It’s truly amazing how erratically unstable my life has been, especially since come off the high I was on in January. I know life is supposed to have its ups and downs but at 22, this was not quite the down I was expecting. Flashback to January, I felt invincible having overcome my anxiety and gained confidence in managing it before they peaked to an attack. I was living the life during my break from school – meeting tons of new people, traveling, engaging in new and exciting hobbies, exploring spirituality and really developing myself. I was loving life and myself. I even met a guy who swept me off my feet, a true gentleman, I thought to myself! And to top it all off, we had so much in common and he inspired me. Fast forward to the end of February and early March – I (against my better judgment though I shouldn’t beat myself up for it now), answered my ex after he tried to contact me through 3 different emails after having blocked him. He said he needed my help. He begged. I broke. And so we spoke. All my deep feelings for him rushed back. I felt conflicted. I was still in such a vulnerable point in my recovery that I eventually relapsed. He had confided in my that he needed my help. He said that he had attempted suicide and that he couldn’t get through it without me. What could I have done at the time? I cared and I was worried so I agreed. But after he went off, I immediately began to sense panic rising in me. It did not feel right. While I wanted to help him, I didn’t have it in me too. Not to mention I wanted to leave my past behind me. For the next few days I found myself in extreme stress, tossing and turning over trying to make a decision about what to do. I knew that I needed to stop contact for my own sake, each time I thought about him my anxiety would peak. Everything within me was screaming to go. Eventually, I did and it wasn’t pretty. I tried to explain my state, and make him understand why I couldn’t be there for him. He didn’t get it. I could sense that he felt betrayed. This guilt haunted me. The regret that I had replied in the first place crippled me. I know, I’m hard on myself. But in a way, I felt that I had owed him because of my own past mistakes. And well, I’d never loved anyone like I did him. He had previously meant the world to me. I loved him with my whole being, and even now I do wonder whether I’m capable of ever feeling the same way again. Not that I won’t love again, but just not in the same way. So how the fuck could have I have turned my back on that? I of course, soon found out that it wasn’t to be for me. So eventually, contact ceased. It left me in a terrible state. I tried to speak to my then boyfriend and while he tried to be there, our relationship was new and he was busy working on his projects overseas so I didn’t want to lean on him too much or felt I could. I wasn’t very close to my family so I didn’t confide in them for relief either. I spoke to a friend but still, I couldn’t shake the intensity of the negativity. Sleepless nights followed. Days of feeling on the edge and just downright miserable. I felt doubtful of myself and my character. I just felt like an awful person for having left someone in dire need despite constantly reassuring myself that it needed to be done for my own sake and that they themselves said they’d be fine. That’s when it started. Apparently, and unbeknownst to be until recently, in addition to anxiety and depression, I suffer from OCD (specifically pure O). Now I personally don’t want to go into the specifics of what played out in my head and continues to two months later, but at the time, I felt it had destroyed me and that there was no way to live on when I had thoughts like this in my head. Intrusive and disturbing thoughts replaying as if on a loop, telling me and showing me things trying to convince me that I wanted and was capable of carrying those actions out. I’ve always had a kind heart so this killed me in on the inside. I couldn’t sleep for days. On the fourth, I was so disoriented that I hallucinated someone had spoken to and touched me. On the fifth, I had a complete meltdown. I screamed for help and hyperventilated. I was such a mess. Eventually, I ended up in an observation ward. My family were made aware. Everyone was taken aback and confused. No one knew what to say or do. Where it had all come from. I felt heavy inside, crippled by the constant anxiety and torment of my thoughts. Every day felt like hell from then on. I started to go back to therapy. My therapist suggested that I go on medication because, given the circumstances, her therapy alone was not enough so I did. The weeks that then followed were even more unbearable. Nights of screaming, nonstop flashes of violent imagery and thoughts that went on for hours, tears of pain, me begging my family to tie me down at night in fear that I might hurt one of them, etc. One day it was so bad my dad had to hold me down to prevent me from grabbing a knife and offing myself. The thoughts were just so unbearable. I wanted them to go. I didn’t want to live any longer. They tried to convince me the only way I could escape was by ending my life. Thankfully, my family kept me in check and continues to. Since then (which was less than a week ago), I’ve gone to see my therapist again and she’s now going to be more focused on CBT to treat me. All I can do at the moment is trust the process. I’ve been on meds about a month now and I’ll admit they’ve calmed me and lessened the intensity of the thoughts but they still waft in day in and out. They still bother me. I find it hard to be happy. I still have bouts of episodes where I don’t want to go on any longer. I’d literally be walking in the street and just come to a halt, hang my head down, and had to do whatever I could from falling to floor and just giving up. I had to call to be escorted home, and when my family could they made sure I was escorted to and from wherever it was I need to be in the day…but as my sister said when she quoted Winston Churchill, “When you’re going through hell, keep going” (not sure if those are the exact words and not too bothered to google it). I’m just hoping and trusting that in time, this too shall pass. I try to be positive. I have a lot of supportive factors in place that allow a solid foundation for a smooth recovery – loving friends and family, understanding school, medication, therapy, etc. I also try to look back at the improvements I’ve been making. My mother no longer needs to bathe me. I can sleep on my own. I can eat if even just a little. I can sit in class. Basic functions have returned. I’m trying. It’s a daily fight for my sanity and my life. I miss the innocence and carefreeness I once had. The purity of heart. The fiery confidence and playful attitude. Why? I’ve asked myself over and over since it began. Why is this happening? Why me? Why THIS? What purpose does this serve? What plan does God have for me? And how much more pain can I be expected to endure? Doubt and fear feed the illness, and so I try to do what I can to combat it and build upon myself. It’s not easy. Some days (maybe 2), I’ll feel strong. Then the next, it’s two steps back. Didn’t they always say that the 20s were supposed to be some of the best times of your life? Never would I have imagined that I would spend it going through experiences such as being tied down in an observation ward as people hollered out loud or spoke silently to themselves around me (though I have to be grateful that I was able to get out before they decided to commit me). Never would I have imagined I would have to deal with this illness. Never would I have imagined that I would be making regular visits to a psychiatrist for medication and to therapy sessions. Thinking about it now, I want to cry but I’m too exhausted. I didn’t want any of this to happen but it has. So what can I do but accept it and work with it. I need faith. I need hope. God, I’m crying out to you as I write this. I need you in my life. I need the strength to persevere, the love to overcome the fear, and the hope for better days. I surrender myself to you. I have nothing more left to lose. To all those going on about in their daily battles, I commend you for still fighting on. Don’t give up. Please don’t give up. I have to trust and hope you will too – that all of this is just going to get better. That there’s a reason. And that we’ll get stronger. My heart goes out to all those who suffer. I pray for your recovery and for you to push through. Please believe in yourself, and I will try to too.