// three years on //

I have been thinking about writing this post for too long. I didn’t know whether to write it or not, but in the back of my head, something has been nudging me and telling me to just do it, get it out. Plus, it seems fitting to share my story as it is currently Mental Health Awareness month.

It is coming up to the three year anniversary of my car accident and it’s crazy how much has changed within these three years, it’s been scary and tough, but you know what? I don’t think I would want to change any of it. When I look back I’m always amazed at how one day can shape so much of the near future.

June 3rd (2015) was the worst day, it’s one of those things that you just wouldn’t expect to happen to you. I had just broken up the week before from college for the summer. The summer I was supposed to use to prepare myself for the next step in my life, university; not trying to constantly battle with the other party’s insurance company, when the accident wasn’t my fault. Instead, I became more and more anxious than ever.

Anyway, I made it through summer to start my first year, little did I know how bad it was going to get. Throughout my first year I obviously had tonnes of work for my course to do, trying to reach deadlines, but on top of that, I had a constant stream of paperwork coming through my letterbox to get through. I dreaded that walk back home from uni, not knowing whether I would have to walk through the door for another pile of letters to read, every time to remind me of the most traumatic day of my life.

I honestly don’t know how I got through the first year but I did somehow. It’s hard, you try to act as “normal” as possible, but people just do not realise what is going on behind closed doors, it was hard to open up about what I was struggling with, with people I had only just met.

Still, more than a year later (2016) I was back home in Devon over the summer and battling through paperwork, silence and calls from the other party. Over the course of that summer I cannot explain the number of times I just wanted to turn around and just tell someone ‘I can’t go back to Bournemouth in September, I just can’t cope with this anymore’, but I couldn’t get it out, I don’t think I could fully admit it to myself. So low and behold, still trying to get the other party to pay for my therapy, I went back to Bournemouth for uni at the start of September.

This was probably the hardest month of my life. I knew I didn’t want to be there anymore, I couldn’t cope with everything that I was going through, let alone for the piles of work I was about to encounter as a second year. It was when I finally had a breakthrough from the other insurance company that I realised I had to do something. They had just given me the go-ahead for therapy sessions. So it was time to just admit it out loud to someone and the person I first told was my best friend, Beth. She was one of the only people that I felt that I could truly trust and open up too. I think this is another reason why I couldn’t admit it out loud to myself, I knew that if I left to go back home, I would be leaving my best friend behind.

That same week, I packed up my things to move back home. A huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders, and I actually felt myself smile for the first time in what felt like forever. Yes, this was so so scary, and I never in a million years thought I would have left, but it was what was needed for me to do to cope. It was about me and my mental health and nobody else. I had to be selfish.

A month or so after being back at home I was having my therapy sessions to help me cope with everything to do with the accident, these helped incredibly, I can actually talk about that day now without breaking down or crying, it’s a lot easier. I also started an e-commerce internship at JewelStreet a month before that Christmas, I was supposed to finish it after 8 weeks, but they decided to keep me on. Doing this job was something I really enjoyed and really helped me get back up on my feet and I started to feel like I was becoming myself again that little more. It’s crazy really when you’re at your lowest you really can’t see how anything is ever going to get better, but it does. You just have to push through, be the strongest you’ve ever been, stay positive and surround yourself with people that tell you they love you.

Earlier on around the New Year of 2017, Jake asked me to move in with him, he’d moved away after graduating university for his then, new job. I was ecstatic, so excited and just so happy. This was the beginning of the next big chapter in my life, proper adulthood. I left my job at JewelStreet and moved in with him in that April. That summer I struggled a little with working out what I actually wanted to do, did I want to go straight into a job similar to what I had done at JewelStreet, or was I ready to go back to university? But I took it easy, tried not to stress out, or let worry take over like it would have previously. It was good to have that time off to just work out what I wanted.

So a year on, it’s May 2018 I have been living with Jake for just over a year and I can honestly say I have never been happier than now, things do look up, you just have to work hard towards them, even when you don’t believe things will get any better, they will. I am studying a new course at a new university and it’s almost time to hand in my coursework for the year. I am starting my second year (again) in this coming September and I actually can’t wait. How crazy it is to think that two years ago, I was dreading going back. It has been a tough few years, but I have gotten through it, every challenge life threw at me was an opportunity for growth. You may not see it like this at your lowest, but you are capable of overcoming so much more than you think.

Tough times never last, but tougher people do.

xx, Alanis

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If your mental or emotional state quickly gets worse, or you’re worried about someone you know – help is available.

You’re not alone; talk to someone you trust. Sharing a problem is often the first step to recovery.

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