- Monday, 21 April 2014 -

Hello darkness my old friend...

Hello my lovelies, I hope you all had a wonderful Easter weekend and haven't slipped into a chocolatey coma! This post admittedly is a little bit gloomier and personal than all my previous posts as it focuses on my life journey dealing with depression. For those of you reading this and thinking that you can relate to that feeling of absolute despair, I hope that my story offers you comfort, hope and moreover, a friend.

So, I'll start where every good tale starts - the beginning. I was born into this world an only child, and with this status it have been both blissful and a blight. From the day I was born, I was showered with love and affection, but with this adoration also came a somewhat sheltered lifestyle, as you can imagine. I was very timid and worrisome as a child and can remember my first days at both primary and secondary school being a complete nightmare. I was so scared, so worried, so alone. I'd cling onto my mum's hand for dear life, terrified to venture into the real world, and would sob and cry so much that I'd simply have to be sent home - this ritual continued for years. I remember even up until my GCSE days that I would sit in the car at the school car-park, eyeing up those huge, foreboding buildings with panic growing inside me. I was afraid of everything, the pupils, the teachers, the long, torturous hours away from the safe little refuge I like to call home. 

By the time I was 12 years old, I had started counselling and was on antidepressants because I was getting frequent panic attacks and my attendance at school was dropping drastically. I would spend 50% of the day crying and the other 50% of it sleeping and I hadn't a clue why. My counsellor suggested that it was perhaps the stress of school coupled with the fact my parents had recently split and my dad had decided to move on and make a new family. I'm not going to lie, my dad leaving did bruise me emotionally, and having already been categorised as quite fragile, I guess this ultimately did make matters worse for me - I felt more alone than ever

Then the bullying began, and by a "close friend" no less. This girl can only be described as a monster, not only because of all she put me through but because she made me doubt myself. I wasn't progressing in counselling because I was convinced she was my friend and that this is how all close friendships are - the slapping, the name calling, the mental manipulation. This torture went on for my 6 years at secondary school until I'd finally had enough and left to pursue my A-levels else where. When I look back at that dark era, I'm amazed that I managed to complete any exams at all, I was that frail. It's only now, when I'm older and stronger, it dawns upon that that girl was a catalyst for my depression, self-consciousness and social anxiety that I still experience today. 

Most of my teen years were spent sat in a corner contemplating suicide. As I write this, actual tears are streaming down my face because I feel sorry for the girl who counted how many tablets she'd need to take to kill herself. I felt I had no other choice and that life couldn't possibly get any better for me. This part of my past, I've repressed, because even though it's these experiences that make you who you are, it pains me too much to look back at the memories of the girl sat in the corner. 

However, my one constant, major support system was my mother. She helped me through everything and if it hadn't have been for her, who knows if I'd still be here today. Out of the 200 school days in a general school year, I must have only attended 40 annually during my entire time in secondary school, and did my mum mind? Not one bit. The crying would commence in the morning, waking up would be a complete shock to me as I couldn't deal with reality. She'd soon hurry in, look at me and ask; "Not today?" and I'd shake my head and bury myself in her, rife with relief and guilt. She used to take me on numerous trips and holidays just to take my mind off things - hell, she even booked a last minute trip to New York for us just so I could distance myself from the depression.

Right now, at this exact moment, never did I think I'd be where I am today. My life has really turned around since my teenage years slowly slipped away. I'm not a believer in god or fate or anything like that but I do believe in myself, and you should too. Believe that with time, things will start to get better, believe that you'll get stronger with the more help you get - and don't EVER be afraid to ask for it. Surround yourself in things that make you happy, immerse yourself in positivity and embrace your experiences, be they good or bad.

 

  1. Thank you for sharing your post. It's so honest and real. I had the same issue with a 'friend' who would often abuse me mentally, physically and emotionally. I cut her from my life when I was 19 after 12 years of this. It was one of the best most liberating things I've ever done. She now lives with a married woman and her husband... So that dynamic is certainly interesting, and I feel pity for her. Just email me or tweet me if you ever need someone to talk to about things :)

    Kate | The Minted Beauty

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    1. Ohhh Kate, thank you so much for your kind words! And isn't it strange how things work out? I'd definitely put that down to karma but who knows! The same happened with the girl I know, after thinking she was hot shit for so many years, university life hit her like a ton of bricks and now she has no one, funny old world, eh? You are so strong and beautiful, don't EVER let anyone tell you otherwise. Sending lots of love your way pretty lady <3

      Claire xo

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  2. Hi Clarie. Thank you so much for sharing your story<3 I'm sure it was not easy to relive and share with us all. Such strength. I had a "close friend" make fun or me and bully me in high school. It's something you can't even begin to understand on how or why someone would do that. How amazing of a mom you have<3 No one should ever feel alone so of you need anything at all. I'm here to talk<3

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    1. Nichole, thank you so very much for your beautiful kind words :) I'm so sorry that you had to go through the same in high school; I wouldn't wish that kinda torture upon anyone. But look at where we are now, eh? We're so much stronger for our experiences and I'm so honoured to know you darling :)

      Claire xo

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  3. This made me cry. There's so much here I can relate to. At the age of 9 my parents split up and I moved schools where I was badly bullied.

    I'm sure many other people can relate to this too and hopefully by sharing they can get some hope from the last paragraph, because things do get better.

    Thank you for sharing. It's good to read something so open and personal.

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    1. Aw Roxanne, thank you so much for sharing your story too, beautiful :) At such a young age you must have been so fragile and it's horrible that bullies can sense that and just take advantage of it. I'm so glad you found comfort in my little recital of my past experiences :) Stay strong pretty lady <3

      Claire xo

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  4. Hi Claire! Thank you so much for sharing this post, although it is so awful, it is also really honest and brave and so amazing to see someone who has come out through the other side. I hope this post gives hope to any young girls who come across it, and who are struggling with their own personal battles right now. You're an inspiration! :-)

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    1. KARENNNN! You wee ray of sunshine :) Thank you so much beautiful for you kind words. Since publishing this piece, the amount of support I received was truly overwhelming and it's because of beautiful, honest people like you that I can truly open up and be myself :)

      Claire xo

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  5. Damn you are one brave bunny. I hope you are proud of what a strong person you are right now, just take a moment to think about what you just shared, and how far you've come. It doesn't get more real than that. Some people never face their life long concerns or issues, never admit weaknesses or share personal moments of doubt. You just opened yourself up there and goodness knows how many other people you just helped by doing so.

    Always here if you need to talk.

    Gemma
    Faded Windmills

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    1. Gemma, Gemma, Gemma. Thank you SO much for all your kind words of support and comfort, not only here but on Twitter also sweetie. You're the reason why the blogging community is amazing as it is, because even though we've never met, I feel a kindred spirit in you :)

      Claire xo

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  6. This post is so honest, it's filled with truth and you're so brave for sharing it with us. You've been through so much, by sharing this I'm sure you've given other people the confidence to find someone to talk to and get rid of the negativity in their lives :)
    If you ever need a friend I'm here, I like to make new friends haha.
    Kloe xx
    skullsnkisses.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. Kloe, you beautiful, gorgeous girl! Thank you SO much for everything - not only for your kind words of support, but for being a FRIEND. I honestly feel like I've known you for years, and the fact that we have never even met makes it that bit more special. I know you're always here for me, but please also always know that I'm here for you too sweetie :)

      Claire xo

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  7. This post was really inspiring, Claire! No one really understands how hard it can be to speak out about any emotional turmoil you might be going through, which is why you're so brave for writing about your experiences. I hope everything stays peachy, beautiful!

    Emma x | Reverie Lane

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    1. Thank you so much Emma for your kind words, your support really means the world to me :) Life's pretty good at the moment, and I'm so grateful for everything!

      Claire xo

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  8. I sat here, tearing up because I know what it feels like. It's so relateable. Especially in High School. Being the only child, being protected by the outside world and it all falling apart. My dad left my mom when I was 16 and my world had changed. Half a year later they worked it out but things were never the same again. I think I just liked to think I had friends, most of them just forgot about me over time and one even choked me in art class and no one did anything to stop it. I just kept to myself over the years. College was daunting for me and I dropped out after a month because I couldn't handle anything. I would escape into a world of books until I got caught by my mom.
    Everything is so scary and hard. Adult life is in a way, is so much better but at the same time you just want to be that teenage who slept away the days.

    When I realize that most of the people I knew in school became teen moms, housewives or party people and then I look at my little life and see what I accomplished. I have a "alright" house, a loving fiance, i'm self employed and I pay my goddamn bills (something I hardly ever did!) and those bullys are probably wiping shit from the mcdonalds toilets and slipping on pissy floors.

    Just look how far you've come. New friends, New life, lovely boyfriend, a loving mom, a job and hobbies you love.
    I had depression and sometimes I see it creeping back up when life gets too hard or I get stressed.
    Then I remember I have you, we have each other. You have Martyn and I have Tony to lean on.

    This was a beautiful post, raw and true. FUCK YOU SCHOOL. FUCK YOU BULLIES, FUCK YOU DEPRESSION.

    I'm so happy that blogging brought us together. I love you claire. <3

    PS. the birds on my shoulder represent people that have helped me come out of my shell and give me confidence to "escape" the birdcage. I know we've only known each other for a couple of months but I'm sure in the future you will earn a place on my shoulder. :)

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  9. Oh, Claire! I am SO, SO proud of you for posting this! It must have taken a whole lot of courage.

    I see a lot of Young Becky in your story- I was a very anxious child and teen, suffering panic attacks and depression, and my dad left too so I know how that can affect you when you're young and already fragile.

    You should be so proud of yourself for being strong enough to get through that horrible time and to come out on the other side. Look at you now: You're so creative, beautiful and successful. You moved to a whole other COUNTRY for god's sake! That takes serious guts!

    Your whole life is like a big "fuck you" to that horrible girl who tried to beat you down, and also to the illness for trying to hold you back.

    I'm so proud of you!
    xx

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  10. Wow. Honestly this was one of the bravest and inspiring things I've read. From someone who has been in a similar situation, I could really understand this.

    It's so good to see that you've came through all this and been able to write something so personal. I hope others can have it in them so do aswell.

    You beautiful lady!

    Xx

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  11. Thank you for sharing this post. It must have been hard to write this and to rethink of all those things again. It's great that you are better now thought. I'm glad that you had your mum there with you too. I had two pretty horrible friends during my 4th year of school, slightly similar to yours too. They weren't really friends themselves but they would call me names and take the piss out of me. I remember that one of them would be nasty about my boyfriend as well and was just really horrible. In the end we had a huge fall out but it was probably the best thing to happen as she was like venom!
    Lauren | OhHay Blogs!
    xxx

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  12. Girl you are super amazing and I would love to punch that girl in the face!
    You've come so far and you have so far to go still - Keep your beautiful chin up and put the teenage years to bed. Life was cruel but now you can kick life's arse and be the awesomest version of yourself.

    I'm proud of you! You're never alone here!

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  13. Thanks for posting this, it must have taken a lot of courage! You've come really far, and if its one thing we can all do is to believe in yourself.
    I also had a friend who I didn't realise used to manipulate me, she never wanted me to make any of my own friends, but would leave me out all the time, our friendship finally ended when she told me to break up with my boyfriend and I said no... at the time I didn't realise how much of a good thing that was!

    again, you're very strong to go through something like this and come out on the other side, and hopefully help others who are dealing with something like this now or have!

    Hannah
    xx

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  14. Hey Claire, I really admire your bravery and honesty writing this post. I've had similar experiences growing up with damaging friendships and depression but I don't think I could bring myself to write about it so candidly, though it played an enormous part in the person i am today. Perhaps I'll take the step - you've inspired me :) grace x

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  15. Our secondary school experiences sound exactly the same! My attendance was so bad i even dropped out for a few months before going back to do my GCSEs!

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  16. Well done you for sharing your experience. I have suffered with depression and social anxiety for the past 5 years, and I could relate to your story so much. You're gorgeous and you absolutely deserve to be happy!
    x

    Naomii
    www.xglitterbomb.com

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  17. Your mother sounds like a diamond. My mother wouldn't know the first thing to do about that sort of thing, she'd manhandle me off to school and tell me to get on with it. I never missed a day but it was a struggle to get through those long hours. Thanks for sharing, I find that people tend to back away when you do but if they ultimately stay, you know they are there for you. I never mentioned it until a couple of years ago so I never got any help but the next generation will hopefully be more open about it and get the help that is needed

    http://gingerchestnut.blogspot.co.uk/

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  18. Thanks for your very moving personal post - it's refreshing. We all dead with all sorts of issues - it's helpful to know we aren't alone. I've nominated you and your awesome hair for the Inspiring Blogger Award Tag – yay! You can find the details here: http://peacockbeauty.net/?p=844

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  19. This is such a beautiful post. I'm so happy to read how wonderfully supportive your mother has been and is through all of this, I teared up reading about how much of an accepting woman she is. Thank you for such a lovely post, sweetie <3 xoxo

    Megan / pixiecrop.com

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  20. This is a wonderful post, even though it about something utterly awful. Just want to say thanks for sharing and I think you're awesome! x

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  21. This must have been so hard to talk about so I really admire you, you are super inspiring! Xx

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