Ms Mc Mullen was initially diagnosed with a range of mental illnesses, including depression, anxiety and bipolar."Every day was just this huge emotional rollercoaster. I would take things really personally, not in an egotistical way, but in a self-damning way," she said."I got around hating myself, and needed to put on this face to the rest of the world that I was competent, capable and confident, but really underneath, I would be feeling that I didn't belong, and feeling that there was something deeply, fundamentally wrong with who I am."I thought that I was broken.
I was convinced that I was defunct."Ms Mc Mullen experienced intense emotions, and would dive head-first into relationships. People would re-assure her that it was 'normal' to feel insecure or to have ups and downs in relationships.
In that moment of emotional deregulation, they will quite often go on to self harm as a way of regulating that emotion."To be diagnosed, people have to meet at least five of nine criteria.
About 1 to 2 per cent of the population has the illness, and about 10 per cent of patients will suicide if left untreated.
It was suffocating, frightening and debilitating."Even though people were being kind in saying those things ...
what it actually ended up doing in this really counter-intuitive way was sort of invalidate my intense experience," she said."By someone saying to me, 'This is normal; everyone has this', the next thought that came in my mind was, 'Well why the hell am I struggling so much?
Ms Mc Mullen didn't regularly self harm before her diagnosis, but the behaviour increased afterwards.
In early December 2011 she was accepted to the Centre for Psychotherapy, and began treatment on Valentine's Day 2012.
Invalidation is so common in our society that you’ve probably inadvertently done it to others – and to yourself.
Emotional invalidation wears you down, and in the long term has an extremely negative effect on self-confidence and well-being.
When people are unfamiliar with a term (something like pansexual or aromantic, relatively new terms) they often take it upon themselves to decide what's easiest for them to handle. However, if they do truly care about you, you need to inform them about how their invalidation makes you feel and ask them to change how they treat you/which pronouns to use/et cetera.
“You’re over-reacting.” “That’s totally irrational.” “There’s no reason to be upset.” If you have anxiety, chances are you’ve been hearing these kinds of statements for as long as you’ve struggled with the disorder.