Mental Health Training

Life can get Better… By Charlotte Underwood

Posted by on 23 Apr, 2018 in Mental Health |

Life can get Better… By Charlotte Underwood

I used to hate it when people told me that I would be okay, that life would get better and time would heal because I simply did not believe it. I still now cringe when I hear or use those sayings myself in my case my life didn’t improve.

I think I’ve always had some form of mental ill health. I remember being so different to others my age, people were so alien to me and the world was so horrid though my eyes. My mother claims my first suicide attempt was at four years old.

I suppose I ignored my feelings because I didn’t know any better, mental health just wasn’t talked about when I was child so I did not know that there could be more to the thoughts in my mind.

At 14 my life got hard, I call it ‘my trigger year’ because I became so angry and I lost track of who I was. I was drinking, smoking, self-harming and playing with people’s feelings; I was so reckless and so far from the sweet and kind girl who I truly am.

Life did not get easier for a while, in a way it got worse as I became victim to many accounts of abuse and then lost my father to suicide at the age of 18. I felt so lost because I hated education, I wasn’t ready to work and I didn’t like being at home, I had nowhere to go.

However, not long after I moved to a new home with the rest of my family, after my father’s death, I decided to make a change, to love myself more, and soon enough I met the man who would come to be my husband.

My husband never forced me into anything and he never controlled me, he reminded me that not all people are bad and that I am allowed to trust people, as well as the fact that I deserve to be loved for my true self. Soon I no longer felt the need to smoke, or drink, or self-harm because I found myself less stressed for the first time in my life, I had been accepted. I just wish someone told me earlier that I was fine how I was, that my feelings were valid, love won’t fix all your problems but when someone listens to you and tries to understand, that can make the world of difference.

Today I live in a home with my husband and his cat, as well as my soul mate that is the sweetest dog. My dog has become a bit of a support dog because she gives me purpose and a lot of love, our furry friends can heal us more than we know. Living in a home with my husband has allowed me to be rid of toxic situations and people, so that I can start to heal wounds. It’s also helped as I have learnt to be alone and less dependent on others, so I feel stronger.

My mental health requires a lot of work to be able to keep my head above water. In honesty it is not easy but the hard work is paying off. I do have to take medication daily but I do not rely solely on it as mental health is so complex. I have started therapy now, which is 8 years overdue, and although it is exhausting and upsetting, there is a strong sense of almost a mental detox that makes me feel so much lighter. I was a sceptic for a while but I really love my sessions. A big hurdle I have overcome and learned is honesty and the ability to talk about your feelings, it’s not easy, but when we bottle things up it can leave us with a lot of trauma.

A typical day is where the work is really done to keep myself in recovery. I always make sure to only do what I can, knowing limits and triggers is vital to staying afloat. I like to keep productive, so I will clean and write, which are both very therapeutic and soothing things to do but I also like to jump on my trampoline which I keep in the living room. The little bit of light exercise just wears out some of those bad feelings and I can’t help but smile when I am jumping about. So really my recovery is a mixture of self-care, professional help, and being respected and supported. I can achieve and do all I would like, I may take longer than the average human but it doesn’t mean I can’t succeed.

The important lesson in this is determination, you can live the life you want, and you can live a life with managed mental health, but you need to keep working hard at it.