So, I have been crazy lucky and I have been given the opportunity to write a short piece on my story with mental health for Bressie’s charity website ‘A Lust For Life’, that promotes positive mental health and awareness. I had a maximum word count of 1000 words, which was really difficult. I had to restrict myself on what I wrote and would have loved to have included a little more, however I am immensely grateful for the opportunity! It could be a few weeks before the piece gets published on their website so I said I’d post it on here too. 😌
Dad helped me to come up with the title. His old motorbike was named ‘Out of the Blues’ for the simple reason that it was spray painted blue. He thought that the same title would be fitting. 😂💙 Anyway, so below is the piece I wrote for A Lust For Life, ‘Above the blues’. Enjoy…
Kimbo. X 🌸✨☕️🌻🌼💫🌹 :
So, my story with mental health issues really began in first year. My parents started fighting a lot, I was becoming a teenager and school was a bit of a mess. The fighting at home had gotten progressively worse and violence became a common occurrence. Those days were the worst, the most terrifying and the loneliest. I am an only child and I’m only 5″, even though I swear blindly to everyone that I am without a doubt 5″2, and that I am well on my way to growing to 6″. Can you imagine a 5″ Kimbo, who was mostly skin and bone- screaming and crying and shaking with fear, who had placed herself in the middle of two fully grown adults, twice her weight and size? Well, yep, it’s about that time that it all began.
I still jump when I’m at home and hear any kind of crash or bang downstairs; although now it’s only ever pots and pans! Over the next 5 years, my family problems were to get exceedingly worse, coinciding with my mental health difficulties. I felt very much on my own; even though this was not the case, as I would learn.
I can remember the first time I told anyone about my depression like it was yesterday, it was one of the most frightening decisions I’ve ever made. I told one of my best friends at the time, and I only told her, after about two years of hiding it for fear of what people would think. I knew by this stage that I wasn’t just ‘sad’ and that it was becoming a serious issue. I was walking around the hallways in school with a big smile on my face -laughing and joking and being the usual ‘bubbly’ Kim. What nobody knew though, was that under the sleeves of my school jumper, my arms were ripped apart with layers and layers of cuts. My life and my mental state were spiraling out of control.
After sometime, I found myself in counselling, attending a psychiatrist and taking medication. I was diagnosed with Chronic Depression, Generalised and Social Anxiety and a few other bits and bobs.
It took a long time to find a psychiatrist that I worked well with. It’s important when you’re opening up to someone, that you know you can trust them. Over the next 5 years, I went through 6 different psychiatrists and it’s a clear flaw in the limited Mental Health services that our country supplies. It’s really difficult when you start to build up some sort of relationship with someone, only to find out that they have been moved to a different facility and you have to start all over again with someone entirely new.
By this stage I had lost a lot of confidence. I was on the highest dose of medication that I could be, for my height and weight, and I felt no better. I hated talking to people about what was going on and I found it really difficult to let go a little and trust. Everyday went by so slowly. I didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning. My school day would be as bad as my mood and then I would return to not a very happy home, crawl back into bed and start all over again the next day. I had come to the conclusion that life was not worth this pain anymore and that it was never going to get better. I had amazing people around me, friends, neighbors, my school counsellor, but I also had very negative people in my life as well. I had people telling me that I was an attention seeker. That I was just making this ‘depression’ thing up. That I was a liar. I had never felt so alone in my life. It is a feeling that I don’t think I can describe accurately in words. The prospect of taking your own life is immensely terrifying, yet, the prospect of carrying on in the state I was in seemed like the worse option in comparison. Thank goodness there were people there to catch me when I fell.
After that particular incident, I was moved into temporary foster care with the most amazing family I have ever met. They took me in and from the word go I was made to feel a part of the family. It was a happy, calm, safe environment where I felt like I belonged and I felt loved. I was looked after and allowed the space and time I needed to begin recovery. Everything slowly began to look up from there. I completed my Junior Cert in foster care and in 4th year I moved home to my dad.
I love to paint. I find painting so relaxing and when I’m painting I don’t think about anything else. I still get an urge to self-harm sometimes when I’m really upset over something; now whenever I get this urge, I paint on my skin instead. This is one of the many coping mechanisms that I have used to get my life back on track.
It has been a long journey; one that is still not complete. I still have bad days and bad weeks. They are just much less intense and come much less often. They are manageable and I know that they will end. My mental health is always going to be something I will have to look after carefully, but I am now perfectly okay with this, for the simple fact that my mental health has made me who I am, and I’m pretty proud to be able to honestly say that. Happiness feels a lot better when you’ve had to fight for it, take it from me.
I have since started a blog, entitled “College life when you’re 5″ nothing.” It talks a lot about mental health and my crazy, and often embarrassing, experiences of college so far. Check it out! https://kverityblog.wordpress.com