Although the subject of poop is still such a taboo topic of conversation, it saddens me that mental health is also a major taboo subject to talk about.
For years I have been completely open about my struggle with Ulcerative colitis in order to raise awareness and help others but I struggled to be as open about my mental health.
3 months ago I ended up having surgery to form an ileostomy when my colitis became so debilitating to my body that the colon was filled with ulcers and was slowly shutting down the rest of my functioning organs. I now have a bag on my stomach that I poop into and empty.
For the past two years, I went to the bathroom in excruciating pain frequently and lost massive amounts of blood every time. I began self-harming when I was around 15, and U always used the excuse that I just wanted the pain to “go somewhere else” so that I didn’t focus on the colitis pain. But I knew that was never the truth.
Somehow in my mind, self-harming was my form of help and truth be told, that sheer thought scared me more than seeing blood in the toilet ever did.
I think it’s important to understand that someone can self-harm, have negative or suicidal thoughts, without having the intention to kill themselves.
My colitis made my body so unwell, that without surgery, I could have died. I also had access to such dangerous drugs and a high amount of morphine, that if I wanted to die, an overdose amount of serious drugs was by my bedside every night.
The thoughts in my head had the power to kill me.
It’s okay to be in a negative place, but to also know there is light at the end of the tunnel. I know one day these thoughts will go away, but I don’t know how to get there. Not everyone with depression can see an end way out, but everyone needs help, love and comfort to get there.
Having a form of physical health was a somewhat saving grace for me to cover up the fact that I knew my mental health wasn’t okay and I knew it wasn’t getting any better. I continuously linked the two together, and for many others mental health and physical have a strong connection.
I felt like I could never be the same as others my age and that I’d always had this dark glooming side to me. I used to get so offended when people close to me told me I needed to talk to someone, because I wanted to speak to them and not to a stranger.
Although I know they just want someone that can help me, nobody wants to be associated with having any form of sickness or disease. Before surgery I got myself into an extremely dark place with anxiety and suicidal thoughts, and my doctor reassured me that after surgery my life would improve so much that I would no longer feel sadness.
But here I am at 1am, 3 months on, having exactly the same thoughts.
I am lucky to now have an amazing boyfriend, yet I feel like nobody wants to be with someone who is incapable of loving themselves. I shouldn’t rely on him to fill me with love. I know I push him away and shut him down in ways that I do to everyone else around me, simply because I think they don’t care or have time to deal with me being sad.
I know it’s tiring to me, never mind others. It’s a drag hearing about the same old feelings over and over again. However, having that mind-frame is where it becomes dangerous. There are so many people that want to help and it is so easy to push them all out.
I know he wants to help, but I don’t know how to let him.
But he has helped – he’s stopped me self-harming, as I know it would hurt him to see scars on me.
That thought alone is enough to hold onto to begin to help me try to change.
My mental health scares me every day, more than any physical health I ever had or have to deal with.
I find it so much easier to tell anyone that something in my body isn’t okay, rather than explaining my thoughts aren’t okay.
If you want to cry, then cry your heart out and don’t let anyone tell you that it’s not okay to.
Depression, let alone self-harm, is a subject that is so taboo in today’s society and it shouldn’t be.
Depression, anxiety and any form of self-harm is not a trend, it’s not a phase and it’s definitely not a cry for attention.
Words by Sarah Anderson