I was 16 when it hit me. Like a metaphorical train. Ever been stuck in a well? I should hope you haven’t that’s such a stupid situation to get yourself in, anyway, I digress. I have been, but only in my head. Stuck down there, can’t get out, you can see the light, you can shout, but you’re at the bottom of a bloody well!
Little did I know it had been manifesting it’s self with its little demons for years, I was first dragged unwillingly to the doctors by my mother at the age of 10 due to my uncontrollable rage. At first everyone thought “here we go she’s getting to puberty, everyone grab a shield and throw chocolate at her.” But little did I know, that was only the start.
I have fond memories of my childhood, made an adequate amount of dens, fell off my bike too many times, I even had a Barbie Ferrari!
But there were troubles. I really feel far too scared to discuss right now – I’ll save that for my therapy sessions.
Long story short, divorced parents (like everyone these days) but a messy divorce. Police presence, giving evidence in court at 14.
Now, don’t be jumping to conclusions here, I was never abused, but there was an element of that in my life. A lot of anger.
I’m sure you’ll be glad to know, I have a good relationship with my parents through all this.
Now, you may think “how is anger in anyway related to being depressed?” WELL, Sigmund Freud described depression as “anger turned inwards.” And despite all his other theories (honestly that man had some really concerning ideas) his description is pretty accurate.
In my case, it was ‘maladaptive anger’. With traumatic experiences contributing to dysfunctional responses to my inner anger. The anger being driven by the critical parrot on my shoulder telling me that nothing will ever be okay.
I got into a wonderful habit of letting the inward anger build, and build, and build until I had an Empire State Building of hate in my head. Then BOOM, I’d scream, shout, throw knives (not even in a way that could get me on a talent show doing it) and in general go bat shit crazy. Then hide away for days, feeling guilty, but knowing no other way of expressing and releasing the inward anger and deep hurt.
This was on and off until I was 16, doing my AS levels. Got myself my first proper boyfriend, it was the whole ‘first love, besotted, best feeling in the world’ thing. During this time of my infatuation my mum couldn’t cope with my maladaptive anger and I was living with my grandma in another town. Then….
You know how the story goes, girl gets heart broken by first love. Crying, eating ice cream, being the junior Bridget Jones. Despite how much I was told “you’re only young, you’ll get over it it’s fine.” It was rejection. My crap functioning brain couldn’t deal with it at all.
I missed school, I lay in bed for days, I lost friends, I fell into a trap of self destructive behaviour to punish myself and him (We’re actually pretty good friends still and we often lol at our teenage antics.)
I was soon dragged to the doctors again when I was discovered plotting my own demise. The anger turned to a deep deep sadness, I didn’t even have the energy anymore to behave crazily. In come the child and adolescent mental health team, anti-depressants and therapy. I started to build myself up and realise what’s been happening for years. I focused on me.
But just like herpes… it never truly goes away. It’s sat there on your shoulder, muted slightly with the meds. But just pushing you to see everything negatively. Reminding you when you smile or laugh that it won’t last, you’ll soon feel like you’re in that well again. It took 2 years to get to a place where I felt in control. However, as I went to uni, I was lost in the big old mental health system. Seeing my GP 6 monthly for a meds review where I would kindly nod that I feel okay and go get on with my pretentious art degree.
I WAS feeling okay at that time. I made some great friends who I will forever love, I had some of the most hilarious times, especially in Cockpit (may that place forever rest in peace). And I met someone new, someone who had so much in common with me, made me laugh until I almost pee’d. Everything was going swimmingly.
But that parrot was still there… and at some point I’ll let you know how it’s been there.
3 in 4 mental Illnesses start in childhood. With 50% of mental illnesses taking root before a child hits the age of 15.
Can we look out for these kids?! Keep an eye, let them play, use their imaginations, try and protect them (not from everything these kids need a back bone, they’ve gotta be able to tell another kid not to use a stick as a weapon.)
And that’s all for now, it’s like war and peace, sorry. (Can’t help but apologise for everything that’s another great trait.)