In therapy this week I realized, that I am broken but I don’t want to be fixed. I don’t want to be who I would be if I didn’t struggle with my mental health. I don’t want to be who I would be if my story was different, if the trauma and trials didn’t exist. I don’t know who I’d be without them, but I’m sure I wouldn’t be me. What I want from therapy is, not to be fixed, but to learn how to cope with my brokenness. To learn how to keep myself stable so I don’t have to break further. In Japan there is a tradition to mend broken objects with gold. That way, their brokenness is a beautiful part of the object. The cracks tell a story, they add to the object instead of taking away. Just like these objects, my brokenness makes me beautiful, my brokenness is part of my story, is part of me.
I don’t want to be fixed but I do need to learn to cope. I need a bit of gold to fill my cracks, to stabilize my brokenness, so that I can function and cope again. But instead of gold, I want silver please. Silver to remind me that there is something other than the blackness of depression, or the whiteness of mania which my mood swings constantly take me between. That people aren’t all good or all bad either, they are only human. That, although I struggle to see it, there is a whole spectrum of grey between black and white. Silver reminds me that there are shades of grey in the world.
To me, and my therapist agrees, this feels like a big step forwards. I am accepting myself, I am accepting my story. I hope that this acceptance will allow me to grow. I hope that by engaging in therapy, and finding the right medication to help me, I can learn to fill my cracks with silver. So that, although I won’t be fixed, I can feel whole again.
"Hello, I'm Anna, I'm 22 and live in the UK. I am studying to become a vet at Cambridge. Animals are my passion. Their unconditional love has seen me through some tough times and I hope that in the future I will be able to help a few animals in their moment of need in return. I love sports (rowing, horse riding, running), music (I play piano, clarinet and bassoon), travelling or, failing that, a good book to escape into. I am hard working and determined. I enjoy my studies and try to put my all into them. But this has been made very difficult by my mental ill-health. I have been diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety and my psychiatrist has also given me a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder. I struggle with suicidal thoughts, self harm and panic attacks. I have been struggling for years but I learnt to hide it all behind my mask. The mask broke for me 2 years ago, resulting in a complete mental breakdown and forcing me to reach out for help. I am now taking a leave of absence from university to try to find out what recovery can look like for me.
Writing helps me a lot. There is something healing about spilling your soul onto paper. When I am at my lowest I find it very hard to talk out loud. Finding a way to string a sentence together in conversation feels impossible. So I have learnt to turn to writing to try to explain what is happening for me to those around me. I have found it very hard to cope with the stigma that is attached to mental illness, especially from within my own family. Writing has become my way to try to explain to them just how crushing it can be and how I can’t ‘Just cheer up’. Paper was my confidante when I felt completely alone. Poetry has become one of my most vital coping mechanisms. I write it when the suicidal thoughts and my voices become overwhelming. I find that making a rhyme and a rhythm slows my thoughts down enough that I can find myself again."
Read more at Anna's Wordpress.