My story of trauma and mental illness is a long one, so I won’t go in to every detail. But I thought I’d begin my blogging journey with an insight into my life, and to share what has brought me to this point.
I was 12 when things in my life started to go in an unexpected direction. I experienced trauma for the first time and it has marked my life in a way in which I will never be able to recover from. I was sexually abused and developed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder which began a series of life events which would hold me stuck in a cycle of trauma and mental illness for years. This of course carried along with it depression, anxiety, drug and alcohol issues, hospital, medications, various diagnosis’, a lack of education, no qualifications, unemployment and even now Fibromyalgia; a chronic illness which causes a number of physical symptoms and pain. These are just a few of the things I have been up against since I was 12 years old.
I am now 26 and the biggest difference in my life now is that I have a voice, and I am not afraid to use it. I have spent so much of my life feeling powerless and without a voice. I have spent years hiding. I have felt ashamed. I have felt as though to become part of this world I needed to forget my past, to deny my experiences and to hide the part of me which taught me to survive all of those years. I no longer want to hide, and I no longer want to feel ashamed of the person I am who has survived. I want to use my voice, and so this is why I have created this blog and why I am now going to use my voice to talk about my experiences. Trauma and mental illness has shaped my life in ways which have brought me to my darkest moments, but it has also shaped me to become the person I am today. Today I am someone who is at university studying Community Learning and development. Today I am someone who stands up for what is right in this world. Today I am someone who has worked as a youth worker and empowered young people who have had similar experiences to me. Today I am someone who one day wants to change something in this world for people experiencing mental illness and trauma. Today I am proud of who I am. Today I will use my voice to talk about what is important.