Natasya, 26, Nottingham, UK

I’ve been living with depression, anxiety and PTSD since I was 11 years old. 15 years mental health has been part of my life and I’m still learning so much about myself, my mind and have been in and out of therapy for the last 3 years. There is no timeline for healing and that’s what I want to highlight with my story, but eventually you will see the light – the light that used to seem merely impossible to find. 

I first had a glimpse of mental health when my family started experiencing some turmoil which led to losing my father to suicide at aged 13 which was a very hard pill to swallow. The man who was meant to guide me through life was gone. Following this – as I was grieving from the loss of my father, I got racially bullied at school and rumours also started spreading on how my dad committed suicide and I was still adjusting to the fact that I had just lost my father. 

At 14 – I was a teenager experiencing grief for the first time and also trying to figure out why my race meant that I was lesser of a person. Panic attacks and suicidal thoughts began and being brought up within an Asian household – mental health was something we didn’t speak about often, even if we were experiencing it. So, I had to teach myself to suppress my emotions and continue on as ‘normal’ as I could day to day.  

I remember every day I would sit my room trying to figure out how I would make it through and thinking what did I do to deserve all this negativity in my life. I was a very confused teenager who just wanted answers and light in her life. Amongst all of this, I realised that I also was battling my sexuality and living in a small village in Buckinghamshire around 2008, let’s say that the LGBTQIA+ community wasn’t evidently open at this time – so this as with everything else, became suppressed.  

Fast forward through my teens of numbing my emotions with alcohol and sometimes drugs,

I realised I had been living a life I thought I wanted but it was what society portrayed as a ‘normal’ life. My life so far was – school, college, university, long-term relationship… Everything seemed to be ‘right’. I convinced everyone and myself that I was happy but looking back I realised I was far from happy – yes, there was so many moments of joy but I wasn’t living life as who I truly am, but instead how others would expect from me. I fell into risky situations which led to a sexual assault incident that happened whilst I was with my boyfriend at the time… 

This was when depression returned and it hit me like a ton of bricks and I felt lost again, I blamed myself for ‘cheating’, I punished myself but also questioned ‘what do I really want out of my life?’.  

I realised that I needed to make changes in my life and I was no longer going to live along with society’s scripted life, but ready to write my own. I stepped out of a 5-year abusive relationship, I came out as a lesbian and although I was still living as a student post-uni, working in a club and incapsulating unhealthy living habits – I felt free already.  

It wasn’t until I was 23, when I decided to embark on my healing journey. A long over-due decision which turned my life round completely. I referred myself to therapy, I found myself a loving relationship and although I wasn’t planning on finding love, it was a bonus on top of everything. I developed a deeper understanding of mental health and tapping into vulnerability to heal was the blessing in my life I had needed for years.  

As I was taking steps forward with my mental health – unfortunately in 2018, I got dia

gnosed with endometriosis and prior to this I was signed off work as I was experiencing severe back and pelvic pain. The diagnosis journey was long-winded (as per any other womxn’s experiences with endometriosis) and this became a new focus in my life. This is a whole story in itself, you can find my story on my Instagram platform – but it affected me a lot mentally and my suicidal thoughts returned too.  

Although I am still struggling and only just referred myself back to therapy this month (February 2021) – I’ve finally found the light that I had been longing for, for so many years. Although I wouldn’t wish my trauma upon anybody else – I have moved on with forgiveness and it has shaped me to become the person I am now (as cliché as that sounds). 

My personal advice to anyone who feels like giving up – PLEASE DON’T and know that everything is temporary and the darkness doesn’t last forever. I also want to exaggerate the benefits of speaking out, whether this is a colleague, friend, family member or therapist, whoever it may be – talking it out will benefit you more than you could imagine – suppressing emotions will only increase the negativity and you will become lost in your powerful mind. 

As I like to express on my Instagram platform – you are never alone, although everyone’s experiences are different. We are not alone and nobody should ever feel lonely in their fight. I just want my platform to allow others to never feel as alone as I did all my life.  

Healing isn’t a linear journey but all the smaller steps count and will make all the difference. Just stay kind to yourself and others and stay patient – growth is a dance, not a light switch.”

You can follow Natasya on her Instagram.


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