“My Silent Undoing”

**trigger for mention of self harm and eating disorders**

The start of University was the start of my undoing. It seems as though once I’d left the comfort of my home, I feel apart at the seams. I no longer had to keep my emotions in check for the sake of my mother. I do love her dearly, but she seemed to think showing emotions was a sign of weakness. I use the past tense because since my undoing, she’s realised the importance of talking. I’ve had issues for a while. I was bullied for a solid 13 years during primary school, secondary school and college. I was always the outcast, and family issues just culminated to make me into an emotionless shell of a person. When I got to University, the freedom to do what I wanted, when I wanted, eat what I wanted it was amazing, but all those issues I’d learned to hide slowly started seeping out. Although I’d been struggling on and off with self harm for 7 years before I’d started University, by the time I started 2nd year of University, I was hurting myself so badly that I needed to go to A&E many times for stitches. My drinking had become out of control, and with drinking came suicide attempts. Half way through my second year I ended up in the Pearl Unit at Manchester Hospital, the assessment ward for their psychiatric unit. I stayed there for 12 hours before they thought I wasn’t a danger to myself. They were wrong, but that’s beside the point. I’m very good at pretending I’m ok. Along with the worsening self harm, I found myself deep into an eating disorder. I lived off 500 calories a day for months, dropping 3 stone. But my body soon rebelled. I found myself stuffing myself with foods I hadn’t eaten in ages. The overwhelming guilt that followed led me to purge, cut and take copious amounts of laxatives, 20 at a time. I soon developed a ritual. Every night the same binge, purge, cut. Throughout all of this, I put up a happy front. My friends were none the wiser and those I did confide in soon ran away. I was too much responsibility. I stopped telling people soon enough. I felt like a liability. I hid myself away from friends and rarely left the house unless I needed food or to go to hospital. I was leading a pitiful life and the one place I had excelled before, university, was worsening. At the beginning of my third year I took a leave of absence. I was referred by my doctor to the psychiatric services, and pretty soon I had a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder (Emotionally Unstable type), co-morbid with severe clinical depression. It was a year before I was actually in therapy though, and that was because my mum had found out about my self harm. She paid for me to get the therapy I desperately needed and I thank her every day for that. I was able to finish my course, graduating with a 2:1. Something I realise in hindsight is I should’ve asked for help in my first year. I knew I didn’t feel right, but I thought I would be judged to be insane if I told anyone. One good thing that came from this though, I realised who my true friends were. They realised I was more than my issues and stuck by me, they didn’t run away when I stopped being fun. As well as I am now though, I still have my limits. I know now what sets me off, and generally that’s stress. Trying to find a job when you know it could cause you to go off the rails again is a bit of a minefield, but I’ll get there with time. I don’t really know where to end this. I guess my go-away message would be to never be afraid to ask for help. Even if you don’t feel like you deserve help, there’s no harm in asking.

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