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Why My 30th Birthday Is Proof Things Get Better With Mental Illness

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Editor's Note

If you struggle with self-harm or experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, visit this resource.

Today is my 30th birthday.

I have a story to tell. Normally, I wouldn’t share this much, but here it goes.

This is why you should believe the whole “it gets better, you will get through this” line.

When I was 15, I drank, did drugs, I self-harmed and had my first suicide attempt. I was friends with the people who would have been considered the “bad crowd,” but were some of the best and nicest people I’ve known. I don’t think they even knew how much they helped me keep going. However, at the time, I honestly didn’t believe I would reach my 20s. I was sure I would be dead by then, either by my own hand or my lifestyle choices.

When I was 18, I was drinking even more, I was on harder drugs, I self-harmed less, but I was in an abusive relationship with an older man. I ended up pregnant, but I lost that baby, and honestly, for a while that destroyed me. Somehow, even though I felt like I was spiraling, I managed to leave the relationship and stop all the hard drugs and self-harming. At this time, I thought, “Maybe I will survive until my 20s, but I won’t reach 25.”

When I was 23, I sat in a police station giving a statement because the man I had been in an abusive relationship with (yes, another one) had snapped. I would later need to attend the hospital for X-rays and an MRI. I felt like I had nothing left.

Once again, I was friends with the people who would be considered the “bad crowd,” but were actually good people. Some of them did what they could to pull me back, to help me get myself back. They did everything they could, but I couldn’t fight my own head. I ended up self-harming again, and attempting suicide again on New Year’s Eve. Over the next few days, I connected with my doctor and asked for help. This time, I was conflicted. I didn’t believe I would reach 25, but I also wanted to try.

When I was 26, I had an emotional breakdown. I felt completely out of control. Everything felt too much all the time. I was drinking more to try to ignore how I was feeling. I had slipped and self-harmed a couple times, but was fighting so hard to not do it again. I was convinced I would end up killing myself just to make how I was feeling stop. I felt like I was losing it. I didn’t believe I would live to the end of the year.

I begged my doctor for help. She didn’t know what to do. No medications or therapy had worked. She referred me for an emergency psychological evaluation.

They saw me the next day.

I got a diagnosis: “Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder.” AKA, borderline personality disorder (BPD). I was confused and scared, but relieved. I had something to focus on.

When I was 28, I was finally, after much trial and error, on a medication that worked. I was seeing a psychiatrist every couple of months. I was being open about my mental health, and talking when things got hard. I was (and still am) in a great relationship with a good man. I even quit drinking. I was actually learning to manage my disorder. Even with all this, my mental health still scared me.

Today, I’m 30. For so long, I never believed I would get here. I still have bad days, some of them really bad, but I get though them every time. If I can survive everything I’ve just told you, and everything I didn’t tell you, I can get though any bad mental health day life throws at me.

This is why you should believe the whole “it gets better, you will get through this” line. Because it’s true. It might not feel like it right now, but if I can make it though, anyone can.

#StayStrong #KeepFighting #ItsOkToNotBeOk

Unsplash image by Japheth Mast

Originally published: February 20, 2020
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