To the left you'll see me modelling for a friend in 2011, that was the year I had begun year 11 at my 3rd high school, and the year I had my first hospital admission. To the right you'll see me two years later on my third last day of year 12, finally completing it after my second attempt and four hospital admission. What you may not see in these photos is the 22kg difference from left to right.
In 2011 I had begun the first step towards my final years of schooling, I'd begun my VCE at a new school. I'd had no trouble making friends, as I'd slotted into a lovely group of 5 girls (plus myself) who had mainly gone to the same previous school. That year I was undertaking year 12 drama, along with year 11 literature, dance, studio arts (photography) and music. Outside of school I danced 4 hours a week, took singing lessons, did photo shoots (as both photographer and model for friends) and worked at a bakery, I was very busy to say the least. On top of this, I was also battling numerous mental illnesses that were thought to be 'cured'.
Behind closed doors and away from family and friends, I had many secrets. One was my fear of losing control, which had so often been taken away from me before. The obvious thing for me to do with my fear was take control, so I took control over myself. To do this I began over exercising, which often meant me hiding in my room at 3am jogging for 2 hours and doing 100 situps and 100 leglifts on both legs. It also meant eating under 700 calories a day, purging, lying to my family and friends, self harming and attempting suicide on numerous occasions. This behaviour was not foreign to me, as it had been occurring for over 4 years already.
June of 2011 was my first serious suicide attempt. My mother was away overseas and my father at work, I stayed home from school in order to kill myself, this evidently went awry. I was 'discovered' five hours later and taken to emergency in my fathers car. Once there I was stabilised and sent to paediatrics, this is where the fork in the road lay for me. The consultant psychiatrist at the time had two options of what to do with me. Having spoken to me and taking note of my eating disorder symptoms, including me being underweight, he could have placed me in the hospitals eating disorder program on the paediatrics ward, or having taken note of my suicidality and depression, he could have placed me in the hospitals adolescent psychiatric ward. Once medically stable he decided with the latter. I was taken to another hospital and placed in the psych ward where I stayed for a week until my catchment hospital had a bed for me. At the first hospital I was monitored for my eating and after my eating, though not thoroughly and I continued to lose weight. When at the second hospital my eating was neglected and I continued to lose weight without anyone noticing. I was diagnosed with several different things and trialled many different types of medication until it was decided that I work well with Seraquel (an anti-psychotic used in small doses for anxiety). I was soon discharged after 2 months, and soon gained 25kg.
The year went past, with it's up's and down's, including a short admission in high dependancy psych and I roughly stayed the same weight. I was officially diagnosed with major depression, general anxiety and post traumatic stress, with a post diagnosis of anorexia nervosa (only mentioned to me a year after). It was now 2012, I'd begun year 12 as the largest I'd ever been and on new anti-depresents, Effexor. I was the most miserable I'd ever been, missing at least one class a day, if not more, self harming constantly, binging and having copious anxiety attacks. My home life was less than ideal, with both of my parents also suffering from mental illnesses. It was roughly the same time of the year, late may, that I attempted suicide again. This time it was 8 hours until I as 'discovered' and I was taken to emergency in my mums car. Once in emergency I presented with serotonin syndrome, including symptoms of hallucinations, myoclonus of the eyes and body, hyperreflexia, hyperthermia, hypertension and mental confusion. My myoclonus was so extreme and rare that the consultant psychiatrist for the adult team filmed me in order to send to America for studies. Once a bed was free I was taken to ICU where they were uncertain as to whether I would live or not. Evidently again, I did live. I was in ICU for 3 days until I was safe enough to go to the adolescent psychiatric ward for the 3rd time. The problem was that there were no beds available anywhere in Victoria, I was to be sent to a the adult ward, regardless of my age. Luckily enough for me a bed opened up, and I spent the next 2 months in hospital, again. I was put back onto old medication, which I knew did not work for me and given a new diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder and Chronic Major Depression, though I wasn't told until this year.
Having been in hospital for such a detrimental time in year 12, I was unable to complete it, leaving me with having to redo the year again. I decided it was best that I began the year at a new school, my fourth. I made friends quickly and began the year off well, until March, when I attempted suicide again. This time however, I wasn't found, I'd woken my parents up in excruciating pain, none like I'd felt before. I was taken to emergency and told I was going to ICU, I never went to ICU even though I needed to. The next day I was discharged to the adult psychiatric ward where I stayed for 3 days, until I went home and went to school the next day like nothing had happened. This was our norm now.
The year went on, I got down to my lowest weight in two years, and instantly put it back on. I finished my first semester of year 12 and continued on to the next. I partook in the school musical playing a lead role, performed at the Autumn nights festival, the art exhibition and have begun my exams.
Regardless of the fact that I spent a short amount of time in hospital this year, I have achieved a lot. The real question is whether I am happier than I was two years ago and I honestly don't know. What I do know is that I'm not exercising for 2 hours a night, I'm not self harming nearly as much and I haven't attempted suicide in over 7 months. I'm proud of myself, but I am most definitely not happy with myself or my situation. I still struggle to this day, with my self-image, my thoughts and emotions. I am only just coming to terms with the diagnosis of BPD and what that means for my future, if I'll even have a future and how functional I can be as a persona and a partner to someone else. I have a long way to go, and I still don't know if I'm up for the ride.