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.