Hannah's Story

My name is Hannah, I’m 22 years old and struggle with my mental health on a daily basis. I want to share my story as it’s therapeutic for me but also if it helps at least one person understand or relate, it’s served its purpose.

From near enough the start of my mental illness and disorder, I didn't know what was happening to me.

My first memory of body image issues was when I was looking in the mirror at myself in my primary school jumper and just cried my eyes out because I was ashamed of my body.

At the age of 14, I was struggling socially, had really low mood, self-harmed every day, and had suicidal thoughts and panic attacks. My teachers picked up on it and spoke to my guidance teacher who one day took me straight to the GPs’ practice after school because I told her I was too unsafe to walk home.

When I hit the age of 16, I was admitted to an adult acute psychiatric ward awaiting transfer to children’s services as there were no places in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS). I had previously seen a psychiatric nurse who dropped my case because there was “nothing he could do to help me.” Feeling hopeless and worthless, on one side I wanted to get help but on the other I just really wanted to die. I went to the GP again who referred me to outpatients so I got a new psychiatrist and nurse. Hence the beginning of hospital life. Although my journey started 12-18 months prior to referral to CAMHS out patients.

I have Anorexia Nervosa and Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder (EUPD) but in the past I have been diagnosed with lots of different disorders like schizophrenia and because of the nature of the illness no-one believed me otherwise. Basically personality disorders can mask lot of symptoms. When it’s a broad term to cover many symptoms. It’s more common than you think.

Personality Disorder do NOT equal psychopath.

Nor am I psychotic, I may have had a few episodes in the past but not anymore. Psychopathic tendencies are different from psychotic episodes.

Before being referred to outpatients services I had never even heard of anxiety, never mind how it affects people.

I’d walk out of classes to catch a breath because I could barely make it through the day without self-harming. During panic attacks or stressful situations (PE) I’d swear profusely and blush chronically. I was beyond mortified and self-conscious.

Sometimes staff treat me well although I wasn’t allowed to see a film with my sister at the cinema which I was more than able to. I think that was unfair as I wouldn’t put my sister at risk. All I had was a walk in the park with 3 staff and family but then Corona Virus appeared and my walks disappeared. Most of the Health Care Assistant’s and nurses are helpful, I have many therapeutic relationships and trust a few staff members completely.

Discrimination is so invalidating, I may have a personality disorder, but I AM NOT a personality disorder. I’m emotionally dysregulated, and impulsive/opportunistic but I never truly judge others. I have issues with my weight, but that’s MY weight. Sometimes I will struggle with thinner people but it’s just because I’m jealous. Stigma makes people feel ashamed of talking about their mental illnesses/disorders. It’s never too bad to talk about.

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