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I’m going to take a deep breath and start from right where it started. The biggest blowout breakdown of my life. I don’t even know if somebody is going to see this, or if I’m actually going to post this and if I want to get the courage to do it. But if I do, thank you so much for taking the time to reading this. I’m not writing this for sympathy. I’m writing this to help myself, and if I manage to post this, help others change their perspective or encourage them to seek support until, like for me, you explode and it gets too late.
If I do post this also please note bits of this are triggering and if you personally know me may not be pleasant to read.
Lets set the scene. You step out of the door and feel that hot breeze hit you and feel an instant wave of calm and relief wash over you. Not just because you’ve spent the past four hours entertaining a child in the airport and travelling after waking up at 1am after a very emotional and heartbreaking conversation, but because this is a new beginning. Because this is the break you have been looking forward to for so long, a break that was really needed, and it literally feels as though any problems and baggage have been packed away and left in England the moment the feet of your plane were off of the runway.
You can’t wait to spend your week around the pool sipping cocktails, eying up fit Spanish waiters and watching your best friend play in the pool.
After a small room hiccup, you go straight down and get to it. You laugh, sizzle in the sun, down as many cocktails as your stomach can handle and when your head hits the pillow that night you sigh and sleep your first good nights sleep in god knows how long. You go to sleep for the first time in…well, a really long time, with no anxiety and no weight on your shoulders. This week is going to change you. There will be no shit. You will be as free as a bird. You will recharge and become you again. Everything is going to change. Life starts here.
Flash to around nine weeks later and you lie in a hospital bed staring at the ceiling waiting for somebody, anybody to come save you. You’ve been waiting for this moment for so long because you know that this is what you needed, but now all you want to do is go home. The fluorescent lights are starting to hurt after you haven’t slept all night, even with the mitazephine you took the night before, and you’re fighting the urge to scream and shout and make them listen. You hope they come soon and take you away, tie you down and take you away from society. You don’t deserve to be in it. You don’t deserve that beautiful little girl. You don’t deserve this life, this body. You deserve to be thrown away and to rot. You hope they can change you, bring you back to a person who does deserve to live and can be a good person. Because you’re tired, and all the fight in you has gone.
This is my mental health story, and how my mental health rapidly deteriorated in such a short space of time into the biggest breakdown of my life. I am telling my story in not only the hope that I am heard; for people to see I am a real person with a real feelings that asked for help and for someone to hold her hand so many times and barely anybody answered…a girl who is one of many. Many who need the system and the way people see depression to change.
My first two days of my holiday was fantastic. As I said, the break was really what I needed. What the four of us needed; me, my mum, my stepdad and my beautiful little girl. I gave birth to Sophia when I was only 19. The silly young girl who I was decided to try attachment parenting (basically being with your child as much as you could, bed sharing and breastfeeding). I raised Sophia for the most part alone, though I had my parents help. Her dad was (to put it kindly) not a very nice person to me and in and out of Sophia’s life. I relay on my parents’ handouts for a while and benefits until I started two businesses from home.
It was hard, and stressful. Sophia stopped breastfeeding when she was three (it took a weeks stay for me in hospital with my asthma for this to happen…I’m pretty sure without me falling ill I’d still have her attached to my tit right now) and only started to sleep alone around a week before we left for holiday. It was hard. I rarely got time to myself, and the kid had so much energy. I mean she could happily wake 5 times a night and then still fight me to sleep until 9PM. But she was, is, a character and the love of my life. The anchor that keeps me grounded and safe. So a break was well needed, and day 2 I spent the day in the pool with Sophia and her new friend.
Day 3, I woke with a stonking hangover feeling terrible but it was nothing a few cocktails couldn’t fix. But on day 4 I felt worse. There was nausea and chest pains and back pains. I had actually used up all of my asthma inhalers (and I bought two). We spent the next three days in and out of the medicine centre with a Chest Infection for me where I ended up on oxygen and my stepdad ended up with a hole in his pocket.
No big deal right? These things happen. At least I got to enjoy the evenings, and at least it didn’t happen in England. I had the sun and unlimited alcohol as a comfort blanket. I tried to see it that way. But inside, I was gutted. It seemed the odds were stacked against me. I got better, but I spent the last night once better with my infection ill with IBS. For fucks sake!
Back in England, things crept up again straight away and I was frustrated, feeling as though I never had a rest and hadn’t had a rest. Money worries, relationship worries and everything in between started to creep up on me. It was like a flip had switched and my behaviour in myself started to become erratic. I could spend a day happy, positive about the future and wanting to party on tables to days crying none stop in bed while my daughter was in nursery.
Things reached a climax when I had my trust betrayed by somebody involved and who I can’t exactly avoid and got even worse when I decided for once in my life to stick up for myself and I got pretty much attacked. That’s all I’ll say on the matter, but a switch flicked inside me that day and the rock bottom I thought I was at crumbled to reveal a whole new fall. I was too scared to leave the house…not because of being hurt but because of what people might say. But I tried to carry on. I tried, I had to. But the days spent crying became more and more regular, and the communication with my love became less and less.
Flashback to a few weeks later, and you receive a text message telling you a four year relationship or whatever the fuck it was is over. Four years for nothing. Being told you were never promised anything. Letting them sleep with other people because you think you’re the pathetic one for wanting to ‘be so serious’ at such a young age. And you feel you’re so unworthy of love and too much baggage its your fault he has to look somewhere else. That he’ll get it out of his system but you’re the one he loves and he’ll choose you in the end. Someone who will never be erased from your memory because you made a baby with them, a baby who isn’t here and for that you’ll hate yourself every bloody day of your life.
That night a flick switched inside me. I didn’t just spend my day crying that day. I crashed and burned. Everything flared up. The worries of the past, present and future rolled all into one. It bubbled up like a foul witches cauldron, burning me and taking over. I exploded. I couldn’t stop crying. My daughter was looked after by her auntie and I rang the helplines I could because I knew I was going to do something that deep down I really didn’t want to. They advised me to ring the ambulance service and they were taking so long…I drank as much wine as my stomach could handle as quickly as I could, thinking that I didn’t give a shit anymore, it would stop the pain and make them listen to me. A friend who I haven’t spoken to in years came over when nobody else would and held my hand throughout the whole ordeal.
I was begging people to listen to me. They wouldn’t. I was telling them how much I needed help, being blamed for being intoxicated. They wouldn’t listen. I shouted, ran away, banged on doors. They wouldn’t listen. After a little chat, I was given directions to a mental health charity to visit the next day and sent home to cry myself to sleep.
I visited the mental health charity, The Anthony Seddon fund, the next day and I swear to god, in my 13 years in the mental health system I received the most help I ever have that day. I was taken upstairs to the drop in, where people sat in the room and just talked to each other. A volunteer sat with me and ushered me in with another volunteer and her to a quiet room while I cried. They listened to me. They talked to me. They talked with me. They shared their own experiences. We all agreed that mental health services were fucking shocking, and they told me there was nothing I was going through that they hadn’t been through. They told me I could come back anytime, and suggested and booked me in for activities which I am to attend this week.
Next to 4 nights later. A small thing which was huge to me happened (which I would rather not talk about, lets just say I was let down big style). I rang 999, feeling out of control and scared of myself yet again. Because I couldn’t stop crying. Only this time there was no little child upstairs to keep me strong and for me to curl up next to and realise how lucky I was. She was safe and having the time of her life. A much better time than she had with me. I was a useless mum.
So instead, I picked up the phone. Because I knew I was in danger. I was feeling a car crash, out of control. I was feeling generally unwell and had thrown up and couldn’t take it anymore. I couldn’t take my own body hating me so much. Mind, body, soul. I couldn’t take being a failure to anybody. I rang several people, none of who gave a fuck. Nobody would stop me. I rang 999 and my phone died. When I connected it back up I was told help was on the way. I waited and waited. But nothing came. I felt embarrassed, but I felt really like there was nobody to stop me. But I didn’t want to die…how could I leave my little girl without a mother? Useless or not, I refused to do that to her. No matter how much I was being told I was useless, to leave it all behind, I refused. I would live this hell for her. But first I had to make them listen.
I raided my medicine cupboard ready for someone to come and save me and see. I wrote a note, convincing that I would lose my daughter after this but knowing I needed help. I told her how sorry I was and how I was doing this to get help and how much I loved her. Then I realised what I was doing. Having those pills in front of me was so dangerous. I could take them easily if my thoughts got any worse. I threw them to the side and ran into the kitchen, pulled a knife and… anything to take the pain away. I hated myself worse after that. But it helped, for a minute. I just wanted it to hurt less. Eventually I was rang by a mental health professional who asked me questions. I told him everything, about what I had done to myself, how I wanted help, what I wanted to do. He recommended I get a good nights sleep with my mirtazephine, get a good nights sleep and go straight to the GP in the morning because although I wanted help I was just so terrified to go to hospital on my own now and show them what I had done.
In the morning I couldn’t move. I was crippled with pain and throwing up and could barely make it to go to the toilet let alone walk to the GP. FUCKING TYPICAL. After swallowing my pride and ringing my mum, who I thought didn’t care when I rang her the night before, I got taken to A&E for the second time in a week. A record! I was told I had kidney stones and a UTI. And then it came to the other problem. My mum was by my side and I felt relief because finally I was going to get what help I needed. They seemed to be taking me seriously after my mum told them how she found the pills, how she saw the knife…
But again I was took into a room, asked a brief few questions and told to ‘visit the Anthony Seddon centre as much as I could.’ Whilst I didn’t want to be hospitalised, I expected to be took seriously and have some more health offered to me. I’m waiting for a counselling appointment which I was already which could take weeks and I wasn’t ill enough for a crisis team. I was told to try and find more to do with my life and visit the charity centre everyday, when I don’t drive.
My second week in A&E with my mental health. Both times saying I felt suicidal but I didn’t want to leave my daughter. A young single mum feeling desperate and suicidal. Saying she didn’t want to live anymore. And what did I get? A chat, a coffee and a ring from a social worker when I got home.
Mental illness affects approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK per year.
Yet I guarantee 1 in 4 people, including me, feel they can’t talk about it because they aren’t taken seriously. By friends, by family, by medical staff. Such a common problem, yet there is so little treatment. I’ve even been told by people I have seen for my depression how disgusting it is.
I had my last assessment and diagnosis when I was 15. 15! Despite me expressing my concerns over highs and lows, and in the past hearing voices, I have not received an assessment to see if I’m getting the right treatment since.
A report from England and Wales says that just 1 in 8 people are receiving treatment for a mental health issue and that mental illness is the single largest cause of disability!
If you think about it, that’s a lot of people suffering. For every 8000 people struggling with depression, only 1000 of them are receiving treatment. Is that because they can’t get the help they need? Or because depression is such a stigma that they think there’s nothing wrong with them or they can’t speak about it?
From day one, I have been open with my problem. I have been, and still to this day get it, called an attention seeker or over dramatic. By so called best friends, by COLLEGE TUTORS, for asking for support and help or even just expressing my experience with my problem.
Depression is a common and SERIOUS mental illness that I believe kills. It doesn’t kill like cancer, but it kills in the form of suicide. It’s dangerous and deadly. Some people can be cured, but a lot of the time it can be fatal. It isn’t sadness. It’s so much more than that, and its terrifying to cope with. It’s a lonely, and scary, place. You feel crazy. You feel dead inside. And its worse when you have nobody but yourself.
If you are suffering from depression, please don’t hesitate to message me. Someone out there, always, cares. I know that now. In my darkest hour I received help off my ex’s sister and someone I hadn’t spoken to for years rather than those close to me who were supposed to care. Two unlikely people came to my rescue. I just had to ask. There is always somebody, and it is never hopeless. It is never the end. If you’re reading this and you feel like I did, keep moving forward. Move through it. Speak out. Somebody will listen. Somebody will care.
If you have a loved one who is suffering with depression or know somebody suffering, please take them seriously. If they need someone and you can get there, go. Sometimes we need to know we matter, and we need to know that there is somebody who cares whether we live or die. If its just a hug or a shoulder, even just a chat online, be there.
That’s my sob story. What’s yours?
If I do post this, please share it. Or even just share these links:
If you are in crisis and need to talk, or just need a chat, or are concerned about someone you love, ring the Samaritans here:
Sign the petition for better mental health care:
Donate to the Anthony Seddon fund here: