Yeah I’m a little late on mental health awareness week, however I felt it apt to write a little about it. Being diagnosed with Bipolar disorder in 2012, and depression and anxiety a little earlier than that. I remember the impact this had on my life at the time. I had just started working that summer between my second and third year at University. I took a job in a bar, which meant staying up very late, something I wasn’t used to. I’d also just started taking medication that made me sleepy.
The moral of the story was that after two weeks of practically not sleeping, I was fired for “lack of concentration” and “an inability to count”. Now, based on the fact that I was studying Biology at one of the best Universities in the country, I gathered that I definitely could count. I then decided to take up a job as an activities leader for a language school. After working 6 days a week for 12 hours a day, mainly doing physical activities, I was exhausted.
This lead to my first ever period of mania. I’m not going to lie this was pretty scary. I remembering begging my mum not to take me to the doctor, and that it would just get better on its own. I remember the drugs that they gave me, which made me throw up. I remember packing a bag and walking miles. But it got better. It got a lot better. It took me a long time to rebuild myself. I went back to University, and I finished my course. I may not have done “well”, in the sense that I didn’t get a 2i, but I finished. I finished the god damn thing. To me that is an achievement. I did it. Sometimes I wish I could go back and retake my final year, and that this would mean I could get a better job, or that I could then carry on and do a masters. But then I think about the amount of money that it would cost, and that I would have to move again. I also think maybe the stress of it would cause my health to decline again.
However, this post isn’t about the past. Its about now. Its about the things that I’ve managed to do despite my mental health condition. Its about the people that support me and the things I’ve managed to do. I’m 24 next week. My main achievements are :
x Moving out of home.
x Relocating to London
x Starting Roller Derby
x Managing to keep a job
x Looking after myself
What i’m trying to get at is that it does get better. There was a time where I thought I was going to be miserable forever. So this is a thank you. To the people that are there for me when I get anxious, the ones that give me hugs when I get down. The people that understand that sometimes I may act funny or weird, but just love me regardless. Take the support that’s offered. It may seem like a waster of time, or that its just mushy feeling mumbo-jumbo. But out of the hour you sit there listening to someone, who “just doesn’t get you”. There will be one thing that they say, one small tiny thing that hits home. That may be enough to make you smile just for that moment. Or it may make you feel different about a situation only slightly.
I know this is going to look like a “look at me post “, but I don’t care. I want to show that mental health conditions are treatable. I want to show that with the right support and sometimes medication that its possible to do the things you want. Its also a message of solidarity to everyone that is struggling, and everyone that feels alone. I also want to show that it doesn’t mater if you have a bad day, it doesn’t matter if you cant leave the house today. You have to measure success in what feels right for you. Achievement is a personal thing.
Take care of yourself.