13/03/2015 08:30 GMT | Updated 11/05/2015 06:59 BST

How Much Does Mental Illness Cost?

Mental illness costs a lot and not just financially. Don't get me wrong it has cost me financially, the amount of food I had to buy when I was battling bulimia, all the money that went on laxatives and diet pills instead of spending it on nights out like most people my age. The debt I got myself into when I was incredibly suicidal and had lost the will to live so I destroyed myself and my life in every way possible, the amount of money that I had to pay to settle the debt and the charges that came with it. The lack of work, the jobs lost to mental illness. Financially my mental illness has cost me a lot, but it's cost me far more meaningful things than money.

My mental illness cost me my childhood, I can never go back, I can never be that free and innocent child eating pizza and ice cream whilst howling with laughter. I was the child hiding in the toilets hitting my head against the wall for getting a question wrong, self-harming before I'd even heard the words 'self-harm'. My mental illness cost me those girly sleepovers and pizza parties, the ghost stories told by torch light and the Birthday cakes I should have eaten every year.

My mental illness cost me my secondary school years, those years where I should've been worrying about boys and make up and how short my skirt was. I should've been in the canteen joining in with the teenage fun and dramas instead of hiding in the toilets avoiding eating and self-harming. I could've achieved and got great qualifications but my mental illness stole that too.

My mental illness cost me my higher education, nearly two years of hard work all lost as I left the course with no qualifications after being told I was too unwell to study there. That cost me my self-esteem, self-confidence and self-worth. I believed my life was pointless, worthless and all that was left was death.

My mental illness cost me family time, all those evenings I spent in hospital when I could have been on the sofa talking and laughing and watching TV with my family. Those days out shopping and the board games on rainy days. My Grandma's Birthday. All those special memories that I lost to mental illness.

My mental illness has cost me so many friends that have lost count, all those people that I loved and cared for and that swore they would always be by my side. One by one, I watched them all walk out my life. Painful goodbyes that I had to take with grace.

My mental illness cost me all of my 'big' Birthdays so far. My 13th, my 18th and my 21st all stolen by this illness that made me spend each and every one of those Birthdays crying and wanting to die.

My mental illness cost me my social life, I have never been on a night out, I have never been to a nightclub. It has made me fearful of the calories in alcohol and pushed me into a place where I feel so inadequate that I do not feel anyone would want to go on a night out with me. My mental illness caused me to shut myself away and stop speaking to people, to turn down all those invitations to restaurants. My mental illness put me in a place of total isolation.

My mental illness cost me my personality for over a decade, I lost who I was and forgot who I was. I became a hollow shell, a body living without a soul. My parents lost their daughter, my sister lost her baby sister and I lost myself. I wasn't me, I didn't have concentration or memory or even emotions. My bones caged only depression and only skin covered my skeleton.

My mental illness nearly cost me my life, several times. It made me so unwell, so fragile and so mentally drained that I felt I had no choice but to shut myself in a secret location and destroy my body regardless of the physical pain because the mental torture felt so unbearable.

My mental illness has cost me a lot but the transactions stop here, I will no longer allow it to take payments in the form of my life, my soul and my memories. I will be the person I was born to be and I will life my life and make memories worth remembering. I owe my illness nothing.