Talking about mental health is hard but worth it

Jack opened up about his mental health struggles and immediately felt better

Written by Jack McCann


When I first became aware that I was mentally not in a good place I tried my upmost to make myself believe that I was just having a poor day. Everyone has them every now and then and sure it was only natural. But eventually that day turned into days and then weeks and then months. Even though the problem still persisted and was evidently not going to go away by itself, like I had dearly hoped, I still did not tell anyone. I didn't tell anyone for so long because I had this idea in my head that if I didn’t tell anybody then it wasn’t as bad as it I thought.

By the time I decided to tell anybody it was already too late by this point. I had started back into my second semester of second year in college. College stress added to the other stresses that had been building during the Christmas break and I started to slip very quickly in a bad direction mentally. I was helping organise a college ball and the people I was working with and spending a lot of time with noticed that I wasn’t my normal self and started to ask if I was ok and did I want to talk.

I talked to a couple of people in the week leading up to the ball, which was the biggest event of the year for the society I was a part of which added to the pressure I was already feeling because I was in such a bad place mentally by this point. I talked to them very briefly for a couple of reasons, one I thought by opening up a little bit they wouldn’t be as worried and leave me be and concentrate on getting the ball ready, and two because I knew I needed to say something.

These talks didn’t really help and the night of the ball, which was meant to be a great night for all concerned but was instead the worst night of my life. I bottomed out having bottled everything up for so long, and the ball was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I ended up breaking down and crying in one of the hotels rooms on the fifth floor.

"I went and talked to the welfare officer in college and she brought me to the counselling service"

I ended up talking to one of the girls on committee, Amy, and told absolutely everything. All the stresses I had kept bottled up, all the awful feelings and thoughts that were whirling around my head, I left no stone unturned for the next 30 minutes. Not only did I feel like I had lifted a weight from my shoulders by telling her, but it was very easy to do so as she listened so well, she said nothing, and that enabled me to let everything out.

After I finished talking Amy convinced me that it wasn’t bad to feel the way I did, and that I had done the right thing in talking to someone I trusted. The following week, I went and talked to the Welfare Officer in my College and she brought me up to the Counselling service and I had my first meeting that same day with Paul one of the counsellors. It did take me a whole week nearly to convince myself to go talk to the Welfare Officer, but I’m so glad I did.

Writing this eight months down the line, I’ve been to counselling quite a fair bit, and I’ve ended up opening up more and more to the people I trust on a more consistent basis. I’ve become best friends with some of the best people in the world because I talked to them about how I was feeling. I still struggle sometimes but I just tell myself as often as I need to that I have friends and family who are more than happy to talk and help when I need them.

I will always be grateful to the people who helped me get through that night mentioned by listening in such a way that I was comfortably opening up to them. There are so many people I feel so grateful to have in my life over the past few months.

Talking is hard and I still struggle on occasion especially when it comes to such personal matters and feelings. Finding those people who you feel comfortable enough to talk to about can also be tough, but know that there is always someone out there who will gladly go have a cup of tea and listen to you. It may be someone who you least expect or someone you’ve known for years, but there is always someone.

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