Trying to remember a life without this illness seems like an impossible task, both because it feels like I’ve suffered with this for a lifetime and because my sense of self is very much lacking. I can tell you about when this illness first bared it’s teeth, I was 13, the sadness started, I did not understand. At 14 it was getting worse, I started to cut myself to deal with the sorrow I felt, I had to keep it a secret. At 15 I made my first real plan to kill myself, I did not go through with it, but I did start overusing medication 4,6,8,9,12 how may could I take? At 16 I started drinking, before school, in school, after school, whenever I could. At 16 I also sought help. A handwritten note to the school nurse “I cut myself”, I still remember not being able to look her in the eye and the terror I felt. I did get the help I asked for, I saw a Psychiatrist weekly and I started taking anti-depressants. At 17 I stopped eating, starved myself, I didn’t deserve food, it gave me a sense of control. I did however carry on drinking, being drunk got me through the day, but only with the help of cutting. I lost all my friends because I was a mess, one day they just stopped talking to me, I was alone. I started DBT treatment, it clicked, I thought I was getting better. At 18 I got discharged, I left on one of the biggest adventures of my life, University. I went to this brand new place, I was alone, but I had been alone for so long. Here I met my future boyfriend, although we would just be friends for a while yet. The sadness came back. At 19 I couldn’t cope, I took an overdose, I ended up in hospital, he helped me. My symptoms started to become more complex, hallucinating, paranoid thoughts, mood swings, impulsivity. I started taking anti-psychotic medication. At 20 I tried to kill myself again. The high moods made me impulsive, I made mistakes. I also started dating my best friend; I found a reason to get better. After months of trying and often failing I stopped cutting (one of the hardest things I’ve ever done). I was trying very hard to be better. I graduated. At 21 I moved to live with my boyfriend in his family house. I got a job, I lost my mind. We moved out pretty quickly. At 22 we moved to South Wales, to a place we’d never heard of before and where we knew no one. I continued to lose my mind, I became even more paranoid and obsessive. I got a job in a coffee shop, I again lost my mind, but for different reasons. After a while I got myself a different job with the Council, full time and although I found it difficult, it gave me a sense of accomplishment.
Now, at 23 I’m trying to find a life beyond this illness. Every day is a struggle, I’ve asked for help, but unfortunately it looks like I won’t get it here. I’ve been sad and angry about this for a while; in fact I think I’ve gone through pretty much every emotion possible. But now I’ve decided that I can do it on my own (I’m certainly going to try). I’m writing this blog because I want to record my thoughts, the good the bad and anything in-between. I’m also hoping that somewhere in my written words I will find myself, or learn how to be someone. I’m staring my next big adventure in my life. My life needs to start.