April 22, 2015

This blog talks about issues that may be triggering to some readers

This is the story of the last few years of my life - it's about times when I've been unwell, but still felt able to talk about my mental health issues.James blog When I started university in 2011 I began to seek help for a few aspects of my health and well-being that had been bothering me – I found out that I have dyslexia, that I may have ADD, and that I experience anxiety and depression. Searching back through my life during therapy sessions at university helped me to look at the root causes of my mental health issues; my granddad passed away in 2010 and this left a hole in my life. It turned out there was various aspects of anxiety that affected my childhood, and laid the foundations for more serious problems. I went through weeks of counselling with the university mental health worker who really helped me to understand what was going on and what had caused these problems that I was facing. The combination of my mental health and other conditions created a huge tangled web of unexplained problems that will take time to fully understand - that process is still very much in progress.

I found a friend to support and talk to with about mental health

Later on down the line in March 2014, I took a big step and took a job offer 300 miles away from the only home I'd know for over two decades. This was a great move and the first few months were extremely positive and I felt almost like a new person, however this was short lived as aspects of my living circumstances changed and my workload increased along with the inevitable home sickness that followed. In November of the same year I self presented to A&E on the advice of the NHS 111 service due to intense suicidal feelings - during this phase my eating became disordered and I was isolating myself. Shortly before this occurred (back in the summer) one of my closest friends revealed a plan to take his own life – I talked him round - now speak freely about mental health and we even accompany each other to appointment on occasions.

With support from family and friends, I am almost certain I can live a long and healthy life

After my hospital incident, and some heavy intervention from my bosses at work, I called my mum and asked to move back home. A few days later I was back home in the pub with my friends and it felt like a huge relief. There was a financial mess and some problems to be solved but I felt I was in a much better position to tackle my problems and recover, which would enable me to be in a much stronger position in the near future. Right now I am waiting to be assessed for ADD, starting a new job which is more flexible and I am on medication. I am also working to improve my diet and cycle more to fight the big ‘black dog’. There is a long road in front of me but, with support from family and friends, I am almost certain I can recover and live a long and healthy life.

If you are struggling in any way, talk about it

This is just part of my story - there are many more incidents and complex details to it but never enough words. I hold hope that I will untangle the web and eventually will be able to manage the symptoms and challenges I face throughout the rest of my life. As a 23 year old I should have many years ahead of me which, on my best days, really does excite me and motivate me. If you feel like you are struggling in any way with anything at home, university, work, go to your doctor, teacher, manager, friend or family member and talk about it.

What do you think about the issues raised in this blog?

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If you are experiencing mental health problems or need urgent support you can contact the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90 or by emailing jo@samaritans.org or these help and support services.

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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.