I first experienced warning signs of my impending breakdown in autumn 2008. I'd been working long hours in a major bank, the financial crisis was kicking off and there were widespread rumours of large scale redundancies - or even the bank going bust. I’d just bought a house, my girlfriend's income was fairly unpredictable, and we were quite stretched financially.
I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety when I was 16 years old and started counselling sessions. I was so ashamed of it, that I would lie about where I was going. I didn’t want people to know I was having counselling, in case they labelled me “crazy” or “insane”.
Having mental health problems has always been the most isolating and difficult part of my life. Most of my thoughts and feelings have been my secret, so as not to look ‘strange’, ‘weak’ or ‘self-obsessed’. I worried I would be judged and discriminated against. I worried I would become further isolated if I discussed it and on top of that, I did not want my family and friends to worry themselves or see me as a burden.
The first time I started experiencing severe mental health problems was when I was in Year 10. I turned round to my teacher, A, and said; “what is the point?” - that’s when I first started opening up about my problems.