25 Reasons Why I'm Glad I Made It To My 25th Birthday!!!

When I first attempted suicide in 2009 at the age of 18, many professionals voiced their concern that if my mental health continued to deteriorate, I wouldn't make it to my 19th Birthday. At the time, I hoped that they were right, and on every Birthday for the next four years, I was angry and sad that it'd all gone on for yet another year. Last year was better. This year... Well, here's 25 reasons why I'm glad I made it to 25:

  1. I have my own home. I don't know many (if any, now that I think about it) people my age who are childless and single but in their own home. I'm very lucky. And I love my home!
  2. Dolly. I've had pets most of my life when growing up with my Mum; we've had lots of fish and hamsters, and then a cat and although I helped to look after them and played with the hamsters and Saffy (the family cat, now 12), I feel that Dolly is my first pet. I chose her, I paid for her, I've bought her everything she needs, I take care of her. I watch her grow day by day; watch her constantly learning new things, and experience the special bond we have that she'll never have with others. I look after her, I make decisions about her (from her care to her diet) and I'm 100% responsible for her. I noticed her recent changes in behaviour and although everyone labelled it as normal for a cat, I knew there was more to it. I know her better than anyone. And when she was diagnosed with Anxiety Disorder, it not only made me feel like a good mum, but it brought us closer together.
  3. I'm NOT Disordered. Everything I have gone through; the abuse, the hallucinations, the self-harm, the suicide attempts, the medications and their side effects, the hospitalisations, the therapies and everything else, has been worth it for I'm NOT Disordered. If I hadn't been abused then I might never have become poorly, and I might never have been in the position that influenced me to begin blogging. And I can't imagine my life without I'm NOT Disordered.
  4. I have learnt unconditional love. As I got older, and especially through my poorly years, I knew that my Mum loved me unconditionally. She proved it every single day. Every single time she saved my life. Every time she had hope for me when no one else did. Every time she fought for me. I always felt that I didn't deserve it; I was such a selfish person when I was poorly and thought so badly of myself that I was convinced that someone like me, could never feel such love. But I do. Finally, I do. I experience it towards and my Mum, and more crucially, for Dolly.
  5. I have found my calling in life. I spent years feeling like an outsider. I never felt that I fit into any group or clique at school. I never felt that I had an interest or a hobbie which would enable me to fit into a group of like-minded people. I could never decide what I wanted to do as a career. Law, childcare, psychologist... And now, in blogging, I have found my calling. My place in the world. And that, is a bloody awesome feeling.
  6. I enjoy my life. Years ago, I'd see all my friends writing statuses about how they were 'loving life' and doing this, and going there, and seeing these people, and doing these things... And there I was in hospital hooked up to an anti-dote for an overdose. And then I'd be sat in my hospital bedroom looking at photos of my friends at festivals, and being unable to shake the reminder in my head that I couldn't set a foot out of the ward without permission from my Psychiatrist. Sometimes, realising that I was missing out on so much, had a negative affect by making me feel different and isolated. Now that I'm better and out of Hospital, I just want to make up for all that lost time by living my life to the fullest.
  7. I've learnt skills that I'm proud of. Through my ill mental health and subsequent therapies for it, I have learnt skills that I might never have learnt, or might've taken longer for me to learn, had I not became poorly. Not only was I taught coping strategies for dealing with my hallucinations, ways to improve my mood, and alternative actions when I want to self-harm; but also, lessons life! I've learnt that if something is troubling you - anything at all, then you should talk about it. I have learnt how to see the positives in negative situations. I have learnt to take every opportunity offered to me, and to enjoy every second of it.
  8. I have amazing friends. I have known each of my four best friends for years and so I knew them before I became poorly, which means they've been there throughout everything. This means that I have had the pleasure of learning that they are the most genuine and kind girls. Each of them brings something different to my life.
  9. Media appearances. So far, I've featured on the front page of The Evening Chronicle (our local newspaper), the Daily Mail online, on BBC Midlands radio and in Take A Break. Not including all of the posts I've been asked to write for other bloggers and organisations and the chapter I wrote for a published book on blogging. I've always had low self-confidence, but focusing on the positives that these media opportunities would result in (mainly publicity for both my blog, and mental health) made putting myself out there completely worthwhile. 
  10. I'm told that I'm helping others. Although I didn't begin blogging for anyone else, or with the conviction that others might read it, hearing how what I write has helped readers is an incredible motivation in both continuing my blog and in life in general. Some of my posts are hard to write and sometimes their content is still raw for me, but hearing that someone feels less alone after reading it... It's worth making myself vulnerable.
  11. I've made new friends. I've had readers 'follow' me on Twitter and chat to me, I've gotten to know professionals from organisations such as Seb, Angela and Becca from Time To Change and John, Will, Caroline and Claire from NTW. Then through events that I'm invited to, I've met volunteers, supporters etc who share the same passions as me around mental health stigma and improving services etc. Also, being a blogger means you'll naturally come into contact with other bloggers who can be fantastic support and sources of advice as well as providing exciting collaborations!
  12. I have the most amazing, refreshing children in my life. Unfortunately, my first best friend to have a child; Ellie with Jonas, had him during my poorly years. I still met him when he was born but then they both moved to London and then to Denmark, and then I was in hospital for a few years so, although he's only five, I felt that I missed seeing him grow up. And then my second best friend to have a baby; Steph with Jack, went into delivery just after I went to the Bradford hospital for a few years. Needless to say I've seen Jack and Jonas a lot since coming home, and I was so lucky that Ellie went on to have Emmy. It has been one of the most amazing and rewarding experiences to watch her grow! Seeing her learn to crawl and now sit and stand... I bloody love my three small people.
  13. I have appreciation of my freedom. I think that having the ability to come and go as you please, is underrated; but that's completely understandable if you've never known anything else. At first, in hospital, I don't think I was that fussed about the loss of my freedom because I had been detained under the Mental Health Act before so I knew what to expect in that respect. The more well I became, the more I got frustrated at not being able to go where I wanted and when I wanted to. Being free, I just love the idea that if I wanted some chocolate late at night I could just pop to my local shop. Just knowing this, is amazing. regardless of whether I actually do it. 
  14. I never become complacent now. When I was poorly, it became a way of life. I was used to self-harming. Used to overdosing. Used to hospital admissions... If I were sectioned, it wasn't a big deal. As I'm NOT Disordered grew in popularity, I initially worried that each time my views grew, I'd eventually become complacent and would stop feeling proud or amazed. But I never have. I never get tired of that counter going up. I also never get tired of the opportunities I'm offered; they continue to surprise and amaze me because they just seem to get better and better.
  15. I've experienced the best night of my life. Had I succeeded in my suicide attempts, this would never have happened. If you're wondering, the night I'm talking about is my 100k + party in November. If I think back on all of the difficult and negative nights I've ever had, that one night more than makes up for all of them.
  16. I can make a five year plan. Professionals were always advising that you set yourself a goal each day to motivate you and to help get you through any difficulties in each day; and sometimes, it was a struggle to even do that. It was sometimes impossible to imagine that I'd still be alive the following day. And now, I have goals that I'd like to achieve within the next five years! 
  17. I have responsibilities. I was never very good at accepting responsibility for my actions, and the consequences that arose as a result of my behaviours. Now though, I realise that you have to be able to do this in life in order to move on. And I'll happily take responsibility for aspects of my blog's success, so it's only fair that I accept my failings too. And apologise when I should. I've always wanted a particular person to just admit to what he'd done, hold his hands up and take his punishment, and I think that the fact he hasn't, made me reluctant to do it in my own life. But I'd like to think that I'm now a better person than he is.
  18. My dreams are coming true. 
  19. I've beat the odds. In a way, I'm glad that professionals thought I wouldn't make it to 19, because it makes turning 25 an even bigger accomplishment! And something I feel proud of.
  20. He hasn't won. 
  21. I know I'm strong. I've survived six years longer than people thought I would... I think that shows I have some damn good muscles! 
  22. I can have a list of things that I'm proud of. For so long I believed that passing all of my GCSEs in 2007 was my greatest achievment; the thing I was most proud of. And now? I have a list of things!
  23. I didn't break. All of the bad things that have happened, all of the bad things I've done, all of the bad feelings I've experienced... And I'm still here! I have scars from the war, but I won it.
  24. I have a greater appreciation for the emergency services and mental health services. Yes, they each have so many improvements to make. And yes, I could list lots of times I felt unsupported, judged and failed by them... But they've played a massive part in saving my life, and for that, I'll be forever grateful. I hope that any of those professionals who have helped me can use my 25th Birthday as a thank you from me, and as a testament of their hard work. 
  25. Every letter, word, sentence, paragraph and blog post to come...
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