Everyone has a story and everyone’s story is valid. Personally I struggle with validation and believing that I’m good enough. This time of year is hard when you see the people you went to school with graduating from uni, starting a family etc.
I think the important thing is to remember we all have different paths and it’s okay however long it takes. Life has no time limit but sometimes it’s hard when life still goes on and you feel left behind.
From a young age I’ve struggled with my mental health, at first it was mainly anxiety related. I struggled to “fit in” I felt like I was different and that I was just quiet.
Growing up was difficult, I got attached to people really easily and then felt abandoned when they had to leave. I felt like I couldn’t cope with everything going on around me, I couldn’t control the outside so the only thing I could control was the inside.
By the age of 18 I was diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa; I was always self conscious of how I looked growing up. When a big change happened in my life I turned to restricting what I ate as a means of control, I felt I wasn’t good enough and had such a fear of being abandoned.Then when my mum passed away last May my eating disorder got a grip of me again, I felt this was the only thing that was there for me and would bring me comfort but it just made things worse. I went into treatment and learned so much, yes I still struggle but I can promise it does get better and recovery will be worth it. A number on a scale never will define us a human being, we are more than a number. The more we go against the eating disorder thoughts, the more easier it will get.
I was also diagnosed with EUPD (emotional unstable personality disorder)… I thought I was just really sensitive and used to get called a “cry baby” in school but now I know why. I get overly upset and anxious over simple things, I have a fear of losing people I love, I get attached easily. I find it hard to process my emotions which can lead to having impulsive thoughts. With treatment and time, it does get better. For me distractions are key, again I still struggle but I understand more of how and why I’m feeling a certain way.
I was also diagnosed with C-PTSD (complex post traumatic stress disorder) this is a hard one to talk about as it brings up so many emotions, I think the main cause of this was past trauma and complications in the family home. I ended up having to move out at 16 with my little sister and became her guardian which was difficult but I’m proud of how far I’ve came. I know that everything is fixable, it’s possible to get to a more positive place.
In a way having these diagnoses felt like a comfort knowing there was something wrong and I wasn’t overreacting. I began treatment for my eating disorder and then later my other mental health issues. I learned so much about myself and different ways to cope. I learned that I’m so much more than my mental health, I don’t need to mould myself into something I’m not to “fit in” Every day I’m still fighting for a better life, “I still have a long way to go but I’m proud of how far I’ve came.”
This life is hard but we all fit in somewhere, we are all valid, we are all more than our mental health. We all have something to live for whether that be our families or even something just as simple as seeing the sunrise the next morning. We need to keep going and realise we are amazing and we deserve a future filled with love and most importantly happiness. Every single one of us is unique and have a purpose. It’s important to remember we can take our time and that it’s okay to not know what or where we want to be in our future. Everybody’s journey is different and that’s a beautiful thing.
Through time I now have more confidence and self esteem which helps me attend groups and classes, I met friends who genuinely care about me and accept me for who I am. I have always longed to fit in and now I feel like I have and that I am a part of something. These friends have became family and I’m so grateful. I also have my puppy “Maisie” she has changed my life for the better, she has gave me a purpose in life. She gives me a reason to get up in the mornings and to keep fighting. My sister also plays a huge part in my recovery not only is she my sister but she’s my best friend and I adore her. Without them I wouldn’t be where I am today. Things are still hard but you begin to realize you can get through anything and that it’s ok to not be ok.
If there’s one thing I have learned it would be progress is still progress whether it’s half a step or ten. There is always a solution and there is always someone out there who cares and understands.
Please know you’re not alone <3
Stephanie is a quiet but bubbly 22 year old who is just trying to find her way through life and learn how to love herself again to have a positive, bright future that she dreams of.
You can find out more on her Instagram @stephsjourney_to_recovery