As some or many of you may know, this week was Mental Health Awareness Week. At the university, we had two spokeswoman in from the local hospital telling us all about mental health and it really hit reality. It is said that in the UK, depression is the 2nd most disabling illness and around 10-15% of the British population have depression and/or anxiety. The talk was supposed to go on for 2 hours, but I had to leave after the first hour of listening to them talk about depression and anxiety. I couldn't take it anymore.
Since around March/April time, personally, things became quite serious. A lot of things were going on in my life which I couldn't comprehend.... and I struggled. I started to feel sad without knowing why, I started to get angry and irritated really easily, and I struggled to just be happy. I didn't want to come to terms with myself or what was going on in my mind, why I was feeling the way I was feeling. I did question if I had depression or not, but I just put it on the back burner. How could I have depression? I have amazing family and friends, I'm going to go travel over summer, I've got everything I need in life... so why am I feeling this way? As I didn't want to come to terms with it, I put on a mask: I smiled wider and laughed even louder to hide the fact I was crying so much inside.I started to hate myself, and I felt like I couldn't tell anybody the way I was feeling because they'd be like "Oh don't be silly, you can't be depressed. You're funny, cheery Samantha." But, no. That was the act, that was what I wanted everyone to think. The person I was when I was with company wasn't the same person when I was alone. But here is my story, and I'm hopefully getting better.March
- I broke up with my boyfriend as there was too much going on and I didn't want to bring him into it all. I started to feel down due to a lot of things which played on my mind, and I just lost motivation. My life just consisted of work and uni, and one person from work made me feel like absolute mierda. I had never felt so angry before, and I just felt like running away and screaming. I lost my cool while she just laughed at it.April
- My grandfather passed away and I lost motivation for everything. I was doing so well with my fitness but I ended up quitting basketball and the gym. I stopped going to most of my classes and I rarely studied. Essays were handed in late and the results were poor. I felt like a failure, but I just couldn't escape my mind.May
- I started to put on weight from quitting basketball, and eating lots as a coping mechanism and I didn't like this. I became obsessed with my body and I loathed every inch of myself. I tried crash dieting and eating a lot less, but I ended up finding another coping mechanism, which was something much more extreme than crash dieting, but I'll leave that to your imagination.
- Uni finished and that meant saying goodbye to all of my friends, and not being able to see them for 4 months or so. My home that I lived in during the semesters was going to get knocked down, and I went to live with my Aunt in Edinburgh and continued working.
- I met someone and started to fall for them, but they ended up breaking my heart and messing with my head.June
- I spent a few weeks in Edinburgh until my transfer to Glasgow. I just felt unsettled, and I still do. I had so many things planned for the summer: I was going to learn/improve languages, go on adventures, go hiking, draw and paint more and go on Deviantart just like I used to do, but I had no motivation to do these things. Instead, I watched TV and hardly went out unless for work. I loathed myself for doing this, but I had no motivation to do anything else.July
- July was my first time being happy for a long period of time in a long time, and this was because I went to visit my friends in Austria. I had never felt that happy for so long, and I can't thank them enough for making me feel that way. I felt so relaxed, and all my stress and pressures were left back home in Scotland. I felt free and.... just happy.
They say that home is where the heart is... and I think I left mine in Austria haha.
- Coming back from Austria and into reality was difficult, I had dreams almost every night for weeks about being there and being happy, and I guess I just had a reverse culture shock, or holiday blues or whatever haha.
- To my Austrian friends: thank you so much for making my time there amazing. I love you guys so much and I hope that this doesn't change anything. August
- I made amends with some people, and that helped, and I thought that that must have been the problem solved, but it was still there. This black smog was just clouding my mind all the time. All day. Every day. And I couldn't escape it. I really wanted to escape my mind and thoughts, and the only way to do that was to just ...not be here.I started to think "whats the point?" and I became dependent on alcohol and other substances as an escape. When those substances weren't there, I got worse. I was such a mess, and I still am at times.
- I went to Poland for 11 days and it was amazing, but it wasn't like Austria. I had been to Poland before and it was great, but there was one night halfway through where I just felt sad, wanting to cry and I didn't know why. That feeling continued into the next morning, and then it happened again on the second last and last day.
- When I came back from Poland, the thoughts kept coming into my mind, and I was feeling more down more often and I had to confide in someone. I told my mum some of things I was feeling but not wanting to tell her that I thought I had depression. She seemed shocked, but she gave me some advice and told me it's okay not to be okay. September
-no doubt the most hectic month. Probably the most pivotal.
- Moved house a few days before moving to university. We lived in that house as soon as we moved up from England and made many memories so it's hard to think we can't go back there now. We didn't move to the new house as there's a lot of work to be done (and almost a month on and they still haven't moved in it yet haha) I had to say goodbye to my friends once again, and now they've all left school too.
- I arrived at uni and I just felt unsettled. I felt like I couldn't breathe and that everyone hated me, that everybody talked about me behind my back. I moved in with new flatmates and we get on so well. But I've noticed I'm doing things I never used to do. I can't leave plugs on when they're not getting used and I can't go to sleep knowing that a plug is on. I also can't go a second without music, every second has got to have noise in it. My flatmates are okay with it, but they always wonder why I need music. Well, it is within the silence that my mind is at its loudest. And it can be dangerous.
- Things like the plugs and music are kind of petty, but I became so obsessed with other personal things that they started to take over my life and my studies. I spoke to my mum over the phone and she told me to go see my GP, so I did.
- I told my GP how I felt. I wanted answers to why I was feeling the way I was, and if it really was depression. I scored 19/21 for depression and 15/21 for anxiety. Even though deep down at the back of my mind, I knew I had depression, it still came as a shock. And I never thought I would've had anxiety. My thoughts were, "it's a test on a sheet of paper, this doesn't prove anything" but when he read over my answers and asked me why I wrote them, I can see why I scored so high now. He referred me to a psychologist, and I start counselling on Wednesday. October
- We had people speaking to us about mental health. I showed pretty much all the symptoms and I took a panic attack. I felt like when they were talking about it, it just hit reality and I felt like everyone was watching me and that they knew I had depression and anxiety. I felt like I couldn't breathe, and I wanted to escape but I couldn't feel my legs. I wanted to cry but I knew I couldn't, that would've looked stupid. I quietly left and went to the toilet. I couldn't breathe or stop myself from crying and shaking. I went to the toilet and wailed, I had to stand myself between two sinks because I couldn't stand or feel my legs. Then my friend came in and told me that she has a similar problem and that we can get through it together. And that made me feel a bit better....
-I know that it's going to be a long road to happiness, but I'm happy taking little steps. Unfortunately, I'm still feeling the way I'm feeling, and the so-called coping mechanisms have returned, and I want to stop but I can't. I'm young and at university, so I will have good and bad experiences and will learn from them either way. I've told my immediate family and a few friends, who were all in shock, but are all being so supportive. I think that depression and anxiety are misunderstood, and once people understand them, it makes things a lot easier.
Thank you so much if you read this. I'm not one for sharing my personal life online, but I just wanted to let you know how serious mental health really is and it can happen to absolutely anyone. If you know anybody feeling this way, talk to them about it and give them a hug and a cookie. These things really do make such a big difference in someone's life. And if you yourself are feeling like this or don't know what to do, I'm always a note/facebook message away. I feel like talking to someone in a similar situation helps much more
Here is a good website which helped me a little bit:www.moodjuice.scot.nhs.uk/
and this one too:www.beatingtheblues.co.uk/pati…
I'm sorry for the mood-killing post, but I just thought that it would explain a lot. And I'm sorry for announcing it publicly, instead of private messaging. I just don't really know how to do that....
and I think, given this week is mental health awareness week, it was good timing. I think it's nice to have some people online to talk to about things, it's like an escape again.
I love you guys so much, I hope this doesn't change anything