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Battling from Below

by Kate
(Liverpool)

This is not going to be a success story, not for now anyway as I haven't gained my success yet. I was always shy as a child, I didn't want to participate in party games, go places I wasn't sure of, and tried to speak as little as possible for even as a child the fear of being judged was always there. As I got older I realised I was judged for speaking little, being seen as rude or arrogant, and having certain close members in my life make joke of the fact I was quiet so I decided to change that and to speak out more which felt so much more of a relief to myself, although others now joked they preferred me as a quiet individual, but to this day I am no longer quiet as such but sometimes as you will see to be my downfall in life.
Growing up for me was a very mixed emotion, I was very lucky I had holidays with my parents, I had a best friend from the age of three up until early teens, I had good people to take care of me when my family were away at work, etc., and I know my parents tried their best by me and my brother. Although I was very fortunate compared with others, I was deeply unhappy, I felt insecure and unloved. My best friend in my life was actually my bully, my family were not the most affectionate of families and I was aware as a young child that I spent a lot of my time with childminders, and that family screaming matches were quite rife to the point where myself and my brother would very often listen in on the bottom of the stairs very upset and scared about what we would hear. At thirteen however my parents split up, both are very happy now with new partners, and even at the age of thirteen I knew it was all for the best.
So moving on to around the time I was eighteen I was working at a hairdressers and things went ok for awhile but I was always aware of the gossip that would instantly stop as soon as myself or another entered the workplace staff room but this I tried to ignore and get on with the work at hand. Then someone from school came into my life, someone I had liked when at school, we hit it off instantly and we started to date. Things were great for a while. I felt he was "the one" as you do! As the relationship progressed however rows would start over little things, and things become more and more volatile, which in hand started to effect my work at the hairdressers and my so called friendships there. Basically my boyfriend became abusive both physically and mentally, I felt worthless, the lowest of the low. How could someone I love do this to me?? Was it my fault? I must be a horrible person! These kind of thoughts entered my head often. On numerous occasions I tried to end my life but all attempts were unsuccessful. If I tried to jump in front of a car, he stopped me. If I took pills, they would just make me poorly... one of these overdose attempts sticks in my mind, the person who I thought loved me telling me I hadn't taken enough pills to do the job, so I took what pills I had in front of him. I dont know whether it was guilt or his mum become suspicious that something was wrong but it ended up with his mum shouted at me and making me make myself sick. Of course to them I was a mental case, nothing her little boy did was bad or contributed to the incident. During this relationship I was head butted, kicked, made to sleep on the floor even if it was my own room we slept in, it was that or be told I was fat and constantly kicked in the legs to move up because I was taking all the space. Even a sexual assault took place one night, something I struggle even to this day to come to terms with. Luckily though, both parents intercepted thinking both was bad for one another and we were not allowed to see each other again. To this day I am so relieved about that, as I was with this person for over a year and I'm not sure when I would of left this farce of a relationship and what could of happened.
So for me, I was lucky and I thought I was stronger and that I was never going to make that same mistake again, but unfortunately it happened to me again, not in the same capacity, but still abusive and controlling. Numerous times I was told it was my fault that I was getting treated this way. After a year I got out of this relationship. I decided enough was enough and I was going to rebuild my life!
I began college starting a beauty course and I really enjoyed it. I had my spark back and I got on with all, the classmates things were changing for the better. Myself and my college friends would often go into town to shop or get lunch, I felt a part of something. So as usual we walked through the town chatting, looked round shops, calling in for something to eat. Everything was good until this strange feeling swept over me, I just couldn't explain it. I tried to ignore it, but it just got more intense. Over the next few days the feeling came and went on and off. I felt like I wasn't me, like I was somewhere else, my mind and my body wasn't my own. I tried to talk to those I could, be no-one understood it and neither did I, I felt I was going mad.
Eventually I gained some clarity on the issue, I had met someone and he informed me about anxiety and the feeling of depersonalization, it all made sense. I began to research it and everything I was feeling began to correspond. I was avoiding situations to be around others and I had this intense fear and hate for myself. The person I was seeing at this time knew the symptoms as I found out he suffered from the same anxiety and depression disorder. I needed help and fast! I made an appointment with my doctor, he did put me on medication apart from that he wasn't much help. That was ok though because I had the support of my boyfriend, well - I thought I did, turns out it was too much for him to deal with. I was alone with no one to talk to. My parents tried to understand but couldn't. I tried to self-educate when I could, when I wasn't so dosed up. I couldn't move out of bed or when I spent hours with my whole body shaking and convulsing. It was a long hard battle but I got through it eventually.
To this day, I now continue to have panic attacks, anxiety, and depression... which I have fought over time, after time, after time. It is never as bad as the intiall beginning of the disorder but that doesn't mean it doesn't hurt any less. This condition has been made harder to deal with due to various house moves in different locations, making me find that I have to begin again to overcome the social anxiety and depression I face. Currently, I live in a busy city which I am not adapted very well to. I have contended with various abuse and ignorance in the streets which has now made me feel uncomfortable to go outdoors alone. On the positive side, I have just changed my medication dosage, I have a supportive partner who stands by me, and I am seeking counselling. Its going to be a hard road ahead but I have to try!
I hope for those suffering out there that you know you are not alone, hold onto what ever positive you can no matter how hard it seems. We will always meet those who judge and don't understand the condition fully but we must try to educate them if possible, and strive to help ourselves and others. All you can do is try and be a good person, learn from your mistakes, not be too hard on ourselves, and take each day as it comes.

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