It’s been a year since everything got really bad for me, and honestly that blows my mind. That’s nearly a year of obsessing over every small detail, starving myself, binging, over exercising and having panic attacks. God, I just got choked up writing that bit, I’m such an emotional person 😂 There are diary entries from about this time a year ago, and I can usually get to the second one before I’m crying my eyes out, because it’s heartbreaking to look back at what you were going through. I’m debating whether or not to post them, because they are extremely personal, but I also think they would spread awareness of how horrendous struggling severely with these mental illnesses can be. 2016 was the most difficult year of my life, and I’m not writing that to ‘get sympathy or attention’ but to be totally honest, because it really was.
January 2016- My OCD decided this was the month it was going to appear. If it slowly developed and gave warning signs I was oblivious to them, because it appeared to just take hold of me from nowhere, which was terrifying. I’d never experienced anything like it and I had no idea what to do. I didn’t want to tell anybody because I felt like I was going insane. My Eating got worse along with it, barely ever eating, especially during the week.
February 2016 – My OCD for a lot worse, and so did my anxiety. I was having horrendous panic attacks and having to be physically forced out of my door each door. I was seeing my GP constantly, getting weighed and they were doing everything they could to speed up my referral to CAMHS/CHUMS but because of how many people are struggling with their mental health it is a long wait which is not ideal in these situations. My weight kept decreasing, I felt completely empty.
March 2016 – I didn’t think it could have got any worse, but apparently it was. Everything was getting way too much, I would threaten to run out in the road if I had to go to school. I was really dehydrated because I wouldn’t drink anything all day either. School decided to allow me half days, which, to me, didn’t help, because I still had to go, even if it was for shorter amounts of time. This was the month I self-harmed for the first and only time, in the school toilets, with my Math compass.
April 2016 – I left school this month. It wasn’t planned, but it got to a point where I was saying things like ‘I’d rather die than be here’ high honestly I don’t really remember, but it wasn’t safe for me to be there any longer, so my Mum picked me up and there we go, I never went back. I was referred to CHUMs, where I saw a really lovely therapist, but CHUMs is basically one down from CAMHs and is only for short-term help, usually just 4 sessions. Even my therapist said that she wasn’t able to give me the help I needed.
May 2016 – I feel like this is when my depression started to kick in. I had endless days of absolutely nothing but worry and anxiety. I’d often just sit crying for no reason. My Eating also took a different turn, when I would not eat all day and then binge in the evenings. It was almost purposeful, assuring I was hungry enough before eating, so it was acceptable. It was really unhealthy and carried on for months after and resulted in more weight loss. I also left CHUMs because there is a limit on the amount of appointments per patient which resulted in a really long gap before I went to CAMHs
June 2016 – This is the month I first attended CAMHS. I had initial meetings and reviews in order to diagnose me and choose suitable treatment. I then started to see my therapist, and obviously, like everything, trust took time. I was extremely embarrassed about everything I avoided etc. Because deep down I knew they were ridiculous. I also started to get fixated on my Evening Routine, avoiding everything that could possibly cause anxiety, and then binging. My depression and anxiety was getting progressively worse, and I was finding talking about what was going on inside my head really difficult because of how stupid everything sounded.
July 2016 – We went on holiday and it was one thing – Hell. Two weeks that I was hoping would be a tranquil retreat from my mental illnesses was actually two weeks that early killed me. I counted down the seconds till we went home from the moment we got there. I ate nothing, absolutely nothing. I hated it. It wasn’t my home, I had no place that I could go to relax and feel safe. I had really horrible leg cramps because of not drinking anything, and I honestly would never relive those few weeks. I remember begging to go home – it was awful.
August 2016 – We got back from holiday, which was a relief but looking back I realise one thing. It’s a mental illness – it’s in your head. It doesn’t disappear depending on your surroundings. I remember honestly crying for hours, trying to be able to relax. There was also a time I was crumpled on our landing, crying because I didn’t have the energy to walk downstairs. All my clothes from holiday were put away, because they reminded me too much of those horrendous two weeks. My Mum called my therapist, and she was brilliant. We want in the next day and I was reviewed to be put on medication – I had a panic attack in the session and had to lay on the floor so I didn’t faint, but other than that it was all good. I started my medication, and really slowly my mood started to go up.
September 2016 – My therapy continued as well as an increased dose in medication, which resulted in much less anxiety. My Eating started to get slightly better, with less binges and restricting. My weight had got quite low again, so my therapist was really concerned about my diet, which resulted in regularly going food shopping for stuff I was able to eat. I feel like September was the month things started to go up.
October 2016 – The medication reached its highest dose, and my Obsessive behaviour started to decrease. There were a few panic attacks, and they were quite big, but other than that they completely subsided. I was really just less anxious, hardly ever down and it was sort of a miracle for me and everybody close to me.
November 2016 – I sort of platoed towards the beginning of this month. I sort of relied on my medication to fix everything and of course that’s not the case. Medication helps, but it isn’t going to just take away everything. You really have to fight for Recovery and that’s what I realised in November. I started to force myself into difficult situations and even though it was really anxiety provoking it’s got me here. Towards the end of November, I went shopping with one of my old school friends who I hadn’t been able to see for nearly 6 months and it went so well, I was in a really good place with my Recovery. I also started to volunteer at my local school and youth clubs which was a really good way to occupy my days and boost my confidence.
December 2016 – Ironically, this was probably one of the best months of 2016. I was facingchallenges that I never thought I would have, like going into school, seeing friends, being tutored. I was getting busier which was a really nice change, exercising more, eating healthily. 2016 definitely ended on a high for me.
So now here we are. A year later. I’m not going to lie, writing that was a little emotional. For anybody who is struggling, no it’s not going to just be resolved over a few days, it takes dedication, slip ups, bad days, bad months, it’s tricky and brutal, but when it’s all done, you’re free and it’s the best thing to be.
If you ever want anybody talk to, please drop me a message on any of my Social medias (I’m most active on my Twitter @recovering_ed) or email me. I will reply as quickly as possible. Just know that you’re not in this alone and you’ve not gone insane.