MENTAL HEALTH // Stephanie's Story

17.6.17

Mental Health Stories - Personal Interviews (Coffee at Cognito Deli Aberdeen)

Hello, lovelies! It's time for another instalment in my series of mental health stories, from those brave enough to share some of their own struggles and experiences.

This time it's the turn of Stephanie* (not her real name), so grab yourself a cuppa, make yourself comfy and let's hear what this wonderful woman has to share...

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To begin, my first question is simply this: Who are you? For anyone who doesn’t know you, tell us a little bit about yourself..
I'm a 23 year old nurse in North East Scotland. I'm married and have my own house and a pet chihuahua. I adore my little family. 
Can you tell us a bit about your own experience of mental health/ill-health? 
I've been struggling with depression and self-harm since I was 13. I experienced a negative life event when I was 14 and developed anxiety at this time also. I received counselling for the first time when I was 18. When I first went to the GP about how I felt I was told about helpful websites, but was told to "come back if you don't kill yourself". I did go back when I was 19 and was referred to a psychiatrist in Aberdeen. Since then I have been diagnosed with Bulimia Nervosa, OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) and BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder). 
Where are you at on your journey today?  
Today I still struggle with low mood, binging, purging, restricting and self-harm as well as crippling anxiety at times. I'm not at my worst but I'm still not at my best. 
What things have aided you in your recovery and/or helped you to cope day-to-day? 
I've received Mentalization Based Therapy which has been very helpful. The thing I've found most helpful is inpatient admissions which have left me feeling hopeful and positive as the support and therapy I received in the unit was brilliant. 
What impact has mental ill-health had on your life as a whole? What has it cost you? 
Ultimately, my mental ill-health has nearly cost me my life quite a few times, I'm sorry to say. It has also nearly cost me my job and my relationship with my husband. I've lost many good friends to my disordered behaviour. 
Would you say you’ve gained anything positive from your experiences? 
The main thing that I have gained from my experience is a better patience with other people and better understanding. I'm a better friend, at times, because I can listen and make others feel like they aren't alone. I'm not so short-tempered with people who are struggling like I used to be. 
What are your hopes for the future – mental health and otherwise? 
I'm hoping for a full recovery in the near future, however I am aware it may take years for me to fully recover. I want to be the best wife and friend as well as the best nurse and want to excel in my career and one day be a nurse manager in my local hospital where I myself have received life saving treatment.

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Thank you so much for sharing with us, Stephanie. I'm a little in awe of the fact you manage to hold down such a high pressure job in spite of all your difficulties and I wish you the best of success in both your career and your mental health journey going forwards!

If you too would like your story to be featured as part of this series, please drop me a message via the contact details on my 'About' page. I'd be delighted to have your help in normalising the conversation and tackling the stigma surrounding mental ill-health! ;)

xo

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