positivity

My Journey to Mental Health Recovery (so far)

** NOTE THIS COULD BE TRIGGERING SO VIEW AT YOUR OWN DISCRETION*

Hiya! This is a weird one today guys. I was sitting at my desk around 15 minutes ago and I realised, I have never discussed my ‘recovery’ story. I know I’m not fully recovered as of yet but I thought it would be interesting to tell you where it all started to where I am now.. So here we go.

I was always an anxious child. Always the shy one in class who hardly ever spoke. This was me up until year eight at high school. Even looking back that far is kind of a blur! Anyway, year eight. I was bullied a fair bit not going to lie. Like I was the odd one out? I remember this group of guys bullying me because I have a chicken pox scar on my forehead which is in the place where, in Hindu culture, a bindi would sit. Looking back, I now realise how fucked up that was. Not only were they making fun of the way I looked, at no fault of my own, but they were also mocking a culture I had no part of. This continued for a long long time, not just that story but they always made fun of how I looked in general. One also asked me out for a dare, to which I said no anyway – why would I want to date him?

It got to half way through year eight. They started making fun of how much weight I carried. Now, being a cute lil chubby kid who was conscious of their weight already, this hurt a lot. I started cutting back on what food I ate. I remember my dad once bringing me food to my bedroom because I wasn’t feeling too well, and when he left I just threw all the food out the window and waited 20 minutes and proceeded to take the plate downstairs saying how full I was. This went on for the rest of year eight. Towards the end, I began to feel so so low and resulted in cutting myself with these razor blades I found in the shed. Noted, they were a clean pack of ones you would put in Stanley knives.

Now onto year nine, my mom got really ill with what we now know was breast cancer. The bullying seemed to die down because one of the boys left school to move I’m not too sure. The words they said were still there and as real as if he was repeating them to me over and over. I was eating maybe one meal every few days at this point, because I knew eating nothing would kill me and I didn’t want to die. I just wanted to be happier and loved. I was still engaging in some elements of self harm, although I wasn’t cutting I was more like hitting myself or head banging. I don’t really remember much but I remember this was the hardest year on my family. My mother completely shut herself out, staying in her bedroom – not eating or drinking. We knew something was up but she didn’t want to speak to us. It was almost like she knew something was up herself and didn’t want to deal with it. My dad was so upset, he didn’t know what he had done to make her shut herself out.

My family life has always been good. My mother and father were together from way before I was born, always happy etc. Until this time. We rang 999 multiple times to get them out to see what was wrong but they didn’t do anything. They said they couldn’t help her if she didn’t want to be helped. So they just left her.

Now this is summer after year 9, ( summer of 2012 I think) my mum finally went into hospital and all was good. They just thought she was dehydrated and needed to fix that before they ran any other tests. About a week or two later, they found out it was breast cancer. We were shocked and obviously upset. You always hear those stories where people get cancer and never win the battle. This being said, a week later SEVEN DAYS LATER, we found out that she only had a little over two weeks left. This hurt me so much. Only a year before, we lost my granddad. I started to think this was all my fault, that I was doing bad things to myself and God was punishing me. I don’t believe in God so I have no idea why I thought that but I still did.

Now back onto my mental health, I started year 10 okay. It had been a month since the stuff with my mother happened and she was still alive. Maybe the doctors were wrong? Things were looking up. Although I was still self harming and still restricting myself, I was what I could only assume was happy. I hadn’t been happy in such a long time, it felt like I was just that. I think it was around Christmas that my friend told my head of year that I was self harming. About a week before this, I told one close friend about everything besides the eating habits. I wanted help but only from a close friend. The fact she went straight to a teacher upset me so much. I now am so grateful she told someone because I found out I could deeply trust this teacher and to this day, she is someone I can go to at sixth form if I needed that support.

Hearing of this news, I went home at lunch which was unlike me, I was being such a rebellious person because we were not allowed offsite. As soon as I got home, I cut myself for the first time in just over a year (not the first time self harming as I was still doing the hitting stuff) and it was so bad. Honestly, you get the picture. I didn’t go to school the next day because I just couldn’t move my arm. School knew something was up and came to my house and found out about the whole situation and so did my family. I wasn’t planning on telling my family any time soon.

6 months later, I was getting help for my anxiety and depression. Still not my eating disorder, mind. I had been 3 ish months clean from self harm. Things were honestly looking up and I was serious this time. Until I relapsed in the summer before my final year of high school. This was because my mother passed away. It was such a hard time for me. I was so upset that she had gone – for obvious reasons. I still tell myself to this day that everything I am doing is making her so proud. I had two extra years with that women, when the doctors said only two weeks.

I got a boyfriend around this time too. He was lovely. He is still today, one of my best friends. I am so grateful to have this person in my life, along with this whole group of friends who mean the absolute world. Finishing year 11, I was just under a year clean from self harm, and I stopped restricting. (with the occasional slip ups, I was still trying to recover) I gained a huge chunk of weight around this time which two years ago, it would have been worth killing myself over.

The summer after finishing high school, my boyfriend changed. I still don’t really know what happened but it fucked me over greatly. Thank god I did not relapse with my self harm but believe me I wanted to. I’m such a fragile person, one change and I could flip. Within the first week of starting at my schools sixth form, I broke up with him. It shattered me like throwing a rock at a pane of glass. I always thought people who got extremely sad over break ups were stupid and you should never get that upset over someone but I felt it. Still to this day, I think it’s the hardest time I’ve ever been through. I don’t really remember the start of college because it just all blurred. I was so fucking sad. I felt the restricting patterns slipping back into my day to day life. It wasn’t going good. I don’t blame him for all that stuff that happened, I blame myself for being so dependant on one person.

Something clicked around March 2016. I don’t particularly know what happened but someone honestly clicked. I was like fuck that boy and fuck all these sad emotions and I started recovering good and proper. I slowly stopped people walking all over me and started the self help mission that I’m still on. I wouldn’t say I’m 100% recovered yet because I still have episodes of me restricting and feeling extremely low. But all I can say is, I know ways to cope that don’t result in me hurting. I found ways to rely on no one other than myself.

Around September 2016, I went to the doctors to get some help because I was suffering a lil bit with my mental wellbeing. I got diagnosed with borderline personality disorder which is scary. Big words! It’s terrifying and somewhat pleasing to know what was wrong with you for this entire time. I’ve been diagnosed with so many illnesses and then the doctors have cancelled the diagnosis because it was wrong (if that makes sense). It’s been a huge weight off my shoulders that I’ve been diagnosed correctly this time. I’m not 100% sure what’s going to happen in terms of recovery or therapy etc. I’m on medication currently and I think that’s all for a little while because if you live in the UK, you know therapy takes a LONG LONG TIME.

I can honestly say I love myself now. I am happy with the weight I am and what I look like and my emotions and all that stuff. I’m still on that journey to say I’m 100% recovered from all these mental illnesses I have. I would personally say I’m around 65% recovered if I had to put a number on it. My anxiety will always be with me and my eating disorder will be too. I can just say that I will not allow those mental illnesses to be the entire label of me. I am in some ways my mental illnesses, but I will not let them control me anymore. I recently got diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and am on a waiting list for therapy to treat it.

I 100% know I have a long way to go but I’m already so so far from where I used to be and I never want to go back to that. I’m so proud of myself. Let’s hope it only gets better from here! I’m now in my final year at college, looking at universities to plan the rest of my following years.

I know how cliche this is, but I just wanted to say things to get better. You just can’t rely on others to make that magic happen for you, you gotta put effort on your behalf. I hope everything is okay with you, yes you who is reading this! I love you so much. You can always dm me on any of my social medias (twitter- purrpale and instagram- s.ophieharris) if you want to talk about anything. ALSO, if you want me to write any more mental health related blog posts then lemme know, I would love to help someone or just talk about it to normalise it a lil.

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