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MENTAL HEALTH

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THE END OF 2017: MY MENTAL HEALTH RECOVERY PROGRESS

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I can't remember the last time I did a mental health post, I always seem to put them off because they really get me thinking and that's something I've learnt to avoid. However I now feel like I'm in a secure enough place to overthink sensibly and rationally, and be able to control my emotions after.

If you've read my blog for a long time, or followed me on Twitter for a long time you'll probably know what mental health issues I'm battling. But if you haven't, I began self harming at age 12 and that progressed into taking paracetamol overdoses. After a lot of that, I was finally diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety. (The anxiety is heavily down to bullying.) As I grew up, I had several therapies and saw several different mental health professionals that didn't seem to do a thing. I was eventually given anti-depressants, which thank God made my depression much, much better. CBT kind of helped my anxiety, but it still was, and is a huge struggle. Aged 19, I wanted another diagnosis because everything had completely changed- so I was then diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder with 'underlying severe anxiety.'

And here we are today, I turn 20 in 2 months time (which is terrifying by the way,) and all of my mental health issues began at around 11, so that's one hell of a long time to be putting up a fight. Thankfully, my darkest days have long gone and I cannot remember the last time I self harmed. I think I'm almost two years self harm clean and probably three years 'clean,' of suicide attempts and hospital visits. I never thought I would see the day that I couldn't even bring myself to think about self harm or overdose, and that in its self is a huge achievement and shows how far I've come in recovery. I still have to live with the bulging self harm scars down both of my arms, which always welcome some stares in public. However, I have fully accepted them and 99% of the time I forget about them. I have no issue having them out in public, I'm not ashamed and I'm open to talk about them if someone does ask.

I rarely have 'low,' mood days now, I've been taking my anti depressants for about four years now and couldn't be without them. Depression isn't much of an issue for me anymore, and even when I do have low days I know how to help myself and how to control my thoughts. I couldn't see myself ever self harming or overdosing now just because I feel low. The fact I ever did that is crazy to me. Most days now I am quite happy, and if you told me five years ago I would be calling myself 'happy,' I would of laughed in your face and sworn I'd be dead before my 18th birthday.

My anxiety is so much better now too, I cannot remember the last time I had a full on panic attack. I can now answer phone calls, as well as make a phone call, (which is a huge achievement.) I can go to bars and order drinks by my self, I can make my own order at a restaurant instead of someone else doing it for me, I can answer the front door to parcels, I can go to doctors appointments, I can get on buses, I can get on trains, I can go shopping all on my own. These are all things I never thought I would do in order to 'live normally,' so I am incredibly proud of myself.

Despite all of this amazing, life changing progress - there are still huge things I'm really struggling with, all of which are much more deep and advanced for a blog post, I'll save it for the therapy room...

My biggest struggle at the moment that's getting me down is my appearance, especially my body. My self esteem is at an all time low, and I do a lot of crying over what I see in the mirror. I constantly feel ugly and 'huge,' and spend 90% of my time comparing myself to everyone I see - constantly putting myself down. I'm trying to lose weight at the moment which is really difficult because the reason I've put on this weight is because I've resorted to eating my emotions.
My sleep is still a big issue, unless I take 3 Amitriptyline pills to 'knock myself out,' I will not sleep until about 5am. My thoughts race and I worry a lot so I literally cannot settle down and shut off my mind. Some days I don't sleep at all and can do a full 24 hours, so of course my mood suffers.

I'm also massively struggling with my style and 'identity,' I feel as if I have about fifteen different personalities and styles and I don't know which one is truly me and which one I like. This leaves me feeling anxious, very inferior and impulsive. I keep spending a hell of a lot of money on clothes, and then hating them the next day. Because I truly feel like I don't know who I am and how I want to present myself to the world. When I go outside, I see so many different types/styles of personality and appearance and always find myself wishing I was every one of them but myself. I am literally a different person everyday and it's actually extremely confusing and difficult.

I mean, I could go on forever about things I'm struggling with on a daily basis right now- but to be honest it's hard to put it all into words because it's so deep rooted and complexed. For sure things I need to be discussing with my psychiatrist first, hopefully he can make some sense of it all.

Over all, I am extremely proud of myself. 2017 has been a good year for my mental health and my recovery. I have overcome a hell of a lot just on my own, with the magic ingredient that is time. There has been no major dips this year, it's been a straight line of recovery with some major peaks. If you're struggling right now, here is your proof that things get easier - if I can do it, you can.

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