In only 3 weeks, it'll be a year since I was discharged from the inpatient CAMHS unit I spent two and a half months in. It's been an interesting year since, with plenty of milestones and I feel stronger than I have in years. Only five days after being discharged I was on a stage for a week; a month later I was back in school part-time. A few months later I sat my year 10 mocks and did pretty well considering the 5 months I had away.
A year on, I'm doing as well as I can in school. I've become a Cub Scout leader alongside earning my Young Leader and DofE qualifications. And even more than that, I'm falling back in love with living and everything is vibrant, rather than just flat and overall, just necessary.
I don't think anyone realises how bad a place they've been in until they're through it. During the entire period; from A&E to the date I was admitted, to discharge and even really until this summer... I never really considered the fact that there was a happier, stronger person waiting at another end. I've struggled with mental illness and difficulty since I was ten and while that hasn't been eliminated, I'm stronger and happier and I think the main thing is that I'm allowing myself to be proud of this.
One of my central emotions for a long time has been guilt tying to my friend's death and general low self esteem; and this has always obstructed my allowance to be proud of myself. With my therapist (who could not be better), this has completely changed.
I missed laughs that weren't empty and smiles that weren't hollow. I missed being passionate about projects and art and writing and Scouts.
I'm starting to get on public transport again, going to restaurants and concerts. I can make plans with my friends without my heart beating automatically faster, and even when my heart does beat too fast, it isn't the one in control.
Slowly, but surely, I am becoming what I want to be. Yes, I'm still disabled and I suffer from chronic pain, fatigue, anxiety... But I'm becoming okay with that. I am going to work as hard as my difficulties will allow, get the best GCSEs I can in my circumstances, get into the sixth form. And on top of that? I am doing those things alongside some of the best people in the world, who I love with all my heart; smiling, recovering and learning to flourish.