Suffering from Depression, Anxiety and other Mental Health conditions is never going to be an easy journey; it certainly hasn’t been for me. Some mornings I do not even want to wake up and face the big world! I’d rather stay in my house and hide away from everything and everyone. It has become challenging for me to face people and it does affect my general well-being and social-life. I have lost good people I classed as friends due to my Anxiety and Depression, but the ones I never thought of as close friends have always stayed around for me and I guess I misjudged those that didn’t stay. It really goes to show who I needed during this time. I would encourage you all to know that good friends support you, those who do not support you may not understand your illnesses, but are probably worth having in your life, they may just not know what to offer to help you and feel confused. You should never have to have people who constantly try to bring you down in your life. I had years of people trying to do that to me in school and strongly regret choosing the secondary school I did, but I wasn’t to know at the time, I was only a child.
I tried suicide more than two times, both times were very challenging and emotional for me, I wasn’t understood and struggled communicating with my family, which made life even more harder, I hated myself and those around me, I felt alone, so I tried ending my life. It could have all ended if my ‘suicide attempts’ worked and I wouldn’t be here now, running Beat Depression Together and trying to help others with Mental Health.
My Family, as well as friends have been very supportive to me. My parents have been a great help to me as well as my grandparents. My close friend, Josie, has been very encouraging to me and she is very optimistic so it is good to have her by my side to provide encouragement and support. Sadly she has now passed away, but I will never forget her. Although some-days are better than others whilst suffering from Mental Health, it has become clear that life still goes on, it doesn’t just stand still for anyone, me included. Even though it is hard to cope with some days, some more than others, my family is still around supporting me and that has been a great help to me. I understand not everyone can trust their families or have one, but it is important to confide with somebody. What isn’t a great help is when people try to pretend they know me or my journey and try comparing themselves to me, I said this once and will say it again “everyone with Mental Health, experience different journeys, they have different times of need and different ways of reacting to Mental Health, some understand, some do not. But the fact remains that we are all equals and are all human and that is why more understanding is urgent of Mental Health, because those with Mental Health are no different to those without it visibly. I would just say that they are more mature as they have to live with their illness, whereas those who judge have no idea what it is like.”
As my secondary school did not understand me, I failed to attend the most important year, the last one! And as a result, I left school without any GCSES, this did bother me and my future aspirations. Teachers were so cruel to me and they bullied me, it felt as if I was alone, until recently when I admitted I had Mental Health to old school friends and some told me they experienced the same problems, with bullies, unsupportive teachers and a lack of understanding. It is all about understanding and more needs to be taught in the curriculum by schools and teachers need much better understanding. Some teachers may have great understanding of Mental Health, but they ALL should have great understanding. I was told I would become a “failure” by the school and left to become one, it was really shocking for any school to allow this, little understanding sure was shown here.
Leaving school with little confidence, many confrontations, isolation, loneliness and years of being bullied, I felt worthless and wanted to give up on my life. However, I attended an Open Day at college and stayed for 4 years! I had incredible friends, tutors and relationships. My college tutors Greg, Ken and Catherine were amazing. Greg and Catherine dedicated time to help support me and provide me with the guidance I needed. Greg in particular has been a huge motivator to me and for this I truly respect him. He is a good friend as well as my former tutor and somebody that I truly thank. Catherine, another tutor of mine, also has had a major part in helping me with my depression. She seemed to understand me and continuously helped support me however she could. This is what is needed, understanding, patience and people who go that extra mile for you.
I also have to mention that I have counselling. The counselling has helped me to talk to a professional who understands Mental Health. Not everyone I know or who my friends know does understand Mental Health and it is such a shame to be branded as a ‘problem’ because of this or told you will become a “failure” when you are most vulnerable. This is why one of the main aims of my former website and now this new website, Beat Depression Together is to get that awareness of depression out into the public and increase knowledge of Mental Health, in particular depression. Unfortunately, now counselling waiting lists are at an all time high, meaning those who need counselling have to wait over a year, if not longer, to receive support, which has shown to be a great problem. People that suffer from depression, to include myself, do not want that extra stress of worrying about what people think or how they brand us, so it is vital that Mental Health discrimination is stamped out and those hard working charities succeed with their aims of doing this. Of course, ultimately its people who need to change their attitudes towards others with illnesses.
I guess what this shows is that I have good friends, family and tutors who totally support me during my depression and without them, I would feel totally isolated and this is how many people feel without friends and family. Depression can sometimes make you feel like the odd one out or the person which has been left out and I myself have experienced this. It isn’t a nice feeling for people to leave you out because you are at a low level in mood or suffer. Depression completely changes a person and makes them very vulnerable and different to what they once were. It is often a shame when suicide occurs because it doesn’t need to occur, the person wants the world to understand them and not judge them. I tried to commit suicide twice. It felt like the right thing to do at the time, however it wasn’t. I tried taking all of my anti-depressants as an easy way out. But now I’m determined more than ever not to try that again and help others with depression, like me, to beat it..or try.