At only age 19 I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder and more recently an Anxiety Disorder. For me, this came out of nowhere. I had a normal childhood. Although I was very shy and insecure. At age 15 or 16 I had my first introduction to self-harm. Not knowing it back then, I was so unaware.
I was on holidays with my brother, my first time away without my parents. It was ok, but I felt lonely. One day my brother went off on a day trip, I begged to stay at the hotel. I don’t know why but I just didn’t want to be in public.
After that, again, I was pretty normal. I finished school, went to college, loved my studies. Until early 2014, when I was suddenly ‘hit’ by my demons. All of a sudden I was ‘sad’. I felt alone, unhappy, hurt – all of a sudden my world was torn apart.
Thankfully, I didn’t let this go on for too long. I had the knowledge at this stage to know something was wrong. I approached my mother, who I trusted with my life, explaining I felt ‘different’. I went to my GP, and was diagnosed with a “Major Depressive Disorder” and set up on medication and counselling.
At the time, this was the best step for me. The balance of these helped me a great deal to manage the bad moods on a day-to-day basis.
After a few months of things going ok, I finished college and convinced myself I was ‘cured’. I decided to jet off to Portugal and work a summer abroad with my partner and friends. I thought this would be a great way to ‘get my mind off my troubles’. This was a foolish decision. I had convinced myself I was better. But bad habits followed me. Alcohol became my medicine, smoking became my stress release.
After 3 months me and my partner returned home. I got strict with myself, aimed to get better. I returned to counselling, altered my medication and got a job. With job after job, for 2 years, I could never truly be “happy”.I gained many skills through reading books and attending counselling.
I stopped self-harming, thanks to tattoos.This sounds strange, but the pain of tattoos helped me get over the urge to hurt myself. It gave me confidence, made my scars beautiful, it was my safe place.
Over 2 years on and it brings us to now. I made the decision a few weeks back to leave work. I wasn’t in the mental stability to balance a job as well as taking care of my mental health. I took a break before I broke. This has honestly been the best decision I ever made – that’s not to say all people struggling with their mental health should leave work, this is just my journey.
I got back into my passions for music and writing. I spent all my spare time writing and making music. I am finally on the road to happiness. This isn’t to say I am “cured”.
The mind is a tricky place, but with the right tools, it can over come the dark times. We as a nation need to join together and stop the stigma around Mental Health in this country.
Reach out to people, help your loved ones, care for one another. In every dark night, there is a bright light.