Throughout my teenage years till now, I created a persona of me being the life and soul of the party. Always up for a drink no matter what day or time. Deep down, all that drinking and partying was a way for me to cover up and temporarily forget all the hurt and pain that i was really feeling.
My dad died when I was 12 years old. Sadly I witnessed the whole thing which kick started my PTSD, depression and anxiety. I started drinking when Iwas 13. I started off with vodka. Skipped all the WKD alcopop drinks and went straight to the hard stuff. I remember the night I first drank. It started off great but I soon ended up in tears. All the feelings and emotions I had built up were released. It was awful. I woke up the next morning feeling absolutely dreadful. I was in a dark pit of depression. I went back to school on the Monday and my friends were telling me how drunk I was at the weekend. The way they said and worded it was as though it was comical. Like it was the norm. So every weekend, i drank. Friday nights and Saturday nights were spent on my local park necking vodka. Sometimes I passed out. Sometimes I threw up or had a melt down. It wasn’t pretty but nobody really noticed or said anything, so I just kept going. People looked forward to me coming out because I would always 100% be getting drunk.
All through high school I was known as the ‘piss head’ of our year. When it came to the end of school, people wished that I wouldn’t change. That I would always be the life and soul of the party. Deep down, I knew this wasn’t great for me, but I couldn’t stop. I had such difficulty speaking about my feelings, alcohol helped me release them, but at the same time it was ruining my life. I wasn’t actually dealing with my issues and I knew that, but it was a lot easier to drink than to talk to someone. I couldn’t expect my friends to really notice or say anything to me. Drinking in your teenage years is pretty normal. My friends hadn’t been through what I had. They hadn’t seen what I had. Mental illnesses weren’t as well-known or recognised back then so I didn’t expect anyone to pull me aside and have a word, but deep down, I was wishing someone would.
After high school was done with I went on to college. I moved away for college so when I arrived I didn’t know anyone and they didn’t know me. It was the fresh start that I wanted. A few months in and people soon realised that I was the piss head. I was the party girl. I wanted/needed to make friends. What better way to do that than to pretend you’re a outgoing partier? So that’s what I did. I got in trouble with tutors for turning up to lessons still pissed from the night before or for being too hungover I couldn’t make the lessons. I had no one else to blame but myself. Deep down I was screaming for somebody to rescue me from this fake person I had become. I wanted help. I needed help. I just couldn’t ask for it. It was too difficult for me to admit I was struggling.
I got through college and I was still known as the piss head. I was the girl who could drink with the lads. I went onto work and my bosses realised that I loved a good drink and night out. And don’t get me wrong, I did, I just couldn’t control how much I drank and how much I went out. At one point I was working on a yard near Shrewsbury and my friends in Cheshire invited me on a student night out. Student nights are always in the middle of the week. So I finished work at 17:00pm, drove an hour and a half to Cheshire, drank the night away to then get 2 hours or so of sleep to then drive back to Shrewsbury for work at 7:00am. Why? Because if I didn’t go, my friends would say things to me that made me feel guilty of not going. Nobody wants to let their friends down, so I went. I didn’t want to, I knew it wasn’t safe or worth it, but my friends believed the persona I had created.
Last year was a shitter for me. Life really challenged me. Instead of accepting the challenges, I fought against them. I would ignore all my feelings and problems. As soon as it came to the weekend I would drink everything away. I started getting involved with drugs and I was fucking my life up. I was a mess, but nobody noticed because I had created this persona of myself. Everything became so much more difficult. My friend was at university and had invited me to a night out with her friends. So I went down there. She knew I had alcohol issues, but it was no good saying anything to me. I was in denial. My vision of myself was clouded by this persona. So I went down to her uni for the weekend. We started getting ready for our night out and I bought a litre of vodka for pre drinks whilst we got ready. A couple of hours later I had drunk the whole litre and was throwing up everywhere. We didn’t even make it out into town. I had embarrassed myself and my friend. The guilt I felt the next morning kick started my road to recovery. I started going to counselling and i was put on anti-depressants.
My job at the time was alright. Could have been better, could have been worse. I worked with a girl who was a couple of years younger than me, but we grew really close. She loved to party. So my persona and her personality clicked and the real me got roped into more alcohol and more drugs. I used to turn up at my counselling sessions broken. I didn’t want to have this persona anymore. It wasn’t me!! My doctor signed me off work just before Christmas last year. I was back in my pit of depression.
When 2018 arrived I vowed that I would improve myself. I cut all the crap out. I said what I was thinking or feeling and the fear of being weak was gone. I started feeling confident and empowered. Even though I had changed, the persona I had created still stuck with people who knew me. People would still assume that I went out at the weekend, every weekend. They would automatically think I was hungover on the Sunday when in reality I was just quiet! I’m a quiet person!! I don’t have the energy to be loud! I like to keep myself to myself! When I told them that I don’t really drink or go out anymore, they never believed me. But who would? They knew and sometimes saw how I used to be every weekend. It was what I was known for and they just can’t see me for anything else, but I never spoke about my thoughts, feelings or what I was going through so I can’t expect them to just magically think I’ve changed.
The persona I had created years ago is still with me today. I don’t carry it myself, but other people still do. When you go through difficult times, it can be hard to admit you need a bit of help. It can be even harder to admit defeat. No matter what I say to people now, they refuse to believe I have changed, but that’s fine. I know myself that I have changed. I’m healthier and happier now, even if they don’t realise it.
My point being, if you avoid your emotions you can make life more difficult than what it actually is. It’s okay to be upset. It’s okay to be hurt! It’s okay to not be okay. In a world filled with people, you can sometimes be left feeling so alone, and its scary, but there is someone who will listen to you. Who will be there and will help you if you ask for it. Getting yourself to a good place is all about accepting your struggles. Accepting that you need a helping hand. For me, I had to reach my breaking point before i realised that I couldn’t keep living like that. I couldn’t avoid my issues any more. My persona was something that stayed with me for about 10 years. I have a lot of happy and funny memories thanks to my persona, but I’m so glad I binned it. Its time to be my true self.
Remember to take time out for yourself. Heal yourself. Love yourself and embrace your true self. You’ve got this!
Love you all lots,