It’s time for the final guest post of the blogathon and it comes from the lovely Alexandirna of Elysian Haze, who shares her mental health journey and her determination to fight against the stigma.
I’ve been staring at my computer screen for a solid 30 minutes, and the multiple days I’ve ignored this. I’m not sure what I should be writing, let alone whether it’ll be good enough, or whether it’s… I need to stop letting these thoughts ruin opportunities.
Let’s just back track a little bit and I’ll let you all know how I got here. In August of 2015 I got Glandular Fever, I missed three weeks of school and well, my life changed. The next term at school I was hardly there, I struggled to get out of bed, let alone stay at school. Headaches, fatigue, migraines. I felt hopeless and my friends weren’t really supporting me. I drifted and felt alone. It was horrible. My friends and I would talk about how we couldn’t understand why people self-harmed, but I understand. I had taken the blade out of a sharpener and kept it hidden. No one knew. I hated my life, I didn’t want to live. I felt numb, I cried over nothing, I just wanted to disappear. I smiled and laughed at school, no one questioned anything. I mean, my hips were the place whenever I took that razor out the draw. Writing this I’m coming to tears, it doesn’t help that I’m listening to a sad song.
This carried on into 2016, I tried a new style of learning my school offered which only isolated myself from my friends more. I never cried at school, but the amount of times I would burst into tears during a lesson was increasing. I stopped self-harming, I don’t quite remember when. The migraines, headaches, and fatigue continued. My parents didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know what to do. No one knew. I just was sick of feeling the way I did. I was too scared to tell my parents or friends or anyone that sometimes suicide sounded like a good option. It felt as though I was constantly going to the doctors and nothing happened. Until I went to a naturopath and he told me that what was happening to me was because of glandular. I started getting acupuncture, and I turned to blogging. I grew happier. I still suffered daily and missed a heap of school. I still felt alone, cried myself to sleep, and gave up most of my dreams. I had become reserved, isolating myself. I just couldn’t believe no one would ask if I was okay, especially for the second time, because I’m fine or I’m good when I could practically burst into tears is definitely a lie. I’m an extrovert who was becoming introverted and it was as though no one noticed. Friends also started getting into relationships, I third-wheeled a lot, I just simply felt alone.
And even in 2017. I realised I had put on fifteen kilograms from getting glandular fever. I felt fat, gross, unwanted. Friends were drifting and I was starting to mention it, and they’d agree, but we did nothing. I focused on school work, it was incredibly hard when everything around you seemed against you. I was still self-managing as such, I continued to go to acupuncture. Everything I was good at, I wanted to give up, I felt like shit. 2017 was blur. I went overseas without any of my friends and it was hard trying to fit into other groups because we couldn’t explore by ourselves. I was definitely starting to get the old me back. I think I’d have to thank blogging for that. The online community I had kept me going and it still does. Something I remember so clearly is going on a school excursion and listening to Autopilot (the acoustic version) by Joe Fox staring out the window. I was numb, and putting all of my energy into not crying. All of my friends were sitting next to each other or their partners. I was alone. Fly Away With Me by Tom Walker resonated with me so much. I turned to music. No one ever questioned my mental state, I definitely had a few panic attacks, which I blamed on asthma. I was not okay and I was too scared to reach out because of the stigma. My friends couldn’t understand. I mean, I was a happy A grade or B grade student who played sport and had a bunch of friends. Fuck, sorry for the language, but I wish I had had the courage to tell them I wanted to die. I needed to reach out and I didn’t. I still haven’t really, but I’m in the best place I’ve been in a while.
Onto 2018. My final year of high school. My fatigue was pretty strong still but I was returning to my old self as such. In reality I was making a new me. I was expressing myself better, I had come to realise that this year was going to be hard with friends and to just focus on my school work. I gained the opportunity to drive by myself. Sometimes, I thought it would be easier to just speed up and drive into a tree. I was helping everyone else out with their problems but no one returned the favour. Something that helped was turning to working out. I wanted to lose the weight and to not take up as much space as such. But, as I grew stronger I felt better about myself, life seemed so much better, I realised that working out and focusing on myself really helped. I didn’t think I’d need to reach out. I was finding ways around things. I didn’t cry as much during 2018 and life was worth living. I finished school and went back to doing a job that I love, tennis started up again and I had finally broken out of my fatigue. Things were becoming easier. Life was becoming more enjoyable. Self-managing had helped. Mum had made comments that when I was doing yoga in the previous years I had seemed happier.
And now here we are. Writing this is the first time I have cried this year. 2019, is going to be my year. I’m accepting the past and want to openly talk about it, talking to strangers on the internet is definitely easier than telling my friends I had thought about different ways I could kill myself. I never reached out for help and I really wish I had. But, I am stronger now and am ready to become even stronger. As I mentioned, I still have a wonderful online community in regards to my blog and people in my life are starting to become that. Finishing school was a sigh of relief. Yes, I’ve lost practically all of my friends, but I’ll be starting university soon and I know I’ll make some more. I’m excited for taking my life into my own hands. I’m excited for the future I am going to create. Yeah, sometimes I still think about driving into a tree and some pretty negative thoughts find their way through. I have already thought about self-harm again. But, I have a life I enjoy and I’m going to work extremely hard to keep it that way. Small baby steps. That’s all it takes. I just hope I have the courage to reach out if I ever feel the need to. And it’ll probably be to those who have been supporting my blog or my cousin or best friend who I trust deeply. This year I’ll be focusing on removing as many negative and anxious thoughts I can, I want to step out of my comfort zone without letting my mind destroy me for my decision. I want to work with myself instead of constantly being in a battle. I may still need to ask for help and say that I’m not okay, but for now I’m going to see where the year takes me.
I guess you could say blogging saved my life.
I’m not going to stay silent about this topic, I’m going to share my story, I’m going to listen to others, I’m going to speak up and talk about, I’m going to work towards breaking the stigmas surrounding mental health.
Alexandrina is an eighteen year old blogger who lives in the Barossa Valley of South Australia. She is always seeking adventure, striving towards living a zero-waste life, and is constantly trying to make the world a better place, whether that be the world, her world, or even your world.
You can find more of Alexandrina over on her blog and social media platforms:
To find out more about #TimetoTalk, check out this link and get involved.
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health then please don’t be afraid to reach out and talk to someone. You are not alone and help is available. By opening up and starting the conversation we can move forward together and look to a mentally healthy future. Below are links to a range of fantastic organisations that can provide information, advice and services.
The Samaritans: http://www.samaritans.org
Young Minds: http://www.youngminds.org.uk
Papyrus (prevention of young suicide): https://www.papyrus-uk.org
Self Harm UK: https://www.selfharm.co.uk
Time to Change: http://www.time-to-change.org.uk
Rethink Mental Illness: http://www.rethink.org
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: https://www.afsp.org
Please do not struggle alone.