It’s been a while since I’ve had a space online to write. I switched back to a paper journal earlier this year after years of not writing when the online journal site I was on for years was closed down. I have been writing for therapy purposes to bring it in with me and have just started going for weekly appointments.
I am now in my 20th year of mental health treatment. My diagnoses started off when I was 13/14 as dysthymia (mild chronic depression) and panic disorder. Within that though, I struggled with severe dissociation (hearing internal voices which I never told anyone and other things related to it), self harm/suicidal ideation, sometimes homicidal ideation (tied into dissociation episodes), OCD, panic attacks (nearly daily), generalized anxiety (constant worrying), and social anxiety which made it difficult to interact with people in general.
I was hospitalized three or so times when I was 14/15 for a few weeks at a time and then once for a month when I was 16 or so. The diagnosis then changed to borderline personality disorder. I had tried various medications, antidepressants and then antipsychotics when those all failed. One of the first ones I was put on caused me to gain 25 pounds in under six weeks. During the last hospitalization at 16, I was taken off of it and told to stop eating junk food and exercise in order to the lose weight. I ended up slowly restricting my food intake not realizing it would end up as a full blown eating disorder in a matter of months.
I struggled then with the added issue of an eating disorder for seven hellish years. It took me three years to seek help because I spent time not thinking it was a big deal but then realizing I couldn’t stop on my own. I was only in an outpatient weekly eating disorder program for a few months when I was asked to leave because I was too dissociative and unwell to be there and needed a higher level of care. I was not able to access a higher level of care. They wanted me to move into a group home and start to eat three meals and snacks a day to gain weight. That was the whole reason I needed a higher level of care.
In 2003, I went to the hospital when I experienced really bad stomach pain on the right side. I told them I had an eating disorder, and for some reason that was the one time I was listened to. But because I told them that, they stopped any other testing and only had done blood work then sent me home without looking at the results. The pain I felt also went away when I was there, so they told my sister who was with me that nothing was wrong and sent me home. That night, the pain came back a hundred times worse. I was scared but didn’t know what to do because they said nothing was wrong, and my sister wouldn’t take me back either. I was on the bedroom floor in the dark for hours in the fetal position not able to sleep and barely conscious because the pain was so bad. I can remember talking to voices in my head. I was able to get back to the ER the next morning and was given the proper tests. It was determined that my appendix had burst when I was there the day before, and my blood work had shown an infection. I was told I had to have emergency surgery and was lucky I got there when I did because I was so sick that I had maybe 20 minutes left to live. I spent a week in the hospital and became fearful of the ER after that and their ability to provide adequate care.
I went for several years being medically monitored but not having actual treatment for the eating disorder. The second time I looked into more intensive treatment, the waiting list had gotten longer, and I didn’t meet the program criteria anymore (too sick for the the local outpatient program and provincial residential program but not sick enough for inpatient treatment either medically or psychiatrically).
I was close to giving up when 2006 came around. I started making videos online talking about my struggles with everything and how it was hard to get help. I met a lot of people through that and became friends with several of them. They became a support for me when I wasn’t able to get that in my offline life.
I was so desperate for help that I called one last place in Canada I thought could help in late 2006/early 2007 for help, but I was denied for several reasons (it also ironically ended up being the LAST year my province would pay for treatment at that facility).
I went on what was going to be one last trip for me and then had planned to end my life because I felt I ran out of options and fought so hard for help that did not exist.