Updated: Oct 2, 2019
Mental health is something that is not valued enough in this world. It is just as important, if not more, than our physical well-being. Please understand this.
So I'm going to share with you my mental health story or at least bits of it because like I said, I wanted this blog to be a place of transparency, openness and honesty. With that, I hope it brings awareness, inspiration, help, positivity, a better understanding of myself and this blog.
Sooo I guess I'm going to just dive right into it.. I've struggled with what I thought was depression since the age of five. I am not going into too much detail to what it was that caused or triggered it but I remember that already by the age of five I would sit and wonder about the point to life. I felt an indescribable pain in my heart, as if my heart was being ripped apart, and a kind of sadness so deep and profound that made me feel so alone in this world.
But I was too young to understand that what I felt wasn't normal so I believed that everyone felt what I felt. I remember that I couldn't wrap my head around how people could go on with their lives, let alone live for so long feeling this way. None of it made sense to little five year old me.
Because of my ethnicity I was bullied a lot. I never fit in. My hair was rough and black, my almond shaped eyes and my tiny figure made me an easy target for other kids to put all their anger and frustration upon. I was called names, made fun of, my things were stolen and flushed, my hair was pulled - it took the very little self-esteem I had left in me away. Plus the fact that I constantly moved and switched schools made me stand out even more as the new kid to pick on.
Life went on but I still couldn't shake this terrible feeling I constantly felt. I couldn't stop all these negative thoughts and talk towards myself. My first attempt was when I was 6 years old. Some nights I would lie awake crying myself to sleep, praying for all of it to end but I didn't give up.
I don't know why I didn't give up to be honest. Maybe it was because I thought everyone felt this way and that this was it, or maybe it was because I believed that one day life would make up for it in its own special way. Or maybe I was simply to scared to really do anything about it. But whatever it was, I kept swimming.
I think I was 12 years old when I realized what was eating me up from the inside. That was the moment in my life that I realized that what I felt wasn't normal. But that realization gave me so much hope. It gave me hope that there was a life without this pain. That things would one day get better.
But it was also at that age that I started self-harming. Mentally, it was a terrible year for me. I would use food against myself, starving myself to only binge eat and throw it all up. I would cut, punch and beat myself up. I absolutely hated myself.
Then at one point in my life I was raped. I'm not going into details about it but it was something that truly shattered any piece I had left in me. It wasn't until this year that I finally opened up about it and allowed myself to process it. I've made my peace with it.
A couple of years later, I decided to create an Instagram account to help those who struggled with depression and met incredibly strong and amazing people through it. Unfortunately, one of the people I met through it and became really close to, ended up taking her own life. It broke me. It still breaks me that she's gone.
During my last year of high school, I started to experience frequent panic attacks and anxiety attacks which led to being prescribed antidepressants for the first time. And my goodness what an awful, soul wrenching experience it is to be put on antidepressants. You see, the thing with antidepressants is that you end up having to experiment and try all kinds of different ones until you find one that helps you. I was put on antidepressants that made me disconnected from the world, that made me restless, nauseated, increased my anxiety, increased the intensity of my suicidal thoughts, impulsiveness, aggression, and the list goes on. In that period, I lost my appetite and lost nearly 10 kgs in a month. I looked and felt my worst.
After I finished high school I decided I was going to study psychology in the Netherlands but after a month or two of uni, my mental health rapidly declined. I experienced panic attacks almost on the daily, insomnia on the daily, constant suicidal thoughts, aggression and frustration, substance abuse and self-harming. So I had to dropout and spent my days in bed, completely lost and hopeless.
I was then put on new antidepressants which started to help me, and was put on the waiting list for a proper intensive treatment plan. It was then that I was properly diagnosed for the first time and found out that I have borderline personality disorder or bpd. (For those who don't know what it is, I uploaded another post solely about borderline if you are interested :)) I've been in intensive treatment for seven months now and the change I've been seeing in myself, in my mental strength that I am slowly gaining is truly incredible.
I've spent the last year focusing on myself and my needs. I've learned to stop pleasing and living for others, and been getting to know myself better. I've used art, writing, music, volunteer work, meditation and yoga as therapeutic tools, and if you've never tried it, please do because it helped me tremendously. I would recommend it to everyone out there. Even if you do not struggle with a mental illness, self-care is so so so important. I cannot express it enough. Please take the time out of your day to do little things that nourish and feed your heart and soul. Things that help you relax and be present in the moment. We live in a world where everything is always rushed so take a moment to be with yourself, to treat yourself.
Now, I wouldn't say I'm sincerely grateful for the mental problems I've faced throughout my life.. It's been tough, not gonna lie.. but it's also molded me into the person I am today, and it's given me such a different perspective on life and opened my heart in ways I cannot describe in words. It's gifted me with a sensitivity towards the world and everything in life which can both be exhausting but also fueling. Without all the emotions I've felt and all the heartbreaking experiences I've lived through, I wouldn't be doing the things that I do now or be the person that I am now. So in that sense, I am grateful for the cards that I have been given at the beginning of my life.
One of the reasons why I decided to start this blog is because I still struggle. I still feel empty some days, profound sadness some other days, and some days I'm still ready to give it all up. But I needed something that would give me purpose, something that would help me stay on track with my own therapeutic practices. Furthermore, I wanted a place where I could share all the things that help me to hopefully be of help to someone else. A place to bring awareness of important issues and to share my own personal journey and experiences. I wanted to create a safe space where people could openly talk about their struggles, and together we could heal.
So I hope that this blog will help you, inform you or bring awareness to you. I hope it only brings positivity and love to you. I hope together we can create a place where we can talk about everything and anything without judgement.
Thank you for reading this far.
It means the world.
Please take care.