How I Survived My Emotional Trauma
Things weren't always as good as they currently are.
There was a long period of time in my life that was awful.
Where My Mental Health Issues All Started
Since I can remember, I have always been a difficult child that never knew how to control her emotions.
Everything seemed to either be the end of the world or the best thing since sliced bread.
Looking back at my childhood I guess I appeared to be an attention-seeker and loved being the center of attention.
I was constantly trying to fit in with everyone else and was branded a troublemaker by my first and second schools.
I was bullied (sadly, who isn't nowadays) for being overweight and taller than the other girls my age, but typically school didn't care.
I found that my way to stand up to these bullies was by compulsively lying to make myself seem “cooler” than others my age, again gaining more attention which I so badly craved.
Things came to a head when I was about 8 or 9 years old. I had compulsively lied to everyone at school, including my teachers, telling everyone that my dad had died. Back then I didn't realize the consequences of my actions. I just loved that it made me the center of attention.
It all came out when my mum went to a parent-teacher evening and the school told her what I had said. She so rightly corrected them on the information.
I wish I could give my younger self a hug. I was so scared and confused at that time.
It wast then that I threatened to take my own life.
How an 8-year-old would even know this is scary to me, and the school finally intervened.
I was sent to a psychiatrist, who diagnosed me as an attention-seeker and an immature girl who struggled with her parents’ divorce--and left me to go on my merry way.
My mum and dad didn't really understand the enormity of the situation (I feel so bad for them for being such a problem child) but then again I was so good at hiding it.
I let everyone think I was this bad person who didn't really have a care in the world and that nothing could affect her.
Things simmered down, and after my previous experiences, I had learned I had to be careful who I could trust and what lies I could get away with.
But soon the lies started turning into a reality; I became more reckless and dangerous, thinking that if I did those things, people would think I was cool and want to be my friend.
When My Mental Health Got Worse
Nothing major really happened other than the fact I was living constant lies for about 5 years of my life--over the next few years until I was about 16 years old.
I was living with my mum and her boyfriend. He was an asshole. Like seriously the biggest dick I have ever met. Me and him didn't get along, and we argued all the time. He suffered with depression, alcohol and substance abuse and relied heavily on prescription pain medication.
This was not a good mix in the household. My mum drank because she was stuck in a rut, her boyfriend was very verbally aggressive and, at times, psychotic.
I will always remember the day he told me to go kill myself.
So that's what I set out to do; I attempted suicide again.
After that I suffered horrendously with social anxiety and major depression. I refused to leave my house for 14 weeks straight, and that's when the self-harm introduced itself to me.
My mum convinced me to go to the doctors and they put me on my first anti-depressant and referred me to a psychiatrist. But I wasn't really ready for help at this stage, I didn't care about myself, and I didn't care if it was all gone in an instant.
I had cut myself off from all my friends, didn't really see much of my family, and spent all my time in my room.
I had no goals, nothing to look forward to, and just became this depressed little girl, sneakily stealing cigarettes and smoking them out my bedroom window.
I didn't really get the help I needed through no fault of the doctors, but because I refused to be honest with them. I lied about suicidal thoughts. I lied about self-harming. I kept telling them I was okay and that I was just scared to leave the house in case people judged me and never truly opened up to anyone about how I was feeling and what thoughts were actually running through my head.
I moved to college then, away from my mum, which I hated, and her boyfriend, they split up eventually but blah blah blah nothing really of substance happens here just more of the same old struggling with anxiety and major depression whilst trying to get a college diploma, in which the college offered me zero support and my tutor was about as helpful as a wet dressing gown sleeve.
When I Hit Rock Bottom With My Emotional Trauma
Fast forward to 2017, and I'm living with my then-boyfriend (now-fiancé, yes he put a freaking ring on it!) and pretty much having a breakdown weekly, if not almost daily.
It was really a struggle for us both, I was so confused about everything going on, and he had no idea why one minute I'm up then having a meltdown the next.
I was threatening to attempt suicide at least once a week, and the reckless behavior got more serious and scary. I had started to dabble in the occasional substance abuse, which my fiancé absolutely hated, and I truly hated because that wasn’t who I was or how I was brought up. I would compulsively lie to him about what I was doing, and we would end up arguing until all hours of the evening.
It became an endless circle of me doing something that I promised I wouldn’t, then regretting it, telling him, and then him getting mad at me for doing it. I would then respond in a cold heartless manner telling him to leave. I would scream at him to leave.
I said some truly horrible things to him, but I'm lucky enough that he now understands I didn't mean anything I said and that it was my brain's way of screaming for help, which he so luckily got me. He informed my family behind my back (best thing he could have done for me honestly) of everything that was going on behind our closed doors and basically forced me into the doctors and back to the psychiatrist.
It’s All Coming Up Roses
I now have an incredible support network in which all of my family are involved and aware.
My mum has been amazing in helping me get support and has stayed up with me, meltdown after meltdown, until all hours of the night. I can honestly say, hand on heart, had I not had my fiancé I wouldn't be here today.
He helped me realize that the demons were inside my head and not who I really am as a person.
He made me understand that I wasn't a bad person--but just a person that had had bad things happen to her and her brain had changed and set up barriers as a way to protect herself.
I have an amazing psychiatrist whom I see monthly, I am now on Venlafaxine (also known as Effexor) which is an SNRI which works slightly differently to the normal SSRIs prescribed by your GP. I am also on Quetiapine (which I pronounce queshapeen, which gets hilarious looks from doctors and pharmacists), which is a mood stabilizer and helps me to sleep. I have found that this combination is currently working for me, and although I'm bloody tired 24/7, it keeps my emotions stable instead of feeling like I’m on a roller coaster.
Now it's more like a lazy river. It keeps the impulsive behaviors at bay.
It keeps me afloat. I’m going to be OK.
You can find more of Lucy’s writing at www.thatsaturdaygirl.com.