May 1, 2013

Illustration with text: talk about it, youth and depressionI’ve lived with depression for what feels like forever but in reality it’s 5 years, though that’s still a quarter of my life so far.

I spent these years smiling and pretending everything was alright to friends and family and not letting onto people what I was feeling deep down-the curse of the “smiling depressive”.

Even when I finally told my mum, I stopped her from telling my dad and didn’t tell the doctors more than they needed to know. I was sure I could do it alone.....

I went to university and was still afraid of showing my true feelings but I worked up the courage to seek help from student support. Talking to someone regularly started to help me work through what I was feeling but I still couldn’t break the smile that I hid behind.

I finally told my dad about my depression

When I turned 19 things started to get out of my control. I was self harming much more and developing an eating disorder but I was still in denial as to how bad things were. I went on for another year still hiding it all from family and friends until it got to the point that my eating disorder meant I could no longer hide. My parents realised how bad things were and I finally told my dad about my depression. However, I still went about things on my own and told my parents things were getting better.

A few months later I was admitted to hospital for a week and I was so worried what people would think of me being in a psychiatric hospital. If anything, it made me realise how important true friends and family can be. My parents came up to Scotland from London to rally around me and stayed up here for a year after to give me support. My friends visited and were there for me more than I thought could be possible.

Despite having mental health problems, I'm still the same girl

I’ve never been so glad to have such support and only wish I had realised sooner that my parents were a solid rock I could rely upon. They have helped me beyond words and their love for me has never faltered. Despite having mental health problems I’m still the same girl to them.

I was so afraid that the stigma of a mental health diagnosis would be so strong, that my family wouldn’t understand and just think me to be weak. Now I realise opening up and talking about mental health is probably one of the best things I could have done when feeling so alone in the world.

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