March 7, 2013

Victoria, a Time to Change bloggerSo I'm 23, I like cats, drawing cats in clothes, pretending I'm a tea connoisseur and crochet. Yes I might seem like an eccentric granny in training but to the untrained eye I'm just your average quirky Drama School graduate with a seemingly pointless BA taking my career wherever the employment is. I have a good job, a lovely group of friends and I share a beautiful riverside apartment with some people from work.

I probably seemed the least likely candidate to attempt suicide but I did. So 2 months later, after a desperately needed bout in a Psychiatric Unit, I'm In the process of leaving the job I love, my friends and my rented apartment overlooking the river to live with my mum 100 miles away because I reached a point when I realised, "I just can't do this anymore".

I guess you can look at it in one of two ways:

  1. I’ve succumbed to being this sick person, giving up the life that I’d built as an adult to a place where I have less independence than I did when I was 16, a few years after this all began.
  2. It didn’t end the day I attempted suicide, I got help, went into hospital, and I’m leaving a life that I couldn’t manage alone to be with family and that’s a positive step to getting better.

Seeking help to help myself is surely better than taking desperate measures to cope.

It can often be very difficult for vulnerable people to see that there’s another way other than suicide and self harm to cope with their feelings. Often people who are ill are blind to see the support that they have available to them and the amount of people out there who want to help.

I spoke to an advocate for people with mental health issues

When I was in the Psychiatric Hospital I spoke to a lady who was an advocate for people with mental health issues. She told me that often people are quick to push the people closest away when they need help the most and that’s where she comes in. An advocate is there to listen to you at a time when you aren’t able to articulate all the things that are rolling around in your head. It’s sort of like explaining everything to your mum except your letting her reiterate it objectively to the doctor.

It inspired me to aim to do something similar when I get better and just like that I had a purpose and a focus for getting well again: to talk for people who couldn’t say what they needed to say to get the help that they need.

My journey to recovery has just began and I know it’s going to be long and hard but I’m feeling glad that I cried out for help because someone was there to listen when I least expected it.

Asking for help isn't a sign of weakness

I think that I know deep down that recognising that you need help, like alcoholism or a drug dependency, is the first step to getting better. Although I know I’ve got a long way to go, I hope this encourages people to understand that asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign that the little strength you have left inside you is pushing you to carry on.

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