Recovery is the hardest part of mental illness.

Warning, this story deals with self harm and suicidal thoughts.

I have recently been diagnosed with Depressive Episodes, OCD, Self Harm, Social Anxiety and Eating problems. With features of Bordeline Personality Disorder. Throughout my childhood I struggled with social situations, things like germs, perfectionism and trichotillomania (pulling my eyebrows and eyelashes out) .. although my mum thought it was a bit odd- she never really believed when people pointed it out to her. I went through some trauma as a child and it has impacted my life and mental health more now than it did then... Growing up was hard for me, I genuinely enjoyed school but went through a rough patch at the age of 14/15 where I starved myself for months and ended up at a tiny 6 stone 7lbs. I don't remember much about how I felt except wanting to be thin and everything revolving around food and calories. I was so occupied with this that I didn't realise how much it was affecting my relationships with my friends. They tried to help me by telling teachers about this habit I had formed and it only made it worse. The teachers tried to get me some professional help (CAMHS) and finally started to eat again on my own. I remember feeling low for quite a long time but I was unable to express how I felt because I was always pressured into being this ''hilarious and bubbly'' person, but in the inside I was a mess. My mood ranged from extreme happiness and being hyper to suicidal lows (much like it is now). At school I was given into trouble a lot and sent out of most classes for disruptive behaviour (which everyone thought was funny except the teacher.) and for impulsive behaviours- once I pretended to stab a teacher in Home Economics!!! Looking back on it now I was really just crying out for attention of some sort because I had no idea what was happening in my mind. I would have impulsive and scary thoughts almost every day at school and I just didn't understand why. At the end of my school year (6th year) I became really attached a teacher. At this point in my life everything just seemed so hard and I cried almost every hour of the day. I didn't ever tell her why but I think she knew I was depressed. I started self harming almost daily and I was letting the depression take control of me. I went to my GP and they referred me to CAMHS again before I turned 18. I took the tablets they prescribed and hoped for the best. The worst was yet to come and I had no idea. I would sit with my teacher at lunch and sometimes after school just talking to her and even though I would act impulsively to her sometimes, she always had time for me and never sent me out of class or judged me, which was amazing. So leaving school was also very hard. I don't react well with change...
After leaving school I attended Art college for a few months, but ended up quitting due to lack of interest. In June 2013 I started Private CBT with an amazing therapist who I still attend now. ''Entering Therapy was like entering a world of love and compassion, it felt comforting to finally interact with someone who would be with me in my darkness, listen to me and reach out to the tiny part of me that wanted to live.'' Without her I don't think I could have went on, she had given me the confidence to live my life again. I have always wanted to be a nurse but my intense fear of germs and contamination has always stopped me, but not this time!! I started a Health Care course in August 2013 which I loved, there were a lot of times I was very unwell and my attendance at college was 49% but somehow I still passed! I then went on to do a HNC in Health Care in 2014 (still currently doing it). 2014 was probably the worst year of my life. Everything spiralled out of control. As well as seeing my therapist weekly I was referred to a CPN and Psychiatrist in May 2013, who then referred me on to the Crisis Team as my self harming and suicidal thoughts and plans got progressively worse.
I was recently admitted to a Psychiatric Ward for nearly 3 weeks (December 2014) after taking an overdose after planning to end my life. This was the most unwell I have ever been. I remember the day like it was yesterday. I had planned this day for weeks. I took myself up to a&e to have treatment on my self harm when they asked if I had taken anything- I panicked and owned up. They sent down a Psychiatric nurse to do an assessment straight away and she mentioned inpatient, the thought of it made me feel sick but maybe just maybe I would get better? And that's really all I wanted. It was between staying in a Psych ward or going home to take more tablets and just ending it all. At this point my gran was contacted and she helped me make the decision of staying in hospital for a few days. The psychiatrist agreed after doing a risk assessment, he explained to me about the ward and the sort of environment I was in... which scared me a lot but I knew I had to do it, not just for me but my family. I was admitted straight away and showed around the ward, I was hysterical knowing that I was a patient in a locked ward especially being the youngest patient at that time!!! I was embarrassed, suicidal but also relieved at the same time. I thought being here, I was able to give my mind a rest for a little while. The night of my admission I was given sedation to help me sleep... when I suddenly deteriorated, and I collapsed face first onto a fire extinguisher outside the nurses station at 3am due to my heart rate being almost 200bpm (because of the overdose and sedation). I sat with a blood pressure machine, a pulse ox and a blood sugar reading of 2.3 which is dangerously low... thinking ”I do not want live like this any longer”. I was watched for the rest of the night and made to drink every hour until my blood pressure returned to normal. My stay in the unit was as pleasant as it could have been and there were the odd days that things would happen- which I found extremely terrifying and it caused me a lot of distress! During my stay I of course had a few blips of my own, which at one point resulted me being on 1:1 observation!!! Which meant being watched in the bath... this was horrific, but it made me really want to get better. Although, the staff were amazing. After weeks of inpatient treatment I was discharged to the Intensive Home Treatment Team who visited me at my house every day for a month. I’m nowhere near where I want to be... But at least I’m managing to be out of hospital! I attend college 3 days a week and have an amazing support network. I believe everything happens for a reason... and hopefully one day I can help others like me! But first I need to help myself :)

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