Paranoid, defensive, angry, insecure, detached, and anxious. These are just a few words that described me for a long time. And for a 25-year-old living alone in the big smoke, that can be a harmful concoction of emotions.
The day I found myself homeless, 16 years old and feeling nothing but 100% pure fear of what my future could hold, life took me on a whirlwind of chaos and destruction. Not being able to hold down a job, starting fights with strangers in the street and sabotaging my relationship with my one true love. My obscene behaviour took me into a deep denial as I blamed everyone else around me instead of taking responsibility for my anger, depression and how the feeling of rejection consumed me.
Pressing that ”self-destruct button” over and over again, I found it easier to surround myself with resentment and disappointment.
It wasn’t until I was 28 and I had lost yet another job, spent two weeks in the same clothes and had not left my bed, I decided to turn to my doctor as I didn’t have anyone else to turn to. I didn’t know what to expect from asking the NHS for help. But my doctor referred to the right people and I went on to receive CBT. It was there I was diagnosed with depression and post-traumatic stress and I began a long road to recovery; which I’m still on. It is only now I have started psychotherapy after coming to terms with more help I needed to live a better life.
With 75% of adults who suffer with a mental illness that would have occurred and developed between the ages of 12 months old to 15 years. It is crucial that those who suffer aren’t afraid to turn to their doctor if they feel that have no support. More people are suffering with one or more illness than we even realise; but the feeling of isolation and loneliness can be more frightening than the Illness itself. Some people unfortunately believe receiving help for mental illness is like fixing a broken leg; however, it is way more complex and sufferers (and non-sufferers) need to be aware and recognise the signs that may resurface in hard times and know that therapy offers the tools to manage and survive those dark days.
Staying true to yourself and not losing sight of who you are is so crucial.
The day I looked at myself and I didn’t recognise the good person that I am, was when I knew I needed serious help. Underneath all that negativity, anguish and resentment, there was just someone who from the day they were born, received neglect, unpredictable surroundings and torment. I’m soon to be 36 and next year I am marrying my one true love – the one I got back after taking that time to be kinder to myself first.
For anyone reading this who may or may not have spoken to their doctor: do not feel ashamed, don’t be too hard on yourself, take each day as it comes and try not to lose sight of who you are – because underneath all of the pain, you are a good person.
Naomi Hefter was once a stand up comedian but left the world of entertainment to write. With her first book out in 2019, she hopes her memoir that is filled with chaos, unpredictable hilarious excitement and sheer vulnerability will help others who are suffering from mental health issues and also feel inspired to do what they want in life.
Naomi is currently writing her second memoir and is writing more features for mental health organisations to help more people in need. For further details on Naomi and dates of her book launch, please check out her website on http://www.naomihefter.co/uk