You’ve probably gathered from the title that this blog post is not about books or bookish things… It’s about me, and the struggle that I have faced for seven years. I decided to share this with you to show you that you’re not alone. I wanted to speak out and help raise awareness of mental health and for years now, I’ve been trying to battle the stigma that has surrounded it.
So here we go… Here’s my story:
I was fourteen years old when my body started changing: my breasts started to develop, I was losing my baby fat, I started my period and hair was beginning to grow in places where I didn’t want it to.
Now, people could say that I should have been happy; I was becoming a ‘woman’. Instead, I felt horrified. Every day I would wake up and I’d want to cry. Over a year, my boobs had grown to a 32C, I had lost my baby fat but put on adult fat in the process and my bum was starting to get big… along with my thighs.
It’s safe to say that I hated myself.
Looking back, I know that I wasn’t fat, I wasn’t chubby. The thing is, I was friends with a lot of thin girls who were getting a lot of male attention. I was jealous. Not of the guy part – but of the thin part, of the confidence part. They had the confidence to wear short shorts and not get embarrassed by the stretch marks that were on their thighs, they could wear short shorts and not worry about their bum spilling out of the bottom.
I had girls tell me that they were jealous of my body, that they liked my curves, they were jealous I had a big bum. But every day, I looked in the mirror and cut myself where I thought I was fat: my stomach, my thighs, my ‘bingo wings’. I hated myself and I wanted to die.
I was sixteen when I had my first serious relationship. At this point, I was a 32D and had even more curves. My ex-boyfriend thought I was beautiful and he would tell me every day. He knew about my depression and anxiety, he knew about my self-harming. But for every time that he was supportive, there were two times where he would yell at me and say I was stupid.
That didn’t help with anything.
We broke up after a year and I found out he had cheated on me.
Cue broken heart #1.
I was single for a year and I fell into this black hole and I couldn’t seem to get out. I was self-harming at any moment I had and making myself throw up after meals. I wanted to be thin, I wanted to get all of the rubbish out of my system. I remember one day looking in the mirror and seeing red lines cover my entire body. I remember going to college and wincing every time I would sit down in class because my body hurt from the cuts.
That year, I went to Torquay with my parents and that’s when they found out about the self-harming and the depression. I was 17.
When I was 18, I met my dream guy: gorgeous, had all the same interests as me and he just… got me? You know?
He supported me throughout my weight struggles, he supported me throughout my self-harming and I couldn’t have asked for anyone better the dream of the future with, to have by my side during my first year of university, to have as a best friend.
We were together for 2 years and looking back, it was the happiest I’ve ever been. I was 20 when he broke up with me. He broke up with me 9 months ago. After two months of us being single, he was with someone else.
Cue broken heart #2 and the darkest phase of my entire life.
I’m now 21 years old. I’m still not over heartbreak #2. I left the university I was at when I was with him and I have started afresh. I am doing a course that I love and I’m surrounded by a group of friends that I love.
However, I am a 32E, my depression and anxiety have gotten worse, I am a size 10/12 and see myself as fat, I am no longer self-harming because I’m scared my parents will see it, but the temptation to do it every second is strong and I am on 100mg of Sertraline.
I have suffered from depression and anxiety for 7 years.
I do not remember what it feels like to wake up in a morning and not want to kill myself.
I do not remember what it feels like to want to get a pair of scissors and cut the fat off of me every time I look in the mirror.
I do not remember what it feels like to trust someone with my heart.
I do not remember what it feels like to go through a 24 hour day and not have a black cloud constantly hanging over my head.
But I will fight this. Even if it takes me another 7 years, even if it takes me another 17 years, I will fight this and I will win. I will not let my illness define me. I will not let it beat me. I will fight through the tears, through the pain and heartbreak and I will come out the other side feeling brand new.
I will look in the mirror one day and love the way I look, I will love my curves and my stretch marks. Because it’s beautiful to be skinny, thin, curvy and big. It’s beautiful to have freckles and stretch marks. You shouldn’t stress about that toe that slightly bigger than the others, those spots that just keep coming back or the fact that one boob is bigger than the other.
We will get through this together. We will love each other and support each other. We will cry together and laugh together.
We will beat depression together.
We will beat anxiety together.
We will beat OCD together.
We will beat eating disorders together.
We will beat bipolar disorder together.
We will beat multiple personality disorder together.
We will beat anything that stands in our way of happiness and we will show it – together – that we deserve to be happy.
I am Kirsty Hanson. And I am a survivor.