From Illness to Depression to Freedom
My mental health battle started due to ill health. I went from being a perfectly healthy, sporty and energetic nine-year-old. To a very poorly child, who very suddenly was experiencing several seizures a day and had a diagnosis of epilepsy. My reason for developing epilepsy was unknown, like many people diagnosed with the condition. The seizures made me feel scared, self- conscious and confused. This fear, then lead to crippling anxiety. With the combination of anxiety, anti-epileptic medication and still experiences seizures I was a very lost and scared child. As time went on, into my early teens. I continued to experience horrific anxiety. Anxiety to the point where I would be too scared to leave the house.
The combination of still experiencing seizures every day and anxiety, lead me into a deep hole of depression. Having both anxiety and depression is a confusing one. As when you’re depressed you just don’t care, you just want to stay in bed all day, not move and you can see no brightness in the day. However, when you’re anxious you care too much, your become very on edge and not being able to relax. Therefore, the two king of clash. But sadly, like many others I was experiencing both.
This lead me to having to be home schooled between the age of thirteen to fifteen. It was life crushing. I had no independence, no social life and no love for life. The anxiety and depression were taking over in all ways possible. I naturally am a very sociable, outgoing person but with everything happening it had lead me to become someone I truly wasn’t. I was just a big bucket of fear and sadness. After six years of experiencing this I finally communicated to my mum how I felt. And as I grew into my later teens, I learnt that talking is the best cure. I am so fortunate that I have an amazing support network around me, therefore I was able to talk to friends and family about it. Furthering from this I then had cognitive behavioural therapy and opened up deeply about my struggles to a therapist. It is daunting and scary, having to open up to anyone about your problems, but I truly believe it contributes hugely towards making you better. So, find someone, a friend, family member, doctor, partner that you trust and feel comfortable talking to as this really helps. And I know it is terrifying the thought of doing so but it really is the best option.
After getting help, this allowed me to lead a normal life. My seizures are now under control with medication. I am at university, studying my dream degree. Of course, I get the occasional day where I might feel a bit anxious or down. But that is when I turn to meditation. I find another useful tool for mental health is meditation, having a healthy and clear mind. Also eating healthy, exercising and a regular sleeping pattern. A combination of these three I find is another huge contribution towards my stable mental health. As having a healthy body, leads to a healthy mind. Exercise is a key part to this, getting your blood flowing and body pumping makes you feel so much better afterwards. So, if at the moment it feels too daunting talking to someone, then making these changes in your life can help hugely.
Mental illness is such a scary experience, you are confused and feel like you’re the only one. But by speaking and reaching out that is how you can and will get better, and it is never too late. I have been at a point where I just wanted to give up. But I came fighting back. The only thing that I wish is that I had got help sooner so I didn’t have to spend six years in the deep intensity of it. But what I hope is that people reading this can get help sooner than I did and make a change by talking to people about how you feel.
By Jasmine Banovic