\ My Experience With Mental Illness | Real Life - Sweet Elyse

My Experience With Mental Illness | Real Life

Mental health, It's a cunt. You can't control it. It never stops trying to beat you, that's why it's such a difficult condition to beat. More people are talking about their struggles and somewhat normalising it because after all, it's completely normal. While more people are discussing the topic, it's still a hard one to talk about, putting yourself out is never easy. So, to put me out there, this is my story. 

I suffered from mental health problems in the past which initially went untreated and eventually lead to me becoming an alcoholic to cope. My doctors gave me anti-depressants to try to control my underlying issues but with limited resources in the NHS, I had no coping mechanism and swapped on addiction for another - eventually becoming addicted to the prescription meds that were prescribed to help. At the time I took the meds, religiously even but nothing helped me feel and most days I felt like an empty shell. I realised that alcohol heightened the effects of the medication, so I continued mixing both of them in hope of ''feeling''. 

After years and years of reserving myself to this life, I shook myself and said "This isn't right", doctors do not give a damn, or they are too ignorant to understand your problems. They are so indoctrinated by what they have learned in their textbooks and only care about their wages. I was told to "up my dosage" 2 years into my "treatment" I did that and then tripled it shortly after to achieve a semblance of "normal".

Realising that upping the dosage was never going to ''cure'' I decided I would cure myself. In the period of me first getting my diagnosis up until that point, I had literally gone to hell and back again. With no other place to go, I decided I would reclaim myself - and with that, my own life. I wanted to live, that was the thing, but the condition was trying it's damned hardest to put a stop to that. The tablets, in my opinion only worsened it. They reduced my fighting mechanism, so when the condition tried to lure me back to hell, I had no fight. This didn't sit well with me. Enough was enough. 

I went cold turkey. 

Cold turkey was six months of living hell. 

Cold turkey was the darkest period of my life, but, I remember it. I lived it. I felt it. And, that alone was more human and real for me than the years previous where I'd feel nothing. 

During the rehab period, I was constantly shivering and couldn't shake that concrete slab, a pit of your stomach, feeling of dread. On many occasions, I thought I was going to die. My father, who is a prison officer, had likened my withdrawals to someone coming off of methadone. That meant nothing to me because I had never done illegal drugs and had nothing to relate it to. It was living hell and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. 

You have to remember, this was 6 months of waking up every day wondering if the symptoms would kill me. I had considered the worst several times, but I always thought "Fuck you, I'm more than this. I will spite this, and become a blight on the conditions life if I had to". Being a 20 something alcoholic and depression veteran made me realise how precious life is. Make your mark on life, spite it, survive. That's all life is about. 

In 2012 I became a father and became a worker and am passionate about what I do, after suffering hell on earth. Mental health is not a death sentence - Kick its fucking arse and say "Not today". Seize the moment and aspire to become the best version of you that you can be. 

Having come through this, I understand that every day may feel like a struggle, sometimes things are easy and other times they are hard. Mental health is something that requires constant work, you need to regularly reassess yourself to make sure it's not slowly creeping its way back in and putting yourself first, although hard, is sometimes the best tactic to keeping depression at bay. Believe in yourself. Remember that you set your own limitations in your life, be positive and always have hope. 

The best of you is yet to come, remember that.


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