My mental illnesses crept up on me at a young age.
Looking back, even at the age of 14, I put on my “mask” to hide my depression and anxiety from my school peers, friends and family.
To act happy when, in reality, I was being bullied every single day at school, was exhausting.
As soon as I finished my GCSE’s, I went straight into work at the age of 16.
It was at a big Investment Bank, and I loved it.
I made an amazing group of friends and I met my 1st love there.
When he died in a car accident, my happy life that I had built back up again after the hellish time at school, came crumbling down around me.
I then suffered with Anxiety and Depression for 10 years. The darkness just kept growing at a rapid speed. I sadly had a few miscarriages, and due to my undiagnosed Endometriosis for 7 years, my physical health was plummeting too.
I would be bedbound every 2 weeks, having no idea what was wrong with me. I felt so much anger. Not only was my brain letting me down, now my body was letting me down too. My hormones were extreme, and no one could tell me what was happening to me.
This led to me taking my anger out on my face. I would pick and squeeze at any “imperfection”. At the time I didn’t think this was a condition. However, I then went on to find out that I have Dermatillomania (Skin Picking Disorder) and Body Dysmorphic Disorder.
Finally, after managing to get private healthcare, I was diagnosed with Endometriosis and went on to have several Laparoscopy surgeries every 18 months to have endo removed. This went on for 6 years.
In between my surgeries, I luckily fell pregnant and had my baby girl that I had always longed for.
However, my Dermatillomania got so bad during this time, that I stopped going out completely. I was housebound for 3 months.
I would spend up to 8 hours solid, picking at tweezing at my “imperfections”. It is all I thought about.
Luckily, I had an incredible Health Visitor, and admitted that I needed help.
I ended up publishing my blog : “My Mental Health Diary – The Raw & Uncensored Truth” (http://mymentalhealthdiary2017.blogspot.com) and then sent a group message to all of my friends and family, telling them to read it.
I had completely bared my soul. And for once, I told everyone exactly how I was REALLY feeling and what I was REALLY going through.
The relief I felt was undescribeable. I felt like I could breathe for the first time. I no longer had to make up endless excuses as to why I wasn’t seeing anyone.
That day, I made a vow to myself that I would NEVER hide my feelings, or mental illnesses ever again. And I haven’t.
I created my instagram page (@x_perfectlyflawed_x) and have done various articles and instagram lives with other mental health advocates.
In December (2019) I made the very hard decision to have my ovaries removed, and am now going through the menopause at the age of 35.
It is not easy. However, because I now openly talk about everything that I am going through, the support network I now have, is incredible.
You really do realise that you are not alone. SOMEONE will ALWAYS be able to relate to what you are going through.