So why Girl Interrupted I hear you ask? Well to begin, I had big plans for my life (don't we all at 16), I had shown 'promising insight' in all my creative writing and was passionate about becoming a writer. I left school at 16 armed with a collection of 'A' grades and the world at my feet.
By age 17 I had 'dropped out' of my studies and developed an anxiety disorder that would get progressively worse. I was working in the travel sector doing six day weeks and only getting paid fifty quid for it - I hated that job with a passion.I fell in with a crowd that were doing drugs and though I had at that point only ever smoked weed, I began doing a few drugs here and there too.
The drugs did not agree with me and made my anxiety worse, but I was too young and too stubborn to understand the effects on my body. I was working two jobs and attempting to study again, my second job was at a nightclub.
Between working so hard, not eating right and being exhausted with the unsociable hours, I was falling into situations that were really bad for me and had no control or direction over my life really.
By age 19 my anxiety had got so bad that I sought help for it, I woke up, quit the job in the club (where most of the drugs were) stopped partying and doing the drugs and left the group that I was 'in' with, which was not easy to do.
I thought I had my life on track again, though there had been something not quite right with me that I could not really describe. Like a shadow following me around. Things became clearer though, too clear, amplified -my self awareness was increasing and with it the knowledge that certain things had been all wrong. I hadn't dealt with deep rooted issues and they came back to terrorise me.
By 20 I had a complete nervous breakdown which terrified me, it was the most harrowing and isolating experience I have ever been through. It was two full years of hell, I became agorophobic and couldn't leave my house for a very long time, I was a virtual prisoner in my own home.
I still don't know how I didn't crumble under the strain, but here I am to tell the tale.
The remaining part of my early twenties consisted of being unemployed, trying to build my life back together, establishing new friendships but mainly getting to know myself again. I explored many holistic therapies as a means of getting well again and was so inspired I decided to train in therapies myself.
Throw in several short lived relationships (many forgettable, only a few unforgettable) a strained but progressive relationship with my family (we're good now) and in my later twenties amazing friends, several geographical moves armed with only a small holdall (cornwall, london, bristol (very briefly) and manchester) we get to where I am today.
In a relationship with an amazing man who loves all parts of me and more (I find this quite astounding) I have finally, I feel, 'settled' somewhere. I am content, beginning to explore the things I always wanted to do, like training to be a counsellor and writing.
My life is far from perfect and I still have many ups and downs, but I think I'm really starting to get the hang of being a Girl Interrupted.
Image - Lisa Cole