Beyond the blue - my mental health journey

The truth is you really need to spend time crawling alone threw the shadows of life to truly appreciate the greatness of standing in the sun.

I was physically and emotionally abused from the age of eight on a daily basis until my early 20’s and it was a battle zone but it’s only now I feel the PTSD of my childhood has come to the surface.  Humans endure pain but through the pain comes the rising. When times get so painful and we can’t bear to see the light of day the only way to recover is to walk into the fire. I tried for many years to go around it but the pain still eventually bubbles to the surface. When I chose to hide away in my safe and superficial superhero cape of substance abuse and eating disorders, life was much easier in a way than it is now. Facing your demons is the hardest challenge one will face because those feelings you have suppressed for so long are pushed down and they never actually leave, they manifest. Manifesting black magic into a book of toxic life spells. 

Fast forward many messy drunken and drug fulled years plus three miracle babies later I can whole heartedly tell you that god sent these angel babies to me as they have not only saved me from my sins but given me new fluffy wings to learn how to fly.  They are my life healing partners. Little baby light workers sent from god to heal everything unresolved inside. I refer to my small tribe of little tots as my left ‘lung lung’ and I don’t know how to breathe without them anymore.  Children bring out the ‘brutiful’ in us all because that’s when the real work starts, that is when you look at yourself uncomfortably close and stare at yourself with uncertainty in the mirror because you can’t fathom how you could loose your temper so easily at a small baby and if you thought you didn’t like yourself before, imagine watching yourself parent your innocent child with the bullet wounds still weeping from your past. A smash in the face, a blow to the head, anything is less painful than the anger I have as a mother, I love this being so much I cry every time I look into his big, brown, bouncy eyes; and yet because I am so badly broken I feel that my maturity matches his relentless cries. 

I am now learning to ‘un become’, I accept things happened but I will no longer believe what I was taught about who I  ‘apparently’ am because this affects all aspects of being a mum and a good person. My self worth has been all messed up and my personal expectations of myself are discombobulated. I am not useless and I am not unlovable. Abuse happened and there isn’t a single thing I can do about my past but I can stop wearing the ‘victim super hero cape.’

I need to step out of the world of Corrine and step into the world of my kids. I need to have empathy for their little hearts and start rejoicing the love hustler in me that has got me to this very day.  My parents may have stolen my youth but I need to stop stealing my children’s. Because when I suffer my children suffer even more. They are on the receiving end of my dark days and my tears and resentment. Giving history the power is letting life waste away and I am always working on this. I have a mental illness so this is perplexing and it ain’t easy its perhaps the most challenging aspect of my existence but if I let history repeat itself what was I put here to do?. 

Much of my adulthood and the beginning of my children’s life has been based on unhealthy attachments. It’s time that I accept this right now because my children need me more than my past needs me. I am now ready to get on with trying to show up for them, they come first. I have three beautiful babies to raise and so far I personally have not satisfied this role. So you've got to get over your shit. I have been rolling around in the mud of my past for too long - attached to an old story. The reality is it happened and there is not a dam thing I can do about it. What we have to get over, somehow we do. Even the worst things. It may take days, weeks, years or a lifetime but eventually it all just falls away. If you let life live you. 

Not long after my first baby Kingston was born, I went through an insanely challenging time but this was nothing compared to the pre-natal depression I experienced whilst pregnant, a stigma no one really discusses. I had this with all three pregnancies and have suffered debilitating mental illness since my teens. I knew that  'deep down' this angst was from my wounded inner child that desperately needed healing. Woman are tribal freaking warriors, seriously battling the hurdles of womanhood. We woman wear make up as our war paint ready to battle the days away one next best thing at a time. We do it with incredible tenacity and a code of honour. We are the love hustlers of the world. 

My mental health journey, it’s not over, sometimes I feel it starts again. Years pass by and I do the work but yet I know for certain mental health is a sickness, not fleeting, some people get cancer or diabetes and this is a badge they wear for life, it doesn't define them but it certainly never leaves them. I have also learnt not to be ashamed of my story as it may inspire even one person and thats enough for me. I have also learnt that just because others don’t accept or understand it, doesn't mean it isn’t so. The stigma is enormous, society our biggest panel of judges. People tend to judge my story on the chapter they walk in on. But that isn’t on me, for years I took everyones opinions and the burden they carried. Heavy and tiresome. Short years and life lessons have taught me that we mental health warriors deserve as much love, support and compassion as those people who have physical mental conditions. It’s not that easy to just get over it, recovery is a mammoth battle for me, if mental illness was that simple we wouldn't be  privately and collectively struggling in the first place. The stigma is strong and has a tidal wave of back lash but each day I try to play my part in softening the proverbial blow.   I’m still here running the hamster wheel  in what feels like some of the hardest times of my life. I thought by the time my eldest was a toddler i’d have my mental shit together and the answers all worked out because if you saw the mental health doctors i’d seen and paid thousands of dollars worth of the alternate therapies id paid, I thought by now id be “mary fucking theresa" but I digress. Today I am 36 years old and this year has been profound and hard.  I have been diagnosed with the most profound mental illness of my life. Borderline Personality Disorder.  Looking back to my life lifetime struggle of never really feeling happy or at peace, to my anxiety, pre and post natal depression what I really had all along is Borderline Personality Disorder. I have been wrongly diagnosed all these years.

It would take a woman to diagnose me after seeing so many male doctors the previous years before. Was it that she listened  so intently to what I was actually saying, to the quivers in my voice and the innocent but desperate look in my eyes, she could see me abandoning myself, she could see plain as day what was wrong when for the last 16 years no medical professional had bothered to look that deeply into my soul, they were looking into their medical school text books. The day I was diagnosed was a good day. I felt like the weight of the world had slowly shifted from the pit of my stomach and deep within my brain to somewhere else more foreign. Mental health takes no prisoners and it doesn't end for most. We wish it would but trying to rid your brain of it’s ongoing sickness is not always the reality we face when sick in the mind. 

But we never give up. It’s not an option. We are not a statistic.

Corrine Tan