Managing my ups and downs

    By Brooke

    My epilepsy brought along a lot more than just seizures. It led to me going to the dietitian every month because I wasn’t eating properly. I would hide my food so my mum would think I had eaten. I was suffering from anxiety and depression, I started having blackouts and self-harming.

    I would scratch myself and cut myself in places people couldn’t see, so I had a mark or a cut and keep picking and picking at it until it got bigger and eventually left scars. As a teenager I would get spots and I would pick them scratch them and make them a lot worse.

    I started having counselling at the child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) every Wednesday after school. I was seeing a counsellor where I had to sit and talk about my ‘problems’ which I absolutely hated. Then they changed it to having art counselling. That meant we would sit and make things, or do some drawing, which was all about trying make it a bit easier to talk. But not for me – I went, made some things, did a few drawings and did’t say a word about what I was feeling or thinking.

    "I was seeing a counsellor where I had to sit and talk about my 'problems' which I absolutely hated."

    After trying counselling they eventually gave up because nobody was getting anywhere. I didn’t want to talk. Then me and my mum started going to see a psychiatrist. The aim was to assess my mental health and wellbeing. However, when they would ask how I was feeling I would lie to them, and say I was fine and nothing was wrong. That was clearly the wrong thing to do. I had to stop seeing the psychiatrist because they said it was pointless me keep going because there was no progress being made.

    After a few years I stopped self-harming, started eating properly and I was starting to get more comfortable with the fact that I had epilepsy. I still had good and bad days. On the bad days I wouldn’t want to go to school, I didn’t want to get out of bed or shower. When I did go to school I would come home and cry for a few hours straight, and cry myself to sleep.

    "The biggest mistake I made was not talking to anyone, I kept everything bottled up inside."

    The things that have helped me move on and get through my mental health problems would definitely be my boyfriend, my friends and my family. If you asked me 5 years ago where would I see myself now I would not picture it to be anything like it is.

    My boyfriend has helped me a lot. He’s helped to boost my confidence and showed me that it’s OK not to be OK. My family have also massively helped, they were the ones who would push me out of bed in the mornings to get me to go to school. They would motivate me to get on with my day.

    Sometime the littlest of things can help. Like my mum would ask me to walk to the shop 5 minutes down the road, and that meant I was getting some fresh air and clearing my head. Going for walks is really beneficial, I find it really does help to clear my mind, even when you don’t think it is… it is.

    The biggest mistake I made was not talking to anyone, I kept everything bottled up inside. If there’s one thing you should take away from this it’s: talk to someone. People are not going to judge you, they can help.

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