Mental Health Day
So, it being mental health day I thought I’d talk about this taboo subject in a personal way.
I have been treated for depression, twice.
I have felt just as low after but didn’t want to talk to a doctor about it for fear that it might affect job prospects, let me tell you, it just isn’t worth it.
The first time I was treated for depression I was about 13 years old, I was a smart, chubby, asthmatic teenager who didn’t really fit into any of the social norms and so naturally I was bullied, from about the age of 6. My mother and older brother were in and out of hospital so often that sometimes I didn’t know which house I’d be sleeping in at night. I was unhappy, lonely, and didn’t want to put upon my already stressed family.
At about age 9 I really started to hate the way I looked (and still do sometimes 17 years later). I had a penchant for reading and although it was the best gift my mother ever gave me it did not make for much of a social life. Around this time I gained the worst memory I will ever have, I was forced to watch as a group of 20 children grabbed my brother and stamped on his back because they knew he had bad kidneys, putting him in hospital again for a week, and although my brother and I didn’t always get on he was the only person my age that I trusted to be there for me when I needed it. I became scared of everyone, and when my brother left for secondary school the bullying only became, worse so much so that I had pre-planned escape routes from school. This combined with belittlement and bad treatment from my teachers only taught me one thing, keep quiet, stay away and you’ll have an easier life.
When I arrived in secondary school myself my brother had his own set of friends and being scared of people meant that I was only surrounded by the same people I had been to primary school with, and nothing much changed, with one exception, I had taken my father’s lessons to heart and decided to fight back. This of course earned me a reputation as a trouble-maker and meant more poor treatment from teachers (I don’t blame those particular teachers like I do my primary school ones, all they saw was a kid who didn’t talk to anyone much and got into a lot of fights) with two exceptions, my form tutor and my geography teacher, they saw who I was and did their best to help me.
Age 12 was when I first contemplated suicide as a way out, I had begun alienating myself from my family too and as a consequence was lonelier than ever. In my head I thought everyone else was shutting me out and that I was an unlovable, ugly retard. I had a plan, jumping under a bus would be quick and painless and if it was a school bus then those arseholes would get to see what they wanted first hand (or so the twisted logic went). What turned it around was a very timely intervention from my dad (he had gone through similar things when he was younger and I think he recognised the signs), we had a fight and I scared him half to death with the words “you wouldn’t care if I jumped under a bus!”.
Fortunately for me, my dad did care and spent the next 6 months persuading me to the doctors, then the counsellors and then finally to take my anti-depressants. (or rather as is my dads way, talking to my mam and making her do the bad guy things, while he constantly tried to make me laugh, or was my confidante)
You see I was one of the lucky few, my mam and dad had felt the same as me, had been to counseling, had been on anti-depressants and told me what every depressed person needs to hear from someone they love.
“There is nothing to be ashamed of, I love you, will always love you, you need help, and if you ever do again just ask, we’ll always be here for you when you need us.”
To this day my mam and dad know if I’m feeling low within the first words out of my mouth and seem to be determined to never let it get that bad again.
My second round of anti-depressants only lasted 6 months instead of a year and a half, because my mam recognised the signs early even though she only saw me a weekends. If you are feeling low then talk to someone, trust someone, they might not understand but they will be there for you and if you don’t want to talk to family or friends then here are some links.
Also family and friends, if you think someone needs help, don’t wait, these links will help you too.
Samaritans – 08457 90 90 90
Breathing Space Scotland – 0800 83 85 87
Or if you don’t want to talk to them, talk to me, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org my emails go straight to my phone so I should pick it up straight away if I’m not at work, within 4-6 hours if I am.