Comment | My Mental Health Journey

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On World Mental Health Day this year, it’s good to reflect on how important your mental health is. But also consider how it might affect others. Maddi Zoe is opening up about her experiences to encourage you to be open with yourself.

Please be aware that this article may contain content that is triggering.

I remember recently hearing a story about how a young girl who must only be around twelve years old was denied help from the NHS for her depression until she was so bad she had to be sectioned. It reminded myself slightly of me.

My first experience with depression was when I was around twelve. I was badly bullied at school, which was obviously the main contributor to my feelings. I felt helpless, and couldn’t see a way out, I wrote a suicide note, at age twelve. But I was lucky. I got out of that situation. But the depression had already sunken its teeth into me.

I had very low self-esteem, and I hated myself. I had developed a distrust of the world. I started self-harming at around the age of 15. I hid it very well, under my ’emo’ wristbands and bracelets. It felt good at the time, it always does. A way to remind myself that I can feel something. But it doesn’t actually make the pain go away, it doesn’t solve anything. It just sets you into a spiral of losing self-control and wanting to feel that rush again. But you still have to hide.

A cry for help

My Mum found out, and took me to the doctors. I got referred to counselling for young people. It was nice to have someone to talk to but it still didn’t fix anything for me. When I saw the counsellor there were no issues. Then the sessions ended and I sunk into my hole again with that dark cloud lingering over me. It’s an oppression of the soul. And you start to feel like there is no hope, there is no end to the pain. So you have to create your own end.

Which is when I attempted to overdose. I was rushed to the hospital, in a panic. My Mum was crying, her wife was crying. They were both angry at me for what I had done, they couldn’t understand what was so bad that I felt that I needed to do that. If it had worked, and I had died that day, I truly believe they would have been inconsolable.

I was lucky, I didn’t need to have my stomach pumped. I was on a drip for a few hours and saw a psychiatrist, who just said I was impulsive and referred me to more counselling. But this new counselling had the same effect as the last. Isn’t it something they should have looked into more back then?

Rollercoaster

I did feel better than usual for a while though. For a few years, I was up and down on a rollercoaster of emotions, but my general state of mind was much improved. But I jumped from relationship to relationship, each one more intense than the last. They also had a common factor that I was never treated the right way – I was vulnerable, and they used that to their advantage. I was never physically abused, but I was emotionally and mentally abused and this had a further negative affect on my mental health.

I started antidepressants when I was 23. The first ones didn’t work, so I got them changed. It’s perfectly fine if you feel one type of antidepressant isn’t working for you, there are so many different ones. I battled through each day with this new found motivation from starting to get some proper help, so I thought. But I still had blips, I was still self-harming.

The doctors gave me these pills, and told me to wait for counselling. The counselling was just the same as the last two times; I cope well whilst I am there, then when the sessions end, the lurking darkness creeps back up and envelops me into it’s arms.

Hope

I got through all that. And I decided to get a tattoo on my left wrist (I’m right handed so I’m sure you can work out why). The tattoo reads ‘Be Your Own Anchor’ with the image of an anchor. It covers up scars and now I don’t want to self harm there because I don’t want to ruin the tattoo. The mantra as well – which is a quote from my favourite TV show – gives me something to live by. Be your own anchor. Sometimes you just have to be there for yourself.

I’ve been struggling again recently with my emotions. But I think of all the people who would be upset if anything did happen to me, and that makes me realise that they love me. It doesn’t have to be family, it can be friends. Throughout life, you have to give it a chance, and you find the things to live for. Sometimes you still might find yourself questioning why is it worth it, and you just have to remind yourself why.

I’m still fighting to try and get more help. Because I know I deserve to be on this Earth, but I need help to do that. Mental Health can be just as debilitating as physical health. It’s affected my work and education so many times! But if they give me that help that I need then I can keep pushing forward. I just need to always keep fighting.

If you feel your mental health is suffering please contact Student Wellbeing at SUBU, call Samaritans on 116 123 (free from ANY phone), or one of the other options suggested by Dorset Mind.