On Reflection…

By Stephanie Byway

At the time I was unwell I didn’t realise how bad it was or for how long it had been. It crept up on me and I ignored the first signs thinking, ‘I’m not that bad, I’ve been worse, I’ll just keep going, it’ll be fine…’  But it wasn’t fine.

In the end it became normal to cut people out of my life, to lose sleep, feel exhausted and anxious, restrict food, self-harm, drink more, and constantly think about how I could kill myself.

How could I not have seen the signs?

But I thought if I was still able to work and keep going then I must be ok, right? But it turned out I could ‘keep going’ right up until the point that I completely fell apart. The point where I smashed up the house, ran away, had police looking for me, attempted suicide, got sectioned, and spent some time in the hospital.

Afterwards, some people said they had been worried about me and I found out that others had adjusted their behaviour to accommodate my moods and anxieties. I had never realised.

Now I’m feeling much better. I’m back in control, enjoying life, feeling productive, working on goals… I feel like a completely different person.

I hope it continues and that if I start to get unwell again that I recognise the signs and, more importantly, listen to them and seek help sooner.

Always remember that mental illness lies and deceives. It’s ok to reach out and ask for help at any point. You know yourself better than anyone.

I now keep an engraved necklace to remind me that recovery is not linear or a race. I am loved. I am worth it. I can do this.

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