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Rachael's Reality - How One Brave Girl Overcame Her Illness
It’s often called, “my story”, but I try and avoid this title. It’s not a story, it was my reality.
It is also quite intense and traumatic, but I don’t tell this for sympathy or praise, I speak about my battles to give hope, give a boost of strength to someone who may need it and to remove the fear of talking about Mental Health.
I suffered severe Anorexia Nervosa for 8 years, which lead to Depression after enduring 5 long hospital admissions and then resorting to becoming a participant in a scientific study, where I underwent electromagnetic brain stimulation.
I fought my heart out every single day to get better, but I had bullies controlling my mind and some say it was as though I was possessed, I was by no means choosing to be this way. I became so unwell that doctors said I may not survive and my parents had to take it in turns to check on me through the night.
I self-diagnosed myself at the age of 15, which is rare with Anorexia, but the doctors turned me away in saying “it was a phase and I’d be fine”. If they had listened, perhaps I would not have had to endure such a traumatic 10 years and missed out on so much of my young life.
Each time it got worse, yet each time we were seeming to have to fight harder to get the help I so desperately wanted and needed. We tried every form of therapy and called every hospital/clinic and rehab center begging them to give me a bed when I was on deaths door.
I’m the luckiest girl in the world to have had the family and friends around me that I did to keep me going and not allow me to lose the fight. What my parents had to go through was more traumatic than my own suffering.
The hospital admissions were tough, very tough. A year long and sometimes 4 hours from home. I still suffer from flashbacks and post-traumatic stress from these, in particular the admission where I was unable to go outside for 4 months, and when I could, it was to be pushed around the car park for 10 minutes in a wheelchair. It should never have come to this.
Despite it all, I count myself as incredibly lucky as I was saved at the most crucial moment. The moment I tried to take my own life.
But some were not so lucky, a friend just 2 weeks younger than me lost her life to mental health at the age of 22.
I don’t want anyone to be unheard, to feel alone, or to be turned away the way I was, the way Alice was. I wouldn’t wish what I went through on my own worst enemy. This is why I am so dedicated to help support people suffering from Mental Health illness and to creating a platform that people can trust, where they will be listened to and be supported.
Talking… it really could save a life.
If anyone is suffering from mental health illness or knows someone who is, find out what events and support is being offered by Rachael's new initiative Walk and Talk.