My journey with mental health has been long and exhausting. The earliest I can remember dealing with mental distortions is when I was 5 years old and asked my mom what the point in living was. Of course no one takes a 5 year old seriously when answering this question. But for me, I really struggled understanding why I should get up everyday, why not just die and have no more worries. That seemed like the obvious choice. Clearly this is an alarming thought to come from a 5 year old. I didn't have any specific plans to hurt myself but the thought was in my head very young and has been there ever since.
When I was 14 I started cutting myself. At first it was with a broken bobby pin or a clothes hanger, just enough to cause pain. Then it got worse and worse, eventually needing some stitches or butterfly bandages. From the day I first hurt myself to November 14th 2014, there was hardly a day I went without self-harm. Now two and a half years later here I am, still clean. But I have limbs that are covered in scars.
At 15 I was "outed" by my parents after they read my journal and found out I was with a girl. This is also when they found out about the self-harm. My parents brought me to see my first counsellor soon after reading my journal and since then I have seen more psychologists than I can count. I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety at first and was started on my first medication.
I was 16 when I tried to kill myself for the first time. I tried again when I was 17 and then again at 19. Each time I was found by someone who loves me that could sense something was wrong and was thankfully brought to the hospital in time. To this day I still have the letters I wrote to my loved ones and I could not imagine what reading those letters would have been like for them had I of died.
At 19 I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. Finally a diagnosis that made sense. After countless therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, etc., throwing different diagnoses at me, I was finally understood. This day changed my life. I was finally put on medication that helped; I started Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) and felt like there was finally some hope. My "mystery" of mental health was being solved.
Today, I am 20 years old and still on the same medications and have been relatively stable for a year now. Living with multiple mental disorders is tough, and I don't know if I'll ever be "recovered". But I am recovering, and I work on getting better every single day. Of course I have days where I just cannot get out of bed, or when I am extremely impulsive and have insane mood swings, or when I absolutely hate myself. But more importantly, I have days where I am up and about; I function throughout the day and am content with my body.
My mental illnesses are always going to be a part of me, and the best way I handle it is by owning it. Maybe this life isn't ideal, but it's MY life and I am going to make it count. Borderline Personality Disorder, Depression, and Anxiety are three of the things that make up who I am... but I am also a daughter, a sister, a student, a mental health advocate, a feminist, a friend, a girlfriend, an aspiring counsellor, and so much more.