Mentally I’m Still Twelve

I got ill with mental illness very young and in a way it stole a lot of my childhood and teenage years away from me. I didn’t get the experiences that other young people had. I never went to university and experienced freshers week, I never experienced my first drink on my 18th Birthday or pizza parties, school canteen food, having fun. Instead I experienced self harm, starvation, suicide attempts and binge eating. For all of my secondary school life I was in a very dark place. And whilst I had to grow up very quickly in some ways, in other ways I remain the twelve year old girl I was when this illness really took its grip and that’s hard. It’s hard to be in an adult world still feeling like a child and only with the life experiences of a child.

I have spent all my life being looked after. As a child I was looked after by my mum and dad and as an adult I have been looked after by nurses and support workers. I crumble with the slightest bit of responsibility that is given to me. For the past year I haven’t even showered or gone to the toilet alone. In fact when I was in the secure unit I wasn’t even trusted to hold the toilet paper myself and was handed it one square at a time.

I’ve experienced trauma and pain and my illnesses have been very distressing and quite frankly horrible. In many ways I have been through more than most adults and yet those very things are what have kept me a child in an adults body.

I still long for my mother, for her hugs and kisses and hand holding. My dad manages my finances because I cannot. I kiss and cuddle and coo my dog. I have teddies on my bed and sleep with the light on. I wear children’s clothes because that’s all that will fit me. I have to ask permission to do anything and I am often told ‘no’. The slightest thing upsets me and throws me into complete and utter turmoil. Tears run down my face, sobs escape my mouth and arms and legs flail. Yet I am old enough to be married with children and have a mortgage and that’s hard. I feel like society puts expectations on me that I cannot meet and my illnesses and situation keep me from growing up even when I’m meant to be a grown up. It’s hard and confusing, scary and shameful to admit but whilst I may be in my twenties, mentally I am still twelve.

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3 thoughts on “Mentally I’m Still Twelve

  1. I’m so sorry that you’re going through so much. I’m barely an adult so I can’t relate to all your responsibilities, but I can say adulthood is frickin hard. But it sounds even tougher for you. I wish I knew what else to say.

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  2. My heart hurts for you… I am feeling those words you typed so well. I feel like I’m not really living, like I’m literally some thing inside my body and life feels like it’s not even solid or real.. I’ve a similar hospital history to you.. I’m 33 now and as you said … I too crumble even with small teeny tasks. My father has had to intervene with my finances many times, I do love with my fiance BUT even doing dishes seems beyond me, foreign.. I’m dealing with the fact that had my family gotten me help sooner I may be better off now… I am also frustrated with hospitals and residential or IP’s lack of available help in stepping back into the real world. Thank you for your continuing posts.

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