May 8, 2012

Photo of Rebecca, a Time to Change bloggerI wanted to write and talk about my experiences of depression and discrimination as a young adult. I started self harming when I was 16 and had recently started Sixth Form College. My parents were told and they were shocked and disgusted. I was punished for this and had my MP3 and my television taken off me. I was accused of being an attention seeker and this event ruined my A level grades.

After this I decided to take a gap year and became a youth worker. After considerable pressure my mood started to dip and I became very depressed. This was the first time I took an overdose and resulted in me being told to leave a position that I loved. I had to return to an unstable home where my behaviour and mood were misunderstood and I was told to “snap out of it”.

I carried on and went to university to study as a youth worker but again my mood dipped due to stress and I was asked to leave the course due to self harm. I was desperate to stay at university so I did what they said and didn’t challenge it and then transferred to study theology, which I quit after 3 years due to my lack of coping skills.

Discrimination is one of the most difficult things to challenge

Discrimination is one of the most difficult things to challenge. Sometimes I was treated like a child who had no control over my behaviour. My experience of suffering depression at university is that behaviour such as self harm or overdoses are seen as unacceptable due to the assumed risk to other people and the difficulties it may cause them. Of course we must be aware of how our behaviour affects other people but we need support and understanding too.

After being removed from the youth work course I carried on doing youth work with a local organization where I knew the youth worker well. I love supporting and building relationships with all young people.

having had my own problems has made me a better youth worker

I feel that having had my own problems has made me a better youth worker as I have a particular passion for working with young people who have difficult life situations. Even though I actively struggle with depression I can make a difference and don’t need to be wrapped in cotton wool.

keep trying and you can reach your goals

I’m now well on my way to going to university again but this time to become a mental health nurse now that my life is more under control. The point I want to make to young people who have a mental health problem is don’t let discrimination control your life, keep trying and you can reach your goals.

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