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Depression and self harm: my school counsellor listened and that helped
I first decided it was time to talk to someone about the way I felt just after I turned 16. I’d had depression and had been self-harming since I was 14 and it was getting worse and worse.
So I turned to a pastoral support teacher at school. I had spoken to her before so knew that she was lovely. However, once I was sat down with her I found myself completely unable to talk to her.
In the end I just rolled up my sleeve and showed her. I regret doing things that way now as I don’t think it was fair on her. Fortunately, though, she was ok despite being shocked. At first I felt like she was angry at me for doing it, she got me to see the school counsellor and I didn’t speak to her for a while, until I bumped into her outside of school one day and she asked why I hadn’t been coming to see her.
The school counsellor helped me a lot by just listening
I had kind of assumed that she didn’t want me to anymore but after that I started to speak to her again and she helped me out a lot just by listening and being comforting. At the time I didn’t exactly realise that depression was my problem, I blamed my self-harming on my dad being ill, so I guess, although that possibly wasn’t helping me, I wasn’t entirely honest.
Sadly this particular lady left our school. We stayed in touch a little though which is great. Once she left the school things got worse as, shortly after, the counsellor who also helped me left too. This meant that I was made to talk to a community school nurse who didn’t react so well to what was going on. She was a little bit too pitying of me and often made it seem like I was doing something wrong, which isn’t what anyone with mental illness needs.
The school nurse told my parents
In the end my school broke my trust severely. They had warned me that if I were to say something to make them extremely worried they would have to tell my parents. I was ok with that because I knew I wouldn’t say anything to worry them. Then, just before the Easter holidays the school nurse came to talk to me, she said she was telling my parents.
I couldn’t believe it. I was terrified and furious at the same time. I had given her no reason to tell them and when I asked her why she said that it was because I would have no one to talk to over the 2 week holidays and it wasn’t safe. I was so angry. That wasn’t a reason she had mentioned before and I felt totally betrayed.
I didn't know what to tell my parents
I got home the night that my parents had been told and my mum was very upset. I didn’t know what to do and so I lied. I told them that I had only ever self-harmed once and that it was ages ago. They believed me and we never really mentioned it again after that day. Things got much worse from that point. I started to self-harm more and more and I was totally alone for a long time as I had lost trust in everyone. I thought of suicide every single day and objects around my house stopped being just ‘objects’ and started being things I could use to harm myself. I still feel like words cannot justify how dark and awful that time of my life was.
A few months later I spoke to an adult friend. It was so hard and I was so scared my trust would be broken again but I am so glad now that I told her. It turned out that she had been through very similar experiences when she was younger. She convinced me to go to the doctors and came with me… twice.
Things were tough for a while but my friend was there for me
Things were still very tough for a while after that as I was waiting for counselling for a while, although my friend was there for me a lot, but after a while in counselling things did start to improve for me. I went for a year in total and for about a year now I have been feeling so much better. I feel strong now. I can’t say that I never slip up or have days where I find life overwhelming but those are just bad days now and don’t have the dark depressed feeling that used to hang over me all the time.
I am 18 now and am back at college (after dropping out the previous year due to depression) and I am happy! I truly think that talking to anyone can help a mentally ill person so much; I don’t like to think about where I would be now if it wasn’t for my friend, I feel she saved me.