My Childhood - Mental Illness
My Childhood - Mental Illness4 mins 473 4 mins 473
From a very young age, I suffered with sleep problems and had very deep questions about reality. From as young as I can remember, I would lay in bed with racing thoughts unable to sleep, as I was asking the questions; Is my life a dream? Am I part of someone else’s dream? Am I in a coma? Is the colour of these pillows and those walls the same colour to me as it is to you? I never told anyone about my thoughts, and my grandmother would be sitting beside me telling me to count sheep to go to sleep.
I have quite a far-reaching memory of my youngest years. I remember the imprint of my pram, it was white with navy polka dots. I also remember learning to walk in my grandmother’s hall. My father died when I was two and a half years old. I remember asking where he had gone yet I have no memory of him, which is strange as I mentioned, I had much earlier memories than this. I presume it is a coping strategy that my brain has blocked these memories.
As before, I stated my issues with reality, I was always and extremely deep thinker. I was told that when I was about five or six years old, that my mother took me to my father’s grave so I could put a picture I had drew on his grave. My mother started to cry and I told her to stop being so silly, ‘It is only his bones that rest there, not his soul’. This is most likely why even today I do not see the point of open coffin wakes. This was reiterated when my partner Declan died of cancer aged 25. While his sisters fussed over his hair asking me if he would be happy with the way it looks, I kept thinking – he is cold and rock hard, that is just a body and he has gone somewhere better. This is confirmed by an NDE I had after overdosing (which I will discuss in detail in a further post).
From as young as the age of five, I can remember cutting my arms and standing in the kitchen with a knife to my throat or abdomen threatening to kill myself. My behaviour in primary school was off the rails. I began to see a child psychologist while I was in primary school and was diagnosed with ADHD, however, my grandparents who were raising me declined medication. I do not know if this was a sensible decision or not.
After primary school, I went to an all-girls catholic grammar school. I did not fit in and my behaviour there was also off the rails. I remember carving ‘no food’ into the back of my arm in maths class. I have never been diagnosed as having an eating disorder, although I currently have issues with food for different reasons when I am unwell. I began to see a councillor in this school. I did not find it helpful at all.
When I was in my late teens, I started taking illicit drugs including cannabis, ecstasy, aerosols and cocaine. I believe this was self-medication as I did not at this point have my true diagnosis. Obviously, the drugs made things worse and I was mitching off school and spending my lunch money on drugs while living in a drug house. I had my first overdose aged seventeen which nobody knew about as I was on my own. I was sick for days but did not seek any help. It was about a year later I contacted my doctor when I was feeling very depressed but his only suggestion was counselling while I was hoping for medication.
I did not have a normal childhood. It is only now in later life after multiple hospitalisations that I received the care I had needed but not received for years previously. I have now a correct diagnosis and medication has really helped me along with the support of my mental health team.