I had a horrible time as a teenager. I was depressed, I attempted suicide, I lost good friends (thankfully I have gained some back) and overall I was just a mess. I thought I would write down some things I would’ve liked to have heard when I was a teenager and going through this stuff.
Stop pushing people away.
I have a terrible habit of cutting people off; normally for absolutely no reason. Unfortunately, this goes hand-in-hand with my mental health, but I didn’t know that at the time. I am now able to control myself and take a step back. When I was a teenager I was rash and made snap decisions. If I had known then what I know now about my mental health I think I would’ve been a nicer person to be around.
You don’t need to think you have to look like celebrities
I have always really struggled with food. Up until recently, I was an incredibly fussy eater; I wouldn’t try anything new. It was like I had a phobia of it. I think this led me on to eating disorders. I used to make myself sick or used to just not eat anything at all. I also used to binge eat, pretty bad. This connects to the way the media portray women, and how edited and photoshopped celebrity photographs are. I was relatively skinny until I started secondary school, I was bullied and I had more interaction with social media and the internet. I felt that I had to look a certain way to be pretty and that was skinny. This made me feel bad about myself which then led me to comfort eat and ultimately gain weight. It was a vicious cycle of hating myself because I was fat so eating more to comfort myself then gaining more weight. It wasn’t a very healthy time for me.
You will find a Doctor that will understand and take you seriously.
This is a big one for me. When I was struggling with my mental health and body issues, I found that Doctors seemed to just brush it off. This made me so frustrated and confused. I thought I was being dramatic and there wasn’t actually anything wrong with me, this made me feel awful. I felt like I was letting everyone down. I was diagnosed with depression when I was fifteen and it’s only taken me until the end of last year to find a Doctor who actually listens to what I’m saying. It took nearly six years and five different councillors to find one person who takes me seriously. I know this is a reflection on the mental team in this country, but it was almost a life or death situation and I felt neglected.
You’re not at the end of your road.
Throughout my teens, I constantly felt like I was going to achieve nothing in my life. When I dropped out of college this feeling tripled and I thought I wouldn’t do anything proactive. I now know that that was my mental health talking, I have loads I can do. I mean, sometimes I still feel like I’m on a dead-end road, but then I think that I’m only twenty-one, I’m still young, I can do whatever I want in my life. I could go travelling, or settle down and start a business. The possibilities are endless and my grades (or lack thereof) don’t matter. I can still do and be whatever I want in my life.
I hope to one day take my experiences and use them to guide my younger siblings and maybe my future children in the right direction so they don’t ever have to feel the way I did when I was a teenager.
What would you tell your younger self?