It Really, Honestly Does Get Better
I am an old member of an old support site that no longer works. I've been looking at RYL on and off for a while now and I've finally decided I'd like to share my story.
I started self harming at 17, after being r**** and struggling with my sexuality. It escalated pretty quickly and I was hospitalised a few times. The next four years were dark times. I truly detested myself and felt like I had to get out of my skin. I never thought I'd be happy. I completed a degree during this time, but had to take a year out because my mental health got too difficult to cover anymore. My self harm escalated and became more dangerous than ever. I broke bones on a number of occassions. I took drugs amd drank alcohol most days. I came close to dying, twice, after losing a lot of blood. Uni found out and asked me to leave as they were afraid I would hurt someone else or myself on campus or placement. I became lower than ever and attempted suicide a few times. I couldn't see a way out of anything. Eventually I came out to friends and family. Friends took it well, my parents didn't. They accepted it , but not happily.
I went back to uni for my final year and my mental health gradually improved. I still self harmed, but less frequently, and certainly less severely. I stopped my anti-depressant and began a different one which seemed to work for me. I moved in with a wonderful friend whom I'm still close to today. She helped me through a lot. I had toxic relationships but needed those as I explored my sexuality. I completed my degree and spent a year doing supply work. I worked evenings in a pub and found an amazing group of people who helped me further. We became a little family and finally I felt I was able to be ol' gay me!
Fast forward 10 years, I'm 31 and haven't really self harmed in 10 years. I've had the odd slip, and I've struggled with alcohol intake and OTC medication when I'm feeling low. For the longest time I settled with feeling...okay. With feeling like being down was just the way I was made. I had a few more toxic relationships but each one made me stronger. In my late 20s I was in an abusive relationship. I moved 200 miles to be with her and she beat the **** out of me. I stuck with it for 4 years but eventually I was brave enough to leave. I had a good job - my dream job - so I stayed there on my own. My family didn't want me to but for some reason I knew I had to.
Then I met my wife!! Four years ago, hitting rock bottom again, but feeling stronger than ever, I met the woman I'd been waiting my whole life for. We fell in love one magical summer.
We recently got married on what was genuinely the best day of my life. She looked beautiful, I felt beautiful. We shared the day with my wonderful friends, and more importantly my family. My Dad gave me away and my Mam cried with happiness. The family who wouldn't accept my sexuality love my wife as much as they love me. The happiness and contentment I never thought was possible is real. And it's an amazing feeling. And everyone will get there, I really believe that. It takes lots of time, and lots of slips, and lots of self-acceptance. It took the longest time for me to be comfortable in my own skin. And I'm not going to lie and say it's all sunshine and roses - I still struggle with my scars - for the first time ever I wore shorts this year, and in not sure I'd do it again, but I did it! I have finally reached where I want to be in my career. And I stopped settling for being treated like ****, and found the person I want to spend the rest of my life with. But I'm comfortable being ME. Because all anyone can be is themselves.
I feel incredibly lucky, but I know this isn't because of luck. Time, age and wisdom change everything. Acceptance and love change everything. Try and remember that this...now...this isn't forever. It really does get better, I promise. Not perfect, but better.