I grew up a witness to family violence and that pushed me into severe mental illness.
But my mum, the strongest person I know, always did her best to help and protect me. She’s my best friend.
When I was 15, I had a breakdown. I had written a suicide note, prepared for the end.
But instead I broke down, telling mum if he came back, I would leave and never return.
It was the next day my mum organised police assistance for us as a family to leave him.
I moved out of home when I was 17, making the big move from a small country town to Canberra, desperate to get away from all the toxic memories. My mum supported me, helping me move.
Moving meant I was able to get better psychological care.
But I got sicker, developing anorexia nervosa on top of other diagnoses, my self-harm worsening. But my mum was there. She would often drop everything and drive for hours to look after me.
My mum footed the bill for all my hospitalisations, even driving a total of 26 hours to get me to and from the hospital, then doing hundreds of hours more driving all to care for me.
Mum would spend hours on the phone with me be with me, hugging me, rubbing my back and head while I’d sob. Having her comfort me, and knowing she’d always be there even if she didn’t fully understand what was happening is what mattered to me most.
I’d always felt safe to talk to her about anything. Mum was the family protector; she kept me alive through my poor mental health.
I committed to therapy, and although I had many relapses, I am an incredibly stubborn person. I made lists of things to be proud of each day, I wrote out my emotions and I made a lot of art.
The sunshine on the Gold Coast helps my mood a lot, and I finally threw away my self-harm kits, no longer feeling like I needed them in times of crisis.
It has been almost two years since my last psychiatric hospitalisation, and my mum and I still talk for hours at a time every few days.
My mum is my hero; I would give her the world if I could.
But until I can, I dedicate this and the fact I’ve survived, to her.
If you ever need someone to talk to, remember that headspace.org.au, Lifeline (13 11 14), Kids Help Line (1800 55 1800) , Reachout (au.reachout.com) and BeyondBlue (beyondblue.org.au) are all good places to start.
Take a look at Jessica’s original Heywire entry here.
Also check the related topics:Self harm Domestic violence Eating Disorders