#WMHD2019: Jess's Story
Jess writes about struggling with anorexia through GCSEs and how a failed suicide attempt has given her a new lease on life
10th September 2019, 8.30am | Written by: Jess
**trigger warning: references to suicide**
The 2nd of January is an important day to me. I used to dread it rolling round every year, as I saw it as a day of despair - the day I tried to end my life. But as the years have gone on, and I have moved on in my recovery, I have come to see this day as a celebration of how far I have come.
During my GCSE years, I struggled with a terrible eating disorder. Instead of making memories with my friends at school, I spent most of my time in and out of hospitals and clinics, taking time off school, and sitting exams at my kitchen table. I was steadily declining in my own little bubble, isolated from my friends and feeling misunderstood by professionals. Eventually, the pressure bubbled over and I couldn't take it anymore. Instead of feeling upset and angry, I started to feel nothing at all.
In the heat of mock GCSEs, bullying, despairing family members and baffled mental health professionals, I started to contemplate suicide. At the time, it seemed like the only option I had left. The only way I could escape everything around me and finally have some peace. However, after landing myself in hospital with a failed attempt, I felt even worse - another thing I have failed at... Or so I thought.
Looking back, I couldn't be more grateful for being saved that day. Ever since that dark time in my life, I have been able to rebuild my life and conquer so much; none of which I would have ever known if I hadn't survived. I managed to salvage friendships, have my first long and healthy relationship, defeat anorexia, achieve my GCSEs and A levels, go to university, every day inching closer and closer to my dreams. I even found a letter I had written to myself 5 years ago recently, where I had outlined what I thought to be several ridiculous and unachievable dreams I had hoped to be doing by now... I can happily report that I have done everything I listed in that letter already, and reading it brought tears to my eyes - I wish I could go back and tell myself how I need to believe in myself because I CAN do this life thing.
I am still fighting every day, and I am not ashamed to say I take medication to manage my depression even now. But no matter how tough times get, I will never see the 2nd of January as a bad day again. To me, it is a second chance, a day of rebirth. A day to celebrate the fact that I made it, and continue to fight to see many more January 2nds.
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