When I decided to reclaim my life
It has taken me 29 years to not want to identify myself through my illness. It has also taken my need for treatment denied by the NHS to take my life into my own hands.
I have recently moved to a new city to live with my long-term fiancé after three years of a long-distance relationship. Change is a huge trigger for me and after three months I fell into a period of intense suicidal ideations and self-harm. I went to my GP and after a failed referral with Talkworks, I was given an appointment for a mental health assessment with Exeter Community Mental Health Team. It went terribly. I was told I didn’t meet the threshold for help (despite having a personality disorder and being suicidal) and was only given book recommendations and website links. I was angry, frustrated and distraught.
I cried for an entire day. I then had a moment where I became defiant. I dusted myself off and decided I was not going to let this stop me. I decided I was going to ma my life the best I possibly could, I was going to say ‘F*** YOU’ to the denial of my struggles.
I will not allow a failed assessment to erase my diagnosis. I decided I needed to change how mental health is seen in society and I needed to help others. I refuse to let this beat me. I want to make a change. I wrote to my local MP and made a complaint to PALS. I contacted a series of local and national newspapers to get my story out there. I contacted mental health charities and discovered ways I can help.
I want to create a presentation about mental health and take it to schools, colleges, workplaces, etc. I want to be there for whomever I can. I have decided my diagnosis and troubles do not define me. Until now I wanted to be the ill woman, the woman who wore her illness glasses every day and let everything be decided by that. I stopped myself from doing things because I was consumed by fear and anxiety.
It is ironic that a failed mental health assessment gave me back my power and hope to try and make my life worth living. I can do whatever I want. I believe.