Trigger warning: this piece discusses themes of anxiety, depression, eating disorders, OCD, self-harm and suicide.
Throughout my teenage years, I struggled with suicidality, self-harm, and was diagnosed with depression, anxiety, tics, severe OCD and atypical anorexia nervosa.
I've battled most of these all my teenage years and still do, but I’m doing a lot better than I used to! Learning coping strategies helped me through the hardest of times. Things like colouring in, drawing, using stress balls, doing Rubik's cubes, etc, have all helped in the past.
My current dream for the future is to start studying health and wellbeing next year. Then to go to university at some point in the next few years and study paramedicine as I would absolutely LOVE to become a paramedic one day. I love helping people and caring for others. I would also love to be a mental health advocate as I believe sharing what I've learnt so far could help others that are struggling!
What I'd tell my younger self is that I battle mental illness all throughout my teenage years but it does get easier. Over time, I get lots of support; more than I can imagine! I would tell myself that I found that my dad is very supportive, just like my mum, and that I wouldn't be afraid to speak up about how I'm feeling. I'd definitely tell myself that I reached all the milestones that I never thought I'd reach (turning 15, turning 18, getting my learner's license, etc) and that I now have hope for my future!! I'd also mention how strong I am as I had days where it seemed impossible to get through, but I didn't give up.
I've survived 100% of my bad days and it's not gonna stop now because I believe I have a bright future ahead of me. I'd tell myself how I'd get to meet my idols more than once and I'd have very special books signed. I'd tell younger me that I begin writing kids stories in 2020 and start sharing them with others and that those people then wanted a copy of my stories and recommend that I share them with the world!
Reaching out for help was one the most helpful things I have done and I now have a case manager, support worker, psychiatrist, and psychologist that have been with me through the hard times. I know that although I still battle hard times, my story isn't over and neither is yours.
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!