It seems right for one of my first blogs to be about mental health as it is a massive part of my life.
I want to take you back to 2010, so 6 years ago. This was when I was in year 9 in secondary school. My first two years of secondary school were pretty great to be honest, I had finally found a group of friends and felt quite settled. Yet in my third year things began to become difficult.
For some reason I began to feel withdrawn from things in school, this meant that I was loosing friends and everything I had worked for began to seem pointless. I started lying to friends in a desperate search to keep them, making up reasons as to why I was withdrawn, rather than just telling them the truth. This eventually backfired and they realised I was lying and I had to work hard to build these relationships up again.
I spent the beginning of year 10 in hospital, I was in there due to a chronic illness I have called hydrocephalus. I don’t remember much of year 10 other than near the end, I had spent an extremely long time trying to organise a concert that got cancelled and left me feeling worthless and like everything I did was pointless.
However, it was at the beginning on year 11 when things began to get really difficult, not only was I feeling so low, I was also questioning my sexuality which didn’t help. I came out to my best friend over text whilst sat at her kitchen table. I sent the text and just burst out in tears, I can’t quite tell if it was relief or panic that I felt. She obviously didn’t mind and came over and gave me a massive hug.
I was glad that I came out to her, and through doing so I managed to come out to a few others. But I was feeling more disheartened when I realised that my mood wasn’t changing. I thought the reason I felt so low was because I thought I was a lesbian, plan and simple, and because I was keeping it from my friends. But this mood just didn’t shift.
One day I accidentally came out to someone who I didn’t want to and then this person told everyone. The rumours spread like wildfire and I couldn’t bear it. I went home that evening and didn’t want to come in the next day. I spent the morning crying into my best-friends arms. But luckily it was later on that day that I realised that no one had a problem with it and everyone was really accepting, they all just had a issue with the girl who spread it round in the first place.
I still couldn’t stop the way I was feeling though and began to think that this feeling was not about my sexuality at all. I opened up to a few great teachers and one of them referred me to the counselling service within school. However, I did not find it useful as the whole time she just focused on my sexuality. Nearing the end of our sessions together I mentioned wanting to take my own life, she told me she’d have to report it. She didn’t. I didn’t dare to mention to her about my self harm. Which meant I did not get anymore help on this matter.
Once these sessions had stopped I began confiding in teachers again, two of which I have been close with ever since. One was my R.E teacher and the other my old D.T teacher. They both helped me a hell of a lot. My R.E teacher left early that year as he was on paternity leave. So my D.T teacher helped get my through my GCSE exams, and I passed all of them. I cannot thank her enough for her support.
The extended summer break had been extremely difficult, I struggled not having a structure or anything to do. I felt like I lacked purpose. During this period things escalated quickly. I was self-harming, purging, starving, binging, and overdosing. At the same time everyone in my life was oblivious to this. I was even purging at my summer work experience placement. Yet the whole time was still sure that everything was normal, the way I was acting was fine.
I wasn’t originally sure if I wanted to stay at my secondary school for sixth form because of everything that happened in year 11 but I did.
So when I started sixth form I was relieved to get back into a structure, but things were definitely not better. I started to feel like a zombie.
Within I first month of being in sixth form I took an attempt on my life in the form of an overdose. However, I did not tell anyone, until I woke up the next day. I told my mum, there was shouting, crying, and hugs. She rung the doctors, who said I would just have to come in to see them. I then went to school at lunch time like nothing had happened.
I was referred to CAMHS.
If any of you reading this have experienced CAMHS then you may know how hard it can be. I was with CAMHS for a total of 9 months in which I feel like nothing was really resolved. I got a diagnosis of “low mood”, and on my last session I said I wanted to die and was discharged.
After my discharge I was becoming more and more withdrawn, however, I would have these surges of hyperactivity during the day. How could I be diagnosed with low mood?
I went to my GP and she said it was puberty and hormones.
As exams were nearing it was becoming more and more obvious that I was not going to pass them. My teachers all spoke to me about their concern for me and wanted me withdrawn from my exams for my own sake and for me to start a fresh the following year.
I still sat them, and failed all of them.
I came back for my second year of sixth form and resat the year. It was tough knowing that all my friends would finish before me. But I made friends with someone who was in the same boat as me and she’s now one of my best friends.
Year 13 started off okay but I struggled to settle, there were a lot of changes going on in the school. All I wanted to do was volunteer and be active in things but I struggled to commit with my ever rapid changing mood.
Then one of the teachers I had always confided in was suspended and I blamed myself. This meant that I didn’t feel I had someone I could be open with and became more and more closed off. It looked like there was going to be a repeat of my first year.
I went to my doctor and she referred me to talking therapies. I went once, the women gave me 15 minutes, she forgot I was coming. Some weird determination in me though got me through the year, with the help of my amazing head of sixth form and the amazing D.T teacher (who didn’t even teach me anymore). I was a deputy head girl that year, peer mentor, and began working for NCS.
With everything I was doing it looked like I was doing well, however, I was still self-harming and doing all the things I had done previously.
I passed my exams that year. I then moved onto my final year of sixth form.
At the start of this year I was met with UCAS deadlines, coursework, and my volunteer commitments. Also a massive decline in my mental health. Throughout all of the time I struggled with my mental health I was always able to go to school and attend lessons. Except this time. I began skipping lessons, and just not paying any attention in class. This is also when anxiety became extremely prominent in my life.
I struggled on for a while. Until around February when everything was getting far too much and I confided in my friend. She took me to the doctors and I was given my first ever SSRI medication. I never normally have problems with side effects, but this gave me some really bad ones.
After a week of taking them I felt the lowest ever, I was fairly open with my teachers, all of them showing growing concern. But I kept up with them for a while.
I kept taking them until I had enough, I wasn’t feeling better. I went back to the doctor and was referred to Talking therapies, they said I was too severe to get help from them, then I was referred to PCLS and was told to just keep taking medication. Eventually I was sent to CMHT, and after two appointments I got a diagnosis.
I was given the diagnosis of BPD/EUPD and it was a diagnosis that I felt actually fitted. I was so grateful. I was so glad to know what was going on with me. I was offered temporary help as I was going to uni. My cpn was lovely and kind.
I am now at university in Liverpool, where things are rocky, but I’m getting there.