I won’t sugar-coat it: I’ve had a really shitty couple of years. They’ve been a whirlwind of emotional results days, loss, grief, falling in love, learning to drive, and moving out.
As anyone who has ever suffered with a mental illness can tell you, they can be unpredictable, long-lasting and really fucking scary. As a complete and utter perfectionist, I’d say I’ve been dealing with OCD for almost my entire life. My mum was diagnosed with cancer when I was 15, and she lost her battle last year. Preceding and throughout those years, I also developed crippling anxiety and depression, alongside, and most recently, an ED, all whilst refusing to acknowledge the loss of my mum.
I’ve been seeking professional help for just under a year now, and it’s been one hell of a rollercoaster. My friends have been my lifelines, with one in particular being there for me night and day. I’ve tried a number of medications, along with a plethora of self-help methods and I’ve also had a number of counsellors. I’ve never been the sort of person who was comfortable sharing such personal details about herself, so I found speaking to a doctor, and counselling in particular, extremely difficult. I had CBT alongside counselling and it was really tough, and honestly, pretty unhelpful. I’ve promised myself that I’ll find a new counsellor when I return to university in October, because I’m determined to really get myself into recovery.
That all being said, talking really does help, once you find the right person. I was really lucky in deeply connecting with a friend; she understood particular events due to personal circumstances, but she also just understands me. I don’t know what I would’ve done or where I would be without her, and for a long time, she was the only person I was comfortable confiding in.
I’m currently taking daily medication for my anxiety and depression, but I’m yet to officially acknowledge my ED with my doctor. I’m a work in progress, but I’m getting there, and I know roughly which direction I need to be heading in. I can say from experience that mental illnesses make everyday struggles unbearable, so their effect upon traumatising events, such as familial loss, are truly debilitating.
But, I’m okay. As much as I wish I could be a different person, or look a certain way, or flick a switch to fix my brain, I’m okay. I’m surrounded by the most wonderful friends a girl could ask for, and I’m getting much better at reminding myself that this pain is only temporary.