From March 13th every day for two weeks, we will be posting a new piece of content about people’s first experience of having a conversation about their mental health as part of our campaign #14Conversations.
We are raising money for a local, free mental health service for local people aged 11-25: Off The Record. They’re doing an amazing job but they can’t do it without financial support. Click here to donate!
#Conversation7 comes from Evy Tang.
Is this normal?
Around the end of my GCSEs and the beginning of sixth form, I felt consistently ‘on edge’, I could never feel relaxed and had, for years, gone through phases where I felt totally at a loss of how to act, how to feel, how to react to people or how to interpret anything that was happening around me.
In these phases I felt so hopeless and sad; I cannot quite put into words how confusing and tormenting my state of mind was when I had a bad day.
If I saw something online or in the news that was negative, and let’s be honest here the news is often not cheerful, it would have a serious impact on my mood and confirm by belief that the world is an awful place and not worth putting up with.
In these phases I felt so hopeless and sad; I cannot quite put into words how confusing and tormenting my state of mind was when I had a bad day. I would feel like I was in a cycle and spiralling downwards, plummeting into a dark and unhappy future. Many a time I didn’t want a future, if I felt like I did nearly all the time, what was the point in living for years in misery?
Throughout my teens I was used to the phrase, “stop being so pessimistic or negative”. And like many teens, I was, and still am, incredibly insecure with people and friendships. Trusting people and understanding boundaries with people is something I am still trying to learn, for example, how much do you entrust to someone? Can you pour your heart out to people? Would anyone be there for me if I needed them to be? Is it okay to need your friends?
I think a huge problem when I was at school was, I didn’t actually realise I had depression. It took at least four years to diagnose, however there is a huge grey area between sadness and depression. During sixth form I fell out with my best friend of the time and after that my mental health spiralled out of control.
It was then that my family accepted that depression may be the culprit, and not me being consistently negative. I wanted to leave my school as I felt so unwelcome there, I had lost my group of friends and I had never felt lonelier. Each day I got home from school I would be in tears and though I wanted to message ‘friends’ I knew it best not to; it was so hard to cut myself off from everyone but at the time I felt it was necessary.
I felt so ashamed and worried and anxious of what my Mum would say, that I often lied or didn’t tell her I was going to the doctor.
After an extremely difficult year of struggling alone in silence and after teachers recommending I talk to someone, I finally went to my GP. I felt so ashamed and worried and anxious of what my Mum would say, that I often lied or didn’t tell her I was going to the doctor.
I was diagnosed with severe anxiety and depression ‘officially’ just after I had turned 18, meaning that the support I was eligible for more suited to adults than children. For months I saw my GP while I was on a waiting list…for months, for CBT. I would never tell my Mum why I was at the doctor’s but I am sure she knew why.
My self confidence had more than shattered and I knew that going straight to university was no longer the best thing for me to do. Unfortunately, my family did not agree and so I had to struggle against one more thing to do what I felt was right. I deferred entry to Bristol and was shocked when they accepted my request.
Throughout my childhood and adolescence, I had had enormous respect for anyone who could speak a foreign language and the idea of running away from everything familiar was so appealing. Having lost all my friends at school and being dumped by my boyfriend of the time (as I was ill), I lost all sense of belonging anywhere. Being somewhere new where not belonging was okay, was the best decision I made. I have been on medication since the beginning of university and still have days where I am down.
The journey to recovery is a long one, but it starts with admitting to yourself, that you’re not okay and feeling horrible is not normal, but that is also okay.
The journey to recovery is a long one, but it starts with admitting to yourself, that you’re not okay and feeling horrible is not normal, but that is also okay. The hardest thing I have come to accept is that I do deserve to be loved, and I am so loved by my family. My family and my sisters are my rock. I love you all and thank you for being you and for loving me for me.
Thank you Evy for sharing your story. Get involved in the conversation by using #14Conversations on Twitter!