Recently I wrote about my personal experiences of depression, self harm and anxiety where a brilliant website called Depression for Teens posted them up to help raise awareness and understanding of mental health illnesses. Unfortunately, that website will be taken down in the next month so I’ve decided to post my submissions here.
These are all my own words, my own writing and my personal dealings with mental health. They reflect the illnesses and symptoms I’ve managed in the past and especially on the self-harm section, do not condone any of the actions I used in the past. If you, yourself are struggling then please reach out to the great organisations and charities that are out there. You can find a list of them here. Many thanks!
When I was a kid I had no idea what an introvert was, let alone that it applied to me. From as young as primary school age I distinctly recall sitting alone in the playground with my nose in various books as social interaction never played a high priority on my agenda. However, looking back I know the cause for all this seclusion, and that was anxiety.
All the years I spent growing up it felt like there was a dark shadow looming, a targeted chest pain every time something felt remotely dangerous or uncomfortable and so my introversion became more abundantly clear as something that wasn’t of choice anymore, but more a survival technique. I deliberately avoided interaction with others or new adventures to avoid the heavy pain that would lie in my lungs, and the scatty fuzziness that would cloud my vision and mind.
Reaching Secondary School age I did manage to control it enough to expand my social hub, for a few years there was a good set of friends within my circle. But once the bell rang at 3.10pm, there was nothing that could stop me from racing home to the comfort of my own bedroom. A clear memory in my mind is my bedroom whilst growing up; my haven of purple walls, of dream catchers, wind chimes and posters of the current teenage crush. Books became computers, which in turn became laptops as I matured through the modem to broadband digital revolution, which would give a new sense of freedom from the security of my own sanctuary, and the burden of solitude felt less so.
Never in all the years up until about seventeen years old were the words anxiety, depression or mental health muttered to me. It was taboo even just ten years ago from now to speak up about being feeling different or emotionally unstable, it still is somewhat forbidden. These turbulent years of puberty would go on to define a very difficult start to my twenties as I came to terms with my own mental health illnesses, as I found bad habits and dangerous ways to cope with the anxieties that had festered in all the years I’d let them control me.
I don’t believe there are cures for mental illnesses; that nine word sentence was probably the hardest to come to terms with. To understand that I will always in some essence be mentally unstable is difficult to comprehend, but it helps me understand and define my past so that I can learn new ways to deal with the tomorrows that can either be euphoric or traumatic.
My mind craves the quiet, the silence and still the shelter of home is something that satisfies me like no other; but I know the limits of my isolation, of what is healthy and what is not. Each day brings its own difficulties, but not every day is a black hole of misery anymore now I can better manage my anxieties and worry. What brings on more complications is the onset of other mental health illnesses, like a bus, three come at once. Anxiety was suffocating in itself, but Depression is soul crushing.
Part two of my dealings with Depression will be up next Monday.