This may be long so I’m going to split it into 2 parts for both my sanity and any readers! But I do think it is important to talk about your experiences with others and so here goes!
I don’t have a great memory of my childhood but it was happy and healthy and early on I developed my talent and passion for singing, music and art. The reason my memories are fuzzy probably stems from the events that took place around the age of 12 in my life. My father had been carrying out an affair and a web of lies for some time and I cant fully remember how, but we found out. From here there were months, years even, of awful events and relations at home. My dad continued living with us promising that he would change but all trust and respect from myself and my mum was gone. When he finally moved out (and into the home of his other woman), although the family was forever changed, I felt better not having him around. But my Mum couldn’t cope with any of this. After 17 years of marriage and believing they were a happy couple, her world fell apart. My mum overdosed and I found her. Although the hospital saved her, it was incredibly traumatic, leaving my self worth utterly shattered after the betrayal of my father and the near loss of my Mum who felt life was no longer worth living. In the following year my Mum attempted sucide 2 more times.
As you can imagine this was really hard. I couldn’t stand to be around my Dad but was forced to spend time with him, and my Mum was a mess with incredibly low self worth, which clearly rubbed off on me. Being a teenager at the same time was also difficult. I was bullied throughout my teen years at school because of the publicity over my music and performing (which was the only thing I loved and kept me going). I had no one to stick up for me and it all just knocked me deeper and deeper within myself. I look back on these years and want to hug the young me and tell her that she’s worth something, because it was so very hard and the start of my tendency to be depressive.
During these years I took part in music shows with other students of my singing teacher and formed a closeness with an older boy. He was my first real crush. I was 11 when I met him and he was 16. He used to touch my leg, kiss me on the cheek and make me feel like maybe he might actually like me! This went on for years and his physicality with me increased. He would ask me to show him my body over webcam and when I’d say no he would say “But I thought you liked me?” There was definite guilt trips and other mind games going on. On a trip to visit a mutual friend he snuck into my bed at night and tried to touch me and kiss me. It was at this moment that I realized that there was something not right about this. Yet I still tried to convince myself that it was great that he obviously liked me! I had huge conflict about it, but the way I would feel when things like this happened made it hugely evident that I didn’t want it and wasn’t ready for it. I continued to ignore it until one afternoon when he picked me up to go to a bbq with singing friends. He parked up the car and began kissing me and then held my hand and forced me to ‘pleasure him’. I felt like I couldn’t get any words out…I just sat there crying- he knew I was crying…but he kept doing it. When he was done he just drove off. I was shocked, silent. I couldn’t tell anyone at the party, could I? I just have to pretend like everythings normal? Nearly at the house he turned up a side road and parked again. I was so scared, my heart was pounding. He started trying to pull down my tights and made my chair lay flat. I managed to get words out at last and said that it was my time of my month. I was so relieved that those words stopped him. I have seen him many times since that day but kept a distance. He has never ever admitted to being wrong. But I will never forget.
At the age of 14 I began collapsing when out with friends and feeling very fatigued and dizzy. I was referred to a wonderful neurologist and diagnosed with Migraine, which was believed to be the cause of my collapsing. This took even more of a toll on me at School and along with the bullying meant that I couldn’t cope with being around other students anymore. I was put into solitary study where I was in a room separate to everyone else and had to just get on with my work without being taught. I guess they didn’t want me to stay at home but it was really very weird being locked away like this! Eventually I did reintegrate back into my class and finished my schooling with great GCSE grades much to the surprise of my teachers who thought my absence would lower my grades. I am proud of what I achieved in spite of everything.
In my last year of school I met someone and fell hard. He made me believe I was worth something and made me feel loved- He helped me get past what had been done to me in the past. He was a little older than me and was leaving for University. We kept our relationship going despite the distance and it was the happiest I’d been in a long long time. He would talk about our future and what our house would be like, he told me I was the most beautiful person he’d ever met. It was about a year after we’d started dating and the night before my 17th birthday, when I got a phone call from him telling me that he couldn’t be with me anymore. I was broken- I felt like I could now understand my Mum falling to pieces like she did. He wouldn’t give me a reason. I pleaded and pleaded with him. I cried until I could cry no more. Everything was worse than before.
Even though I’m glad now that it ended and know that you should never want to be with someone who doesn’t want you back, this was another huge blow for me and just as I was starting out at college, a fresh start from school. Whether it was due to the stress of this or coincidental, I became very ill following the break up. I was barely eating and obsessed with exercising, loosing 2 stone in the 3 months following it. But then I lost all energy, my skin was dry, I couldn’t get enough sleep and the weight was piling on. After some blood tests my GP diagnosed me with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and I began on my first medication for life. It was a bumpy road from here. My depression was awful. I barely left my room and felt that the illness was my punishment for not being good enough. I was put on antidepressants and had Cognitive Behavioural therapy, which eventually got me back into a daily routine and back to college. I drank at parties as a teenager but stopped drinking after my diagnosis as it would make me feel so much worse and this did isolate me from people at college as that’s all everyone wanted to do!
Soon after I was getting back to life (still feeling crap!) I started collapsing again- which was highly embarrassing in my new group of friends! I couldn’t do what everyone else was but again it was put down to migraine and I was put on Propranolol as a preventative Migraine treatment. I still didn’t feel right so pushed my doctor for some more blood tests which showed very low levels of B12 in my blood. After having to change my diet for a month I had another test and my levels had got even lower and so I was diagnosed with Pernicious Anaemia, another autoimmune disease, and began 3 monthly B12 injections ( These are the worst!!) I fell out with my friends after being accused of trying to make everything about me and making up that I was ill. Just what I needed! Again I decided to stay at home a lot and didn’t want to face the world! The depression and my physical state went hand in hand and I began doing my college work at home and going in for private assessments. Again I did well and ended the year with 2 Merits and 1 distinction and was convinced by a tutor to try a Part time University course which I interviewed for and was accepted.
I decided to get back out there and tried some online dating sites, deciding that I could do with some fun. You can probably guess where this went! I made terrible decisions, met strangers from online and lowered my self esteem more and more by treating myself with no respect. I tried to pretend that I was enjoying myself but I felt crap! I always just wanted someone to love me! Luckily for me, in my 2nd year of the worse Uni course ever, I was out one night with my band mates and met the man who is now my husband…