Guest Post | Kimberley'xo - My Mental Health Story

So February seems to have been the month of guest bloggers for me, I don't advertise so I'm introducing you to some new bloggers and bloggers that I love! This month I definitely wanted to include a guest post from someone writing about mental health. As soon as Kimberley contacted me about writing for me and told me what she was wanting to write about I just knew I had to include her post this month!

Kimberley is from Fashion Obsessed By K. You can also find her over on Twitter. I hope you enjoy this guest post, and please let us both know what you think as I love Kimberley to pieces and I'd love for you to give her some positive feedback about such an open and honest post!

Hello Guys!!

When I offered to write this, I thought ‘This will be easy, it’s only my life’ however I must of started this like 5 times!

First things first, I am not writing this to gain pity, I do not want sympathy, I do not want you to feel sorry for me, that is not the purpose of this post. The purpose of me writing this post is to raise awareness or if any of you are going through anything similar I want you to know that it will get better.

I think a lot of people already have a perceived idea of what ‘people with mental problems look like’ but I can honestly say I look just like everyone else! I want to say too that I actually had an amazing childhood, I had the perfect family; my mum, dad, sister, cousins; we were always a close family (and still are!). I honestly think that how we deal with our problems is what shapes us as a person.

I am not going to go in mass detail of what exactly happened to me, that is personal issues that I have dealt with from the age of about 7 to now but everything seemed to come to a halt when I hit 14, I think this was also when I realised my life wasn’t like a Disney movie, not everything is always good. I will go through my story first then explain my problems and how to help.

This is the age that I got diagnosed with Depression, I was under a counsellor (who I really didn’t like) and everything went downhill from there, I was stuck in a rut in my head that I couldn’t get out, I self-harmed and was suicidal and that’s the worst things got. My mum was amazing, she kept forcing me to go to school (that sounds harsh, ‘forcing’ me to go to school, but I was school-phobic and to be honest if she hadn’t made me go, I would never of passed my GCSE’s). Well I did pass my GCSE’s, not as well as I could have but C’s and D’s weren’t bad for someone in my mind set at the time. I figured out that ‘self-harming’ and ‘wanting to die’ was not actually going to get me anywhere. I needed to work harder.  I got into the college that I wanted and everything was okay, I wasn’t happy but I wasn’t as depressed as I was, I had a lot of anger but I think I tried to oppress it a lot.

When I was 16 and in college I got diagnosed with everything else; an Eating Disorder (EDNOS – Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified), Anxiety, Borderline Personality Disorder and I already had Depression. I was very lucky though because this was the year 2008, I was on the waiting list for a counsellor when I met the most amazing person who completely changed my life (that sounds cheesy I know!). I met Andy that year; he is honestly the most good-looking, nicest, charming and funniest guy ever! I told him about my problems so he knew straight away about my issues; I’m not one to be secretive and he never looked at me any different. He changed the way I thought about life and myself, I no longer looked in the mirror and hated myself, I wanted to get better, he made me realise that not everything in my life was bad.

About 2 months after we ‘officially’ got together, my referral for my counsellor came through and thankfully this counsellor, Nicky, was amazing! With the support of Nicky, Andy and my family, I got discharged within a year! I learnt what my triggers were, how to handle them, how to control my emotions. My second year of college wasn’t amazing, I was dealing with so much in my head that unfortunately my college suffered, they sent my work home and I emailed it in, I passed the course but only just. It was during my second year of college that I found the career path I wanted to take; Dog Grooming (I wanted to go to University to study Zoology but unfortunately my grades wouldn’t allow it).

I got my act together, I did some courses, got a job as a trainee in Pets at Home and in 4 years worked up to a talented stylist with a gift of customer service, passed my apprenticeship and was aiming for manager.

Then 2012 hit!! My life was going okay, just plodding along and in the beginning of this year I got a dog! (Life-long goal!!) and I made the biggest decision to leave the security of my full-time, well-paid job to start my own business as a dog groomer, I had the support of my family and Andy and it went well. Then the middle of 2012 comes and due to unforeseen circumstances my dog died and I lost my business on the same day; with the help of one of my customers we managed to start the business again but a month later; my nan died and then 6 months after that; I lost that business … so in one year I lost; my dog, my nan and 2 businesses … how does someone even deal with that? But surprisingly I was okay; I was just determined to prove to everyone how much I had grown as a person and how I had learnt to deal with issues. After the loss of my business, I had to look for another job; I was always ambitious and career orientated so not-working was a definitely no no. I applied for sooooo many jobs over time and only got 2 interviews; one I got! 6 Hour Sales Associate in H Samuels, jewellery? I hear you say, bit of a difference from dog grooming but jewellery has always been an interested of mine anyway so this made perfect sense. The aim was to save enough money to put myself through a couple more courses and re-start the business but I FELL IN LOVE!! I fell for the entire industry of jewellery and watches, I moved up from 6 hours to full-time, to supervisor and finally to assistant manager in 18 months! I completed my jewellery training course and was well on my way to establishing a proper career for myself.

In July 2015, I got headhunted for manager of a watch department and I have just currently completed my higher jewellery qualification. Things are definitely looking up!!! Me and Andy are still together, 8 years strong and we are looking at some amazing things in the next couple of years; houses and such.

In this section I will explain in more details about my ‘mental issues’, how I dealt with them and how they affected me; EDNOS, this stands for Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified and is a disorder that doesn’t fall into any specific category, it isn’t Anorexia or Bulimia but the sufferer can still have symptoms of this. My disorder wasn’t due to thinking I was fat or wanting to be thin, it was purely a control thing, I had lost control of every single aspect of my life and this was the only thing I could control, when I went for counselling for it when I was 16, we managed to pin point when it started – I was 7 and I was doing it subconsciously for nearly 10 years before I realised, I was always very slim as a person so this wouldn’t of been noticed. I hated eating in public and hated the feeling of being bloated.  I was the one that went to the Doctors and actually my first Doctor wouldn’t help me so I had no choice but to go to my mum and get her to come with me. Nicky, my counsellor was one of the best counsellors I have had. We would sit for hours working out what caused it, we would create flow-charts on how my mind thought then and how we could change the way my mind worked.

About 6 months into my counselling, I was wearing an outfit and put on an elasticated belt and it just fell down; something so simple but it made me realise I couldn’t wear what I wanted being so thin. For mine and Andy’s year anniversary (2 months before I was discharged) we went out for dinner! This was massive as I was scared of eating in public and had never actually eaten in front of him before so this was a huge step for me. I made a scrapbook of reasons why I needed to get better and what will happen if I did and if I was having a bad day, I would just flick through this scrapbook and it would make me feel better. I now have the date of my discharge date tattooed on the back of my neck because I am extremely proud of that moment.

Borderline Personality Disorder or BPD is a type of personality disorder. Personality disorders are a type of mental health problem where your attitudes, beliefs and behaviours cause you longstanding problems in your life. I don’t want to go into too much detail with this and I wouldn’t want to trigger anyone so you can google if you want but take the symptoms with a pinch of salt, it doesn’t affect everyone in the same way. I am not a mental health expert so I don’t want anyone to take how I deal with this as a guarantee, different things work for different people. I learnt my triggers and learnt how to deal with them, I have an immense control on my emotions and do not put myself in situations that I think could spark it off. I am a control freak in my personality anyway so my natural way of dealing with my mind is to try and control what I think. This works for me but won’t necessarily work for anyone else. This is the same for my anxiety and depression.

I am actually really open about my Mental Health, if people want to judge or have an opinion that is their prerogative. The biggest advice I could give you is to live by the motto ‘This Too Shall Pass’ (Next Tattoo!!), meaning that everything good or bad is temporary, so enjoy the good stuff and remember the bad stuff will pass. I used to think I wasn’t normal and I would have given anything to be ‘normal’ and to ‘think normal’ but I also don’t think I would be where I am without my personality, I am an extremely ambitious and determined person which means I work hard and always want to better myself – not a bad trait to have.

I’ve found methods that work when I get stressed, I love going to the gym and writing my blog so I do these both especially if I am having a bad day. Now I can finally admit to myself and say ‘I am Kimberley and I am not normal and that’s okay because being normal is boring’.

B-EAT and MIND are amazing websites to visit if you think you need help or just need to talk to someone.

You can always add me on Twitter - @fashionkxo if you need to chat, I am always around.