May 18, 2016

I was diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety in late 2012 after being sexually assaulted by a friend. Prior to this, it had taken me two years to come to terms with what had actually happened and accept the fact that I needed help. I confided in family and applied to see a counsellor.

When the event first occurred, I struggled to leave the house for fear of triggers being set off in the outside world. On occasion, I struggled to even stay on buses due my anxiety.

Whilst it’s true that my family and my counsellor were fantastic support networks, there were still some details which I didn’t feel comfortable sharing with them. My loved ones had already seen me suffer so much, and after an attempt to take my life – I tried my best to protect them from future harm.

There was one person though, who I knew I could talk to. A friend of mine for 4 years (at the time) had always been attentive and non-judgemental and I found myself discussing things with him before I’d even talked about them with my counsellor. It helped that Will lived over 30 miles away, meaning that the majority of our conversations were had over the phone, in the darkness of my own room where I felt safe.

In time, we grew closer and not only did I reveal secrets, but Will also confessed things to me he had never told anyone else. We realised that anxiety was an issue for both of us, and although he had no experience of depression – he was extremely patient and supportive of my issues. 

Eventually, my anxiety decreased and I was able to go out more. As my confidence grew however, my counselling came to an end and I became fearful that I would relapse into low moods once more. Instead of bottling things up like I had in the past however, I confided in Will and he was able to show me that I was stronger than I knew, and I realised that he would always be there for me to talk to.

Will and I are now a couple, we have been together for a year and I am happier than I have been for years. Will has also grown a great deal during our journey, and I genuinely feel like we add something important to the others life. The care and love I received from my family, counsellor and Will means that I am now over the worst of my anxiety and depression. I realise now that what happened was not my fault and that I am indeed strong enough to deal with the bad days when they come (which they do from time to time). I am even going to university this year to study counselling and psychotherapy in the hopes to spend my life helping others.

I was extremely lucky to get the support I did and I have pledged on the Time To Change website to help everyone I encounter who needs it, because everyone deserves the same understanding and compassion that Will showed me. 

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