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My Mental Health Story and Pet Therapy
My name is Lucy I run a lifestyle blog,
I like having the freedom to express myself. I have experience with chronic
illness and mental health illnesses, however I have had gone through challenges
with mental health before I became chronically ill. It’s been a part of my life
for a very long time, I know how isolating it is, confusing, tense and just
this sense of low worth.
For me it started with an eating disorder, attending Secondary School your body changes naturally, but for me wanting to remain skinny, even though technically I wasn’t gaining weight. I was just growing like a normal kid/teenager, things around me were out of my control being abused (every form) since a child, I wanted to keep the essence of a child —that innocence. So for me it was controlling my weight. It didn’t matter that I was naturally slim in those days, I wanted to gain control, that was my way. Then entering college years, my housing situations was out of my control, so went back into that control mentality, then the most devastating thing happened to me again — I was raped, so I didn’t eat. So, as you could imagine with an eating disorder and suffering with PTSD as teenager it was a lot!
When I hit my 20’s thankfully my eating disorder calmed down and got to the point of recovery. Sadly, I had other mental health issues that arose, anxiety. When becoming chronically ill I didn’t leave my home for weeks or even months at time, suddenly I was physically weak to the point couldn’t even feed myself. I didn’t recognise this person, I was always walking everywhere (for miles), jog around the park, I couldn’t walk, so I had fear going outside every time, and my anxiety just grew. Went from being confident to not wanting to be outside. My chronic health was impacting me in a huge way, still does, just back then it was all new to me, even years later still learning (new diagnoses etc), trust me, someone who suffers with NEAD/FND meaning I can have seizures/or symptoms anywhere anytime, it’s a hard pill to swallow.
Anxiety can cause many sleepless nights, if I have somewhere to go, a meeting, appointment, social gathering, I’m anxious even when it’s family. I have hundreds of thoughts going through my head, say if this happens, etc, after occasion has happened, did I say this, how did I come across, honestly it’s relentless, like I said — doesn’t matter who I’ve been with, even by myself if I say something on social media, it’s exhausting. I don’t think people realise anxiety isn’t just about being bit nervous for something.
There’s diagnoses saying I’ve had borderline personality disorder, split personality disorder these have been from mental health hospital assessments in my 20’s, I think I was being misunderstood. I wasn’t ashamed of those titles, but disliked how it was portrayed on documentaries, on the news, as made it seem, “Oh, they are violent or crazy,” and that’s far from the truth. Now in my 30’s those titles are dropped, although it will forever be in my medical history.
Depression, I know everyone has had their down days, imagine that being daily, hourly, being ok, then suddenly be enraged to the point you want to pull your own skin off. It’s not about being a bit low, for us, for me, times I get suicidal. Thoughts running through my head, I hope I don’t wake up tomorrow, I smile to the outside world, broken inside. I cry in the bathroom because I cannot control my feelings, I should be happy, people tell you, “what you have to worry about?”. So, I force yourself, but it’s not natural. Should be within.
Loneliness, “why can’t I just be normal?” But then what’s normal? How do you know the person telling you to be ok isn’t broken on the inside, feeling low, doubts, low self-esteem, or perhaps in huge debt etc?
I’ve had many years of therapy, been under different mental health teams since I was 14/15, still am but in different forms. If you or someone you know is suffering with any type of mental health illness, please seek professional help as soon as possible, don’t let your pride or anything get in the way. Please speak, don’t suffer in silence. I honestly ask you the public, how do you truly feel? I don’t want just “OK.”
I love pets, they can sometimes be the best therapy, being an owner of a rabbit, a dog, and a lizard, I know too well!
To stay updated with Lucy’s story, you can visit her blog and follow her on Instagram. Can you relate to Lucy’s story and do you have any pets, if so, how many and how do they help with your mental health?