Depression and anxiety. It seems like everyone is suffering from one or the other recently and I’m not sure if that’s due to more mental health awareness, meaning people still had it 50 years ago but didn’t tell anyone, or if it’s something to do with the way we choose to live our lives. All I know is, I suffered from it – hard. I still have both and probably always will but I now have it under control. It’s a major thing that I can even talk about it actually because when I was wrapped in my sheets of depression, my mind fogged by anxiety, I didn’t want anyone to know that I was suffering. The fact that I’m so introverted and prefer to keep all feelings safely bottled up didn’t help and prevented me from seeking help. It took me a whole year and a suicide attempt to actually open up to my mum, who had been worried but had assumed that I was just going through a a stage and it was all a part of being a teenager. I stayed in my bedroom 24/7, I cut myself off from friends and family and fell behind on school work. Then, the pressures of my GCSEs came and added to my stresses. I was having frequent panic attacks and I just couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.
The future looked bleak, so much bad was happening in the world, I just couldn’t find the point in anything and all I wanted to do was curl up in a ball and cease to exist. It’s hard to explain depression if you’ve never suffered from it but It was by far the worst thing I’ve ever gone through and wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. I didn’t fully understand why I felt that way because I had no major reason to feel sad. I had never been abused or bullied or had any traumatic experiences. I had a loving family, a great group of friends, a safe place to live etc. It made me feel guilty and spoilt, which of course just made my anxiety worse. Everyone around me seemed so happy and in control, especially on social media.
When I finally told my mum how I was feeling, it was like someone had lifted an elephant from my back. As tears ran down my face, I explained how, a couple of months back, I had tried to overdose on paracetamol but didn’t succeed. She was distraught, which made me realise just how much of an impact my death would have had on her and my family. I suppose, when you’re wrapped up in your own misery, you don’t really think of much else. I mean, of course, as I wrote the suicide letter and took the tablets, I did realise how terrible it would be for my family but I think I just tried to block it out and convince myself that everything would be better once I was gone. It’s insane and really scared me to think that my mind could wonder so deep, so while I was on somewhat of a high, I agreed to see a doctor. They referred me to a therapist and put me on sertraline, an antidepressant. The therapist diagnosed me with depression and anxiety and gave me some really great techniques such as the 7/11 breathing exercise, journaling to get all pent up emotions out of my head, eating healthily and regular exercise to release endorphins.
The antidepressants really gave me the boost that I needed and helped me to get back on track.
I can’t express how great it feels to be able to sit here and say ‘ I did it. I got through that.’ It’s crazy to think that I was once so anxious that I would break into sweats at the thought of going into my local supermarket alone. I’m so grateful that I had the support of loved ones to get me through those times and beyond relieved that my attempt to end my life wasn’t a success.
If you’re battling with the demons in your head, then I beg that you don’t do it alone. Tell someone -anyone; your family, friends, a teacher, anyone that will listen and support you. Just realise that whatever you’re going through now, isn’t permanent. Nothing in life is. It will get better.