I was always told to enjoy my childhood and teen years. Adults would say how the first 20 years of your life are the easiest and that you should make the most of them before the trials of adulthood itself.
I have found however that this is not the truth, I have found my adulthood a large amount easier than the previous 20 years. I know it’s still early days and I know I am still young but that does not reflect on the struggles that I have navigated through.
The modern world is making it increasingly harder for children to be free to adventure and make silly mistakes. The young are being forced to grow up and are piled with responsibilities when they have enough going on as it is.
Being a teenager is a very confusing time, both your physical and mental self is changing and you are given new ideals. You are forced to be an adult but are treated like a child, some of us can manage this stress but others, like me, can’t.
I always tried my very best to be the ideal child, to succeed and do all that I was told. However, I was not happy. I was no longer the person I truly was and I was suffering, only it took me a long time to realize that I was suffering with mental illness.
It is a truth that I have lived a particularly unlucky life and have been through more trauma than most, but it my experience it is not a competition. But I have, as an adult, found myself in recovery with a sense of freedom and ability to be who I was all along. It has turned out that all of the worries, stressed and warped sense of being has all but disappeared as I have crept out of the environments that made me so unhappy.
I have tried to end my life more than I can even remember, it became a habit because I just wanted the pain to end and I felt like I was the universes personal punching bag – I know what it’s like to feel like the whole world is against you and wants you to suffer. The thing is, at the time I thought my life would never get better but it did.
I am older, wiser and more in-tune with my mental health. It is a big bonus that I am married, living in my own home with a dog and the chance to pursue my dream of writing – but that is not the key point, although I never thought deserved any of these things.
The key point is, that I have allowed myself to be selfish, I know my limits and I can say ‘No’ if I need to. I understand that my mental health and my past does not define me and that those who hurt me where hurting themselves but it was not my fault.
The important thing to know is, that as much as I resent the phrase that ‘it will all be ok’ – it rings true in my situation. I am not rich, successful of anything that school told me defined your worth but I am content, I can smile and enjoy my life – I am rich in my mental health. Sometimes you just need know when to say no and walk a different path, even if you are alone for a little while, the most important person in your life is you.
Charlotte is a blogger, mental health awareness advocate and author of ‘After Suicide’ and ‘The house on The Avenue’
For more information visit www.charlotteunderwoodauthor.com