THE BLOG

The Young Mental Health Sufferers

03/10/2014 10:56 BST | Updated 02/12/2014 10:59 GMT

The fight for mental health equality has taken a main platform for the next general elections and also plays it part on NHS reform.

This is fantastic to see but what about the real sufferers in our United Kingdom.

While at The Conservative Party conference, I had great pleasure in meeting Rebecca Sweeney, an 18 year old charismatic, beautiful, intelligent girl from Birmingham.

Rebecca told me the struggles and hardships she had faced by showing me a journal which displayed true unhappiness and a feeling of helplessness.

Rebecca showed true courage to tell me this and it was a gift to hear her story and her willingness and compassionate nature to help others in the future.

I would like to share her story that has many issues that young people suffering from mental health problems face.

Rebecca's Story.

My journey has been somewhat interesting as I haven't exactly leaded an ordinary life; ever since I was a child I wasn't the happiest.

Crying became a regular thing for me which nobody understood, not even me..

I had so much to be thankful for as a child, the most amazing supportive family, plenty of friends and I always had all the new toys- I was luckier than most children in this world.

Growing up was hard like any other teenager, you had to make new friends, find who you were and battle having crushes on boys (or girls).

Puberty is a hard time for anyone; I tackled it by throwing myself in to sports such as Trampolining, Dancing and even a little cheerleading.

Not only did it keep me fit but it took my mind off everything else that may have been haunting me at that time, I felt free.

Unfortunately, feeling free didn't last for long.

Going to school became a problem so home-schooling was a must, the only time I went to school was when exams where taking place.

All I could do was lie in bed which meant no exercise, the only time I left the house was when I attended physiotherapy, counselling support, exams and to see family.

This being said I began to get fatter and fatter. When I eventually got better I was left feeling fat, ugly and worthless.

It got to the stage where I started self-harming and making myself throw up after every meal although I did try to avoid eating as much as humanly possible which was trying to survive on one biscuit a day.

At that point I knew that it had to stop, I wrote a letter to my Mum and Dad as I couldn't find the words to tell them, I was far too ashamed.

They were really upset but took the appropriate action and told my councillor who then went on to help me get better, I recorded a food diary and pushed myself to eat more every day to stretch my stomach back to its normal size, I also created a "Positive Outcomes only" board to remind me that it is okay not to be perfect as no-one truly is.

I tried explaining why I was so sad so many times but nothing would come out and I think that's when I realised I didn't know either, that was until one morning my mum called me downstairs to watch Danny's story on ITV This Morning about Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) and it all seemed to add up, I went to counselling and described how I felt and that's when I found out, I had BDD. After a couple of visits to counselling I didn't see a change, it didn't help me so I decided to do it on my own.

I started keeping a Journal which I poured my heart, soul and emotions in to, I pushed myself to go out wearing crop tops instead of baggy jumpers and it made me realise, people don't stare as much as you think they do.

I had never in my life heard of BDD before, until Danny. I decided to get in contact with Fixers, after talking with them backwards and forwards for about 6 months they then put me in contact with Danny himself.

I cried out for help so many times and felt like no-one listened, I thought I was all alone because nobody understood. I had never met anyone else with the same disorder as me and meeting Danny, knowing he understands and is there for me 100% made it so much easier.

That is why raising awareness for BDD is so important, to let people know that you are not alone, you will never be alone.

You have some pretty bad days but you also have good days and the bad days make you appreciate the good ones so much more. I intend on moving forward in my journey, raising awareness and fighting BDD because I know one day it will get better.