My Mental Health... Several Years On

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Hey there you lovely person. Are you taking care of yourself? Autumn can be a difficult time for some of us mental-health wise, so it's important that you take the time to look after yourself this season.

Last year I published a post (see: here) that was extremely difficult for me to put out there, especially in the knowledge that I would be broadcasting it to a completely new world of people- many of whom know me personally. Hitting the 'publish' button was terrifying, but at the same time I was so proud of myself for doing it.

My little brother Daniel is turning 15 this October. He's in S4, which here in Scotland means that he'll be sitting his first set of exams when May comes around next year. He seems so 'together' and calm about it all- and when I asked him how he felt about his exams, he replied with something along the lines of "I'm not as stressed out as you were". Yet somehow, he's still managed to get one mark away from full marks in his last test- which by the way, I am so proud of. 

When I was in S4 and preparing for my first set of exams, I was in a bit of a frenzy.

I would defend myself and say that it was mainly due to the fact that I was in the first year of a new curriculum, and the teachers were stressed out because they didn't quite know what they were meant to be doing... and that this then stressed me out, and maybe that is partially the case. 

But really, I remember that year as being the first year I had ever really noticed something wrong with me. I struggled a lot that year, and the year after, and the year after. There were points where I was physically sick because I was so afraid. 

Afraid of what?

Honestly, I dont know.

I developed and was diagnosed with having chronic tension headaches, which were caused (and worsened) by stress- which was unavoidable in my school environment. 

I went to the doctors several times over the years (with my Mum, with friends, and alone, despite hospital environments being one of my biggest fears) with regards to issues like being sick due to stress, SH, insomnia, ; only to be turned told again and again that I was just "stressed". It took until I moved into my new flat and registered with a new GP for the doctors to finally officially diagnose me with SAD. 

It's not all doom and gloom, though. 

I am now starting my second year at university, doing a course I actually love. I have a job which I also love, I have my own flat, I am surrounded by some of the best people; on the whole I am generally pretty happy. 

A few weeks ago, my friend Hannah told me that it seemed like after everything I've been through, it finally seems like I've got everything together. Like, woah Sara I'm impressed by your ability to adult.


I am nowhere near being all 'together'... BUT I am getting there.

Through it all, I wouldn't change a thing. I wouldn't be where I am, or who I am, without all the tough days and nights that I have endured. Although the stress I put myself through was intense and unhealthy, it definitely had a key part to play in motivating me to study my little ass off in school... and getting me into uni.

And I'm sure that there will be plenty more sleepless nights waiting for me. My chronic tension headaches will probably stay with me for a very, very long time. New hurdles will spruce up, and I'll have to try and clamber over them. 

It's important for me to remind myself of everything that I've been through- especially on the good days. 

What I mean by this is that I never want to neglect to acknowledge the fact that I have stood in the rain for so long, that I have earned the privilege of standing in the sunshine. 

I don't really know how to explain it any other way.

Adios, xo

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