Behind every person is a story to tell… so here’s mine.
From the age of 12, my journey with mental health began, and over time it became worse. It started with me getting into trouble and being careless, then it took a bad turn when I started to hurt myself. I was in and out of the hospital every day, I had completely given up. Yet, I wasn’t only hurting myself, I was hurting everyone who loved me, too.
At that time, I was completely oblivious to how loved and cared for I was. I thought that I was a problem that couldn’t be solved, so I didn’t try to solve it. I had so much support but the thing is I didn’t want to get better. I felt the only answer to the problems in my head was death. This led to several residential care houses, but going to one after another left me feeling more abandoned than ever. I wasn’t allowed to stay with my family, and I was constantly getting placed in different emergency housing placements.
My life was a mess. I didn’t want to take the pills the doctors were prescribing, I wanted to take others. By then, I started trying self-medicating with drugs and I thought they were helping me escape from the world, however, the short-lived escape I got didn’t last long. Life went on like this for a while.
One night, I was at someone’s house. I had been self-medicating and was out of it, but then the police showed up. They told me that I had a court order for a place called ‘Sherwood House,’ I just assumed that it was another emergency residential care house. Two hours, later I arrived at the house. When I entered, there was security, the program manager, and a carer. I had to give them everything I had on me and then I was taken to my room which only had a bed and drawers.
Initially, I wasn’t aware that this program was able to keep me there until I was 18 if I didn’t comply. For months, I didn’t put in the effort, I just assumed that if I carried on with my habits, they would send me on my way like all my previous experiences. After many incidents and painful nights, I realised that this was not a short-term living arrangement.
After only being able to see my family in a white room, having every aspect of my life being controlled, and being completely isolated from the world, I knew I had to make a change.
At first, it was hard. I experienced many relapses, difficult nights, and ready-to-give-up-on-everything moments. But I pushed through. I attended therapy appointments, took my medication, showered, ate, and went to bed when I was told. It was probably one of the hardest things to do, I’d had every single staff member that I’d come across leave when things got rough - I was used to being alone. But then, all of a sudden, all these people ‘wanted the best for me,’ even though that was true, I didn’t have that trust I needed to believe it.
It took some time, but I eventually started to bond with certain staff members, most of whom I now adore and am so thankful to them for not abandoning me. I had bad experiences and good experiences, I guess that’s a part of life. The few staff members I bonded with guided me through my struggles.
I remember one day, I had the thought, “My family need me, and I need them. My life can be amazing.” That day, I made the decision to stop hurting myself. That was where I had to start and every painful time started to get easier. I started to manage things better but most of all, I realised that I can fricking do this, that I want to live not only for loved ones but for myself, which is something I never thought I’d be able to say. I pushed through the challenges and gave a big ‘F you’ to my mental illnesses.
Now, I am over 270 days self-harm free, I am able to sleep over with family and am hoping to go home to them in a few months. The most important reason for me telling my story is that I did this, I got my life back and I recovered. To anyone out there struggling, you can do it too! Make a change, don’t give up, there’s so much for you to still do. So, grab your inner demon by the hair and drag that b**ch to the ground where it belongs. Take back your life, my love. You deserve the world and you will get it. It will be painful, yes, but you just need to hold on and push through this like the warriors you are. You are not alone. You are loved and you deserve the chance to better your life. Reach out - it is not weak to speak!
Voices of Hope wants you to know that you do not have to do this alone. Click here to 'find help' - it's not weak to speak!