My mental health journey is a long one. But I hope reading about my experiences help you in some way.
Since it was World Mental Health Day this week. I thought I would share my mental health journey with you in its entirety. It has been a long and painful journey but I am finally at a good place in my life. I am at a point where I do actually want to get out of bed and leave the house every day.
My life is no longer worthless to me.
It would be amazing if my story gave at least a few of you some hope for the future. That is my main goal and the reason why I started this blog.
The Beginning of My Mental Health Journey
I’ve suffered from some form of mental illness since I was very young. The start of my journey definitely began in my school years.
In school, I was known as the quiet and “shy girl” who never put her hand up in class. I believed this was the case for years as I didn’t even know what social anxiety was. Mental health was not talked about at all back then. It is amazing that things are changing so much. It is definitely for the better!
Check out my blog post “Dealing With Social Anxiety Symptoms Growing Up” for more of my thoughts on this.
However, the main thing that affected my mental health was all the bullying that I went through in high school. I endured it every single day. From day one of year seven to the last day of year eleven.
To be honest, halfway through I believed that I must deserve it. I would start to believe every word the bullies said and think there was something wrong with me. All the awful words would forever be going around in my head as I walked through the school. My mind would assume everyone was judging me.
It is because of this, I do not consider high school to be the best years of my life. In fact, it was the absolute worst.
Also, the school was absolutely terrible at dealing with it. They still are to this day as this was actually mentioned in a recent news article. I’m happy this is finally getting called out!
This experience made me very anxious and depressed. I would dread going to school every single day. The only good thing that came out of school was meeting my best friend, Star. She definitely made the time there worthwhile.
The Peak Of My Mental Health Journey
My mental health hit its peak in September 2013 when I first started college. My anxiety was so bad that I experienced a silent migraine for the very first time. A silent migraine is when you get the aura of a migraine without the headache. This first happened in the middle of town. I passed out in the street surrounded by other students and woke up being lifted into an ambulance that a few people had called.
It was terrifying!
I thought there was something seriously wrong with me. My brain kept saying “You’re going to die” and such. However, despite hours upon hours of tests… they found nothing. In the end, the only cause was anxiety.
This happened once more in the same week and it was just as scary the second time around. They did all the tests again but it was still just anxiety. After this experience was when I hit my ultimate lowest point.
I was terrified to do anything or go anywhere by myself. I skipped many college classes and even got to the point where I didn’t care how much trouble I got into. During the summer holidays that year, I barely left the house or saw anyone. The most I wanted to do was walk up to the shop with my mum. Holding onto her the whole time and feeling incredibly anxious.
I would cry every single day and start wishing I was dead. It was an awful experience that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. Not even my worst enemy. The worst thing was that I never felt like I could really talk about it with anyone. I felt trapped and completely alone in this hell. Although, if I had just spoken up… It would have occurred to me that I wasn’t alone at all. There were people around me willing to help and support. Months and months had gone by before I realized this though.
Reaching out and asking for help is incredibly difficult.\I cannot stress this enough. However, one day I was given the perfect opportunity.
One of my best friends took me out for a drive in her car. We went to the beach and just sat watching the waves. It was at this moment that I told her everything. How I was still depressed. It wasn’t going away anytime soon. This was when my friend said “No” and said that she will book a doctor’s appointment for me, and come along with me. She was determined for me to get help. I had an appointment, early in the morning, a few days later. I was scared out of my wits but also happy that it was out in the open.
The doctor’s appointment went really well and he gave me some advice and a number to call to get some therapy. I eventually got to have 8 weeks’ worth of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy sessions which I talk about more in detail here.
This was definitely the beginning of a slow walk back up the hill. It was going to be a big battle but I was ready. I was ready to kick anxiety and depression’s butt. No matter how long it took.
Part 2 coming soon! I promise it will be much happier and positive!
Also please check out my brand new opt-in freebie. The 10 Day Self Care email Challenge. I am super proud of it!
Thanks for reading!
ColourfulHope (Ruth) xoxo