The healing process is such an interesting topic to explore. Every story is unique but often the same as well. We’re all working towards something in regards to a better future and improved health, among other things. It isn’t an easy journey to navigate nor is it ever one that seems particularly black and white. In this series, we will hear from different individuals within the mental health community about their healing process, how it began, what the journey has been like and where they are today.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am Amy, I’m 24 and I create online content based on my raw, honest experiences living with severe anxiety, depression and borderline personality disorder. Besides my passion for raising awareness, I’ve studied dance and theatre my entire life and loving caring and helping others
When did you first notice signs/symptoms of a mental health issue?
Sadly, I grew up in an abusive and traumatic household where I gathered a lot of negative traits and behaviors that developed into my mental health condition. However, it wasn’t until I set off for university and spent time with others my age and (for the most part) out of the abusive environment. Within my first year, I grew to realize that my behavior, mindset and emotional response felt different from everyone else. My anxiety was at an all-time high. I started feeling really lonely and depressed and realized that I needed to do something.
At what point did you realize this was something you has to take care of and what did the beginning of the process look like?
I took myself to the university counseling services and got an appointment with a counseller rather quickly. My first appointment didn’t seem too daunting. I explained my worries and troubles mentally and she was incredibly understanding. Nothing felt too weird until she wanted me to go into detail about my family and home life. I noticed her face and tone changed the further I described my past. Discussing all the events that occurred and the emotions attached to them. Suddenly, she started showering me with positive words, resources and insisted I saw her again. Her reaction sent off small alarms to me to suggest that my life and mental wellbeing certainly wasn’t normal. And that it’s good I finally reached out.
What has your experience been like with trying to find what works for you treatment wise? Do you have a routine you’ve settled on?
Since that first appointment, I’ve tried numerous different types of talking therapies and counseling. To be fair, one of the most important things I’ve realized is that no one counseller/psychologist/professional is going to fix everything and deliver everything you need to know. It takes various therapy styles, coping techniques, and (most importantly) different opinions. It takes a lot of effort and patience, but it’s well worth it. No one person has all the answers. So I regularly see different practitioners and over the years I’ve collected lots of resources and more that help me with my recovery.
Where are you today with your recovery?
I’m still learning. Recently this year I got diagnosed with Borderline Personality disorder meaning I’ve got a whole new condition to learn about and embody into my recovery. Although I’ve certainly made significant progress in understanding my mind and behavior, I’m not fully there. Now with the new diagnosis, it does mean that this is most likely something I’ll never fully recover from. But I acknowledge that. Mental illnesses are like all other disabilities, finding coping solutions and learning to work with your condition. And I’m slowly but surely getting there.
Is there anything you’ve created as a way to cope with pain or a painful experience?
Today I tend to blog about topics, issues and what I’ve learned throughout the years. I additionally use Instagram and Twitter to give an honest, raw account of my condition and journey to recovery.
How do you think you’ve changed as a person since the beginning?
Since taking the first step into counseling, it’s opened my mind to how our actions and others around us affect our mentality. And knowing that it isn’t our fault. Mental illness is something to work with and find coping techniques to work around it, not completely dismiss it. You can’t fully dismiss your emotions and background. It’s about finding recovery through understanding yourself more to manage and control your mental wellbeing. Also, it’s not something that comes quick and easy, it takes time and patience.