When I first got diagnosed it was scary as anything. I thought I was different and I thought my brain wasn’t ever going to go back to the happy go lucky kid I was. No one told me what it was, and everyone made out it was a big deal but now I’m 20 and I’ve got a lot of knowledge about my illness I’m not scared anymore, and I’ve found out some things what happened since being ill and battling my illness.
So here goes,
1- When I first got listened to by my own GP, when I got out of the doctors I phoned my Nan and instantly burst into tears that someone was listening to me. Dr C Flenley was my life saver, as I didn’t know how long I could have coped. He needs credit as he practically saved my life. I will always remember that day as someone helped me. Somehow that day I felt like a rock was lifted from my head and it felt like some things was lifted from me as I was getting out of control and it wasn’t my fault it was my illness.
2- I’ve been battling this for 4 years, 2 years on my own without telling anyone as I thought it was a natural phase, but it wasn’t and 2 years with some help and treatment. Since battling depression & anxiety it’s made me. That sounds so strange to me, but it’s shaped who I am today, and I am grateful of my high moments even my lowest moments as it taught me I can get through it. Even when I’m at my lowest point of my life I always know deep down that I can be strong and see the rainbow at the end of the thunderstorm and I’m still worth it.
3- Friends. I wasn’t this open before having my blog. I wouldn’t even tell my friends. I would make a stupid excuse up and tried to avoid going out. As I knew they wouldn’t bother me if I told them I had depression & anxiety. Yeah, I was right, they left me when I was in need. But I now know they wasn’t my true friends and I’m glad they left because now I am a strong person with true friends who understand my bad days and good daysand let me just be me. I love all my friends and my best friend.
4- Stigma. Where do I even start? I like to be upfront and honest with people I meet and when they ask me I like to tell them. I can’t stand when people prejudge me when they look at me. Yes, I might look well to you, but you have no idea what is going on in my head. I hate when people make jokes about any illness. Physical or Physiological. “I’m a bit bipolar today sorry” No you’re not. You have mood swings. Therefore, I started to talk out about my mental health and treatment as I want to end stigma for good.
5- Being told I’m being dramatic and I should just snap out of it and man up. That’s the worst thing you would say to anyone with any illness. Whether it’s physical or physiological. You wouldn’t tell someone who’s broken every bone in their body to “man up” or “Just get over it” so why do people find the need to tell someone who’s going through a bad time with their mental health to man up? My friend Oli Regan made #Dontmanup for men and their mental health. Being told it’s all in my head. Oh, the irony. Well it wouldn’t be in my foot would it now?
6- My self-confidence. Seriously. I never use to have confidence at all. I used to be so quiet and had low self-esteem but since having this blog and opening up about my own mental health, my confidence has appeared from nowhere and I’m finally at the point to say I am happy with myself and my body. Plus, I finally feel good enough and I’ve been battling with myself for years. I do feel very proud of myself as I’ve struggled through the low times and finally admitted to myself that I did need help and I am ill.
7- I don’t feel alone any more than I did when I first saw the symptoms. I used to come home from school and stay in my room until the next day or I use to just ignore my family when they use to talk to me as I didn’t know if what I was feeling was normal. Since blogging and my diagnosis, I’ve met so many nice people who are strong and who are battling with their mental health and I feel like we are in a big family.
I have thought in all these bad times it all happens for a reason. I do have hope right now that one day I will go back to be that happy go lucky person I once was but right now I’m happy with my body. I’m currently working on my thoughts but it takes time.
I’ve struggled through my problems and I’ve used so many tissues for my tears. I’ve been so quiet but now is the time to talk about my mental health and get rid of the stigma what is attached to the subject. As no one should be scared to talk about their mental health as it is so important.
Conversations do save lives.
Be in your mate’s corner.
You can beat this.
I’m so proud of everyone of you.
Love, Shannon x