I can't remember a time I didn't suffer from mental health. When I was around 10, my parents argued constantly, bordering on domestic violence at times and for that age, it was scary. I was the second eldest, with our older sister having moved out, so I felt obliged to protect them from that! It stayed with me throughout the rest of my childhood and teenage years and even till now in adulthood. When I reached early teenage years I was, however, a bubbly and carefree girl. But high school can change these things, particularly when image, status and popularity were the crux of school life. For years, I didn't care what anyone thought, I'd always been a shy girl. Until I hit mid high school, and the cruelty of teenage gossip hit me hard. I also fell into a group of people who weren't really my friends and never treated me as such.
I ended up falling into a deep and dark depression, I didn't know how or why. I was so confused at why I felt so low all the time. I became full of anger and pain, almost as if I had become Jekyll and Hyde. I treated everyone around me terribly; shouting/screaming/slamming doors/hurling horrible abusive comments, sometimes it became physical. Afterwards, I would cry for hours, crying myself to sleep and waking up to a mascara and tear-soaked pillow. Other times I would stare at the ceiling for hours, feeling absolutely nothing. Sometimes I would contemplate the darkest thoughts that crossed my mind. I would think about how I felt that the world would be so much better off without me and that I didn't want to wake up. I woke every morning dreading the day. And whilst I shut everyone out, all I wanted was for someone to understand and hug me until I cried out all my tears.
I left school with a very low self-esteem, low self-confidence, burdens of the pain of the past few years and total confusion of what I wanted to do with my life. I ended up falling into studying Musical Theatre for a year and I had high hopes for it. But, I ended up very lonely, I found it hard to make friends - often having panic attacks and running to hide in the toilets so that I could cry. I was told by the lecturers that I had to become more sociable as they felt I was a bit too aloof as I was quiet and everybody else was loud. I spent a lot of breaks walking into town from the college so that it would take up my whole lunch break so I didn't have to face anyone. Instead of going out regularly as most 18 year olds did at the time and now, I spent my days/nights spending all my money on clothes and take-aways.
Once that course finished, I again had no idea what to do with myself. I ended up falling into a depression again and had to go on Job Seekers for a while. I remember waking up at 2pm most days, the same routine consisting of making lunch, watching TV, trawling Google for hours looking for jobs, waiting for my family to come back, watch more TV, off to bed ready for the same the next day. I ended up getting a voluntary youth worship leader internship in a church in Perth. It picked up a bit as I was in a new city and doing something with my time. It all changed when I met my ex and I lost the internship, had to move back home and was back to the same starting place again. The next couple of years, I bounced between jobs, constantly went back between Perth and Glasgow, in a toxic relationship with my ex which made my mental health worse. Particularly when I lived again in Perth with him; he tended to be emotionally manipulative, we argued a lot, he also left me alone a lot and I often found myself alone at the weekends having no friends or family around me whilst he was out with his!
The only positive was attending music college which I ended up not finishing due to moving out from my family home. The past couple of years have still been a struggle. For a while, I wasn't sure what to do with myself, often bouncing from one interest to another, one job to another.. I watched as other people around me gained exciting opportunities and I wasn't doing anything. Somehow though, I found the strength to become stronger and finally realised this year, more about who I am and what I want. I've started doing more with my music and am keeping busy. I'm applying for funding so that I can buy new equipment to work on my music and to fund workshops, development programmes and my E.P. I have a few projects going on as well as starting a new music business venture with my friend.
For a while, I was struggling with intrusive thoughts, they would keep me awake at night constantly, I felt I couldn't be around others, I felt trapped. But now, I'm starting to get everything back on track. I'll always struggle with mental health; I'll have my low days just as everyone does, I'll have my anxious days where I feel so insignificant and inferior to others worrying that I bore them when I speak or compare myself to other people. I'll have days I get caught in my own head and focus on what I don't have rather than what I do, I'll have intrusive thoughts that dominate my day. It's an ongoing battle but one that I'm determined to fight!