It will get better (Guest post written by Carolien)

*Trigger warning: descriptions of or extensive discussion on self-harming behaviour*
‘This is because I don’t want to feel lonely any more. Because I’m tired of telling everyone okay while I’m definitely not. I am tired of feeling like I’m the only one going through this shit. So here’s my story.’

This is what I would have written about a year ago, when I still did feel lonely. When I really thought nobody else was going through what I was suffering from. But now I know that a lot of people are just scared to tell their story. So let me start with mine, and encourage others to tell theirs so we won’t feel lonely any more and you’ll maybe find someone who knows what you’re talking about. Someone who can truly support you. And maybe, everyone will finally understand what it’s like to be in a mental health situation.

It all started when I was seven. Why? I still don’t know. I felt like no one liked me, and if I disappeared no one would even notice. Not one day there was someone who really stood up for me. I felt lonely. No one loves me, so why stay? I could kill myself and all the problems will vanish. But no, I didn’t dare, because I did have one person. My mum.
Only when I turned 12 I started realising that my mum was the only person who did everything to protect me. Before that age, I didn’t understand that when she kept me home from going to school, it was to protect me. She was doing her best to make me feel happy once again. I remember always going to primary school with a frightened heart and turning back home crying. I remember my mum calling to the principal, saying that I was too sick to come to school while actually we were at a shop trying to find me some new jeans. I love how my mum didn’t care what others thought because I should be in class instead of going out with her. She did everything to save me. It’s incredible that, although I never told her about my suicidal thought, she knew what I was thinking about. She just knew it. So she never left me alone because she was scared that I was going to do what she was most afraid of.

The bullying kept going on for years and I have never given up the fight although I never won. Up until I turned 15. It suddenly stopped. The bullies suddenly disappeared out of my life. I finally had the chance to be happy, and I took it with both hands. Right now I’m 20 and I finally feel I can be happy. I’m still not there yet because my memory is full of scars but one day I will be there, feeling happy like I should.

At the moment, I’m seeing a therapist every two weeks to help me change the bad thoughts I still have. I don’t think about suicide any more, I started enjoying life to the fullest. But the bullies have left their scars. At least twice a month I still believe people hate me although they have been friendly since I met them. The therapist helps me change these thoughts into positive ones, she helps me control my breathing so I can handle stressful situations. Going to a therapist was a big step for me but I am so grateful that my good friend Shirley has told me about her.

My tip?
Get away from those toxic people who make you feel negative. It really isn’t about having the most friends, it’s about having a few but very valuable ones. Those friends you can talk about anything with, even your negative feelings. Just find yourself one person you can trust, someone you can share your heart with. You can also take the example of ‘famous’ people who have also been through hell but are still standing.

So what am I actually trying to say?
I got bullied for about 8 or 9 years and I only saw one way out. The wrong way. I never did it though and I am so grateful I got a second chance in life.
Let this be a sparkle of hope for those who are still fighting this battle. Just believe me when I say it does get better. Keep going strong. You CAN handle this!

I would like to end this post with a song. I always came to rest when listening to music or I could totally lose myself in a good song and rage out the emotions I had. (I still do so tbh) Music has always been and still is my escape to a perfect world.
The song is one of the newest album by Florence and the Machine. It’s just very appropriate, and you’ll love it. Florence has also been through a lot of shit and look where she is now! You can do it baby!

You can follow Carolien on Twitter @koyencarolien