Since 2001 I have struggled with my mental health. It started with an eating disorder, depression and anxiety. When I was 19 my mental state spiralled out of control I was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder. Until mid 2013 I tried to manage my illness with various medications and regular counselling.
During those years I felt truly lost and trapped at the same time. I never felt that I was able to experience an emotion that was my own, I felt that I had lost the ability to connect with the girl that I once was. Over time I felt completely numb and that I had lost control of the emotions that I had even if they were not my own.
My family and close friends were my constant support, and as much I felt like I was drowning they motivated me to keep trying. I feel beyond blessed that I have had them in my life. I know that I would not be here if it were not for them.
For the longest time I felt that I could accept just existing and not feeling. I felt that if I could just be with my family I would be okay. Then one morning in April 2013 I reached my breaking point. I felt that my mental health was sinking in quick sand and that I had completely lost control. I felt an overwhelming sense of guilt for dragging my family through my illness for 11 years.
Somehow the terrifying thought of mentally sinking into that ‘quick sand’ gave me a moment of clarity. All I knew was that I loved my family. I gave my self two choices, to give up completely or to make a change.
My love for them gave me the courage to get out of bed and to finally try something that I had been avoiding.
The next day I checked myself into to hospital to reevaluate my situation.
I spent the next five weeks in a mood disorder clinic. It was by far the most challenging yet rewarding experience of my life.
With the help of the doctors and therapists and with an updated diagnosis of anxiety I was able to come off all of my medication.
I was so nervous to leave hospital, but when my dad picked me up the look on his face was the most beautiful combination of pride and relief. I knew that all that I wanted was to be back with my family and to continue to improve at home.
I finally felt ready and able to take ownership of my mental health.
For the first time since I was sixteen, I felt connected to myself and I have a new found awareness and acceptance of my feelings. I felt so lucky and excited to just feel and to be present in a real moment.
My mental health as with most people will always be an ongoing project. But I feel proud and privileged to still be on this journey. I know now that it is normal to have both good and bad days. And because of where I have been I truly appreciate them both.
I am maintaining my new life with diet, exercise, yoga, time in nature and counselling when I need it.
I truly feel and most importantly believe that I have come out the other-side of my illness a stronger person. I’m not sad or angry and I do not resent the last 11 years. I have instead chosen to view it as challenging and learning experience. I honestly couldn’t be more grateful to be where I am now. With that strength I know that I can continue to maintain this new life.
My goal for the future is to help and inspire others who are struggling in anyway. Or even someone who is just having a bad day.
I truly hope my blog can offer a positive option to help you get to your mental happy place.