Once before, I’ve spoken about the mental health problems I’ve faced and the way that I’ve dealt with them. Although, with it being mental health awareness week I’m going to speak out again, yet try to not spare details. I do this in an attempt to help people seek the professional care they need and to get more out of their life, rather than poor mental health which can sometimes be crippling.
I have always felt the weird one, I’ve felt I don’t fit in. It really started from when I was younger. Being left out, being laughed at being told I was strange. People used to laugh at me rather than with me. It carried on into secondary school, where I tried to make friends yet was bullied. It made me feel ugly, it made me feel worthless, and it made me feel like nothing. I found myself wondering whether I had any friends. The so called friends would laugh at me, and I was definitely the one there for their entertainment, they never were friends.
Although, my life turned upside down with cat fishing. The one where someone pretends to be someone on the internet. I felt like I’d found friends who finally understood me and actually wanted to talk to me but I was so wrong. This person created so many fake accounts, but I still recall them to you today. I recall everything they said. They told me they were going to die, their friend had died, one of them had been paralysed and one of them was going to commit suicide. One even told me they had schizophrenia. It was pretty distressing for a 14 year old girl. I didn’t know what to do, I couldn’t help these people because I couldn’t be with them. I spent so many nights feeling guilty that I couldn’t help them and I’d let them down.
I soon started to believe that I was a horrible person and I was selfish for not trying. I believed that I had no other way to get out of what I was feeling than to take out the guilt on myself. I never thought that I would harm myself, but little did I know it was a battle I would face up until this day.
Soon after learning that none of those people were real I started to question myself. I’d been stupid, I was stupid for thinking they were real. I really disliked myself at that point and I closed myself off from the world. I couldn’t trust anyone, I couldn’t let anyone into my life.
I shut off friends and pushed people away, and to this day I regret pushing everyone and away, and I’m sorry if you’re reading this today and you are one of those people. Though the scary thing is, I never realised that I had a problem with keeping friends. I had thoughts they hated me, I thought they were just taking sympathy on me and I thought they could never know about how I felt. I couldn’t tell them how I was feeling and the pressure of trying to keep friends was too much on me. I thought it easier to just be alone.
Going to a new sixth form just relapsed everything I’d felt. I actually didn’t want to get up in the morning, I pretended I was busy to avoid social situations and I cried a lot of the time. I felt alone and I wanted to go back to how things were, I really didn’t want to be there. The same anxious thoughts came over me and I was so down that I didn’t know how I’d get back out of it.
Moving to university had the same impact on my life. Some events have triggered certain emotions and I’ve spent a lot of time lying about how I am. Small things such as being alone or hearing doors slam had me crying and stuck in my room not being able to move. I was lost in a person I didn’t think I was. I still to this day pretend that I’m the person who is there for everyone when really I just hide my other emotions; I don’t want to be a burden.
I can proudly say that today I took the first step, in what I hope, is a continued recovery. I spoke out and saw someone professional who understood my situation. She was happy I’d spoken out and mentioned that 1 in 4 of us will experience mental health problems in our life. She was like that small release I needed.
And yes, it’s been hard to gather up the courage, but I did it and I’m going to start my small journey to feel better again. Once you know what the problem is, then you can slowly find help to make your life easier and help with just the small things. They aren’t as scary as you expect and they see people with the same problems every day. Taking that small step to speaking out is difficult, but I encourage you to do this. I wish I’d spoken out years ago, and I wish you will speak out if you are struggling.
Please, if you do anything this week, support loved ones and help them on a path to feeling better. Mental health may still have an attached stigma but we can break that if we speak out.
We can no longer be the victims, but the survivors.
Love Rachel x
Links for anyone seeking help –