January 5, 2012

My name is Sitara. I am 22 and live in the south west of England with some other girls. I love to drink tea, sing, and am currently training to be a teacher. I also have a mental illness. I suffer from anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. It’s something that I have found really hard: each day is different and each day is a challenge 

I was on one of the trains during the London bombings. Even though I have got over the event, there are still lots of triggers such as loud bangs, fake blood and crowded situations.  Halloween, for instance, is an event which often really scares me because of the fake blood and the costumes. I know, for some of my friends, it can be seen as silly. But to me it’s a struggle. If I see fake blood on someone, it makes me anxious. So much so I will grip my skin and panic slightly inside.

Right now I am struggling but I am getting better. I feel distant from those around me, almost like there is a box and I hardly let anyone in. I have friends who care but do not know because I cannot tell them. I want to tell them but I am afraid of being laughed at or mocked or told to ‘cheer up’ or ‘get over’ the event. This is because previous friends of mine have said that to me and now I am guarded. So yes, I do hide how I feel inside from the world but I won’t let it define me.

I still am afraid of opening up, even to a doctor. I am trying to pluck up the courage to ask for help. It is hard living with these conditions but I get by and to get by (for me at least) is better than not coping. So I am doing well.

I haven’t even told my parents, they never wanted to know. So I am dealing with this by myself but I really sometimes wish I could tell someone just how I feel but I do still have trust issues.

I am training as a teacher, and it is hard sometimes dealing with feeling low and teaching. But for me the teaching is an escape and I really enjoy it. It’s something I can put so much energy into and I love seeing the children learn. It is hard to stop the nightmares when I am stressed but I don’t care, I love what I do.

I think going through having a mental health problem can leave you more open to seeing the world and caring about it. I found that I have become more empathetic and I really like that. Before, I used to think that depression was something that people can snap out of, but now I understand that it’s not that easy and I feel so bad that I ever thought like that.

So why am I writing this, well I hope it makes someone smile out there because they could hopefully see from my story that things do get better, that things will improve in time. It will be hard. No one told me it would be this hard but it will be worth it for the time when I will feel good again.  

Find out more about:

Share your story

Too many people are made to feel ashamed. By sharing your story, you can help spread knowledge and perspective about mental illness that could change the way people think about it.