In October 2014, I had a depressive episode that left me in a low mood 24/7. Not only this, but I was erratic, unpredictable, vicious and hostile to those I loved. I wasn’t in a good place, and those that were supposed to support me didn’t understand and so expected me to ‘be better.’ There was an immense pressure for my depression to be cured. My ex boyfriend, who I was with at the time kept telling me to ‘get help’ because he didn’t like the fact I wasn’t ‘cured’ straight away after visiting the doctors once or one therapy session. Whenever I was in a low state and argumentative, he would always say “you said you would get help.” Well I did. I went to the doctors twice and started councelling, but the fact everyone was so persistent on me being healed instantly made me think there was something wrong with me and I was just a bad person. In May 2015, I got rid of the toxic people in my life and focused on healing myself from the inside out, no matter the cost or who didn’t approve of it.
When I was younger, I did used to harm myself as a way of keeping control of my mental health. But at that stage in my life, I didn’t do that. I was just numb and emotionless walking around feeling like there was no point of me living. Feeling like a voodoo doll that everybody else could abuse and take their problems out on, but I still had scars from the last fifty people that tried to do it. I was a bomb, waiting to detonate at any point and wishing that people would hurt like I was hurting.
A lot of my ‘poor’ mental health is PTSD based and I suffer from terrible flashbacks of sexual abuse I suffered when I was a child. It consumes me and it doesn’t leave. When I sleep it’s flashbacks and episodes of reliving it all again. I also tackle severe anxiety which is a daily issue for me, but one I have learnt to deal with and adapt to. I feel depressed because I feel responsible that these things happened to me, even though I know it’s not really my fault. I feel anxious because I feel like that episode is going to effect me for the rest of my life and I’m never going to get rid of it. It hurts me when people don’t understand how much I hold inside and how much I’ve been through as it’s exhausting. But I can’t expect that at the same time, it’s not fair.
In 2016, I got my life together. I was vulnerable, but I found out who I was and found ways to be confident and ignore that voice in my head. However, past mistakes were made again as I struggled to keep afloat and try to stay positive. I realised why I was so happy is because I was doing whatever anybody else told me to do, just to keep the peace. Just to keep them happy. I was a pushover, losing self respect, dignity and courage over this. I wanted to be liked and I wanted to have people in my life, as the toxic ones I parted with left a lonely void and I felt guilty for pushing them away. But in the long run, I know the best thing to do was to just part with those who were not healthy for me. Towards the end of September, I got my life on track. I focused my writing, I made some beautiful and amazing friends and put my energy into making a positive atmosphere for all of them and my family. I was radiating good vibes, I was the chill member of the group you go to when you want to feel good.
Everything was fine and dandy for a while and I was inhumanly consumed with so much happiness that I beamed every day. I woke up excited as I made my morning coffee and set about my day. But like the yin and yang, life is about balance and whereas it’s not always bad, it’s not always entirely good either.
So much pressure was put upon me at the start of this year that I felt suffocated even trying to contemplate any of it. Rent, my home responsibilities, my savings for Uni and not to mention my uni accommodation deposit. Coming from a working class family where both your parents are on minimum wage jobs, I’m not able to get financial help and the only way I’ll be able to afford to go is if I get the money myself. However, I’m employed on low hours and the majority of my money goes on rent and staying afloat. The remainder is left for birthdays for the month or the social occasion that keeps me sane. It seems so impossible that I can’t provide for myself, I took a year out to provide for myself and instead I’m having to provide for my family as houses in Stratford are ridiculously expensive to rent. I don’t mind helping out, but the feeling that my future and the prospect of University is being pushed aside makes me feel horrible. I want my family to be excited about my future and sometimes I feel like I’m going to be stuck at home for the rest of my life because of my financial situation.
People expect me to do everything for them without a single ounce of appreciation, there were some people in my life who would cry out about having no attention, but would be annoyed at me for going out of my way for giving them some. I realise that I’m a people provider, I want to make things okay for everyone because I believe in happy endings, good vibes and life long friends and bonds. I’m constantly piggy in the middle- battling between the good and bad and trying to find a medium between to settle the peace. I will take the fall for people as it’s easier than seeing others get hurt.
I feel completely consumed. I carry around the weight of everybody’s problems and my own and I don’t want to talk about myself because I don’t want to be an issue. I’m constantly thinking about the future and how I’m going to afford certain things or where I’m going to be in a year. All this while battling painful, intoxicating flashbacks of the worst thing that ever happened to me.
Since February, I have felt mentally exhausted and like I’m one huge inconvenience. I feel paranoid like everybody hates me and I worry if somebody sends me a message that seems a bit off. Like a survivor, I prepare myself for the worst and I get extremely down. Whereas before my depression was erratic, unpredictable and hostile. This is me drowning in emotions I can’t even describe 24/7 trying to keep my head above the water as I keep telling myself it’s temporary. I wouldn’t admit to myself what was happening, I didn’t want to admit I was low again.
Purely because I don’t want to turn to somebody with my whole trust for them to just turn around and say “get help, or I need space.” I don’t want to be irrational or bitter, I don’t want to wallow in self pity. I want to just crack on, be productive and make this money so I can get to University, but I’m just surrounded by this feeling that I’m not good enough or I’m not deserving of anything.
Sometimes I just feel like an empty bag of flesh that too many people have used, sometimes I forget to respect myself and look after myself. Sometimes I have to say to myself, “My mum didn’t carry me for nine months for me to not carry myself.” Self love is important, but then that is treated as self indulgent behaviour and being selfish. It’s like you can’t win and you are just unsure of what to do. It’s like trying to paddle in the deepest, darkest part of the ocean.
I’m grateful for my friends, for listening to me when I’m being annoying or in my own world. I’m grateful for them still trying even though it probably seems like I’m one dimensional as I can’t seem to hold a proper conversation lately. I’m grateful for my Mum and my Nan for letting me rant and come to them when I need anything, even though my home life stresses me out, I love them with my whole heart. I’m grateful for my little sisters for telling me I’m moody but they still love me as they know I’m going through stuff and they know it’s hard to have a smile on my face constantly. I appreciate my best friends having my back and always vouching for me, even when I feel like the things I want are impossible.
There are good things among the bad, but sometimes it’s hard to surf among the roughest waves. We can be taken down at any moment, drowning and consumed by the water. But then we realise what we are fighting for. This is a fight, against the pressure, against your worries. Against your mental illness and past. You have to push yourself to be better and be a role model for your past self. I try to stay inspired during the tough times so I have an outlet, it keeps me going.
Whatever you do, if you feel like you are relapsing, please speak to somebody. Don’t let it build up and please, love yourselves. There are a number of charities such as Mind, that are also trying to help your cause and people like you and me. You are not alone. 💜