This is a very special edition of our blog from a young person I have coached.
For this edition 14 year old Ella shares her journey on attitudes to mental health and, how mental ill health has affected her life.
Ella shares her very personal story, read it here...
I’ve always been a very happy, positive girl. I liked to try and see the positive in every situation. I like to believe that people see me as a very bright person who has no issues in her daily life. However, just like every single person in the world, I do have my own problems.
When I was first brought to this beautiful world my birth parents decided they couldn’t keep me. So, they chose to abandon a four-day old baby on the street.
Growing up I always knew I was different, I never really felt different within my new family though. I knew they all loved me endlessly and that made me feel the best kind of happy. I was and still am a very anxious child. I hated big changes because I didn’t know what they would bring. Changing school years and school was a very big struggle for me. Yet with the brilliant friends I have, although I was scared, I knew I could count on them to make me feel safer.
Throughout the higher years of Primary School, I was having a really hard time. I began to realise I would never see my birth family, I started realising I was different, I didn’t look like my family and everybody knew that. My anxiety became even worse.
When I was going to Secondary School I was feeling apprehensive that people would soon find out about me being different. Nonetheless, I carried on with working hard, but maybe a little too hard. I managed to miraculously make friendships with lots of people, some of the friendships drifted apart but some have stayed strong since day one.
I was loving life, I had the best friends I’d ever had and I suppose I was doing alright in my school work. I had adjusted to my new school, I was at peace with my early start in life, and I thought life could only go upwards from then.
As you and I know, many teens these days have social media, me being included. I would scroll through Instagram liking what my friends had posted, seeing what Cara Delevingne had recently done and at that point I loved social media, I couldn’t see any negative sides to it.
That is until my mind went haywire and decided what I looked like wasn’t good enough for the world to see. I wouldn’t want to eat, I couldn’t even think about food or be near it otherwise I felt as if I were about to throw up all my insides. At school, my wonderful friends had started to notice I wasn’t eating my lunches, maybe I’d have an apple for lunch and that was it. I kept on telling myself it was nothing and that I would never have an eating disorder.
One night I realised everything was wrong, I wasn’t happy anymore, I was always tired, I just felt awful. I ended up spilling everything out to my mum, I couldn’t keep it in any longer. I admitted that I hated my body, I hated the way I was formed, I hated everything. My mum hearing all of this decided to take me to the Doctors, who then referred me to the Dietitian.
Subsequently, my anxiety kicked in again but this time it brought depression. This was the worst I had ever felt. I didn’t know who to talk to, I kept it all in which led to many nights of crying myself to sleep feeling lonely and isolated.
Lucky for me my best friend came to the rescue. Being the amazing person she is she was there for me whenever I needed her. I had some really terrible days. I hated myself, I hated everything about me and I didn’t think I was worth living my life anymore. I’m not going to lie but there were times I was thinking of and starting to plan my suicide. I told my best friend everything, this being included.
However, I knew I couldn’t give her all my problems to deal with, it wasn’t fair. So, I went to counselling (which as you may know is a type of therapy), for me it wasn’t the right type of therapy. I didn’t feel like talking about my feelings helped me that much. I wanted to know ways I could be helped! I wanted to know how to deal with my feelings and how to control my emotions from getting out of control and thanks to my wonderful coach Sharon, I am there!
Working with Sharon I’ve learnt some tools that have empowered me to feel that I can do something positive about my difficult feelings and how to be the boss of my brain so that I can start to manage my anxiety better.
Together we have looked at;
Mindfulness techniques including meditation and calm breathing
Keeping a thoughts journal
Use a happiness jar
The power of positive thinking by creating positive affirmations to say to myself
To recognise my strengths
Set myself achievable goals and challenges
There are other strategies too, that I haven’t mentioned
Don’t be disheartened if one type of therapy isn’t working or even one strategy. There are so many types of therapy and not all of them are going to suit you but eventually, even if it feels like a lifetime, you will find the right one for you.
The other thing that has really helped was to set myself goals, and recently I trained for and completed a half marathon, this meant that I needed to focus on eating healthily and doing exercise regularly, both of which has helped me progress in my journey. Completing my half marathon with my best friend was an amazing achievement. One of the charities I chose to run for was YoungMinds.
Now eleven months later here I am writing this for you to read and hopefully benefit from. If you’re going through a rough time, just know that you will get better. It may take three months maybe two years but you can get better, it just takes time. No matter your situation, you’re a beautiful human being and even if you don’t believe in yourself, I believe in you. You deserve a wonderful life, but you need to be truthful and need to talk to somebody about it. Just remember that I love you and you should love you too❤
I’m growing in my journey and have found that sharing my story has helped. I recently spoke at one of Sharon’s parenting masterclasses to a room full of parents about my personal journey with anxiety and have subsequently been asked to speak at a huge conference at Wembley for Teach First. I find it helpful for me and I’m hoping that if someone hears my story and seeks help that would be amazing.
Sharon says “It’s ok to not to be OK, but it’s not ok to stay not feeling ok” it means that all of us can do something, even it’s a little something and that might be to tell someone how you feel.
If you feel the need to talk to someone, I am always open to talk. Sharing my story was a step in my journey. So you can just email Sharon and she can forward it on. If you found this useful I’d love your feedback x
If Ella's story has affected you, I’d love to hear how you felt about this and our other blogs – comment at the bottom and contact me via;
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