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I felt like half of me was broken. I have so many questions about mental health.

[Trigger warning: this blog post talks about suicide and distressing thoughts]

Stephanie describes the huge impact mental illness has had on her life – and why she’s raising funds for research.

I remember feeling something was wrong when I was around eight years old. I felt like half of me was broken. I’ve been diagnosed with bipolar, and recently I was told I have EUPD (Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder). I’m still learning what part is me and what part is the condition.

I struggle so much to understand people's reasoning and actions. No matter how many times I evaluate a situation, it never seems to sit quite right. I can cry for days and never get a sense of relief, it's just a feeling of pure devastation, sometimes over nothing. Imagine experiencing fresh grief from a loved one passing away... I can get that feeling because I can't find my other shoe. 

I over analyse continually throughout the day. Even saying ‘thank you’ to someone can leave me assessing myself, thoughts run through my head: Did I sound genuine? Did they hear me? Was I sincere enough? What if I sounded sarcastic? It's exhausting.

I also get really dark thoughts where I just fixate on suicide and last year I attempted to end my life.

Sometimes, I experience 'ups' where I think I can be a pop star or Prime Minister. I won't sleep for days on end, I tend to do everything at a million miles per hour and achieve some great things in small time frames. I also develop obsessions, compulsions and addictions in these periods.

Relationships are hard as I'm vulnerable which seems to attract all the wrong people. Arguments can arise because I don't have censors or limits. I can't always gauge when something has gone too far and I have difficulty trusting people. Sadly, my family struggled to understand my suicidal tendencies and I no longer have them in my life. I need people who care, accept and understand. 

Day to day tasks can be difficult – I struggle cooking as I find being around knives triggering. I’m working towards a goal to complete my ironing at least once a month. 

I’ve been on over thirteen different types of medication to help me with my mental health. Some gave me nosebleeds, blackouts, crippling headaches, sickness, hallucinations and the need to sleep for 48hrs. The one I’m on now is better, I’m able to focus more and it enabled me to start my own company as a celebrity manicurist. Life pressures are tougher these days so my doctors are still working to find the best combination of medications that can help me cope better with the symptoms.

I believe mental health is the biggest crisis of our time. The statistics make me cry – one in four. These are people, not numbers, and they feel how I feel when I'm sick.

I have so many questions about mental health. We need treatments that really work and better rights in place for people facing mental illness.

That’s why I’m supporting MQ with my Nailing Mental Health event where we are painting as many nails as we can to raise funds and awareness. We raised nearly £8,000 at our first event and this time we have celebrities attending, so I’m hoping it’s going to be even bigger and better than last time. 

Nailing Mental Health is happening on Monday 2nd October between 10am - 5pm at Kensington Olympia. Tickets are just £5 per person. Find out more and buy your tickets.

Last updated: 29 September 2017

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