Some people might say that my mental health problems have ruined my life. That nothing good can come out of being hospitalised multiple times, being sectioned, having to interrupt my studies twice, having to spend years in therapy and sitting through countless CPAs and wardrounds. Some people would say that my taking medication has trapped me into a lifetime of being ‘mental’.
Sometimes I agree. Sometimes I feel utterly hopeless that I will ever break free of my mental prison and live a normal life.
But sometimes I can see how much stronger my weaknesses have made me. Being unwell has taught me how many friends I have. All my friends from uni would visit me weekly when I was at Vincent Square, all of us piling into my room and laughing and chatting the evening away until they were inevitably thrown out by staying too long after visiting hours. Their laughter could be heard all over the ward and I remember walking into night snack one evening for people to comment how lovely it was to hear such laughter on the ward. They visited me on Avonmore, perhaps my darkest time and somehow they reminded me that they cared and were waiting for me to start living again. My friends from primary school visited me as often as they could and have stayed loyal throughout- even when I’m not the nicest person to be around.
Through my illness I’ve made some of my closest friends. On Tuesday I’m going to Portsmouth with some of my wonderful girls from VS and later this month we’re going to Rome where we will challenge ourselves to Pizza and Ice cream and Wine. We struggled through cake and custard and chocolate bars together on the unit then went for a debrief over illicit diet cokes in the Neros across the road. I’ve made some lovely friends through the recovery community on IG, friends who keep me going each day when I wobble and inspire me every day with their strength.
My illness has taught me I have a voice. For so long I kept quiet about my struggles and it’s only after inpatient and therapy that I found my voice. Now I am open about my mental health with anyone who asks. I will speak up and share my story and I’m no ashamed to do so. And I get brilliant feedback, feedback that throws me every time with it’s kindness.
My mental health does not make me weak, as I’ve so long thought, but strong because I am still here and willing to talk. I have a voice and I’m not afraid to use it.
You can read more of Becca’s work here: http://fightingforbecca.wordpress.com/