10 February 2018

My experience with Mental Health issues

This is probably the topic I've been trying to avoid for the longest time. This is something which has been very present in my life and we shouldn't be scared or ashamed to talk about this. I also wanted to write this to push my boundaries, to grow, and hopefully help some of you. Let's talk about my experience with mental health issues.

About five and a half years ago I started struggling with myself, with my body and my thoughts. I was fifteen years old at that time and had no clue what mental health even meant. I wasn't sure about myself and about how others would see me. I wanted to fit in, to be loved. I remember feeling so insecure about myself, hating myself for not being someone else. I was constantly thinking about how I could change myself so that others would like me, so that they would want to be friends with me. I started thinking about the differences between me and others. I started listening to the things people said about me. All of this created a huge negative bubble around me and the only thing I was thinking about everyday was about how I would be able to fix it and to experience true happiness.

That's what I thought, if I would be as pretty and as thin as some others are I will become happy, and just thinking about this one sentence made my life even harder. Nowadays everyone is familiar with the internet, so was I, searching for THE solution that would fix everything. Slowly I created an eating disorder. At the beginning it was all just innocent, skipping a meal, having excuses that my stomach hurts so I couldn't eat that much,.. But since I lived with my family and I didn't want them to know that I had these feelings, I had to find another way. I started to vomit after some meals, at the beginning this was just once a week but it led to about three times a day. And I felt so good about it, about finally finding control about something in my life. I had the power about my weight and to chose what I wanted in my body. But I never thought about the consequences that this lifestyle could possibly bring.

But this 'good' feeling didn't last for so long. Soon I started experiencing the effects that came with it; having headaches ever day, having a lack of concentration, sleeping problems, feeling moody, feeling weak,... I was so busy with setting myself weight goals and getting on the scale about six times a day, that I wasn't  realizing that I was basically destroying my body and mind. I had no clue that I actually had a problem, I had no idea that I was actually depressed. It was just after three years that people had the ability to tell and explain me what was going on and why it was a problem.

After talking a lot to my doctor, my family and psychologists I made the decision to go inpatient in a clinic for eating disorders. I felt so ashamed about myself and nobody could know that I was there and that something was 'wrong' with me. But after a few months fighting these horrible thoughts, after having countless talks, having different kinds of therapy, having the support of my family,.. I got better. And I can say that going inpatient was the best decision I've made at. 

I don't believe that there is a cure for mental health problems, but there are countless ways to deal with it. I've never declared myself as 'cured', it comes and goes in ups and downs and I work on it every single day. The most important lessen I've learned in these last few years is that communication is the key in life. We often think that people don't care about our problems or that we don't want to harass them with our thoughts but this is usually not the case. There is always somebody who will listen to you. And you need to remember that you matter, that your life matter and that your problems matter.