Time for another Mental Health Awareness Week piece! Big thank you to Jack Walker for this post and for sharing your story with me and my lovely readers. Jack and I went to Sixth Form together and he continues to support me with my own mental health concerns. I’m grateful to call him my friend and I hope you all enjoy his post. Be warned: there are some possible triggers in this post – depression, anxiety, suicide, self-harm, suicidal thoughts, and other mental illness triggers.
Mental health has always fascinated me, especially as someone who studies politics and sees the topic tossed around by governments like a political football. However, as someone with their own mental health troubles, the topic is also extremely important to me.
My own personal problems with mental health began in mid-June 2016 – issues with depression and anxiety. I initially refused to go to the GP and dismissed the problems as a”phase” that would pass. So, I forced the smiles and played the part, hoping things would improve. Instead, things got worse, and as they got worse I became less willing to fight them.
I was caught in a vicious circle that seemed inescapable. I tried harder and harder to fight how I was feeling, but I was losing. These losses were massive blows to my self-confidence. By mid-2017, my condition was worse; I was spending so much time in bed that I didn’t see any daylight. My days consisted of crying, isolation, and the worse despair I have ever felt. I hit my lowest standing in a bathroom with a razor blade to my neck, willing to end it all. I used friends like therapists, not realising I was pushing their own limits until it was too late. I pushed an entire house of friends away because I couldn’t face the truth. I needed professional, medical help.
Around Christmas 2017, I finally plucked up the courage to tackle my issues head on and see my GP (with the help of a very special friend – she knows who she is). They were immensely helpful and put me on a course of antidepressants. Things picked up and, after a few months, I began to feel like the “old me”. I have not needed to take antidepressants for almost seven months. (Please talk to your GP before coming off your antidepressants or any other medication).
In hindsight, I regret not going to the GP sooner. Admitting you need help is one of the scariest things we can do – it’s hard to admit to our failures and that we need help. But, there are people out there who want to help. GPs, counsellors, therapists, even family and friends are there to help us. Society is beginning to recognise the important of mental health, but it still doesn’t receive the level of attention it needs and deserves. People need to know that admitting that they need help is not a sign of weakness and, despite what society enforces, it is okay to feel unhappy.
To everyone who is out there struggling and/or fighting, take every day as it comes. If you need help, there are people out there to help you! Know you are loved – by family, friends, and colleagues.