I’m pretty sure now looking back, I was literally born predisposed to struggling with my mental health. I don’t remember a time where I haven’t felt some level of anxious. I was 9 when I was first referred to the child & adolescent mental health services (Camhs) & at the time I had absolutely no idea what mental health was.
I was diagnosed with anxiety & underwent CBT for the first time which did help give me some relief for a few years but it was still there in the background. & then I started secondary school… My time at secondary school pretty much consisted of panic attacks, cohesive control, self harm & the start of coming to terms with the fact my mental health was something I was going to have to battle. But nothing could’ve prepared me for what was to come. At this point in my life, I felt that my mental health was something I should be ashamed of & I hid how I was feeling at all costs. But the thing with mental health is you can only suppress it so much until you can’t take it any longer. For me that time came when I was 17 & I just wasn’t coping.
I’d been back under Camhs for around a year as school had started to pick up on my anxiety but as I’d left school & was now at college, I started trying to hide things again which just made me a ball of anger. Ages 18-20 are just a blur for me. I was in & out of hospital all of the time & I was completely out of hope. I was trialled on cocktail after cocktail of medication & put in DBT therapy. Some helped, some not so much & the therapy taught me a lot but the patterns of my moods were becoming more & more obvious to my parents & they began to question if it could be bipolar disorder. I was having extreme bouts of depression where I didn’t want to live anymore & then periods of feeling totally elated & being convinced I was cured, in 2019 upping & moving to a different city within a 48 hour period with no previous plans to move.. & then came the crash & once again I was hospitalized, detained under the mental health act & completely out of hope.
But upon discharged from this admission, something felt different. I’d remained under my local adult mental health team & had the loveliest care coordinator supporting me & this time, instead of various appointments with the crisis team, my care coordinator’s manager booked in to follow me up. & In that appointment on a miserable Saturday morning, in a room off of the ward, in a building I despised, the penny dropped & I knew I didn’t want this to me my life. I’d love to say it was just that easy, of course it wasn’t & it look a lot more therapy & a lot of determination but each day it got a little easier. And last September, I finally felt ready to pursue my dreams of becoming a mental health nurse & submitted the personal statement I’d written back in 2016. & I got in! & I’ve loved every second so far.
I’ve had my blips & my most recent episode of depression made my consultant review things as a whole & I finally feel like I have some answers. It’s a scary prospect that my mental health could be something that always effects me but I’m determined not to stop that making me a good nurse!
Feeling inspired? You can connect with Rachel here.