I wanted to share with you a momentous documentation of another step in my recovery journey. My parents have recently revealed to me that they are thinking of moving, meaning I may be moving into Essex within the next year. Although this may not happen, just the thought gives me the perfect opportunity to gain a new start, alongside my surroundings come next month at University. I'd been thinking about having a de-clutter for a long time. (being a perfectionist I'm a bit of an organisational freak and love nothing better then a good clear out) I tend to cling onto old memories and in particular memories that remind me of awful times of my life. But when it had been suggested that I could be moving house, I thought there was no time like the present to rid those bad memories for good and to start looking forward.
The first being the diaries that I kept from the ages of 12-16. Just reading through it brings back the pain and anguish I felt being a teenager. I'm not going to lie. I was an unhappy teenager. And I'm not saying that to gain sympathy, looking back I realised that I have struggled with depression a lot longer than I previously thought. I was incessantly bullied and tormented throughout my primary and secondary school years, developed bad eating habits which turned into an eating disorder at the age of 12, begun self-harming and cutting myself at the age of 12, and all of these nasty thoughts, feelings and compulsions I had were all documented (in, I must admit, what I can only describe as awful slang) in these diaries.
I think part of the reason why I've clung onto these for so long is because, in reality, I didn't want to let that go. It was almost like I wanted to remind myself how awful I felt, how much I was hated and destroyed by those around me, when I was looking for an excuse to harm myself. I'd look back on these words, sometimes poetry and would make myself so upset and in a strange way, intentionally trigger myself. After my close call to severe illness following my overdose three weeks ago, it seemed right at this point in my life to rid of these, and that is exactly what I did today.
I took the pages within my hands and ferociously ripped the pages apart as hard and as fast as I could, in a strange way crying and yet smiling at the same time, with pride. Of course, bad memories will still stay with me, and I'll still always be affected by the events of that time - yet I can now safely say I'm ready to move on and live my life, no matter what obstacles attempt to deter that.
Other things I found included a hospital discharge letter from my first overdose almost three years ago back in November 2010. A letter from my Sixth Form where due to my mental health, I had to be bag-searched for pills everyday, was not allowed my coat incase I was trying to hide objects to harm myself, I wasn't to consult with teachers outside lesson time, and was watched like a hawk 24/7. Letters from my old teacher who refuses to speak to me still after three years of pain trying to get her to forgive me from that first overdose. All ripped up, binned, and put behind me. I'm not clinging on to it anymore. I can't.
Instead, I'm trying to cling onto the future, and some form of hope that there is a future out there for me. Next month sees me going out into the world of University for the second time (as well as turning 21!) and I've been manically preparing, doing one thing for myself a week to pass the time and get myself more excited. Whether it be buying my new bag, some stationary, my diary, visiting my University itself or ordering my books, it's the start of a brand new chapter which I am well and truly determined not to fuck up because of my mental health.
Maybe by throwing away these items I have managed to not forget the past entirely, but for once do something cathartic and therapeutic for myself and my recovery. My past has been a shit one, yet in some lights I do thank it for shaping me. I don't need to read about it over and over again and trigger myself to know that. I'll keep what I need to keep in my head and in my heart and I'll fill it with the important things in life. Nathan, my family, friends, my degree, and my job. The things that matter.
I need to move forward now. And today I made a positive step in doing so.