My mental health journey
Posted by clowilliams
25th Jul 2017

I was eleven when I had my first experience of mental illness. A year 7 in Comprehensive with her whole life ahead of her. That ended one morning when i had my first panic attack, over what? I dont know. After that I didn't step out of my house for three years. I lost friends, I angered family and I lost myself. During this period I took to starvation as a way of coping, I was always tiny so family never noticed a thing. It took three years to get something of myself back. In year 10 I attended school 3 days a week and made some new friends. I left comprehensive with 3 GCSE's. At 16 I met my childs father, at the time he was everything I wanted "cool, rebellious, and in my eyes good-looking". This was the start of my relapse. It was a toxic relationship for a 16 year old to experience, emotional abuse, other women involved and we used eachother till we could take nomore. Two years down the line I'm being told I'm pregnant. At 18, I became a single- -mother but what no one knows is my child saved me from a self-destructive path that would of led to my eventual suicide. Weekday and weekend drinking, out all hours and doing things no 16 year old should know nevermind entertain. I used this as a way to numb the pain that screamed inside. The abandonment I've always felt and will always feel. The emotional abandonment by my mother, My dad left before I was born and men came in and out of my life like it was fashion. Abandonment is my trigger and my babys father abandoned not only me, but my child. However this time I had something to fight for, and in the end his father seen the light and became involved as much as possible.

So here I was, 19 with a one year old when I enter my second relationship and the worst yet. He fancied me for years whereas I always saw him as nothing more than a friend but after my son, he was there for me, he became dependable so I owed it to myself to give it a go. We spent a solid week together before he left for basic training in the army and like a good girl I waited faithfully and loyally for him. When he came back, he was a different person. The mind control began, slowly turning me against friends and family. Then emotional abuse, making me cry for his own entertainment. Then financial, if he paid for something or helped me out, I owed him regardless of what it was. Sexual and physical soon came along. If we played around and I hurt him, he'd hurt me 10x worse. If he wanted sex and I didn't, tuff I still had too. I was made to do things that drove me to tears. Of course there were plentiful other women, I've never known an actual number, it was my belief I wasnt enough for him. I was living alone with my son during this time, family members were unaware of the extent they just knew something wasn't right but never interfered. The abuse carried on for three years, it left me ill. I developed psoriasis due to stress and once again began not eating as a way to cope. It wasn't a secret either that he hated my child. Another man's son. He used the phrase "in the wild they kill other females young so they can mate with the females". Why did I stay knowing this you wonder? I had no choice. He made me dependable on him in every way. I tried believe me, many times but the false promise of change lured me back, along with my fear of abandonment. At 22, I was a shell of myself, my bestfriend was worried sick for my health and safety and my mental illness was at its worst and I was cut off from everyone, just how he wanted it. One day, one of the hundreds of other women messaged me through social media telling me everything, how he slated me, and worst of all my innocent child. I always managed to keep the abuse I endured from his eyes and never left him alone with him but slating my child to other women gave me the strength I needed to leave, and I did. For good.

So, once again I found myself single, a single-mother of a 4 year old and a emotional and mental mess. I gave myself one more chance and made a doctors appointment for help. They done nothing but give me tablets and send me on my way, my faith in the care for mental health patients in tatters. I never took them. I grew up with a mother dependent on anti-depressents and it wasn't a life i wanted or a life I wanted my son to see. I, somehow, found myself and focused on bettering myself. I found myself a job and for the second time enrolled myself in college (my ex stopped me the first time) my life was getting together. My son started school and he grew and grew infront of my eyes, and I excelled in my first year of college despite numerous health issues, issues in the college down to one narcissistic bully that took aim at me. I done it and got through to my second year.

This brings me to the present. On my second year of college my college friends brother joined the course, 32 year old married with three kids. We hit it off immediately, similar personalities, he was ex army and I understood the "lingo" you could say. Soon feelings grew and I'm sad to say it developed into an affair. The 9 year age gap never bothered me, I thought "great a mature man, mayber this is what i need". The marriage was over before I came along, only staying together for the kids but that doesn't excuse two fully grown adults who know better. He left the army 7 months previous and had a hard time adjusting, I helped and supported him in his re-introduction back into society and we supported eachother through college. It wasn't long before a physical relationship began and it was nothing like I ever experienced. Adult, what i'd always pictured a relationship being. Only it wasnt, I was the dirty little secret, the support system, the sounding board and tester to see if "the grass was greener on the otherside". He eventually left his wife, got himself a home and we started an actual relationship, only I was still a secret. My insecurities, self-esteem, trust and mind was in a bad place previous to this and for the third time in my life I picked another man who would bring me to the dark pit I'm in now. He refused to tell his wife about me, out of fear of losing his kids. He was still married to her on Facebook, I've never had a reason for this. He hid his phone when she text and wouldn't answer her phone calls with me around. He still went back and fore there daily but only for the kids. Yet he has a three bedroom house, may I add beautiful house, he still went there. I felt the ultimate disrespect. My feelings didn't matter and once again I was not enough, but I stayed cause I didn't want to be left. Like they always do and in all honesty I loved him, a consuming love and for the first time since my son's birth I felt happiness. The happiness soon came crashing down on me when I issued an ultimatum, stop going there or lose me. He let me go without a care in the world, and disregarded me like he always did. Two weeks later I find out he's spending alot of time with his wife, and my deepest fears were realised. I was just an experiment, a rebound. I opened up, let him into mine and my sons life and I was once again left. He swore he'd never been in love till me, despite his 17 year relationship. I guess I'll never know the truth with him. One thing I left out is, he had significant mental health issues, and I stood by him and supported him with everything in me. Listened when I could and talked when I should. The treatment was never returned, he didn't want to know of my past abuse as it would make him feel angry. For the third time, I also had no support system and the ending of the relationship ended with me triggered. Unbearable, uncontrollable, overwhelming emotions and a need to hurt. I've gone back to destructive behavioues as a coping method but this time it isn't working.

I vowed when I had my son he would have the life I should have. A life free of men, a life free of seeing a mother down, depressed, feeling unwanted and unloved. In a respect I'm fulfilling that vow, hes loved and very much wanted but in the 6 years of his precious life I've invited two men into his life, two men who'd left. He's watched and watching his mother go through the motions while trying her hardest to keep it together for him. Cause without him, I have no worth, no mission in life. I better myself for him because despite all this I passed my second year of college and I start University in September but to pass that successfully I needed help. Today I've been referred to a local mental health team for evaluation and counseling. After a significant amount of reading I believe I had Borderline Personality Disorder. These last few weeks have been an emotional and mental roller coaster but I took the step I needed to better myself for my son. My recovery starts today. Each day will be hard, painful and the biggest effort but I will do it.

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