I was chatting to my high school friend N on MSN last night. She asked what was new with me. I look back at what’s new with me and all I can think of is that I took an OD, had an ambulance come, have had to deal with my parents and a friend finding out all my mental health issues, have been seeing a GP way too frequently and have been referred to a psychiatrist once again. But I can’t tell her that. I could tell her that I have been working and doing badly in Uni, but that’s nothing new. So I reply with, “Nothing really.” I asked her in turn what was new for her. She said that she is now going out with someone, she has a rugby game on the weekend, she’s been offered a permanant position at her volunteer place and she’s just started work experience at a vet and it’s going really well.

I should feel happy for her, and I am happy for her, but I have to admit hearing about how she’s got all these great things going on for her was a bit of a blow for me. I feel like I am missing out on life. What N described to me about what she’s doing is what I should be doing with my life. It’s the sort of thing a normal, everyday 18 year old girl should be doing. Having relationships with guys. Spending time with friends. Enjoying your hobbies. Working somewhere you enjoy and trying to get ahead by doing work experience in your chosen career.

She says that she feels like time is passing her by too fast and she looks back and thinks that her life was whizzed past her. She wants life to slow down so that she has time to enjoy it, and I wonder what it would feel like to be loving life that much. Whilst she may feel wistful about the first eighteen years of her life passing her by already, she can at least look back onto her life and think fondly about it and feel like she’s accomplished something or at least enjoyed the ride. I look back at my life and I think, ‘What a waste.’ I feel like I have accomplished nothing and instead of enjoying my childhood and adolescence, I have been stuck dealing with my mental health issues.

When I reflect back on my childhood, I feel sad for the little girl who was bullied in primary school and found it difficult to make friends. I feel sad for the little girl who started experiencing depression and started self harming at age twelve. I feel sad for the little girl who did not have a happy childhood because she was quiet and shy and had a lot of anxiety. I feel sad for the little girl who had a strict and controlling father and did not feel loved by her parents during her childhood. I feel sad for the little girl who was so eager to please, who tried to hard to do well at school, yet felt like she was pleasing no one. This little girl however, still had some hope that things would improve once she was all grown up.

I’m not a little girl anymore. Some of those issues have been resolved, a lot haven’t, and some new issues that have come up too. The bottom line is that I’m still struggling despite growing a bit older and becoming a legal adult in this world. I can feel sad for the little girl who stuggled so much to find peace and happiness. But right now I am angry and disappointed at myself for shattering that little girl’s hope that there would be change for the better. That hope is slowly diminishing and is instead being replaced with despair. I wish I could tell that little girl that things will improve, you will make it out of this, that you become happy and successful. But alas, I can’t.

I could tell myself that I am only eighteen and still young, have my whole life ahead of me, there’s still so many years for things to improve, yadda yadda. But I don’t believe it. All I can see is, life was dark back then, life is dark right now and therefore life will continue to be dark in the future. Maybe getting help again from mental health professionals can be seen as a step forwards, to ensure that my future is not as bleak as I am anticipating it will be. But I can’t help seeing it as a step backwards, as it means that I am no better and have not improved in the least despite having had treatment before. If I didn’t improve at all last time, what’s to say it won’t happen again for the second time and I end up still being no better?

My friends are moving forwards in their life. I should be doing the same. Instead, I have been left stranded at The Station of Hopelessness & Despair while they have all managed to hop on the train that takes them to new and exciting destinations.

4 thoughts on “Stranded

  1. Well I’m 24 and I only really feel that I’ve started to really live, so it’s never too late. In a way, by dealing with our demons now, we are luckier than many, because we learn skills for life early on, skills which other people might not ever learn. Every experience, even the negative ones, has something positive in it, something that we learn from, and everyone has their own path through life, so we can’t accurately compare ourselves with others.

    You too can enjoy life, and by seeking help for your problems you are taking important steps to ensure this. There is plenty of time left to enjoy the world. As I said, it’s taken me 24 years to finally embrace life!

    Sarah x

  2. I have heard the same words in my own head many times. Depression has a way of lulling you into these false delusions that things will always be terrible. But sometimes things are terrible and sometimes they’re not so terrible. Just try to remember, that’s not YOUR voice telling you that it will always be dark. That’s the voice of Depression. I know it all too well, as I can see you do. Keep fighting. It’s worth it.

    Take care of yourself,

    Alison Rising

  3. I’m sorry you feel awful about yourself and it is hard when people seem to moving ahead of you, but it is really true, you can still get ahead and it doesn’t matter if you take longer than others, it means that when you are happy, you will appreciate it so much more that someone who has taken their happiness for granted. I am a lot older than you and I really do understand where you are coming from because I was that little girl too but it was my mum who was the horrible controlling one in our family. I was bullied and I start to SH really young. But now I don’t do all of those maladaptive things. I have learnt and are still learning to live a good life and I think it’s something you have to constantly work at. It’s not over for you, not by a long shot. Things will one day be the way you want them to, because even though you’re not there yet, you do want to change and that’s half the battle!

  4. This is so hard for me too–I’m 26 and I feel like I’ve accomplished next to nothing in my life. I’m still living at home and I’m watching my sisters get engaged, start college and basically get on with their lives. But what I’ve realized is that everyone is at a different places and no one place is better or more meaningful than the other. I think your passion for helping others and for promoting awareness about mental health is really amazing and definitely something to be proud of. And you’re not your friend and just because she is doing different things with her life now doesn’t mean she’s better or something gotten more from life than you. And you will get to the place where you want to be. You still have a lot of time. You will get there!

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