I first made a private twitter account intended for ranting and raving when I was 13 years old. This also happened to be around the time my depression, anxiety and eating disorder began to infiltrate my world and turn everything and everyone I once knew and loved into strangers in the night; cold, distant memories. I had no one to talk to. Looking back, I probably could have reached out but I was too scared to. I didn’t know I was “sick”. I don’t think anyone does until those around you start noticing and pointing things out. I remember my friend noting that she hadn’t seen me laugh in weeks and that I looked pale, tired, lost. I was.
I used twitter as a way to let it all out and find others who felt the same as I did and trust me, there was no shortage. It seemed I had stumbled into a whole other world filled with pre teens and mid teens venting their deepest darkest secrets to complete strangers on the internet. Our parents tell us all our lives to be careful who we speak to, stranger danger and all that. But what happens when those strangers become your best friends? What happens when the very people your parents want to protect you from are your only source of comfort and understanding?
This was the case for me. I had never been close to my dad for reasons I will probably delve into one day, but today’s not that day. My mom on the other hand was just that, a mom. She cared for me, loved me, provided for me, worried about me, all the things moms are good at. However despite all this, I never felt I could talk to her about my deteriorating mental health. At first I simply didn’t want to but years down the line when I did, I realised there were much deeper issues there as to why I felt I couldn’t. Again, we’ll save that for another day.
Looking back at 13 year old me fills me with so much pain and sadness it’s almost unbearable. Partially because I didn’t know it was possible for someone so young to be in so much emotional distress every waking minute but also because that was the beginning of it all. There had been signs and symptoms for years leading up to this but age 13 was when everything really came crashing down. It was the beginning of a very long, hard journey with mental illness that I still very much deal with today, age 22. I was suicidal, self harming daily, not eating, purging and just numb. Numb numb numb. Every single day was just another blank canvas but I’d ran out of paint. There was nothing I wanted to say, do, feel, see, be. I felt as though the entire world was black and white and I was a ghost floating through just praying I weren’t noticed.
The friends I’ve made on twitter through the years have supported me through so much. Being able to hop on my phone at any point during school, college, work, or at home and type out exactly how I felt at that moment and have others relate and talk back to me made the world of a difference. I’ve spent years feeling so lonely. Having twitter had genuinely been the only thing that has kept me alive for this long. I’m unbelievably grateful for the mental health community and I see so much beauty in it. We are all strangers in real life but through the simplicity of a social media app, we’ve become an army. A family. People who understand each other’s struggle and don’t judge or criticise when someone feels they’re unable to work, when they claim benefits, when they relapse, when they end up in hospital, when they go MIA again. We don’t judge because we understand. And to those “normies” who call it attention seeking when I tweet that I’m suicidal, fuck you.
Because you don’t know how it feels to be so utterly alone that the only solitude you can find is on an app. I know it probably sounds silly to some people. But we have to do what we have to do to survive in this world, and life with a mental illness makes that survival 100x more difficult.
The reason I’m writing about this today is because I realised how much time I spend on twitter and how I’ve made some absolutely amazing friends from all around the world on there. People I talk to every day and have no idea what I’d do without them. In my real life, I don’t have many friends. So these messages back and forth between myself and others who have been there too make the days just that little bit brighter. If you’re one of those people, thank you and I love you.
Anyway, this was more of a random chat than anything else. I’m still getting used to this blogging thing. I will be blogging once a week from now on, and starting a YouTube channel soon. I hope whoever’s reading this knows they are not alone. We all walk this earth together and face challenges each day. You’re beautiful and so worthy of an equally beautiful life. No matter what happens, don’t forget to come up to breathe.