Recovery isn’t all sunshine and rainbows

rainblogDid you know 1 in 4 people live with a mental health problem? I’m among them. Here’s my story of living with an eating disorder, depression and anxiety. A journey of pain, but also a journey of hope and transformation.

Depression was spending every waking moment worrying about every single thing I did or said. Wishing I was dead was definitely my lowest point, taking an overdose seemed to be the only way out. I don’t think you can feel any more rock bottom than sitting with 80 tablets in your hand, ready to go to sleep and never wake up. You feel that the fight is too much and the mental and physical energy has been drained from you.

Anxiety was not leaving my room for days on end because being in the vicinity of other people made my chest so tight I struggled to breathe; throwing away opportunities, throwing away creativity, and losing my spark.

Having an eating disorder was not just about weight loss and being obsessed with calories and restricting, it was pushing my entire family and friends away. I was having irrational thoughts that nobody liked me, that I wasn’t enough. I was breaking the hearts of those around me one at a time as they watched me struggle and sink further into the illnesses that were killing me.

Mental illness for me was spending every day feeling that I was standing on the edge of a cliff and with one tiny step I would fall to never return.

It took courage and bravery to accept help. It felt too overwhelming but I knew I couldn’t carry on the way I was. I was fading into nothing, becoming more and more depressed. I couldn’t even go to school anymore. Threatened with admission to a mental health hospital under a section, I started to engage with support.

Child and Adult Mental Health Services (CAMHS) offered me Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), medication and dietician appointments to cope with food increases. They even offered us family therapy so my family could understand my illness better. It took month and months of hard work but I slowly started to make changes and regain my life.

The journey from then to now has been tough. Getting used to taking anti-depressants was hard to come to terms with. I remember standing on the scales and then running into the toilet staring at myself in the mirror. Tears, anger, frustration. But, with the weight I gained, I also gained back life, energy, family and friends.

People ask me if it gets easier. Yes, it does, but you can’t do it without support. It’s little steps that make the process manageable. I encourage anyone reading this who may be living with a mental health problem or knows someone living with a mental illness to speak to someone about it. Be brave enough to seek those conversations.

So where am I now? Recovery isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, it can be difficult beyond belief. When I come across a bump in the road I try and be rational about the situation. I put my faith in God. I still struggle with my weight, wanting to fall back to bad habits to feel in control. Having to fight thoughts like that constantly can be exhausting but recovery is worth it. It’s worth the pain, it’s worth the tears to know that I’m living, not just surviving. Knowing that I can make a difference in this world, injecting hope. I’m Jessie and I’m more than my mental health problems.

Written by Jessie Emms

Jessie | 20
Student mental health nurse
Coffee enthusiast | Feminism

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