I often feel like people in my life can be caring…but only for a short time and only if it doesn’t interfere with their own lives.
There are times I haven’t left my bed for 3 or 4 days. My thoughts have turned against me. My mind battles to stay alive. I hear an overwhelming voice telling me my friends hate me, that they’re talking about me, laughing at me or plotting against me.
At first it feels like my friends care, check in and worry about me. But soon it feels like I’m a burden and I hear things from them that aren’t helpful.
I have used dissociation as a way to cope when I feel I can’t, due to previous trauma and abuse as a child. I first did this as a way of protecting my mind. To me, this feels like I’m in a bubble and I can’t quite touch and connect with the real world. Everything feels a little bit hazy; I can look into someone’s eyes and yet feel like I’m looking far into the distance.
I’ve lived with anxiety and depression along with an eating disorder pretty much as long as I can remember, but understand that that doesn't define me: I am ME.
I have never really felt stigmatised because of this, and I’m very much a 'take me as I am' person, at least on the outside. Recently though, I had my first blatant experience of stigmatisation, and I’m so angry and shocked I feel I need to speak out about it...
I first started feeling really low and struggling around two year ago. Two years on and it regularly feels like I’m still stuck in that darkness.
Social media, TV and films seem to romanticise the battles that people with mental health problems face, and feed the idea that people hit a sudden turning point in their recovery and it’s all uphill from there. Well that’s wrong; at least it was for me. I reached breaking point a few months later, after months of lying to all those around me and becoming so isolated that I could barely leave my bedroom.
Just because I’ve gotten help doesn’t mean I’m recovered.
These days many people are becoming more receptive to mental illness and the struggles that come with it. From social media trends for ‘checking on your friends’ to a social awareness on how pressure on young girls can lead to eating disorders, mental illness is now mainstream.
However, along with this increased understanding and social normalisation come many misconceptions.