- 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.