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Be Your Own Lighthouse

By Chris Wood, 24 November 2017 – 0 comment

Emily, a Time to Change Champion, has begun to tell her story via her blog. We're honoured that she would like us to share it with you here as well.


I’ve never wrote a blog before. I’m not 100% sure what one is.

But I’m going to interpret it as a way to express my experiences, emotions and difficulties all on this little page. Hopefully to help others to speak up or find some comfort.

I won’t lie, I’m scared to put it all out there. Terrified in fact. And I feel very alone when doing so. But I hope that by speaking out others can come forwards with their experience and continue to share.

If by me airing my “dirty laundry” will help one person then I am happy to do so.

I’ve always been scared to be honest, I’m a bit of a woss. I was a scared little girl. Not all the time granted. But often if I heard a person’s footsteps coming up the stairs I was terrified I would be made to watch something or do something I didn’t want to nor did I understand. I would lie on my cabin bed, face tucked into a cabbage patch doll as tight as possible hoping if I could pretend I was asleep nothing would happen.

I would be terrified my mam would never escape. Packing her toothbrush in the night as a toddler. I wanted to save her. At the age of 23 I still do want to save her.

I was scared at school. Of not fitting in. Of always being left out. Always on the outside edge of friendship groups. The nerdy girl with the pink clarinet and the frizzy hair always clicking down the corridor like an extra from Glee! (I didn’t fit in)
I was scared of failure of not doing my mam and my Granda proud. They needed some good news.

As a teenager I was terrified I was always being whispered about. Emily the girl whose father hung himself. I heard these whispers so many times and thought I’m never going to amount to anything else other than an add on to a bit of gossip.
Being loved. Being broken. A massive fear and they probably still are to this day. I have longed to feel loved by anyone, someone. And due to this and living in denial of accepting that I’ve stayed on violent abusive and torturous relationships and others where I knew, and was told, I wasn’t loved back.

If anyone has ever suffered abuse or a mental illness you will probably know how it feels to be stripped of your identity. To many in surrounding towns I have often been thought of as the chubby funny girl with a top knot. Always joking, making a fool of herself. Having a kerfuffle. I held down a good job working my way up the ladder. Got houses, a dog. Yet inside I felt lost, empty. As though I was floating through life. I just wanted a purpose. I would fill this void with determination.

Maybe my purpose is to be successful. So I would take on as many jobs and as many hours as I could. And still I would lay at night wishing I didn’t exist.

Maybe my purpose is to love and be loved. So I would throw myself at a man devoting every aspect of my life to him. Yet still I would sit on the shore for hours crying. Wanting the sea to take me to a better place.

One day I had lost the lot. We had reached the end of the story.

The illness and the things I have gone through won. They took it all. The boyfriend, the friends, the job, the money, and myself. I had nothing left and knew I had been avoiding these demons for too long. I had reached tipping point.

Unfortunately, didn’t win any 2ps either! Shame.

I lay day after day, night after night; my family on constant Emily watch. My younger sister having to shower me and brush my hair whilst I was in a trance. Re living the trauma and the nightmares in my head like a bad episode of Corrie!

Then it hit me.

I needed to save myself. I needed to be my lighthouse. Something clicked on my head. I sought help from family. Reading online posts like this one. Speaking openly to my gp and professionals. And bit by bit I found myself again.

I realised it’s so easy to be swallowed up by the demons and the negative thoughts wanting to be saved or it to end. And often it’s yourself that needs to be the hero. It hasn’t been easy but I am now in the best place mentally I have probably been in years. I am happy. Truly.

And I want to win. I want you to win (yes you) be your own lighthouse. Praise yourself for the achievements that seem “regular” to others. Whether it’s reading this post, managing to get dressed or out of bed, eat a meal without feeling guilty, seeking help, volunteering, finding a hobby. You are a lot stronger than you think. And trust me there is a reason you’re here. Let’s find it.

I will win. We will win. Together.

- Emily

Follow Emily's story over at WordPress where you will find regular blogs on trauma, recovery, life and gratitude.

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  • Time to Change Cumbria Champions share their lived experience of mental health
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