I was diagnosed with Depression when I was 12. I was suffering long before that, but apparently children don’t get depression. Or so we were told.
Finally, I was diagnosed – but it wasn’t much help. Not in the long term. It was a label and no more. And that label came with a price.
When I was 15, a child psychiatrist completely wrote me off as a hopeless cause. I spent years living under that cloud. I spent the next 20 years working so very hard to prove him wrong.
I trod the floorboards of the illustrious London Palladium – twice. I achieved many accomplished singing and performing qualifications and experiences. I was an appreciated nursing assistant in NHS hospitals. I was an exceptionally capable data quality analyst, despite having no formal training or qualifications. I was a capable horsewoman and yoga practitioner.
I have known only the mental health system. It was a shock when I left it and came to London. But I carried on regardless in the face of that, and I worked hard to be everything that I could be.
October 31st 2013… Everything came crashing down around me. I knew I was living in a glass house, but it seemed like it was bombs, not stones, that were being thrown.
My dog was in a ferocious fight with another dog. He was attacked by another dog after the unstable owner set her dog on him. It took us a long time to separate them. By the time we did, I couldn’t breathe. Paramedics were called, then I went to the GP. They diagnosed pneumonia. It turned out to the the straw that broke the camel’s back – and brought more bombs.
Work still insisted I go in to help them deal with a crisis. I had a terrified and traumatised dog to walk. I had to move house. Something inside me broke. My mind and my body clearly couldn’t take any more.
Every day, every week, every month I deteriorated. The pain was excruciating, breathing was almost impossible, moving became harder and harder. Between November and March I struggled. I refused to give in. But on 6th March I had to give up my job… A great early birthday present.
Since then, I have been living with the effects of the unrelated barrage of bombs. I have slowly learned to adapt to the shattered remains of what is left. There are no labels for it for some time. Chronic Pain and Depression were the best they could manage for a while. Eventually, they finally officially diagnosed it as Fibromyalgia.
After two decades of incredible struggling with myself, I finally got a diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome – something they all missed way back then, despite the barrage of psychiatric help I received over the years.
I wasn’t crazy. I was just… me.
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