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My True Story #No74

"This picture shows me and my cousin, and it was taken in October 2019. I’d travelled to Ireland with my mum for the first time since my Irish grandmother passed away in August. This time was extremely awful for me..." - Emily

"This picture shows me and my cousin, and it was taken in October 2019. I’d travelled to Ireland with my mum for the first time since my Irish grandmother passed away in August. This time was extremely awful for me.


My parents had to leave to go to Ireland to essentially say their final goodbyes to my grandmother and this time had coincided with a music festival that my friends had attended. Something clicked in my brain that I’d been living a very isolated and peculiar life, and I was very dependent on those around me.


A huge separation anxiety began and I found myself unable to function. I had to be fed and dressed by my family, forced to wash myself and became extremely paranoid of public places, and even began to be scared of my own parents and house.


I could not sleep, once going over 40 hours without going to sleep or doing anything at all. Unfortunately, this all happened before beginning year 13, the biggest school year yet.


I have been academically high achieving all my life, but during this time it became clear that it wasn’t because I enjoyed school or I was a natural, it was due to a damaging perfectionism trait - I had a constant feeling that whatever I was doing was never sufficient.

I realised going into year 13 that I could not possibly maintain this trait as it would be detrimental to my health when mixed with the other events going on in my life at that time.


I had to try and manage my time more effectively, but without slipping back into this robot like homework and revision machine. This seemed an impossible task. I felt like I could not possibly break this habit that I hadn’t realised I’d had for my whole life.


I became withdrawn from my extremely good group of friends, good exercise and eating habits, and great academic motivation. The feelings of anxiety and guilt brought on due to these actions became overwhelming.

So I began seeing a therapist, and taking medication to slow my heartbeat. Now, I am 12 weeks into therapy and I am also taking antidepressants. I see and make more effort to see my friends, I go to school and work again and I have also began the gym in a hope that this is something I’ll enjoy and be motivated to make goals for.


All in all, I have taken a massive step to improvement but I am nowhere near where I’d like to be mentally, and I predict I have a long road ahead of me.


My final message would be this. If you have a close friend who usually has themselves together, but starts acting a bit strange - reach out. Offer your support or even just a pair of ears to listen. It may not seem like it’s needed or worth it to you but it was friends and family noticing my behaviour and saying something that saved my life.

True story told by Emily @_emilylsmith


If you have been affected by Emily's story please visit our help page.

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