Trigger warning: I do talk about self harm and suicide attempts in this post so read with caution.
Dealing with mental health impacts every aspect of life, even if you’re not the one that’s ill. The chances of you knowing someone with mental health problems is very high, you may not even be aware of their conditions. Depression and anxiety affect every 1 in 6 people in the UK. Although, 1 in 4 people suffer from mental health problems.
Mental health is as serious as any physical injury and should treated as such. I personally suffer from depression and anxiety. It can hit anyone: man, woman, gay, straight, black or white; it doesn’t matter who you are or even your social status.
My experience with depression and anxiety has been a roller coaster. I first noticed it when I was about 16 years old, although I believe it was there earlier as I was bullied for many reasons, the main one being my ginger hair. The trigger was my Mums husband leaving, then having to care for my Mum. He left right before my GCSE’s, and it caused me to miss a lot of school which ended up piling on the stress for me. As a 16 year old this truly affected me terribly. I started self harming and basically begging for attention from anyone because I felt so low I just wanted someone to be there. On top of all of this I was internally dealing with my sexuality, I didn’t know who I was. I’m bisexual, and now I embrace it but at the time I absolutely didn’t want to be judged. Even though I’ve faced bi-phobia I’m comfortable enough with myself to not let it effect me too much.
Although I did okay in my exams it caused me to have anxiety about school and education in general really. People judging and talking behind your back about how you skived so much school hurt me and scarred me. This went on until college. I rarely went due to anxiety, and my mood was so low I saw no point or no future for myself which then put me off going even more. It was a vicious cycle. I only lasted about 3 months at college. The college was completely unsympathetic to my situation and even told my whole tutor about my issues. Which, you guessed it, triggered even more anxiety.
In February of 2015 I took an overdose of pills and was admitted to hospital where I was placed on a drip and monitored for 24 hours. This was a horrible experience for me and my family. Even though my Mum and Dad were with me whenever they could be, none of my friends came to see me or seem to care about it. This hurt and made me feel even worse. After this incident I dropped out of college and was sent to counselling.
This wasn’t my first time at counselling. In fact it was my third. The first two being completely unsuccessful. Honestly, going in to my first session I didn’t have high standards. I wasn’t expecting it to go well. It didn’t. I ended up going to one session. I hated it so much.
After that I did nothing about my mental health for just over a year. In that year I had ups and downs. I had a job but my anxiety got the better of me and I ended up leaving my job and doing nothing for a few months. Until I found another job.
Towards the end of 2016 I got really low. I ended up missing work, and I didn’t want to do that; I loved my job and the people there and felt like I was letting them down which caused more anxiety, unsurprisingly. Because of this I decided to do something about it, I wanted help, I didn’t want to feel the way I felt anymore. I made a doctors appointment and ended up being referred to CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy). The best thing to ever happen to me really. It was so different to the other counselling I’d had before. The woman I had working with me was (and still is) amazing and helped me so much.
Around this time I was placed on anti-depressants and still take them today. I believe they’ve worked although I still have quite bad symptoms of depression and anxiety. After my counselling sessions finished (I had 6 sessions over the course of 8 weeks) I continued at my job but grew increasingly anxious and sad which then caused me to leave my job unfortunately. My manager was such an angel and really understood my situation. I am truly grateful as I’m aware not everyone is so empathetic to people with mental health problems. So, currently jobless and attending CBT again I’m starting to see a future for myself and I’m starting to pick myself up and stop feeling sorry for myself.
My mental health has caused me to be bad at holding relationships with people as I get so anxious and stressed and I hold it in and push people away from me. My mood can change in the blink of an eye which I can’t control no matter how hard I try. It puts a real strain on me. I’ve lost so many good friends over the years because of my mental health. It happens, and no one should have to apologise for their symptoms, and I’ve learned not to do that. So don’t ever think you deserve less because of your mental health.
I wanted to share this because I wanted to tell people my story and show that a lot of people go through shit and if you’re feeling low that you’re not alone. I am always open to talk on instagram @brennaahenryy and twitter @brewdarrymore if anyone wants to talk to a stranger (sometimes its easier).
I also want to say that if you’re worried or anxious there are people you can talk to. Here are some numbers you can call if you’re struggling:
You’re never alone and there will always be someone to help.
I want to tell you about this app I saw advertised on Twitter called Calm Harm. It’s an app you can download for FREE on IOS and android. There is lots of different ways to control harming urges on the app from distractions to breathing exercises which also help with panic attacks and anxiety related problems. I’ve used it myself and I highly rate it!!
I want to thank you for letting me share my mental health journey, even though it’s not complete yet. I’m anxious about posting this, but even if one person sees it and talks to someone that’s a positive to me.