***Trigger warning: depression, anxiety, suicide, self harm, mental health***

If you're a relative, or a close friend of mine, this will probably be a tough post to read. Or maybe it'll be tough for everyone. But this is my story. And I'm finally ready to share.

In April last year, I was signed off from work with my chronic illness, PoTS. My health had deteriorated rapidly, and leaving the house for a few minutes was a task in itself. With me becoming bed bound most days, and the manager of where I worked being less than sympathetic and turning into a vile bully in an attempt to get rid of me, my mental health started it's descent.

It was around mid-April that I made the decision that I didn't want to do this anymore. "This" meaning life. I turned off my emotions. I went and chopped all my hair off (this was a huge thing for me, I never touch my hair) - only to still feel nothing. It was at this point that I ordered razor blades online. It was at this point that I started to write letters to my loved ones for when the time came. If there's one thing I am, it's organised.

I was finding little enjoyment from anything in life. Social media was a toxic drug to me. But at the time, it was my only friend. I would dip in and out of pro-suicide groups; reassuring myself it was the right choice to make. During this time, I was self-harming everyday. Something my body had become well-accustomed to over the years. I'd say I was shocked at the lack of compassion from friends, but honestly? Even families struggle to understand how desperately lonely and painful it is to live with a chronic illness. I wanted control. Self-harm gave me that. It had done for 8 years. Since my chronic illness began.

That's not to say I didn't have good patches. Of course I did. Weeks would pass sometimes where I wouldn't pick up my weapon of self-destruction; nor did I think of it. But April was different.

As April turned into May, I sat in the bath ready to leave. The letters were spread on my bed; the razor blade in my hand. I laid there for hours. Until I made the decision to try one last time. Because surely life was more than this. I wrapped myself in a towel and hid away all evidence of what I had been so close to doing.

I decided to lose myself the best way I knew how: reading. The book I picked up was After the Fire. I remember posting back in December that this book had saved me from dropping out of the book blogging world; it did a lot more than that. I delved head first into the community and found things to aspire towards; things I could acheive. At the time, I was watching The Following, where I discovered Sam Underwood. He was doing a show in Edinburgh later that year - about mental health. Although anxiety ridden, and ill - I booked tickets to see him. I would be there in August, no matter what.

I connected with Sam online and ended up interviewing him about the show; an achievement I will always hold close to my heart. The deeper I got into the bookish community, the clearer the fog in my mind became. My desperation turned to determination.

On 8th July (11 months today!), I did a 24 Hour Readathon for charity. So many amazing authors were involved, and it was at that moment I realised I was getting better. That I hadn't self harmed for weeks. That life was worth living again. I slowly started going to bookish events, and meeting people who changed my life (looking at you, Liv). In April 2018, I won 2 book blogging awards and even did 2 panels (check that out here). What a crazy year it's been.

By no means is my mental health perfect now. My anxiety is still a struggle every day. But the bad days are fewer. I'm stronger. I'm a fighter. Who knows when the fight will end?

And here I am today. In recovery.

PS. I got to Sam in Edinburgh. Just like I said I would. I had one of the best, carefree nights of my life. He has since sent me a video message to congratulate me on getting better.

PPS. He performed a song called Recovery - Frank Turner. You may want to check that out.

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