WELCOME TO WEEK 4 OF MY HELP FOR MENTAL HEALTH SERIES. THIS EVENING BLOGGER ARORA APPLEBY IS TALKING ABOUT HER EXPERIENCE OF GAINING HELP FOR HER MENTAL HEALTH STRUGGLES.
TRIGGER WARNING: THIS BLOG POST CONTAINS DETAILS OF DEPRESSION, ANXIETY AND SELF HARM. PLEASE BE MINDFUL BEFORE CONTINUING.
Ever since I was 13, I have struggled with some sort of mental health issue, though I have never been properly diagnosed. The first time I ever self-harmed was when I was nine: it was with a butter knife before I was leaving to visit a friend. I don’t know why I did it, and I don’t think it broke the skin but I still spent the rest of the night worrying about whether I was going to die or not (I know, such a normal nine-year-old haha.)
I was 12 and just been kicked out of my grandparent’s house, I was the typical emo kid: self-harming, fringe over one eye, whilst sporting the black nail polish and skinny jeans. I don’t know why I started self-harming, I saw my cousin scratch himself with a sharp pencil once and thought “what a bloody idiot” then no more than 3 months later I was doing the same sort of thing.
One day in my new school, I got told to take my bracelets and sweatbands (lol) off, I reluctantly complied as I knew if I kicked up a fuss it would raise suspicions especially when ‘King Of The Chavs’ and his twin was sat next to me. I spent the whole lesson trying to hide my arms but inevitably people saw, they told the teachers and proceeded to call me an emo constantly. See I never understood that, making fun of someone who CLEARLY has problems, if they didn’t they wouldn’t be bloody cutting themselves, but then again we were 13 and in a chavvy estate so couldn’t expect any less.
My mother got notified and took me to see the doctor, they offered me counselling but I missed the appointment to be assessed and by that time (like 4 months after I’d seen them) I had started counselling in my school. She was a lovely lady, but crap at the same time. I only agreed to it because it got me out of lessons. We spoke about the past and didn’t really come to any conclusions, I was still self-harming but she never asked so I never told her, and she didn’t help me with the problems I was currently facing (yanno like moving country, living with a woman (my mum) that I didn’t actually know at the time and feeling left out because she had my little brother and his dad: the perfect little family with me gatecrashing because I couldn’t behave properly.) 2 years later and my counsellor thought I was ready to stop seeing her, but in actual fact I think she just ran out of textbook things to say so shipped me off into the big bad world no better than before.
A year later, I was involved with a very manipulative and controlling guy. He turned my friends against me, always put me down and blamed me for everything wrong that had happened in his life (he became homeless and blamed me, but forgot I actually brought him to Wales to give him a home, and my grandparents gave his a job and paid for his food and tobacco and alcohol so there’s that) Anywayyy, whilst I was involved with him I went to my doctors and told him I was depressed. I knew I was, I’d been feeling this way for 3 years. He gave me a questionnaire to fill out at home and told me to come back in 3 WEEKS because he was going on HOLIDAY (?!?) and wouldn’t be back until then. Needless to say, I didn’t return. Me and the boy I was with ended because whilst I was downstairs in the hostel he was doing the hanky panky with someone upstairs, so I partied the days away. I guess it was a step up from self harming ey?
Fast forward a few years and I finished college, moved in with bae and had a job where the people were great. Everything was fantastic, I didn’t have a care in the world – I was happy. But suddenly, it all changed. I attended this poetry night with a friend of mine, everything was magical – the venue was beautiful and the atmosphere was great but I started to feel weird. My heart started to race, my breathing went weird and my mouth turned dry. “What the fuck is happening to me?” I thought I was going to die. I tried to ride it out for a while, popping to the toilet, drinking loads of water, but nothing worked. I told my friend I had to leave and explained, luckily (and sadly) she experiences the same thing so completely understood and walked with me to the bus stop. Apparently these were signs of anxiety. I’ve never had anxiety before but since that night, I have been worried about my health. I thought I had diabetes so cut my sugar down completely and had a blood test (it was negative thank god) and now with every tingle in my body, I think I’m going to have a heart attack or stroke. I think this is because of the series of events that occurred around Christmas: my bamps’ cousin had a heart attack, bae’s health problem came back and his dad got diagnosed with a grade 4 brain tumour which my brain has registered as YOU’RE NEXT. Somedays are good, but some days I just cry because I want my brain to be ‘normal’. I then get more upset because I’m constantly crying and think bae’s going to leave me because I feel like I’m not very interesting or great to be around.
I went back to my doctor before quitting my job and told him I have anxiety, he completely parred me off and he tried to sell me contraception instead because he clearly didn’t take me seriously. He did give me a leaflet, to refer myself to therapy, though. I left, quit my job and didn’t call the leaflet people. Up until last week, I thought there’s no point in therapy; I’ve read self-help books, all I write about is self-help tips on my blog because it’s what I’m most educated in. I’ve been trying the techniques that worked for me for so long and now they don’t work (probably cause my brain knows what I’m doing) and I don’t know how I’m going to get better so I called the therapy people. The woman seemed SO NICE on the phone and I have a phone consultation on the 16th June where they will decide whether I need therapy or not *SPOILER: I PROBABLY DO*
So in conclusion, I haven’t really had a positive mental health experience, my doctors have been rubbish and no-one’s helped me in the 7 years I’ve been this way BUT ~hopefully~ this phone consultation will get the ball rolling and these people will help me get better.
Writing stuff down has always helped and I’m going to send the link to this post to my dearest family members so they know what’s going on (cause they probably should know.)