Today I have decided to talk about the topic of Mental Health. Why might you ask? I feel that lots of people today struggle with mental health symptoms but they are scared to talk about it and get the support and advice they deserve. You are not crazy and if you need a little support what is so bad in that. I suffer with many mental health problems and have experienced a lot in the past to do with this, therefore I thought it would be a good idea to give my input and see if I can help anyone out there struggling like me. I have never really opened up to anyone about my problems before so I actually find this extremely hard to talk about but I promise to be as open and honest as I can. I feel a lot of the world is so uneducated on this topic and so many people who don’t suffer find it hard to understand. This then makes it so much harder for us people suffering to open up and tell the world how we feel inside. Instead leaving us in the silence to deal with our problems ourselves.
So we will start with what is mental health? Mental health is a persons condition with regards to their psychological and emotional well-being. It can be a complete mixture of lots of different things which people can experience differently, There is no right or wrong to what you feel and our struggles are very different from one another.
If you have previously read my blog you will know that I suffer with depression and anxiety which I am currently under going treatment for. I have suffered with this ever since I was around 13/14 years old, It all started when I hit puberty. I quickly discovered that I am not very good at controlling my hormones and at certain times of the month I struggle very badly with my emotions and feelings. This has previously cause me to have breakdowns, become very depressed and there have also been times I have had suicidal thoughts.
If you ever met me in the street you would never know I struggle the way I do. I am a very outgoing, bubbly, flirtatious and all round friendly girl however on the inside I am a nervous wreck that is pretty much scared of everyone and everything. I am quite lucky that although I feel the way I do inside I am very good at putting on a confident front and some how this has got me through life. I feel that over the years I have progressed a lot and have learnt to deal with my feelings a lot better however there are still many things I do struggle with. Back at the age of 15 years old there were times that I physically wouldn’t be able to leave my house by myself. The thought of walking down a street by myself made me want to be sick. It got to the point where in the mornings before school I would breakdown and refuse to leave my house. Now at the age of 20 years old I have got a lot better I don’t feel like that anymore however I do have my moments where I will be walking down the street by myself and all of a sudden I would panick and think that everyone is looking at me. It makes you feel like they are all laughing and judging you when inside your head you know they aren’t at all. This is why even still to this day I crumble in busy crowds.
Between the ages of 16-18 I was very stressed studying for my GCSE’S and my A-levels and due to this I became very depressed. I never wanted to do anything with friends or family. I would lock myself away and hide in my room for hours/days on end. Due to me feelings so down and upset I would eat as a comfort and that’s when I went from a size 10 to a size 14. The unfortunate thing about this is that it was one vicious cycle, the more I ate the more depressed I became. Looking back now I think it’s so sad because I did have loads of friends that wanted to spend time with me but I always felt so worthless and never wanted to be a part of the real world. I used to strangely talk to people online because it was like having a fake identity, they didn’t quite know who I was or what I dealt with and to them I could the best and most confident Ashleigh you had ever met.
At the age of 18, all of my problems faded away when I found love. I don’t know how it was even possible but just by someone wanting me and choosing me over everyone else made me feel invincible. I met my first ever boyfriend in September 2014 and I fell in love almost immediately. I became everything I never was, I was happy, confident, fun and the weirdest part was I was never home unlike previously never leaving my bedroom. This happiness continued throughout the first 6 months of our relationship, I was on a constant high and life was amazing. I wont go into too much detail but we came across some problems in our relationship where my boyfriend cheated on me multiple times and for someone who has confidence issues that ripped me apart and made my depression rocket sky-high which is when it all came crashing down.
My ex boyfriend was very manipulative and would make me feel like I was the one in the wrong even though it was him who would treat me badly. All of this messed with my head and made me go crazy. He would treat me so badly and make me feel absolutely worthless leading me to have multiple break downs and it made my depression the worst it had EVER been. At this point we were travelling around Australia together and he said to me when we got home he would come to the doctors with me and help me get some help for the way I had been feeling because he “loved” and “cared” for me. 3 days after we got home it was my birthday and he decided to end out 2 year relationship on my birthday. The next few months he didn’t just leave me be he consistently spoke to me and made me feel that he wanted me when really he didn’t. He used and abused me both emotionally and physically which I naively let happen. It got to the point where I was jobless, I stopped eating, I got really ill and I tried to commit suicide 3 times. Each time getting braver and closer to ending my life. I don’t want to go into too much detail about this as this was the lowest point in the whole of my 20 years of life and I am so ashamed I let myself get this low.
My parents went away for the night, being alone I got very upset and down and I decided that I would take around 130 tablets. There were a mixture of paracetamol, ibuprofen and many other tablets I found in our medicine cupboard. After an hour or so I started feeling very ill and was sick constantly every 3 minutes until I couldn’t bare the pain any longer, the excruciating stomach pain I felt was horrendous and I can still remember it now. I eventually called my mum up and explained everything to her baring in mind she never knew I ever felt suicidal so it was both a shock and very upsetting for her. An ambulance was called and I was rushed into hospital where I was put on two drips and all sorts of weird things. I don’t actually remember all that much but I was in hospital for around 3 days when I was finally discharged, the part that got me most was when the doctors said I was very lucky to be alive and at the point of them saying that my mum crashed and was absolutely heartbroken and to see her in that kind of pain, how could I ever even consider leaving her through choice, I simply couldn’t.
My life after hospital was a struggle for few good weeks but I was slowly getting there then one day it all changed. I met a young gentleman named Luke, He worked with me at sainsburys and my friend was the one who introduced us to one another after one of our shifts. He was the cheekiest, charming, most loveliest man I had ever had the pleasure of meeting. If anyone knows me they would know how much I am a sucker for a cheeky chappy lad and Luke most definitely fitted the profile for the kind of man I like. Weeks passed and we spent a hell of a lot of time together, we would go out for day trips, sleep round each others house and it was absolutely amazing. We had both recently come out of our first relationship that had gone horribly wrong for the both of us and we showed each other that there were definitely better things out their waiting for you. He was such a lovely young guy who had a heart of gold. After we had been dating for 2 months sadly one evening cutting a long story short, he left my house to go to work and he crashed his car into a tree and died instantly at the scene. No words can explain what I feel just having to type those words and relive everything that happened that night. There is no words to explain how you simply deal with life when the person that made everything better just disappears without any warning. The worse part about it for me is that we had no say in what happened and the fact that I can’t just have 1o more minutes to tell him how much I appreciated him and how much I want to say thank you for helping me with everything I went through during that time. I was falling in love with Luke fast and all of a sudden it was all taken away.
With all this happening within the space of the last 6 months it’s clear to say I haven’t had the best of luck in my life this past year. Although I do try to stay positive and I really do give it my best go at being a happy person it’s not always easy and its ok to have bad days. Having bad days only makes you human and that’s ok. The one bit of advice I could give to anyone who feels down and depressed or is going through similar problems, do not run away from what’s going on in your life. There is plenty of sincere help out there from people who are more than happy to help you. Do not hide away. The worse thing I could have ever done is gone through all of this alone and I have felt so much better since opening up to my friends and family and talking to my therapist as well.
If you are going through a tough time and you don’t feel like you have anyone to talk about your problems to, you have me. I will be a pair of ears ready to listen and I will be a shoulder to cry on. No matter how silly you think your problems might be, I don’t care if it makes you sad and gets you down it’s a problem in my eyes and I want to help you through it.