Did you know that approximately 1 in 4 people a year in the UK experience mental health problems! (according to Mind). Mental health problems is a growing concern that is affecting more and more people. After reading some other bloggers stories such as Soph from Blogging by Soph and Samantha from Believe in a Miracle I decided it was time to open up more and be honest about my Mental health. From now on I’ll refer to mental health as MH, I think the words Mental Health have such a bad stigma attached to them for no good reason. I believe we should be more open about our struggles as by sharing my story I could help one of you.
From the beginning
So I guess I should start from the beginning I had a pretty good childhood I left primary school and I was happy. Don’t get me wrong life wasn’t all sunshine and happiness but it was in no way horrendous. It was Grammar School where my MH appeared. During my first couple of years, my auntie was diagnosed with cancer, at first I think I was oblivious to the reality of cancer. I’d never really heard of it or understood what it meant, I was stupidly blind to it’s affects.
As, I progressed through Grammar school I struggled with friendships and coming to terms with my auntie’s diagnosis. I begin experiencing these periods were my vision would go blurry a little bit like a migraine but without the pain. I couldn’t read signs and my heart would beat really fast. At this time I just thought I was suffering from migraines but little did I know that overpowering feeling to escape from school and get to my home where I felt safe was a panic attack.
After being sent home from school numerous times I began experiencing these migraines more and more. At this point, I started experiencing them outside of school when I was out with my family and the only place I felt safe was at home. This lead to me missing two weeks of school as I’d make myself feel physically ill. I was naive at the time and thought I was actually ill, I didn’t know that anxiety existed. After these two weeks my parents realised that I wasn’t ill, it was something else and they at the time did something that I thought was harsh. Looking back I am so thankful as if they hadn’t of driven me to school and physically watched me enter the school building then I wouldn’t be here today telling my story.
The dreaded day
Now I can’t actually remember the day or the date. I know it happened, the day my auntie was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Now, without going into too much detail about my auntie, me and her were very close. Growing up she was my youngest auntie and she inspired me and influenced me. I can’t remember how I was told, when, where I was but I know I was told that my auntie’s cancer was terminal and it was around my GCSE’s. This had massive consequences on me. I had to come to terms with what terminal meant. Once again, I was oblivious to what it was and I still didn’t fully understand the true consequence until she passed. During my GCSE’s I struggled with staying at school, my panic attacks were getting worse I didn’t have much of a social life as my life revolved around my anxiety.
As I got older my anxiety seemed to get worse. I struggled once again with friendships and found it hard to find my place in the world. I felt alone even though I was surrounded by all of my family. At this point, during my my first year of Sixth Form my auntie’s health began to decline, she was becoming weaker and not responding to treatment. I remember waking up and fearing going to sixth form. I was scared of the future, what I would do with my life, everything I couldn’t control. Now, I found sixth form hard, I struggled academically. It was hard and by hard I mean I contemplated on a regular basis quitting because I’d had enough.
My auntie was taken into the hospice twice. The first time, she was poorly but she was still my auntie. By that I mean she was aware of who I was and was the same person I had always known she just couldn’t walk and had to be wheeled around. We made some amazing memories here at the hospice such as a pizza party night where all my family, aunties, uncles, cousins and grandparents went and watched the voice whilst eating pizza. I remember, we even played along and made a row of chairs and turned around if we liked the performances. We laughed and laughed until there was no more laughter left in us. These are the memories I cherish the most.
Unfortunately, this didn’t last forever. After a short stint where my auntie came home, she became worse and had to go back to the Hospice. This was a very hard time for me, I spent my school holidays at the hospice watching my cousins and revising for my exams. My auntie will ALWAYS be my auntie but she looked different. Her appearance changed and her abilities. This was hard to accept and understand.
The day my life changed
I remember the day well, as I walked down our street I saw my mums car outside our house. I immediately knew. My auntie had sadly passed away. I was heartbroken. I still am.
I sat my Sixth Form exams and passed. Fast forward to accepting a place at university. (Yes, it was a shock to even be accepted into university but I did it).
Then came the massive shocker. Last minute, I decided I wanted to move out to university. I applied for student accommodation and long story short I ended up in a student flat with my boyfriend. This was a massive step in our relationship as we had only been together for 6 months. Also, my home had always been my safe place. Whenever I felt anxious I wanted to run home and sit in my room. But, no longer could I do that. It took me a while to feel settled in our first flat and calm. We spent the first 4 months going home every weekend until I felt comfortable. I believe this was the making of me. After spending a year living with Matt I had learnt so much. I learnt that my anxiety didn’t need to control me or my life. I controlled my life.
And, I guess that brings me to today. Don’t get me wrong my anxiety is still here but I’ve learnt it cannot control me. After reaching out for help and speaking to my doctors I have got the help that I needed for my anxiety. For me that is in the form of medication. My journey of medication has been challenging the first few weeks were rough. My anxiety was heightened and I had a lot of side affects but after riding through it I got to the other side. I’m now learning more about my anxiety.
Don’t get me wrong I’m not 100% happy but perfection don’t exist so I don’t ever expect to be 100%. I’m pushing myself more and more every day. I flown on my own abroad, had a tattoo and we’ve just signed a contract for our new flat for our third year of living together.
Now, I can’t be certain what the future holds for MH. But I know whatever it throws my way I will be ready to battle it and give it my best shot. In the meantime here is some websites if you are struggling and need help:-
- Mind- is a charity who provided information and support on Mental Health. You can find them HERE on their website.
- Another place to go for help is your doctors. I know this can be very scary but doctors are here to help you.
- Mental Health Foundation- another website which provides useful information and help which you can find HERE.
- Me- If anyone needs any help, advise or support feel free to reach out to me on twitter. I’m in no way a professional but I am a friendly face and sometimes that’s all you need.
Support is something that has helped me through the darkest days. A massive thank you is owed to my family, Matt, my friends, Matt’s family, all my blogger friends and the NHS. Also a special thank you to all the people who comment on my blog posts or support me in any way possible.
Lastly, my good blogger friend Ruth from Ruth in Revolt is raising awareness and money for the charity Mind by hosting a 24 hour chat on twitter. Here is all the details you need to know about the chat:-
The chat will occur on the 18th August on Ruth’s Twitter which I will link HERE.
The chat will start at 12:00am Saturday 18th of August and end 12:00am Sunday 19th of August.
Ruth is asking for people to send her questions by commenting on her blog post HERE.
Finally, Ruth is raising money for the charity Mind. You can donate through her Just Giving page or if you are in the UK you can text CHAT53 £2 to 70070 to donate £2. (Other standard mobile charges may apply).
With all that being said, I hope by being transparent and open about my MH story it can help one of you. Just know that you are NOT alone and there is always light at the end.