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Seventeen

I was 17.


When I was 17 my mental health was in the gutter, mania took over my life and depression compounded my thoughts. I moved out two weeks after my 17th birthday. I had a fight with my parents about god knows what and I picked up and left, I went to my ex-girlfriend's house and asked her to let me stay for a few days.

Within two weeks I had signed a lease on a bedsit and moved in.


It's hard when your functional. Functional. You hear that a lot, functioning alcoholic, functional depressive even. But a functional bipolar? Hell no. You see people think bipolar is either laying so still you can't move, or jumping off a building because you think you can fly- and it is, or it can be. That wasn't really me, not at the start anyway. I was functional, my mania caused me to rent a home with next to no money, and take out loans to support pay rent. My depression meant I would try to kill myself, but only after I had finished a shift, and if that didn't work? Back to work the next day.


Life was crazy, I dropped out of college and went to work full time. I liked my job, don't get me wrong, and it got me out of the house, but it was all I had. Me and my ex broke up around two weeks after I had moved in, I can't remember why- it was probably my fault.

I woke up in the afternoon, and smoked so much weed I could barely open my eyes, and went to work. I went home, smoked even more weed and went to bed. If it was a day off I would only get out of bed to smoke, sometimes eat- rarely- I don't even remember going to a supermarket so I doubt I had ever bought any food anyway.


I have tried to kill myself 9 times in my life - I was 17 for 5 of those times.


My parents would worry about me, but I thought they were out to get me, I guess because they didn't.. get me? I went to work everyday, but functional couldn't be used to describe me anymore. I was dead inside.

My life was a mess, and I could see people getting more and more worried. I had no emotion left in me, I had nothing left in me. Sometimes I would cry, long, painful excruciating cries. Other times I would sit in silence, I wouldn't even think. I didn't get why I was alive, I didn't want to be. I used to say I wish I had cancer, I wish my brain was fine but it killed me slowly, because at least then I could do the things I wanted to before I died. I didn't have cancer, and I couldn't fill out a bucket list. I couldn't even make it up the stairs to shower.


I was 17 when my parents found me.


Eventually I gave up any hope, I wrote a list of 40 different ways to end my life - I still have it. I said I would do every single one until I was dead. For the first time ever I didn't care who knew about my mental health. I went onto Facebook, and I wrote it all down, how I felt, what was going on, and that I was going to kill myself. Then I tried.


I was only 17.


What happened next was a blur, but I will re-tell it as best as I can. My Facebook post blew up, and my parents saw it or were contacted or something, I don't really know. I was unconscious, in my room and my parents got into my house, I remember my mum getting me to breathe again. I remember crying and the sentence 'why can't you let me die' over and over again. Then I remember an ambulance, and a hospital.


The next memory I have is of being in the hospital, and a Mental Health professional speaking to me. They asked me what I would do if I went home. I told them about my list. At that moment it was decided I couldn't go home. Instead, I was being transferred to a children's psychiatric unit, and I wouldn't be allowed to leave.


It was the next day. My parents were allowed to drive me there, I wore a hoodie, black ripped jeans with a safety pin holding them together, and a pair of beaten up Dr Martens I wore everyday. Nurses spoke to me, and explained where I was, I remember holding my breath, I can't remember breathing again, until I was released. They told me they had to take my laces, the drawstring from my hoodie, my safety pin. I cried again. Please, don't leave me here.


I was 17, it wasn't my choice.


My parents went home, my mum has said many times since then, it was the best night sleep she had in months, to know she wouldn't wake up and find me dead.


I didn't understand that. I didn't sleep. I remember thinking, my life was already so bad, I didn't want to live, and now I'm alone with nothing but the quiet sobbing of the girl next door, and the nurses shinning a touch in my face every hour.


I was 17, when I understood what true emptiness really was.


I was 17, but I had no innocence.

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