationships or the fact that it is ok and completely normal!
Struggling with accepting who I was, I started binging and purging in order to gain some sense of control. Having a strong hold on my weight gave me relief and a sense of power that otherwise seemed invisible to me.
Of course, anyone with a mental illness knows that one bad coping mechanism can lead to another and certain conditions can all mix together. I fell into a huge bout of depression and ended up quitting my place at university to study paediatric nursing. I spent my days curled up in bed, in my dark and let’s face it, sweatbox of a bedroom because I didn’t have the physical or mental energy to drag my depressed self into the shower.
On a positive note, my romantic relationship was a go; the bad news being that I kept on messing it up. On nights out, I would get so drunk that I would flirt with both men and women, yearning for their attention to the point where my best friend, almost girlfriend was questioning why she ever fell for me in the first place.
After a massive kick up the arse, we went to see a private therapist and she helped us to properly communicate with one another. I always say and stand by it, that ‘communication is the almighty key to begin fixing any negative situation’. With my confidence and trust firmly applied in the therapeutic relationship, I asked her if she would see me on my own to discuss all of my yucky stuff. I saw the same therapist privately for 6 years and I thank her for everything that she did for me. I can honestly say that she is one of the very few people I actually trust.
However, I was getting worse. My symptoms grew more intense and she couldn’t help me effectively anymore. I sought more help through the GP and fell into a rabbit hole of mixed diagnoses, inadequate therapy and basically being thrown from one service to the next because people didn’t know what to do with me. The lack of support really knocked me for six. I felt worthless like I didn’t matter and ended up taking overdose after overdose with the intention of wanting to end my life. I was severely lost and ended up in the back of an ambulance, having countless overnight stays in A&E and then finally being sent to a psychiatric hospital in 2018.
Coming out of hospital was tough, the real world is scary, and I felt unsafe. The home crisis team stepped in and I finally got a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder, along with DBT therapy that I had been on the waitlist for 3 years! But I started to make progress. My family were a great support and at the end of 2018, I moved out of my parents’ house with my partner. Group therapy really wasn’t for me though, as even more symptoms were coming to the surface, ones that I had hidden for years because I was ashamed that professionals would think I was faking it and dismiss me again.
I had to quit DBT because it was making me worse, but I did find another private therapist who has been a lifesaver and a serious pivotal point in my mental health journey. I can now confidently say that I suffer from Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). All of the past misdiagnoses and years of being tossed around finally made sense. Through therapy and a concoction of meds, I have been able to communicate with my ‘alters’ and because of this, my life has turned around. I am in the best state of mind I have ever been in. Everything up to this point has taught me the most valuable lessons, given me buckets of insight and I am now more grateful than ever to be alive.
My message in my story is that there are ups and downs to every form of mental health journey, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. My whole mindset has shifted because I have learnt that I am the one who is in control. Being aware of what I can and cannot control has boosted my conscious state immensely and by doing the inner work, you too can unleash the real you, the one that is at your core.
I still have days where I struggle with my DID, but I am a highly functioning person, so I am learning to manage it. I will continue to learn and share the wisdom that I have built up along the way with as many people as I can. Happiness is out there. You can feel joy and love again- I promise.
p.s I am only human, so I still have bad days and I still get frustrated and feel hopeless that I will never be 'ok'. If you can notice this, you can begin to change your future, that's what I do and sometimes it is really dam hard as I have a lot going on in my head, but I always pull through in the end.
p.p.s the best friend I mentioned at the beginning is now my fiancé and soon to be future wife. We live happily together in a little bungalow out in the countryside with our baby boy, Moose- the sausage dog. I currently run a personal development website called Life’s apprentice and am studying for a degree in Criminology & Psychology. I am 28, so you can do whatever you want at whatever age. Don’t let your mental health stop you from pursuing your dreams. If I can do it, so can you!