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Don't suffer in silence
Posted by lmp6
6th Jun 2019

Hi!

My name is Luke and I'm 19 years old. In this blog I'm going to attempt to explain to whoever might stumble across this, my past experiences with mental health.

I really do not understand what exactly it is that I have. To the few people I've tried to explain it to, they have found it hard to understand exactly what I'm trying to explain, hence why you reading this are set with the task of trying to figure out what I'm about to say. I grew up and still live in Birmingham and my first experiences with my mental health started as early as I can remember. The only logical way of explaining it is that I have this strange thing of seeing a place e.g my hometown in 4 different versions. Almost as if I'm in a place I know, like my local street, but do not recognise it and therefore see it in a different way as to what I'm used to. This would happen a lot when I was younger in primary school as I had no idea what was going out and was extremely confused. Out of the 4 versions I would have one I was used to and preferred, so when that version changed out of the one I liked it caused distress and confusion. I would go to school miserable and come home miserable at the age of 7 as I just want my versions to go back to the one I preferred. The older I grew the more it became evident to me. Fast forwards to my first year of secondary school and I felt pretty used to the versions growing up and to some extent felt as if I had some control over it. That was up until Year 8 where it changed into a version I was not comfortable with, this kick-starting a wave of upset and confusion, going to school having to get used to the surroundings all over again, going home knowing it would follow me wherever I went because these versions are how I see and recognise places. It was distressing and I finally opened up to my parents about it, they tried to offer all the help they could. Take me on drives to places I liked hoping it would change the version back to the one I wanted, there was talk of getting professional help but I knew that this is something in my head which I can possibly control with more understanding. Looking back at it now I just remember suffering in silence at school, pretending to be happy and just put on a brave face but the moment I got home I would just break down after holding back all the emotion at school. It wasn't until the very end of year 8 where it finally changed back due to us going on holiday as a family, hence giving me time to prepare myself to try to get back into the right version when we came home. This was when I realised that going to certain places can help change the versions into the one I'm used to happy with. This ultimately became my counter to anytime I could feel my versions changing and it worked well all the way up until Year 10...

By year 10 I was 15 and started to understand a lot more about a lot of things as any teenager does. This was why when my versions changed again at home, it caught me totally off guard and scared me, because I knew what was to come with the versions changing again. I remember running downstairs to my Mum when it was happening and just saying 'Please Mum it's happening again I don't know what to do help me please I can't go back, I don't want it to change'. It was that day where I genuinely started to question what is the point anymore. The versions changing was taking over every aspect of my life. It made my life miserable 24/7, going to school was the worst part. No one at school knew anything about this I had to be 'fake happy' with my friends. With the versions changing I just didn't want to do anything and my behaviour would be weird, I'd walk home from school in pretty much the total opposite direction to home in a hope I could trigger a change back to the version I wanted, I didn't really feel like going out and would rather just lock myself in my room and just hide from it all. Sitting on my PlayStation for hours seemed to be the only escape. It dominated my life, I lived miserably and suffered in silence at school. School was so difficult, the upset was all there but I would never let it show, I always tried my best to hide it. It was hard and it came to point where I started to look towards self-harm and even ultimately suicide. I always remember having the thoughts cycle through my mind but I knew it wasn't the answer, if there was any form of hope or just a flicker of light at the end of the tunnel I'd hold onto it. I just knew deep down that I could do this, because I knew that everything after this struggle would be amazing. I knew that this period of depression and upset was temporary and that there is so much more to live for. There is always hope, no matter what. Pain is temporary, all the upset is temporary and I can't stress that enough. Never give up.

Now at the age of 19 I'm fully aware of my versions and have learned to control them and what to do in the case of a breakdown. My life has been so much better since 2016 which was my last breakdown and although the versions are always there I now know how to deal and cope with them. I opened up to my friends about it but as I mentioned at the beginning it's hard to understand but trust me things are so much better when people realise and you explain to them your situation. Never suffer in silence. People care so so much about you and they will do everything to help you with whatever you're experiencing.

There's always hope and life is always worth living. Never give up and never suffer in silence.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this,

Luke Poyner

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