My battle with mental health: how it started
If you know me personally, it's no secret that I've fought against depression for a long time. Different people deal with mental health issues in different ways but never the less it is a real illness, whether or not we can see it, it doesn't make it any less important than a physical problem.
For as long as I could remember I was emotionally unstable from being young. I didn't know what it felt like to be stable enough to make a normal decision or feel happy without crashing 5 minutes later. Most of that was due to bullying through primary & secondary school until around year 8/9. It crushed my self esteem and confidence hugely. Depression surrounded every choice I made & I couldn't even get out of bed for school because I was so mentally exhausted and sad. It wasn't just sadness and I think people have a common misconception of what depression is. It is more than feeling upset or down for a couple of weeks, it's feeling persistently sad for months, and if you think you're struggling with this definitely talk to someone or get help!
As I said before some people think depression is trivial and isn't a real health condition but they're wrong as it is and it has real symptoms. You can't just snap out of it which is why you should seek help from someone. Don't let other people make you feel invalid or stupid, you're better off asking for help now before it gets out of control.
In early 2016 I started to feel worse than normal. I was getting involved with people who were a bad influence towards me and I had my first real boyfriend. He was abusive and destroyed me emotionally, but as I was so young I didn't know any better, I thought it was love. Now I look back and laugh as it was far from that. I'd skip school, climb over gates and run away and get into trouble with teachers because of how emotionally unstable I was becoming. I found it hard to communicate to my parents how I felt and I acted out massively towards them and the adults in my life, including teachers.
My boyfriend constantly cheated and was not loyal. The majority of "friends" I had at the time always took his side and didn't support me, which made me feel even more lonely. Looking back, I wish I'd turned to my mom for help but I didn't feel confident enough to talk to an adult about this kind of stuff. Unfortunately because I was 13 & super young, I really loved my boyfriend at the time. He'd say all the right things at first but like I said in my last post, toxic relationships creep up on you and once you form an attachment it's hard to get out of it. Eventually it started to creep up , and he'd tell me how I was such a useless girlfriend, how worthless and ugly I was, everything under the sun to make me feel little.
Soon afterwards my little bit of sadness dropped to a big black hole and I started to self harm and destruct in every way possible. (My biggest regret). I used to cut and it was probably one of the worst things I did. It upset everyone around me including my parents and didn't solve anything. For me it was a release of all the stress and sadness inside but it's never a solution for a problem like that. Things got worse for me and my mental health deteriorated as well as the relationship with my parents which was sad on both sides. My mom soon decided it was best to take me away from everything and that's when we moved to the Middle East for her job.
You can already guess I was heavily against this and completely flipped out when my mom told me she got a job in another country. Either way, regardless of my opinion it was going to happen, and it did. I was sad for a while and I don't think I left my bedroom for a long time when we arrived. The anger I had for parents was real and I couldn't understand why they would wanna ruin everything for me. Of course now I'm super thankful they did it, but at the time I was sad, lonely and lost.
From here it only went downhill. After a while of moving there I was dating someone after my first boyfriend who I thought treated me right, but again the same thing happened. He was emotionally abusive but because of the state I was in, I took all of my feelings and problems and buried them into depending on someone else for happiness, the STUPIDEST thing you can ever do. (Never depend on anyone)! The bullying and unfortunate experiences I had in my childhood/young teenage years mind washed me into thinking this is all I deserved. I was too scared to be by myself, so I stuck around the toxic relationship because that type of love was all I knew, I was too scared to do anything about it. I didn't feel like I fit in with my friends and I hated everything in that place for years, it was isolating.
At this point I was getting more and more sad by the day. I over ate which affected my self image and self esteem. I'd never been the thin girl throughout my school life, or the popular one, but I always felt the pressure to be better than I was. Better meaning prettier, thinner, more popular, all because of what people drilled into me. Even nowadays I see it more often, especially because of social media everything has to be perfect, but I call bullshit on all of it. BE YOU!
I over ate and overslept, I became anaemic which didn't help my mindset. Even my body felt physically tired and everything started to add up, emotionally I didn't wanna wake up & my body felt like it was starting to give up on me too. Everyday I had this voice in my head telling me I was too fat, too ugly, my skin wasn't clear enough or I wasn't pretty enough. Everything I did had a negative connotation to it, I didn't want to get out of bed or talk to people, I was wrapped up in an abusive relationship that I didn't know how to control, and again I felt like I couldn't talk to the adults in my life about it.
From bad to worse
Eventually I started school in the city I moved to, but I was homesick and really angry at everything and everyone. I would stay up on the phone arguing with my boyfriend until 4am when I had School the next day, if I didn't he would threaten or break up with me. I started going to school half asleep and crying from the horrible things he would say to me, and because of the state I was in naturally, I felt already miserable and empty. My grades were awful and it continued throughout my two years of GCSE's. Most people thought I was cool because I answered back to the teachers and didn't do homework etc, but really I would go home and cry in bed all night, or lay there and feel dead inside. My mind wouldn't even begin to function when it came to work, in or out of school.
Every argument I had with my parents was all the pain from inside coming out, but I couldn't communicate it properly and felt like it was too late to do anything about it. Everyone judged me at school, the people I didn't know (including teachers) and it made me feel even more ashamed of myself. It was horrible for my parents to see me like that which is why if you feel like I did, go to them first.
The thing is with depression is even though all these bad things contributed to my mental state, I was also just really fed up of living. Horrible things don't have to happen for you to have depression, but in this case all the circumstances brought me down even more. I didn't want to wake up in the morning or interact with anyone, I got into quite a dark place when my boyfriend started cheating on me, my family relationship was crumbling and I was failing all my exams. I couldn't concentrate no matter what and everyone told me I'd ruined my life because I failed at school. This hurt me a lot because I was really suffering internally and I felt like everyone was labelling me as a moody teenager who didn't care about her life.
The darkest place I ever got to was when I stupidly tried to take my own life. A couple of hours before it happened, i found out my boyfriend had cheated again. I was sad in general and felt alone/isolated in my head. My friend and her mom came to my house knowing something was really wrong and they took me to the hospital shortly after. I remember my mom crying and my dad was so angry at me. I was angry too and I wanted to vanish from the face of the earth, I didn't want to live anymore. Everything became too hard, even getting up to shower or going to the store made me want to cry. I felt like i'd been plunged into a hole that was my mind, going at a 100 miles an hour and racing with all these horrible thoughts. I was hospitalised for a week and the country that I live in is strict, meaning its illegal to commit suicide. I had police in my hospital room all night and it was so exhausting, I had never felt so fed up and empty in my life. I was connected to a drip for the full week and it was an experience I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy.
After a week I came out of hospital and the teachers at school went easy on me for a while. Everyone just wanted to forget about what had happened but I was still really suffering. I dropped a lot of GCSE's to help me cope better and started only coming into school when I had lessons, but the constant tiredness and sadness didn't stop each day and after years of this, even therapy wasn't helping. I knew I really needed help and I reached out to my parents who tried countless therapists but I kept getting worse. No matter how much I tried I couldn't seem to lift myself off the ground, and it isn't as easy as just being able to cheer up.
On the third year of this it started to effect everything. School kept going back to normal, which was failing and needing extra help. Since the same thing was repeating each year it meant people were finally realising I was genuinely really depressed and ill. Soon after this boyfriend number 3 came along and treated me like queen for our full relationship and during that time I was happier than before. I still wasn't stable though, for example if something went wrong with us my mind would crash, which was a big sign I still wasn't happy. I would over react within myself and cry and become over emotional, I felt alone and scared that I would be left, but he was just a huge distraction. I really fell in-love with how perfect he was and let it distract me but in the end I was broken hearted. He was cheating and I was just a game for the full time we dated. I kept buying my feelings and emotions into these boys who continuously manipulated me for their own benefit.
I felt like a joke to everyone. To my friends, my parents, my teachers. Everyone. After this break up I promised myself and my mom no more boys, it was time to get some real help. For 5/6 months after I broke up with this guy I got more and more ill. My attendance was 2/3 times a week and when I did come into school I'd sit in the sixth form room and cry. Sometimes for no reason, just because there was so much sadness and frustration sat inside of me for everything that had happened in my life up to that moment. Being made to feel worthless, putting my all into people who threw it back in my face, feeling ugly or not good enough, it all swarmed my mind some days and others i'd just cry from exhaustion and emptiness. Everyday I felt like I'd just ran a marathon and my mind was taking the heat for it. As I'm writing this i'm struggling to find the words to describe how depressed I was, I wasn't interested in living all over again.
The leadership team at my school told me to take the rest of the year off, they realised how much I was really suffering inside. I remember talking to my head of year about my mental state and balling my eyes out infront of him. I had this big lump of never ending sadness and self hatred in my chest. I wanted to get better but I didn't know how, I felt too weak to pick myself up and I tried so much therapy that didn't work, so I wasn't sure what to do.
I was leaning towards medication for my depression as a lot of people use it and say it saved them, but at the same time I didn't want to have to depend on pills for the rest of my life. I felt like there was no other option, I looked tired and dead on the outside, I felt it on the inside and I wanted anything to help pick me up off the ground. I had some appointments with a psychiatrist, we started out doing therapy and she said if this didn't work we'll move towards medication. Honestly I felt too far gone, I tried the therapy the best I could because I knew my mom wasn't a fan of the whole pills thing, but it wasn't helping and I couldn't seem to lift myself up mentally.
My parents looked into it and eventually agreed because we all wanted the same thing and that was for me to get better. I was prescribed 10mg of fluoxetine which is an anti depressant. One everyday, which helps level my mind out and as well as this, I did hypnotherapy. It was amazing and really started to help me, the medication didn't make me feel like I was dragging my feet anymore but the hypnotherapy made me let go of my past experiences and feel more motivated to want to grow and help myself, the pills just gave me that push I couldn't give myself. A combination of both really helped me grow slowly but surely.
The hypnotherapy was a personalised tape I got from a therapist, I poured out my heart to her and she put everything into a tape where she hypnotises the subconscious part of your brain to filter your problems and experiences out. You then listen to the tape every night as you're going to sleep for 30 days and its supposed to transform your mindset. It's not magic, remember you have to want to get better. The medication killed my depression but I'm proud to say I gained the confidence and I grew myself from therapy. During this I started working on me everyday and consistently growing at every opportunity I got.
I still take medication, everyday I take an anti depressant but I don't think there's anything wrong with that. If you need help or need a couple of pills to function right now then so be it. Some people work well with therapy and some don't need pills which is great, but don't let anyone judge you as only you know what you've been through. If you feel suicidal or think you're depressed you shouldn't keep it bottled up! Call an adult or professional to help. Try not to turn to self harm or self destruct mode and get help before it gets any worse.
There was a time I wanted to end it all, I thought nothing would ever get better but I've learned from all my past experiences and I'm growing everyday. I have goals and I try to help as many people as I can from the things I've learn throughout the years of experience at such a young age. In part II I'll share with you the things I learnt and how I take care of myself, my secret to growth, and living a positive life with ambition. Eventually I aim to come off medication and be stronger without it, but for now I'm proud of how far I've come.
Much love, Umi ♡
Suicide hotline: 116 123
Online therapy: https://www.betterhelp.com/start/
Online help: https://www.childline.org.uk