The first time I self-harmed I was sixteen. I had been struggling with my mental health for a while, and felt low, anxious and overwhelmed on a daily basis. I was desperate for a release from the distress I was experiencing and from what was going on inside.
At the time, the physical pain felt easier to deal with than the emotional pain I was experiencing. It gave me a sense of control, when I felt I had so little control over the distressing thoughts and feelings I had. However, it became my ‘go to’ way of coping, and it felt impossible to stop.
I remember the day I decided to take my own life, that moment was the first time I’d had clarity of thought for as long as I could remember. There was a huge sense of relief that I had finally realised how I could take back control over what was happening to me. The irony was that things in my life had never been so good. I had just become a father for the first time (my daughter was 6 months old), I had a wonderful supportive and caring wife, a lovely home, and a great group of family and friends around me. However, by this stage anxiety and depression had taken over.
My late brother and I were working together in the hospitality sector, running a bar. We were making good money. So, I advised my brother, we should build a house. We worked together on it for more than two years. It was a three bedroom flat each… on one plot.
That’s around the time I started seeing things differently from reality. I thought people were controlling my lights… but no one was there. I was hearing voices.
Depression can be a face of someone who is smiling, telling jokes and happy, which I am quite often. I have a family, a job and I am alive so why would I be depressed?
It's hard to talk to people when you don’t know what reaction you will get. In the past, I’ve found out that people were talking behind my back, saying I am “needy” or “always on about myself”. But maybe I seemed like that because I needed a friend to lean on.
Stop worrying. Chill out. What’s the matter with you?
I have dealt with depression and anxiety for around two years now, and people still ask me these questions. How am I supposed to tell them that I can’t stop worrying, that I don’t know how to chill out and that everything is the matter with me? That I cannot turn off the endless stream of thoughts, that it sometimes it feels as if my own brain is attacking me.