My Journey with Mental Illness: Finding Coping Mechanisms

Trigger Warning: Topics of Mental Health

I think the onset of my mental illnesses must have started when I was 8 years old. My dad was there one minute then gone the next. He was rushed to hospital one night. He spent a few days in hospital and me and my sister would visit him. I remember how horrible it was seeing him covered in wires and not really looking like my dad anymore. Then, that afternoon he died with my mum by his side – she was so broken, and on top of it all she had two little girls she needed to take care of.

After that day I became withdrawn. I was angry with myself. I was angry with my mum. I was angry at the world. Why was I so angry? It wasn’t anyone’s fault, not my mums or mine. Honestly, it’s taken me until now, at the age of 25, to come to terms with the fact that sometimes the good die young and there’s not always a reason why.

A few years later, I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety at the age of 11. I had started secondary school, and was facing problems with bullying; I was quite a chubby kid so getting picked on was easy for other kids to do to me. I was bullied at school from year 7 till year 10… Kids are cruel, and this made me act out at home. Whilst this was all happening I began to self harm: I needed something to control, and self harm was the only thing I could think to do. A girl in my class told me how to do it, and from then on I would self harm every time I was upset.

This is such an unhealthy cycle to get yourself into, and if I had only had someone to talk to I’m sure the outcome would have been different.

But enough about the tragic past I lived when I was when I was younger; I am now 25 and I am really happy with myself and who I am as a person. I have a huge heart and I have a kind soul, and even though living with depression and anxiety is something that never goes away, you can learn cope with it and there are ways to do this. Personally, I tend to listen to a lot of music, and if I’m having a bad time of it I can usually tell the signs: For example, If I start becoming withdrawn and not enjoying all the things I normally enjoy I know I’m on a spiral; If I start coming up with nothing but negative thoughts and only thinking negatively about everything then I know I’m spiralling.

When I have days that I feel like this, I do things that give me joy like music, watching my favourite films, seeing friends and family, going out and trying to not think about it. These things don’t help all the time but 9/10 they really do. I mean, a hot bubble bath does wonders and a good old fashioned pampering sessions too!

Life does get better, and life does get easier. It helps to surround yourself with happy and positive souls not people who bring negativity into your life – You need people who are going to motivate you and support you, not people who will bring you down and do whatever they can to sabotage you. Real friends and family support you, and I know not everyone is lucky enough to have people like this in their life, which is why if you don’t have anyone you can turn to, I would encourage you to get in touch with me. I will happily offer my friendship, support and unconditional love. I want you to know that you are never never alone, so write to me and I’ll do my best to be there when no one else is; so whether you need advice, or just a friendly ear, please get in touch.

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