Embracing My Mental Illness

When i think back to when i was young, filled with innocence, hopes and dreams. I think was I  mentally ill even before i was diagnosed, did i go through high school being depressed & anxious? Maybe, i don't know. I struggled in school and i guess my mental health, grades and so on suffered. I'm sitting in my room occasionally thinking why haven't i gone to university yet, why haven't I gone and gotten a degree maybe because it's just not my time yet.

There's still often such a stigma around mentally ill people. I know a lot of people (including myself) struggle admitting that we might not be as mentally healthy as people might think we are. But why? Why can't we shout it out to the world?! Like it's not something to be ashamed of. I know with myself, i get scared when i tell people about my mental health i'll get judged, that truely scares me. I should be proud of every single part of me, because if I didn't have struggles with mental health, I wouldn't be me. I wouldn't have the strength, the courage to be open with my feelings, with my difficulties and many other things i've dealt with. 

I'm proud of me, i'm proud of my mental illness, i'm proud of how far i've come and i'm still going, i'm still fighting and if i wasn't me, if i wasn't the fangirling crazy Simone. I wouldn't be me and that would be a shame. And you could come across me in the street and think 'she doesn't look depressed or anxious' which i occasionally succeed in hiding well and other days i just want to scream. I'm working hard at being better, being healthy, being happy.

My mental illness just happens to be part of me, just like my hearing impairment but it doesn't define me as a person, only i define myself and those are elements of who i am. I'm okay with that. I'm learning to be okay with that. One thing i know is that your mind can either be your best friend or your worst enemy.  You who embraces your own survival every single day—I would like to be you when I grow up, please. I can't run away from my mental illness but i can embrace it

I can't pin point when it all started, it had been going on for awhile. But at the age of 14/15 or maybe at 13 i don't know, intrusive thoughts were controlling my life. I was belittling myself, i didn't like who i was and the constant bullying about my hearing impairment and other things, pushed me a little too far where i didn't want to go to classes, i was getting cyber bullied. I'm usually a nice person to be around (I hope!?) but when my mental illness takes over, within a heartbeat my personality changes completely.

I always found myself staring at myself in the mirror, thinking that i didn't deserve to be happy, i convinced myself i was worthless. Awful thoughts and anxieties overtook my mind, and after an attempt to take my own life and self harming i was transferred to a therapist where i was talking about my feelings, some my mum didn't realise and that broke her heart, i found out years after that my twin sister hated me fore a little while when i tried to take my own life because she thought i was selfish and didn't think about what it would do to her and the rest of the family. 

Now she is much more understanding of my mental health and i suppose from someone who doesnt suffer with it, it is hard to really understand what goes on in someones head. My sessions included filling out an questioniare and some talks with a doctor at a mental health unit in Cambridge. i was diagnosed with depression & anxiety. I had many sessions with the doctor and therapist at the unit and hat moment was pretty terrifying for me because i thought it meant a life sentence, but really it wasn't i could manage it, i had to learn to manage it - just because i have a mental illness doesn't make me any different.

If i could go back and talk to my teenage self. I'd tell her: she's beautiful, she's born to stand out, your diagnosis doesn't mean it's the end of the world, you'll get rid of those toxic people you were surrounded by at school and you will be happy. You don't need to change anything about yourself. Every day is different. You are stronger, braver and smarter than you think and most importantly you are a work in progress & there is nothing wrong with that.

I just wanted to write this post to show anyone else suffering with mental health that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Don't be embarrassed, ashamed or scared about admitting it. You will feel better for telling those close to you. And you are going to go on and do some amazing things.

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