When daily life feels overbearing

By Samantha Jones

Since being a child I have struggled with low self esteem, anxiety and feeling ‘not good enough’. Although it never really became an issue until I reached 14. It developed into an illness at this age due to the physical and sexual abuse I sustained whilst I was 13 and 14.

Little did I know that these symptoms would make me want to end my life on more than one occasion. To be totally honest, more than twenty times. I developed anorexia when I was 14 but wasn’t diagnosed until I was 15. I kept things hidden, from the abuse to the very little I was eating. I wanted to blend in but my behaviour only made me stand out more. I wasn’t aware of this at the time though.

At the age of 15 I started to self harm, this too was kept hidden. In one way I thought it was only me in the world that did this act but at the same time I thought it was normal, that maybe every 15 year old cut themselves. It wasn’t until CAMHS began to question whether I had thoughts of harming myself, that I began to question whether this was ‘normal’. I soon realised it wasn’t.

By the age of 17 I had attempted suicide a hand full of times. Overdose after overdose. I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression and personality traits (I now know you can’t get a formal diagnosis for Borderline Personality Disorder until you are 18). The time came for me to transition between CAMHS and adult services. To say I slipped through the system is an understatement. Twenty months later I finally got my appointment.

Turning 19 I got a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder, things made sense with this diagnosis. At twenty came my first inpatient stay on a psychiatric ward. This was the most surreal experience I’ve ever encountered. Panic alarms, IM injections and patients wanting to escape became the norm. I was diagnosed with PTSD during this time.

Once I was discharged I had two more attempts at taking my own life which meant a stay in ICU at my local hospital. At the time, on both occasions they weren’t sure if I would wake up, however I did. Over the next 4 years I had many stays in psychiatric hospitals, some voluntarily and some were the dreaded section 2/3. I was taken to The Priory for rehabilitation where I stayed for 8 months. This was one of the worst inpatient stays I have ever had.

Many suicide attempts daily by various patients, including myself. One woman succeeded with her intent. This was a turning point for me. Maybe I was put on this earth to survive and not become another statistic, although this was a sad time I knew I had to look for the positives, to me it was I was still alive.

In 2016 I met the man of my dreams, life went smoothly for a while but after the most stable period of my life so far the darkness crept back not many weeks ago. I thought I had beaten my mental illness but I have come to think, does it truly ever go away? Or do we learn to cope better as time goes on? I think the later. However, despite this I’m still fighting. I have developed better coping skills, although these are still frowned upon by some but if they keep me alive and aren’t life threatening surely that must be safer in the long term.

I am thankful I met my now fiancé because he has shown me what it is like to be loved. He is my future husband and maybe even the future dad to any children we may have in the long run. He has shown me that love is the only worthwhile emotion to have and I will strive to keep this my purpose in life. No matter how many years of darkness someone has, including myself, we must also keep our eyes on the light because it can quickly become all too dark in a darkened world.

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