I had so much positive feedback from beginning the blog, it made me so happy and I finally feel like I definitely made the right decision. I want to begin with discussing diagnosis, for me I was diagnosed with my mental illnesses throughout school and therefore writing about it without mentioning how education escalated my problems is impossible. I recommend to anyone if you are ever unsure about your mental health, just go and speak to a professional; even if you don’t deal with it immediately knowing the diagnosis and then moving forward is the easiest way.
When I was diagnosed with anorexia, I was stick thin, I remember looking at my body and feeling huge. The people who I was ‘friends’ with would tell me my thighs were huge when I could literally hold the entirety of my thigh with one hand. I would refuse to eat lunch and often throw away my sandwiches, fruit and vegetables so I didn’t have to explain to my parents that I wasn’t eating. I was a generally sporty child, despite being horrific at sport, and would overwork my body throughout the week to stay ‘thin’. I guess the problem wasn’t that noticeable as I was a very tall child, I still stand quite tall at just under 5ft11 but at such a young age having such long limbs it isn’t shocking why my weight wasn’t a red flag to so many people. Having been diagnosed at such a young age, I didn’t really know what was going on. I didn’t want my parents or family to find out because I didn’t want them to force me to eat.
What came next was the anxiety and depression, when I was in year seven, I made the stupid error of trying to change who I was to fit in. I went to a high school with no one from my primary and thought I could reinvent myself and maybe things would be okay. My first memories include a lot of crying, LIKE A LOT OF CRYING, becoming obsessed with chocolate and realising that I wasn’t as smart as I thought. In primary I had some of the highest SAT results, and upon entering my high school I assumed that I could carry on being close to top of the class. I was HORRIFICALLY wrong and in most classes I sat at about a C/D standard. By this age I had finally started speaking to a therapist and with the realisation I was dumb I began comfort eating AND I would eat a lot. Most days I would go through ten chocolate bars and sweets as if it was nothing, I became obsessed with the high I would get from eating sugar and in times of anxiousness I would find myself shoving chocolate down my throat.
Once again, I was too young to understand what anxiety and depression meant, so it didn’t faze me. I fell out with a lot of my friends throughout high school and felt alone a lot of the time; I had two constants throughout school and even to this date they are the only two true school friends I have, and I am so grateful for them both. My depression was easy to hide, I would act fine and happy all day to go and cry myself to sleep every night. I remember reading through some people’s opinions of me on those anonymous askfm sites and just thinking I wish I wasn’t around; I remember hearing and reading people’s opinions of me calling me vile, ugly, etc. on a daily basis and just thinking I was never going to get over feeling so worthless and useless. Guys were interested in my body and not my personality, frequently the guys I was texting would ignore me in person around their friends but be begging attention on texts. My insecurities grew and grew.
I’d just like to say that I wasn’t a saint, I had a lot of hateful opinions and I did some stupid things that I truly hope people have forgiven me for. When I was sixteen, things changed. After completing my GCSE’s whilst grieving the loss of three of my friends and dealing with some really toxic relationships and falling short in grades I finally began to realise how important my mental health truly was. I began speaking out and drifting away from those dragging me down, I finally spoke to our Headmaster and asked to do my first ever talk on Anxiety and Depression admitting to a full assembly hall that I do indeed have both and it is normal and it’s normal to not feel okay.
I finally felt like I could handle things. I wasn’t doing amazing at school, but I was finally not letting my education define me. By the time I was 17 I had spent over half of my life hating myself, hating my body and feeling constantly insecure. I had finally lost the weight HEALTHILY and it was a turning point in my confidence; I started speaking to a guy and I was in such a good place. Then came my bipolar disorder diagnosis, I broke. Looking back on the diagnosis and understanding what it all meant I can see that all of the symptoms were so obvious but at the time I was convinced they’d made a mistake. I have always had varying mood swings, my times of depression lasting months and manic periods less frequent but noticeably different to just slight happiness/joy. It affected how I saw myself and I lost almost all the confidence I had just gained, leading me to the loss of more friends, the guy I was speaking to choosing someone else and a general low place.
My journey isn’t perfect, my time in education had a huge impact on my self-confidence and I have spent ages since learning to love myself again. I spent most of my youth trying to hide my mental health problems so now I find it difficult to sometimes show that side of myself despite no longer being ashamed. My journey isn’t reliant on some letters on a piece of paper, some nasty words people said about me or a medical diagnosis but how I learnt to pick myself up and carry on through everything I’ve been through. I love who I am now, I still have bad days (more like months but bad days sounds better) but I’m learning how to control that and trying to turn my future into something bright.
I really do want to post more advice, tips and stuff like that, but I felt like before I could get into that I kind of needed to introduce myself and my journey, so this is kind of what is happening at the moment. I have a lot of ideas brewing and I hope in the upcoming weeks and months I can put my suggestions to reality. Thanks for sitting through this, it was a bit longer than anticipated.
4 thoughts on “Being Diagnosed”
Keep up the good work 🙂
Thank you for sharing Emily. It’s always good to get it off your chest. I know sometimes when I post stuff like this I get worried and remove it. But I think it’s good that this is out there. Let it be testiments to pasts staying the past. So we can all live a bit more in the present 🙂
Thank you! It’s hard to sometimes know if getting this type of thing off your chest is the right thing to do. But your past doesn’t define your future and by speaking about and letting to from my past experience I hope for a wonderful future. I wish it for you too! Thanks for reading my post! 🙂