Where to begin …
I approached the Bub Hub to ask if I could join the Hubbub team so I could write a blog.
I wanted my posts to be about my experiences in the hope I could reach out to others who were suffering and to give them the comfort that they are not alone, and the strength to seek help.
So please, allow me to take a couple of deep breaths as this subject is a sensitive one, and one that is oh so close to my heart.
Every morning someone we know is waking up suffering with a mental illness. It can affect anyone, at any time, at any stage, it does not discriminate. The Australian Bureau of Statistics states that in 2007, 45 per cent of Australians between the ages of 16-85 years had at some point in their lifetime, experienced a mental illness.
I am one of the many who suffer with a mental illness.
At a tender age of 14 years old I was gang raped.
*taking long steady breaths*
I have had this heart clenching, fearful cloud hanging over my head for that long (and probably for the rest of my life). Although the thoughts about this cloud have changed throughout the years it has been constant, and a constant reminder of what happened.
*once again needing to take a deep breaths*
From that moment I have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety, as I continue to recover from both mental, emotional and physical scaring.
At first I didn’t want to receive help, I thought I was worthless and not worth saving at all, that I was no longer good enough, and I thought that life was no longer worth living. I turned away from my family and friends, the people in my life who could have been a great support system, and began to hang around people I should not have, and probably never would have if my life hadn’t take this turn.
I began to self medicate with recreational drugs from the age of 15, and at this point I met H*, who provided me with powders and pills as a way to escape this world and go into a world where I was good enough and I was wanted. This world was a way to pay for my new expensive way to escape, where I was whored out to his friends.
Every touch made me want to peel of my skin with acid and scream in pain … but I didn’t. The pills were the only things making me stay, and this is how my walls went up.
I built a barrier so that every time I had sex with someone I zoned out. I left my body so that I couldn’t feel anything, I was just a shell.
And then I met J.
J never touched me, and I think he knew from the moment we met, that something was wrong. He became my soundboard. He listened to me, protected me and cared for me when I needed it. He was H’s best friend and my light in this darkness.
He was the only one who tried to help me even though I resisted (and we got into many heated arguments over this) and he was there when I needed him the most.
It was the day I found out I was pregnant that nearly sent me over the edge. It almost killed me and if it wasn’t for J it might have. Once again he held my hand, brought me down from the ledge and helped me when I knew I would not be able to keep this precious gift that I wasn’t worthy of.
In that moment I knew what I needed to do. I needed to say goodbye to the reckless life I was leading. I needed to say goodbye to the precious little baby growing inside me and say goodbye to J who was my light in a very dark time. I made a promise to both of them that day – I was going to get clean and stay clean.
It has now been 10 years since that precious little baby gave me the strength to pull myself out of that black hole I created for myself, and I thank it every day.
I am now a loving wife to a man who is my knight in shining armour, who has brought me out of the darkness on more occasions then I care to admit. He has been a pillar of strength and without him I would not be able to stand. I am also a mother of two beautiful children who are a constant surprise and are incredibly cheeky.
Also in the past year I have found a fantastic psychologist, who is a great fit for me. I still currently see my inner self as a scared little girl who is battered and bruised, but I feel that in time I will find that inner warrior who is my true inner self.
My message is to everyone who feels they are depressed or suffering from another form of mental illness, or knows someone that is suffering, that it is never too late to seek help.
You can seek help from your GP or local hospital. You can also contact Lifeline: 13 11 14 and if you feel your life may be in immediate danger please contact 000.
There is always someone out there who will be the light in your darkness, you may meet them in different circumstances, or you may just not have met them yet.
*Names have been changed