Mental illness is a thief.
It can rob you of everything, down to your very reason for existing.
Having suffered from mental illness since I was 12 years old, I’ve lost a lot. I’ve lost years that I will never get back and that hurts.
Sometimes people ask me about my past and I find it really hard to talk about. People say “You must have had some good times!” and yes, I’m sure I have, but when mental illness has been your constant companion for 17 years, it’s hard to see through the thick, black fog that clouds every memory.
Depression is a thief.
It robs me of all my energy, of my concentration, of my passions, my hobbies.
Anxiety is a thief.
It stole my ability to socialise, it confined me to my home, it destroyed my friendships.
Borderline Personality Disorder is a thief.
It took my confidence, it drains me emotionally, it took my flawless skin and left it scarred.
I’ve lost a lot to mental illness, despite fighting it every day. But in the past year, I really stepped up my fight, and with the help of appropriate therapy, support, and sheer willpower, I’ve started to claw back some of the things that were taken from me.
For example, I’ve started reading again. I used to love reading until mental illness stole my ability to concentrate. But now I’m on what I think is the right medication, my concentration has started to come back and I can finally read more than a few sentences without losing focus.
I’ve started trying to go places by myself again. It’s hard, and I still struggle, but I’ve managed a few little trips to the secondhand-book shop and the library. Yeah okay, I only managed to stay for a couple of minutes, but it’s progress, and I’m proud of it.
I still have a long way to go. But I’m trying.