adams Forum

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My Experience with Mental Health

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As I lay unconscious on the hospital bed I hear my mom shouting in my face. "Please don't die!" But the only problem is, is that I wanted to, that's the reason I took over 30 pills of anything I could find or was it only because I wanted the pain to go away? I think both.
For the past 6 months prior I have been out of school, sitting on the couch watching T.V., with self-harm cuts on my arms, and dirty hair. That was just the start of my gruelling and horrific experience with depression.
It all started at the age of fourteen, I was a super achieving student, but, maybe I was just a bit too achieving and eager. Studying from 17:00-3:00. Is that normal functioning? Not to me, and then it happened with just a click of a finger. I couldn't cope, I did not want to see the morning, night, or afternoon, I just didn't want to see life. How am I going to cope? I think that is one of the main questions of depression. How am I going to cope? Carry on? Deal?
So there I was at the age of fourteen, intrigued in finding a way to cope with the overwhelming feelings I was feeling. The repeating of putting the shower hose around my neck was just not good enough. How did I know about self-harm I don't know but I was interested. So I googled, as we all do, and there I found my niche. The only problem was, is that self-harm is an addiction, just like any other, and no, it never ends. There are no AA classes for this, but let me tell you, there is no light at the end of the tunnel for self-harm. It just feels that good. But do you feel better after? No, not at all, but you feel great during and the sting and scars after giving you the adrenalin rush you so long for. Maybe the pain will go away? Maybe just for a moment...
As time went by, dragging along, my housekeeper, father, and mother would bathe me, feed me, cradle me, dress me, and do anything that would be needed for a baby, they did for me, except I was 14 years old, but that is just what I needed. I needed that comfort, the love, that I didn't and couldn't have for myself or anyone else.
I think, actually I know, that one of the hardest things about having a mental illness is that no one truly understands what you going through. They don't know the pain, the heartache, the death-like feeling that you feel on an endless basis. It's like you a ghost but you breathing. That's all you are, that's all you feel. The worst part of this is that you don't see it on the outside, you cannot see mental illness, it's not physical. People always comment and say, "oh , you look so good, so much better". But inside you are wrenching with pain. What can you say?
As I sit in the clinic for the first time, after my second overdose, the one I took at school, I try to comprehend what I am feeling, to explain, to share, but how can you explain to someone how you feel, when you don't know yourself? The clinics are like a bubble, a marshmallow, that keeps you safe for three weeks but throw you out after your medical aid stops paying. And now what do I do? How do I implement what I was taught into real life? I don't, I can't, so after leaving the clinic, I lock myself in the bathroom, cut, and refuse to go to homeschool.
As my parents give me my pills to take after the third psychiatrist we have tried out, I hide them in my room, just in case, just in case I can't cope anymore and need to take them, a bunch of them. Maybe I'll feel better then? Maybe this time it will work?
At the age of fourteen I go to my new therapist, she sits quietly and listens. I immediately fall in love. She is exactly what I need, the support system I so hoped for, maybe she will understand. She has been my support system from day one till now, the age of twenty-one. She is one of my pillars of support.
Was your family supportive people ask me. Why was? Do people truly think that once you feel a bit better and function better that it all goes away? First of all, yes, my parents, family, and housekeeper were always my support system, they forever loved, understood, supported and cared. Secondly, how do people think that mental illness just goes away? It never goes away, it can get better, but you will always have it. Till this day, at the age of twenty-one, 7 years later, I still have my depression, anxiety, and bipolar, it always comes back, pops up, but how I deal and cope with it, that's what matters.
In and out of psychiatric clinics, psychiatric wards, and ICU. They soon became my best friends, as I had none, only one, that I chose who can still be in my life. The rest, I wanted gone, I just wanted to be on my own forever. I distant myself from everyone, I wanted to be isolated, forever in my bed, hiding from the world as I couldn't hide from myself or from my pain.
I will never forget this night till the day I die. As I lay in the bed with my father by my side, I say, " I love you, dad, so much". During the night I wake up in a fright, vomiting, as I fall off the bed in a seizure, me going unconscious, slowly dying and my dad giving me mouth to mouth and screaming. An ambulance comes and all I say is, "please let me go back to sleep". If my dad wasn't there, I would've died said the doctor. That was my third suicide attempt. Will there be more?
In 2018, my depression came rushing back, not swiftly but violently. I am teaching over 66 students, how can I let them down? But all I want to do is run. As I lay alone in my house I find the perfect opportunity to take my own life. I pop pills and go to sleep. As I freak out and call my then partner he calls my friend and mother and they come rushing to the rescue. What do I say now, what do I do, how do I explain? I can't. So my mother and father follow me around, sit with me in the shower, and protect me from pills and razors. That time, I wished it worked once again. I was cold, I was sore, my body ached. I had fibromyalgia. Every time I was anxious, I could barely walk.
That is one of the major problems with a mental illness, is that life goes on. You need to carry on with your job, you need to carry on with life but the mental illness doesn't let you. It sucks you in and you feel like you in a tornado. Who will I understand? Who notices?
In 2017, I noticed that my moods were up and down. One time I was super happy, energetic and excited and the next I was super depressed. I discussed this with my then brilliant psychiatrist, and she diagnosed me with bipolar disorder 2. I knew it, I felt it. Something was just not right.
So, what does this mean? I need to be super aware of my emotions, of my state of being. How do I feel, how are my energy levels, at any given time.
Medicine is one of the many key elements in mental health, and one of the main side effects of them is weight gain or loss. For me, it was weight gain. I gained over 30kg than my needed weight. Of course, this affected my self-esteem as did many other aspects of my mental illness. I cannot do a 'normal' diet like everyone else. I am absolutely ravenous at all times, I want to eat my shoes I am that hungry and craving carbohydrates. I look at myself in the mirror and I sometimes cannot recognize myself. Who am I? Why am I?
Depression makes you lose yourself in more ways than one. It takes away who you are, your identity. You just have to know how not to drown.
-Lyr Weltsman
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Thank you for sharing your difficult journey with us and giving such valuable insights. You have really struggled and I hope that you realize that by sharing your story you have made a diffence. I pray you find your peace

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