Sat alone in the communal room of my student halls on a cold November night, until the early hours of the AM, I didn’t know where to turn. I had hit the worst and lowest point of my 18 year existence on this earth and had no idea what would fix my wounded mind. I felt trapped in my own skin and wanted to escape, I wanted freedom and peace at last from this wretched psychological path. As every passing minute went by the tears continued to flow and my heart continued to sank, the worst part about all of this? I had absolutely no idea why I felt this bad.
There was no specific detail about that day, or even those past couple of weeks which triggered my mindset to slump so drastically. I was going about my student life in a typical way, going to lectures and having a laugh with some good friends, how did I end up in a 5am strike of crisis?
Well the answer it would seem is now simple. Mental health, something that before then I’d only heard mentioned in extreme cases, cases of suicide or cases of insanity, but not for me? Surely not. I kept kidding myself that I wasn’t in danger of having a mental health issue but the reality of it is, millions of people suffer, more than you’d ever want to imagine.
After a long night/day’s sleep I sat and thought to myself what was the best thing to do, I had no idea. Who should I tell first? Whoever I tell won’t believe me, if they knew me well enough they’d know I was the last person you’d expect to have something like that. So I sat and suffered in silence for a bit longer; quite possibly the worst thing you can do is be quiet about it and assume it’ll sort itself out. More and more late nights of fear and disappointment rolled in, feeling like a let down and an embarrassment to my family and friends.
That was until one night that changed my life. I spoke to a girl who just listened to what I had to say over the phone, she embraced it all and gave me incredible advice, the whole night seems a blur now because for the first time in so long, I was smiling without forcing it, I was enjoying my time.
There was still a long way to go, I hadn’t even seen a doctor yet so I wasn’t sure if I was actually a sufferer or not. After the girl convinced me to go away I went and the relief was there. I’ll cut it short and tell you that I was diagnosed with a strand of depression but was told that it seemed worse because it had all rushed to me at the same time. I knew that with the right support I’d break through this.
So I still needed to tell my parents, quite possibly the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. On reflections I’d do things differently, but I just wanted one of them to know. I text mum on New Year’s Eve in general conversation and eventually got around to telling her. I know, over text. Understandably the whole thing seemed quite bizarre and far fetched to her and she started to panic. That was the last thing I wanted her to do, I felt awful inside for scaring her with it but I felt fairly good for getting it out there. Me and dad had possibly the deepest conversation we have ever had and it resulted in a lot of tears, but I think telling my parents has made me a stronger person and helped me overcome a lot of trials and tribulations.
So anyway, I’d like to say a bit about this girl, and if you know we well enough, you’ll now know her as Beth, my girlfriend of 10 months. She saved me from the abyss that night. At my lowest ebb she was there, when I felt lost with nowhere to go, she was there. We just spoke for hours and hours about everything and I’ve never felt more comfortable in the presence of someone else but that’s what she had, this mesmerising ability to put my mind at ease and forget about the demons in my head. I love her so much and don’t know what I’d do without her.
So, where am I with I think all now? Almost a year on from my first really scary encounter with my mental health, I can assure you that I’m at a stage in my life where the future is bright, the things I see in front of me are colourful and the people I have around me are absolute gems, ones I wouldn’t change for anyone. Thank you so much to everyone who’s sat and listened to me at any point of my life, thank you to those who have been there for me through thick and thin. Thank you to my parents for being the most incredible mum and dad I could ever imagine, picking me up when I’m down and helping me to realise the potential I have. Last but not least, thank you to Beth, for making it feel like someone cared, for putting me first, for being perfect in every way and for putting up with me and my ways for all this time.
Thank you for reading my insight and personal experience with mental health, please don’t feel alone and suffer in silence, there are millions of sufferers just like you and there are plenty of people who can help you when you need it.