By Heather Page

“I’m only human and I crash and I break down”
Christina Perri – Human

I'm Only Human

*TRIGGER WARNING* This is a snippet of my life story. If you feel like it, have a read.

I left school in July 2015 and submitted my UCAS application on 4 December 2017.

Wait… I thought you were at university? Third year now? I assumed since your grades were good and you always paid attention in class, you were just following the normal path. Well life is very rarely that simple, my friend.

An explanation of my struggles

I thought it was time to give the people who care an explanation.

So here goes nothing.

Where shall we begin?

My mum has bipolar disorder. Does she have two personalities? No. Is it like Stacey on EastEnders? Kind of. Is it annoying and difficult? Certainly. Have you ever visited a mental ward? Yes. Can it be cured? No, just kept stable.

If you went to school with me, you’ll remember me as the short kid who loved my work being neat and perfect. Yes, I really did cry during Sixth Form when someone mixed up the order of my dividers in my ring binder.

1in4 mental health anthology

Then in 2016 everything kind of came crashing down.

Solar system anxiety

My head was spinning with all these ideas of being perfect, controlling everything from eating to studying. Even skating, which was my escape, was making my mind go topsy-turvy. I didn’t do as well as I would have liked in a skating competition, so I started overthinking. Somehow I couldn’t get my head around how I would never be able to afford to skate properly. Yet I was supposed to enjoy life whilst I was young and do the things I love. It was a touch of solar system anxiety.

Things weren’t going great with Mum

To top it all off, my mum was having a bad spell. I was meant to be packing to go on holiday abroad with my dad, but instead I was worrying about doctors and medication.

It wasn’t great.

I took all the tablets

We managed to go on holiday and enjoyed a few days, but then my overthinking got the better of me. I can’t even begin to explain what my head was like that day, walking all over Boston, MA. My mind kept thinking, if someone cares someone will speak to me. No one did. Yet I had missed calls and voicemails on my phone. I went to buy tablets from a couple of shops – I knew that there are limits on the quantities sold, or at least there are in the UK (for good reason). Believe it or not, the shopkeeper helped me find the cheapest.

So I took them – pretty much all of them.

Later I would be told that this was a depressive reaction due to adjustment disorder.

Luckily my dad got me help in time

Luckily my common sense came back to me so I called my dad, telling him where I was. When he sat next to me in a park near the Charles river, I broke down in tears. Everything that had been building up came tumbling down.

Then I told him what I had taken. He tried to get me straight to the doctor’s. After walking across Boston for over an hour, we found the hospital. I was given the antidote and was kept in hospital for three days. Though I was meant to be watching some pretty awesome skating, instead I was locked up on a Psych ward.

I should count myself as lucky. If I was by myself in the middle of nowhere, maybe I would have died. Maybe I would have had irreversible liver damage. But instead, I’m here today, fighting to see another day.

Expensive?

Since then, I’ve had a doctor say, “That must have been expensive”. Duh, I thought about it every day. They’re not the great doctors. Luckily my own GP at the time had an interest in mental health and fought for my corner, writing a carefully worded letter to the insurance company. It probably took more time out of his day than it should have, but I am truly grateful. After a battle, the insurance paid up, admitting that they were reviewing their policies on mental health.

I needed something to inspire and excite me

So when I came back to the UK, all I knew was that I couldn’t see myself going to university any more. I managed to find a job at Wicksteed Park in Kettering, then at a nursery, and then I moved onto a different nursery. It kept me busy, but I knew I needed something more to inspire and excite me.

The plan now? I’ve applied to study Mathematics. My friends will be graduating as I’m packing my bags but that’s not going to stop me, as long as I get an offer! I’ve found my independence from living in a shared house in Peterborough and can’t wait to use my time to study differential and difference equations, matrices, proofs… Yes, really! I hope to keep figure skating and I can’t wait to find a group of friends that are into the same things as me.

Life can affect the most seemingly perfect people

So yes, I got A* at A level in five subjects. Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Maths and Further Maths. I say that not to show off but to show that life can affect the most seemingly “perfect” people.

But I can truly say, as Augustus Waters said in ‘Fault in Our Stars’ by John Green, I am on a rollercoaster that only goes up, my friend. There have been challenges in 2017, particularly with relationships and employment, but I know every decision I’ve had to make or event that has happened is getting me closer to reaching my goals. The most important thing is that I can say I am truly happy.

1in4 coffee mug

I am 1 in 4.

I wrote this post to help at least one person out there who is struggling. You are not alone. If you ever need to talk, I would be happy to listen.

Reproduced with permission, originally posted here Heather Page


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