I’m Críostóir. If someone were to ask how my life has been thus far the first answer that would fall out of my mouth is happy. I generally feel happy about my life. I’m close to my family. I have a job that I’m passionate about and I enjoy and most of all I have a wonderful partner. I’m genuinely excited about the future and happy where life is taking me.
It wasn’t always this way. There’s been some very dark parts to my life thus far. I often describe it as though some has taken a dirty black marker and scored out parts of my life. I do feel fortunate though.
Overall, when I think back, I think I had a happy childhood and a comfortable upbringing. As a family, we’re not perfect, but who is. I had a working class upbringing. We were never rich but we definitely were never poor. We didn’t get everything we wanted but we also had everything we needed.
If I were to put on the poor mouth as it were, I could certainly put a negative spin on my life. It just wouldn’t paint a true picture. Some of the darker parts of my life don’t colour who, or what I am. They’re blots on the canvas. They might obscure what’s beneath, ever so slightly, but the don’t define what’s underneath.
When I was 7 year years old. I was sexually abused by a neighbour. It was an isolated incident and the abuse was non-contact. For that I feel fortunate. I’m acutely aware that some victims do not share my fortune in this respect. In my childhood innocence I was not able to make sense of it, nor really understand it. In fact, it wasn’t until many years later that I was able to fully comprehend what actually had happened.
For the longest time I did not think about it. It was as though my mind had recorded it, as a child unable to comprehendwhat had happened, for my future adult self to replay and finally understand and try to make sense of.
From around the age of 14 I became afflicted with mental health problems. Depressive episodes. Anxiety. My mid-teens were plagued with suicidal thoughts. At 17 I had was displaying patterns of behaviour that would be consistent with Bulimia Nervosa. These problems seemed to ebb and flow through the rest of my teenage years and would go on to punctuate my adulthood.
It’s impossible to say if the abuse was the root cause of my mental health problems. I know for certain that the abuse and the abuser would later contribute to my worst episode of depression to date. It wasn’t until I was able to properly comprehend what had happened that I was hit with the trauma.
Facing the abuser again as adult unlocked something that I had buried away. It lead to the most difficult episode of depression that I have faced and without a doubt the blackest of all the black periods of my life.
Throughout these few articles I’d like to share with you my experiences. I’ll look at I have coped with my mental problems and how I’ve overcome and confronted some of the challenges I’ve faced. My hope is by sharing my own story I can help others to find the strength to take the next step in their own journey.
Check out Críostóir’s Twitter here.