Going Forward With Life
I had hit rock bottom and felt like there was no way out. My mental health was the worst it had ever been.
I felt like the treatment I was getting via the NHS wasn’t helping me at all, so finding Impact was a ray of hope.
I’m 30 years old, I’ve been married for 8 years to a member of the armed forces and I’m a mother to one.
I’ve had periods of poor mental health throughout most of my life. I’ve always struggled with anxiety, depression and insomnia but I also had a period of post-natal depression after my son was born. I was also diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, which is exacerbated by my mental health.
Growing up I had a difficult childhood. I had very little relationship with my parents and struggled with feelings of neglect. Then, when I was 6, my brother was born and the gap just widened. I felt incredibly isolated and alone. Looking back on it now, I’m pretty confident my mother suffered from Post Natal Depression but at the time I was too young to understand.
As a teenager I was bullied for 4 years. I was verbally and physically abused on a daily basis but because of my home life I didn’t have anyone who could support me through this. When I did eventually reach out to my grandmother about being bullied; my parents removed me from the school and placed me into a new school. I was much happier and I flourished for a while.
I met my husband when I was quite young and we had 2 really fantastic years together before he joined the military. We’ve now been a part of the military for 10 years and during that time my mental health has declined rapidly. I became mentally co-dependent with my husband. Over the years I became incredibly needy and obsessive about his behaviour and we clashed repeatedly about his career. I didn’t realise that my behaviour had become toxic and I was slowly poisoning our relationship. I was always unhappy but couldn’t pin point why. At times I even questioned if our relationship was doomed to failure.
In 2012 we made the decision to try to have a baby. We were in a reasonably good patch and so when I became pregnant it felt like the icing on the cake. I didn’t realise then that becoming a parent would just increase the pressure on us as a couple. Having children within the military lifestyle can be pretty tough and we struggled at every stage. I resented my husband for leaving me alone with the baby to go to work. I felt even more alone and neglected. His career flourished and he was so happy and all the time I was supporting him, I started to hate him.
In October 2018 my husband was due to depart for a month overseas. During the weeks building up to this my son was incredibly unhappy, my dog became dangerously ill and my job was becoming increasingly stressful. I had days where I didn’t eat or sleep at all but in front of others I portrayed this controlled calm persona. When my husband eventually left, I’d had 5 solid days of no sleep and very little food. I managed to get my son up and dressed but whilst I was doing this I noticed a shortness of breath. This then progressed to a full blown panic attack. I knew in my heart that I needed professional help and managed to drive myself to my GP.
I had a desire to tell someone everything. All the things I was hiding from others and ultimately myself. He took some time discussing my symptoms and was pretty confident I was suffering from Generalised Anxiety disorder and Insomnia.
Although this isn’t one of my happiest memories, I now see it as the beginning of my recovery.
When I first attended Impact I had very little knowledge of mental health. I was initially hoping to learn about anxiety and how I could help myself to recover. Little did I know that it would not only educate me but fully equip me on my path to recovery.
Within the YOU programme I learned how to use RAMPS to ensure I was helping myself stay mentally healthy. This subject made me realise that I had fully detached and isolated myself from everyone around me, including myself!
I decided to completely overhaul my lifestyle and introduce new routines. Some of which included making new friends and becoming more physically active. I also introduced journaling into my daily routine and started a much healthier sleep pattern.
Once I realised I had better control of my wellbeing by utilising this tool I noticed a real improvement in my mental health.
When the YOU Programme finished I couldn’t wait to carry on with the learning so signed up for the YOUR Recovery Pathway Programme.
During the gap between the courses I joined an aerobics class, started meeting with friends at least once a week and sleeping much better.
I’m currently working through the YOUR Pathway to Recovery programme. It’s been another huge eye opener for me!
I finally understand that my relationship with my husband had become toxic and how detrimental it was to my wellbeing. I knew I needed to make some huge changes in that area of my life and the class gave me the knowledge on how to achieve this.
I had another ‘Eureka!’ moment when I realised that the pain I was carrying from my childhood was severely damaging me and no one else. I needed to allow myself to process what had happened and let it go. With this knowledge and the professional help I have been receiving from a private therapist I’m working towards this.
This time last year I was incredibly unhappy and couldn’t see a way out. Now, with the skills and tools I have learned and the changes I’ve made in my life, I honestly feel like I’m recovering.
I still have periods of anxiety but now I’m prepared and equipped to deal with these episodes.
My relationships are growing and adapting to my new mentality and I look forward to the future. I now have the strength to deal with my previous issues with my parents and I’m beginning to see the possibility of a relationship with them. Also my husband and I are now working together on improving our day to day life. I feel like I can become a much better wife and mother now.