#BeBrave Story 5: Charlotte Underwood


Hey Friends, it has been awhile since I have shared a #BeBrave story with you all. This one is from
Charlotte Underwood. She is a Author and blogger who spreads awareness on suicide and mental health. You can read more about her and her work at the end! I hope this post touches and reminds anyone who is struggling with mental illness that you are NOT alone.

Thank you Charlotte for being brave and sharing your story!





It all began when I was 14, at least that was when I started showing more severe signs and symptoms that something was wrong. I had always been different, I was bullied, quiet, a people pleaser. I never spoke out and had no confidence, I stuck by the rules due to fear of punishment and just saw the world so differently to everyone else. 



My mother once told me that after being heavily bullied at school, I tried to end my life by throwing myself down the stairs, I was only four years old, I don’t remember but It just shows how much I was hurting and I didn’t even know it.
I was raised in a family, to start, where we didn’t know or understand mental illness, I was just called a hypochondriac and no one really understood me, I started to live on the internet and lock myself in my room because these people who lived miles away, understood me better than the ones who saw me on a daily basis. 

At 14, I finally became popular, I was no longer the overweight, unattractive and weird girls, all terms I have been called. I became wanted and loved, I had attention from boys and it all went to my head, my ego gained its wings and I did anything to keep it that way.
I did not realize that I was hurting that bad because I had the life I wanted, I thought I was just being a teenager. However by the end of my 14th year on earth, I was a regular self harmer and alcoholic. I began to play with people and cause drama for the thrill, I was avoiding my home and just wasn’t looking after myself. 


There was a time when I thought about myself, I looked in the mirror, I must have been 16 and I didn’t know who I was, I wasn’t the true version of myself, I was a manifestation of the expectations of others, I was spiralling and I started to get really ill. 
I developed body dysmorphia and an eating disorder, I was always acting out, at this point I was using sex as a weapon and was always angry and wanting to defy society. Though one day I did ask my mum for help and so I started seeing a volunteer therapist at school from a charity, which was nice to start, I got to get out of lessons and I had someone to talk to, but then it became inappropriate and the therapist was breaking boundaries which made me uncomfortable.



I had seen multiple GPs but was never given much help as there wasn’t much at the time, I did manage to get 6 sessions of therapy but the therapist didn’t help me with much and I didn’t find it helpful.
Since this, my depression and anxiety has got worse, I’ve been through a lot of trauma which makes a lot of health care professionals scared to open, in their terms ‘the pandoras box’. I got so ill last year that I couldn’t leave the house and I wouldn’t talk to people, I was a shell and I didn’t feel like I was in the real world.


However, I’ve now been taking medication for a year which has helped me for the most part, in the last few weeks I have made major steps in my treatment, I’m working with a team to support me during my crisis, I’m on route to get CBT and Trauma support. So I can get better, I will get a diagnosis which is important to me and I can start to learn more about why I am the way I am.
I think its so important not to give up, it can be so hard to keep reaching out for help and hitting dead ends but if you are persistent, they will listen. I’ve learnt being honest and letting them know how much you are hurting, will help you get the support you need. I’ve also learnt mental health is individual, what works for others wont work for me, that’s ok. It’s vital to ensure you are happy with your treatment and to work with the doctors to make sure you are getting the right help.



I did for a long time, try to ignore my problems, I tried to heal naturally and it didn’t work for me, as I have so many layers of trauma, because I didn’t seek help, I’ve lost the ability to work and I struggle to keep friendships and function. There is no shame in seeking help and support, you don’t have to be alone and you don’t need to be controlled by your mental illness, you are strong and it can be managed.
14 year old me would never have thought that I could be married, moved out, own a dog and be writing books at the age of 22 but I am. My mental illness is part of me but I am not ashamed and I no longer let it define me.







 About Charlotte Underwood

Charlotte is an young aspiring author from Norfork UK. She runs her own blog called Charlotte Underwood Author. She dives into topics ranging from mental health, depression and suicide. She is a huge mental health advocate and has a passion for ending the stigma and raising awareness. Charlotte has her own published book called "After Sucide" which details the suicide of her father and how it affected her and led to her unwavering strength today. 
Charlotte hopes to reach as many people and spread as much awareness about mental illness as possible. You can follow her journey on the following social media sites: 

Instagram

Twitter

Facebook




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Have you guys missed the #BeBrave series cause they are back! I have decided to post a story every month, so this one was pretty late ( my fault :/ ) but the March story will be on time I promise! Share and subscribe if you are looking forward to learning about other young adult's mental health journeys. 

#BeBrave and share your story as well!
 Email Me: nickki.opara1@gmail.com

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