September 15, 2014

2014 has been a rollercoaster of a year; I have experienced more pain and emotion than ever before.  A sudden loss of someone I hold dear caused me to re-examine my own life and begin to change it. I have always been very secretive when it came to my mental health, feeling ashamed and weak (views which people often express that just add to my own insecurities). In April I finally decided to not hide my illness any more, telling people openly that I suffer from a mental health illness was both terrifying and liberating. The reaction from those I love and people I didn’t know have changed my life drastically.

I realised that I didn't have to hide anymore

Writing my first blog for Time to Change scared me, I was apprehensive due to previous experiences however writing enabled me to say things I have never said before and acted as a release for emotions I was just coming to terms with. Seeing the blog on the website took away a lot of my pain and shame, my family and friends' support made me realise that I didn’t have to hide anymore.

I won’t pretend that everyone understood and supported me; I did lose a number of friends. However seeing the number of people I didn’t know saying they understood and supporting me made me feel at ease. One of my best friends Nicola decided to do a charity run for a mental health: this spurred me on to also run for a mental health support charity. Running was a challenge, but doing it for a cause that meant something to me gave me a reason to train and keep going it gave me an outlet when I was struggling and took my mind of the grief I felt. When I felt angry or low I would run and it would help me sort my thoughts out.

The encouragement and support we received for the run was astounding, people began opening up about their own difficulties and struggles with mental health. We completed the 5K run in 35 minutes and raised £995.50, I enjoyed every minute of the run and in turn seeing the amount we raised helped me drastically with my mood.

Without my family I don't know where I'd be

The last 5 years I have relapsed repeatedly, suffering from rapid cycling Bipolar causes me to swing from mania to depression many times during the year. A recent diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder helped me accept a lot of my flaws. Throughout my whole life I have been in trouble for my anger, impulsivity and intense relationships I have always put this down to me. Discovering there was a reason for my troubles both terrified and helped me. My parents have been amazing, it hasn’t always been easy. There have been times where our relationship was strained and hope of a “normal” relationship seemed unrealistic. But they have never stopped caring and pushing me to be the best I can be. Without them I don’t know where or who I would be.

I feel hopeful for my future telling myself to believe that the 18 month intensive therapy programme I have begun will help me control my emotions so that I can find a job I love, hopefully helping children in schools with mental health conditions or raising awareness in schools.

Recovery will take a long time but my loved ones are getting me there

This year I have found ways to cope and manage my emotions, taking up running and taking part in a charity run helped me with my grief and anger over the loss of my Auntie. Going with my dad to the allotment helped me relax and feel like I was helping and contributing to something. My fiancé has been my rock listening and supporting me in any way he can. My two closest friends Nicola and Billie have been my best friends for over a decade, they help me more than I can explain. When I cancel on going out as I can’t face people, they turn up with food and chat with me for hours. Thank you.

Discovering ways to cope with my emotions and removing negative energy from my life has made my recovery easier, it will take a long time but my loved ones are getting me there.

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