6 years on…

10487572_811139085577615_1482611494959929585_n

Today marks 6 years since I leaped off a 50ft fourth floor balcony In London. It was the eve of 17th November 2009. I was 19 and unaware to me, my family and friends I was in the midst of a very severe psychotic episode. Every year around this time I think back to that period of time that led up to my accident, the accident itself and then the result I now find myself in. Every year I get upset, but this year I have decided to write a blog to help me express my feelings and to help me look at all the positives I have achieved.

17074_413982085143_4380499_n

I think I get upset every year because I look back at my life before my accident and compare all the things that are now different. It’s not that it gets to the 17th and I sit and cry all day and hide in my room. I do go about my normal day and no one would notice. In my mind though I occasionally find myself reflecting a lot and when I get into bed that night I get upset. I imagine myself on the balcony and it gives me the shivers!! I get images in my head as if it was yesterday. I remember how scared I was when I first woke up in hospital thinking I was dead. I think how sad I was when I got told I would never walk again. And I think back to how depressed I was for those first few years after my accident. There is so much I think about!! The fact it has been 6 years though, now means that I have spent nearly a quarter of my life in a wheelchair! I have accepted that I will always need a chair but it hasn’t changed who I am as I don’t let it define me.

tesco

I will never give up trying to walk but I know realistically that the movement in my feet and the loss of sensation in my feet and legs will probably never come back.

I think the difficulty of becoming a wheelchair user in your late teens is that you have the knowledge and experience of what life is like being young and completely able bodied. At age 19 I was going for nights out every weekend.

10392168_266336915653_2990535_n

I had finished sixth form, learnt to drive, had two physical jobs and was attending college. It was a new chapter in my life. I had plans to go to university. But Two months into college my life crashed down.

After my accident I used to compare myself to my friends that were at university and friends who had jobs. I couldn’t help think that I was just worthless. I used to say to mum that I felt so behind in life but she would say you just have to accept that life for you moves slower than your friends.

My friends often message me and say that they are proud of me.

1395870_680675135290678_201985647_n

They don’t feel sorry for me, they message to say they are proud and always say “look how far you’ve come” . Day to day I used to feel like I wasn’t achieving anything but when I look back at all the things I have achieved In the last six years since my accident I suppose I have come a long way. Re learning to walk was a huge achievement. The day I was told I would never walk again probably was the worst day of my life. But I did it, despite what the professionals said. I proved them wrong! I re learnt to drive using my hands!

644285_649838668374325_1852085920_n

Although I was really scared to leave my house in my wheelchair I went back to college 5 months after leaving hospital and completed my foundation course. It enabled me to go to university in 2012. I moved to Cambridge for two years into student halls and although I didn’t complete my degree, I learnt how to be independent and I made some great friends.

10250789_10152188010508148_940316459_n

Leaving University was a really hard decision to make but the amount of neuropathic pain I was experiencing meant that I spent nearly all of my time lying in bed crying. So I moved back to my parents at the beginning of summer 2014.

I did become very depressed from the pain and I was so scared that the pain would continue at that level for the rest of my life. It was really hard for my friends and family as there was nothing they could do to help me.

By January 2015 my pain had finally started to decrease, it didn’t go completely but it became less sharp so I started to be able to sleep at night and I was able to start enjoying life again.

11057241_10152980075641569_1483857273850769727_n

I stopped comfort eating, ate healthy and had much smaller potions and I eventually lost the rest of the weight I had put on after my accident . Which altogether was three stone . It was really hard work especially as I’m sitting down most of the time . I feel so much better for loosing the weight.  

  
In May the pain levels were still better so I decided to seize the opportunity whilst it was better, so I applied for a peer support worker training course. (A peer support worker is basically a mental health mentor who has the lived experience of having mental health difficulties). On the training course I learnt how to use my experience to then help others. I was successful in getting an interview and then a place on the course. I passed the 12 weeks course so I then applied for a job in August. Again I was successful in getting an interview and I got the job!! My first job since before my accident! I was so happy that I got the job, it felt like the biggest achievement since I re learnt to walk and walked 3 miles for race for life back in 2011.
227828_10150583661930144_2293457_n

I started the job at the beginning of September. So far it is going really well and I love it.  I work 30 hours a week and I have surprised myself of how well I am coping as it has been a massive life adjustment. I still suffer pain everyday but I’m just about coping as it isn’t too severe. Some nights I don’t sleep because of the pain so I do struggle but I’m determined to succeed at this, so I try to not let it get in my way. I’m just about managing to juggle work with hospital and Doctor apointments . The job role feels perfect for me. I am able to use my own experience of having depression to help others who experience low mood, stress, anxiety and depression. By using the story of my accident/depression where appropriate I get to show people that you can recover. I also encourage them to take control of their recovery, which is different for each individual. I use how I have battled back from a difficult situation as my example. I listen to the people I am working with and can emphasise with them, sometimes on a level that others can’t. To them I am living proof that you can recover from having mental health difficulties. It is great giving hope to those suffering with their own mental health difficulties. As well as having a very meaningful job, I really love having structure back in my life.

12233429_10156342864250160_693046244_n

As well as being successful in getting a job, I am also moving out! I have a house to move into, I am just waiting for the final arrangements to be sorted, so it will probably be the beginning of next year. It is in a nearby village to my friends and family so it is perfect. I have been sofa shopping and I think I have found the perfect one ! I am so excited!!

12244065_10156343307670160_302261018_n

I am so happy that I haven’t given up hope even though there have been some incredibly hard obstacles. Tonight when I go to bed I am not going to get upset. I am going to look back at the last six years and think to myself ….I did it!!

553992_10152249073290160_57101892_n

Thanks for reading!!

For all my blogs – rachelholly90.wordpress.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

10 thoughts on “6 years on…

  1. Your an amazing lady keep your head held up high depression is a dreadful thing ive suffered from it for years u should be so proud of urself keep on climbing you can achieve anything u wish too xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So inspirational, what a marvellous young woman and someone other young people should aspire to, wonderful, positive… this story has renewed my faith in the human race and is refreshing amongst so much rubbish in the media! A fantastic example of the amount of resilience and strength every human being has. Wishing you the very best and look forward to the documentary.

    Like

  3. An fantastic story, so inspiring to read and so refreshing amongst the other rubbish in the media. A marvellous young woman, that will definitely inspire others, and it has renewed my faith in the human race. Everyone has strength and determination we just sometimes forget. An incredible young lady. Wishing you all the very best.

    Like

  4. Having seen you on last night’s BBC documentary, I wanted to drop by and praise you; you come across as very determined woman. I suffer from generalised anxiety disorder & had a brain tumour ten years ago. It’s in no comparison but it can be tiresome to go through something that carries such stigma. Well done on your achievements 🙂
    http://lifeinsidethelocket.blogspot.co.uk

    Like

  5. Hi Rachel,

    I saw the documentary last night. I just wanted to say well done. My own story has changed a lot since Stephen Frys first documentary 10 years ago. I was diagnosed bipolar I in 1997, It was involuntary entry to hospital.In UK terms I was sectioned.The following year I had a depressive episode.

    I am based in Dublin, . Up to 2 years ago I defined my life by the bipolar diagnosis. It affected everything even though I always worked and always had relationships. I use vitamin therapy, (Biobalance), reiki and meditation now along with exercise. I am doing a medication reduction in lithium now which after 18 years will be hard.The main thing is I have’nt had the big lows for approximately 22 months. I have diaries since I was 16, I always got lows since 15\16 for 5-10 days a month I am 40 now….If i am being honest I couldn’t identify as much with the programme as 10 years ago as I feel it may have a misdiagnosis…

    Why am I sending this? Every case is different….I’m just saying don’t define yourself by the illness….It was the biggest mistake I made if i am being honest, in hindsight…..The story below is what was published in an Irish magazine, I asked them to use the term mood disorder instead of bipolar..The one negative personally I took from the programme was that the only option is medication. I don’t believe that to be the case…..Best of luck with it all…….10 years ago i watched the first one with an ex girlfriend who was crying watching it..(First episode was a very true to life, grim portrayl of bipolar which I embraced fully)

    Thanks,

    Bill

    http://www.independent.ie/life/health-wellbeing/health-features/battling-bipolar-disorder-i-would-go-to-bed-at-7pm-cry-and-dream-of-better-days-and-think-about-suicide-31443312.html

    Like

  6. Wow Rachel, I have enjoyed reading your blog. You write really well and I hope you continue to do so. It is so important to share your story, both for the sake of people who could do with the encouragement of knowing that they are not the only ones, and for others to have insight and understanding into what life can be like for someone and how to be helpful. Thank you for taking the time to write, and please continue doing so….

    Like

  7. I was praying for you and I got this Scripture:
    “He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”
    ~ 2 Cor 1:4
    That is what I see you doing xxx

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s