The bullying was often racist, and this really hurt my self-image and self-esteem. I learned to not like myself. I began to self-harm. I didn't feel like there was anyone I could talk to about my problems. I had such a bad relationship with my mother that I couldn't trust her – I couldn't even trust her to show she cared, or to validate my distress.
Later, I had a very bad romantic experience, followed by a very bad breakup. I was common-law married to him and he cheated on me. This stress brought on my symptoms, like the panic-attacks, worse than ever. There were also some symptoms that seemed more like psychosis, and I would later be diagnosed with type one bipolar disorder.
I felt the aftermath of the trauma of a childhood abuse as well, which probably contributed to developing my comorbid anxiety disorder. I self-harmed because I didn't know how to find help in a healthy way. Bipolar episodes of depression and mania, high anxiety with traumatic memories and panic attacks and being betrayed by my boyfriend who I was living with.
In university, I eventually found help from a psychiatrist. For my first 2 years, it was all still going untreated. I had a seizure which prompted me to see a doctor who diagnosed me. This meant that I didn't know what was really wrong until relatively recently.
This year I switched medications and had to miss a week or so of classes, but overall life has greatly improved for me. I still struggle with nightmares revolving around my childhood trauma, but I'm much more stable in my relationships and I'm doing very well with my school grades. I'm also doing much better as a mother; instead of drinking through episodes of depression I'm spending time reading to my daughter.
These problems are real and their effects on our lives are painfully real, which means we need to be talking about them and helping each other through them. This can be especially important for children but it's never too late. A big lesson I want you to understand here is that you can't pretend that you don't need help. Find the help you need, because the path of not finding it could mean not surviving it and you deserve better than that.