Before I begin, I just want to say that I’m not writing this looking for pity, I only hope to inspire and give hope to others.
About 4 years ago, I felt the world was against me, whilst it may seem cliché and you may be thinking: “we’ve all thought that at one point or another”, you’re right. It didn’t make me special, different or a cause for concern. However I could never shake this feeling, especially after, what seemed like, never ending abuse was thrown at me from all angles. I began to isolate myself, only deepening the overwhelming lonely emotions.
I talked to my sister about it but could only ever manage mentioning the tip of the iceberg. She didn’t need the stress in her life, I’d get through it, I’ll be fine. I always stopped myself telling her the countless problems I faced, no matter how much I wanted to talk about it, I could never find the words, so I said “that’s all, I promise”. It was, in a way. It was the total I could formulate sentences to describe. It was the total I could make sense of in my head. It was the total I felt justified crying about.
However these unexplainable scratches in my positive mentality grew to wounds I thought could never heal. I absentmindedly scratched the itches that were the negative thoughts, until my psyche was damaged almost beyond repair.
As I felt more isolated than ever in a room full of people, I left myself wondering if life was even worth living: who would miss me? I mean my family sure, but I’m just a burden.
It got to the point I planned it. I’m not going to explain how I planned to, but it happened. I was so numb I no longer cared. So numb to the point I can’t actually recall the few months after that because I was never present. Physically I was there, living life, smiling and meeting up with my friends. But mentally: I was dead already.
Toxic friendships, tragic events, and the realisation I had social anxiety left me feeling useless, worthless.
All this is over the course of about 2 years.
During this time I went on a school trip. I left feeling disgusted with myself and dirty. (Whilst I now realise none of this was my fault, at the time I didn’t realise what was going on). Without realising it, someone I knew had sexually assaulted me whilst being encouraged by someone I’d considered a friend at that point. Whilst amends have been made, apologies have been given and accepted from the guy, I knew I could never continue my life with that friend, who had encouraged it, in it. Even now I have flashbacks when I’m touched in a certain way on my leg, leaving my heart thudding and often leaving me distant for the next few hours/days.
Soon after, I cut that friend out. I felt in control of my life for the first time in years. I had been manipulated without realising it, becoming a person I wasn’t, and that had to change.
Little by little I pieced my life back to how I wanted it to be. Believe me, it’s the most difficult thing I’ve ever done, and I continue to do it today, over 4 years later. I have relapsed and dipped into depressive episodes and had more anxiety attacks than I can remember, yet somehow I’ve made it to here.
This last year has been the toughest in a while. GCSEs brought on a depressive episode like no other, once again leaving me suicidal. My health went into decline, I lost weight and hair, I didn’t have a period for nearly 6 months, and I was ill for a large portion of the run up to GCSEs because I was truly exhausted; physically, mentally, and just exhausted of life.
Yet I powered through. It took almost constant coaching from my amazing set of friends to stop me from breaking down everyday. I spent my time worrying about the revision I should have been doing whilst staring blankly at a wall, finding it impossible to move, let alone study. Yet I somehow powered through it, I set myself a goal. And that was what I needed. Whilst it was never a big goal, it was one that seemed almost impossible at the time: read, take notes on, and test myself on one topic of one subject. That was all I set myself up to do. Meet the goal. Then reset the same goal, repeat.
My dad once said to me that when he cycles up challenging hills, he just tries to get 5m up the hill, then once he gets there, he goes for the next 5m. He said “if I could go the first 5m, then why can’t I do it again? I just did it. So whilst it may hurt my muscles, I know I’m capable.”
At first, I didn’t understand. Why would he be able to do it again? He’s now tired from going 5m up the hill, so it’s more difficult. But after mulling it over, I realised what he was saying, and now apply it to everything I do.
Apply yourself, set small, achievable goals, and just channel your energy into meeting and exceeding your goals.
Sitting and revising, I would then do not one, but two topics. Then three, then four etc. Before I knew it, I would have revised a complete subject. Yes, I was exhausted from the effort, but I was happy in myself that I had exceeded my original goal.
And it paid off. It truly did. I gained better GCSE results than I could ever have hoped for, and now feel confident in my ability to set my own course in life.
Using this mentality, I have gained self confidence, allowing myself to approach new people, without a safety net, despite my anxiety. If I can talk to one person, why not two? Three? Sure my heart is beating out of my chest, but to be honest, what’s the worst that could happen?
Whenever anyone asks what your biggest achievement is, you may say “passing GCSEs” or “climbing the three peaks”. But mine? It’s not something you can see on paper, record through photos or write on a CV. My biggest achievement is being here. Living. Truly living. To do that you have to be immersed in the moment.
It seems difficult, and it is no walk in the park, but live in the present. Why think where else you could be when you’re where you are? The world is full of positive contributions to your day. Be mindful, don’t let your mind wander to wherever is better than where you are, think about how much opportunity there is all around you. Not only will it make your day better, but days make up weeks, which makes months, which makes years, which makes a better life.
I guess the purpose of this is to inspire those who are struggling right now, let them know you can make it through, and prosper, despite the adversity and challenges you face.
07.2019 Okay time for entry number 2. I’m not going to lie, I didn’t think I’d write another entry. I thought about it a few times, writing about the positive things in my life, but somehow I think those things are best enjoyed in the moment and I struggle to write about them in a way that isn’t a bullet list. But back on track, time for life shock story number 2. In my last entry I wrote about being exhausted and skipping periods. Whilst yes, that is a side effect of stress, the loss of hair, fatigue and irregular periods are also symptoms of the syndrome I have recently been diagnosed with: polycystic ovarian syndrome (or PCOS as it’s more commonly known). After tests and doctors appointments and more tests, I have gotten my answer. My incurable answer. The answer which has told me I am likely to struggle getting pregnant and staying pregnant. That causes me to gain weight and struggle to lose it. That has made me lactose intolerant. That has just generally made me feel like shit. Okay yes I got an answer, but this was the worse case scenario and it scares me. It genuinely does. I’m sorry but this isn’t an inspiring chapter of my life. I don’t have the energy to inspire. But that’s the problem. That’s why I hate this so much. I feel as though I’m making excuses for myself, blaming PCOS. I should be fine, I’ve gotten on before and I’m still alive, so why start blaming something now? I feel weak and unable, but I’m being told I’m fine. Everything is fine. At this point I haven’t told anyone in my family. Yes, they need to know, but I feel like I’m just making excuses, that it’s not justified. I’ve done everything just fine if not better than fine up until now, in their opinions, so why should this change anything? I don’t even know the answer to that one. I’m searching for answers, but finding few. And wanting support but feel like it makes me weak. Now I sound like a fucking sob story, but that’s what I feel like. And I hate it. Yet I don’t know how to change. At the time of writing this, only 5 people other than doctors know I have PCOS. I don’t know how to tell people without sounding like I’m looking for sympathy, but I feel so alone.
11.19 Recently I’ve been feeling more in control. I’ve been making those who need to aware of my condition and making the relevant adjustments to my schedule to ensure I can still do what I want without being too tired. I’m not sure why but I’ve also been feeling both dejected and empowered. Recently a couple people I knew committed suicide. And that saddens me to my core, because I’ve been there. I know how it feels. I thought it would never get better and didn’t know what else to do. Yet here I am. I have an amazing boyfriend who loves and supports me, friends who I love and love me no matter how long it is between seeing eachother in our busy schedules, and a good job which I enjoy. All whilst doing well in college. Whilst I get emotional by the fact that I believe it could have gotten better for those who were lost, and that I’m living proof it happens and is possible, this also makes me feel empowered. I have managed to get out of a deep depression, decrease my anxiety levels, live on after sexual assault, learn to live with an incurable condition that makes even the simplest things difficult. And if that isn’t something to be proud of then I don’t know what is. The other day I was talking to someone who’d lost their best friend to suicide and we were talking about the person I knew who had done the same. He called me strong. And I do believe that that’s what I am. I may be emotional but I am strong. I get on with life with a smile on my face. Get the job done and sometimes even go the extra mile. Not only do I only go to college. I work, volunteer, dance, play squash, play piano, and have time to socialise. Telling myself this when I feel low is almost like a recharge. I am strong, and I can do this.