SENSITIVITY WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS CONTENT AROUND SELF-HARM. ONLY READ ON IF YOU ARE COMFORTABLE WITH THIS TOPIC. THANK YOU.
Questions by Cameron Watson
Answers by Anonymous
Q – What have you experienced when it comes to mental illness?
A – Nowadays I really only suffer from anxiety, but when I was younger I had depression as well. So I was depressed when I was about 16 but then I got help for that. In 2012 it got really bad at school because I was fifth year and I was about to sit my highers and I found it really difficult.
I had issues with friends and things and I ended up feeling really depressed so I had to get help for it. During the summer I got better and my sixth year was fine. It got worse again in my first year of uni though. But that was the worst time for it.
In 2014 my grandpa passed away. Up until that point I was fine; I had stable friendships and a stable family life, but just before moving to Stirling for uni he passed away and I think that kick-started something. I didn’t know that I was suddenly going to spiral.
So leaving home and moving to uni was, I think, the hardest thing I had to do because not only was I dealing with grief, I had to leave everyone I knew behind. I knew no one here and I spiralled. Luckily I had people in my flat who were supportive enough and I didn’t know them well, but they took it upon themselves to be there for me.
There was obviously a support system in my family, my friends at home and various cities like Glasgow who were still there for me. First year and second year were really difficult but I’ve kinda come out of it now.
My worst was January 2015, but my second year got better. I self harmed throughout first year really badly. I will never forget one night in first year when I went through to my flatmates’ room and she had to clean me up and help me. It was a really rough night. But through all of that I have still made it through by myself. I’ve never been on medication but I have seen professionals.
Over the last five years I’ve seen four psychologists for support. In the end it always came to body issues and insecurities, but this time last year I kind of found myself and got out of a rut and picked myself up. For a year now I’ve been fine, I’ve been good. I’ve been happy. Despite having down days I have been happy.
I still have anxiety but it’s not as bad as it was. I put that down to personal strength. I think I’ve been through a lot of things and I now have the strength to pull through. When I feel myself slipping I can pull myself out and since first year I have wanted to do this myself. I didn’t want the help of medication, and I’m not saying it’s bad at all.
Certain people do need it and at one point I think I needed it, but I was determined to show myself that I could do it alone, and I did. I had friends and family that were so like, I don’t know, they were just there and they helped me through.
Q – What different services did you use to help you with your depression and anxiety and which was the best?
A – There is a private clinic in Edinburgh that I visited. I also went through the NHS and councillors at uni. So I have been to various different ones due to different contacts.
The private clinic was the best as it was more in depth. It was getting to the bottom of feeling the way I was feeling. The uni was the worst. Instead of getting to the bottom of it they just told me what was wrong with me. The NHS was good but the clinic was better.
Q – Do you think the uni could do better in regards to mental health?
A – Yes, 100%. I only saw one woman for a semester and it was really bad. I think they need more awareness of it and how to deal with it, and how to speak to people who have it.
Q – Why did you self harm?
A – It was a punishment; it was you were not good enough. There was always people in my life who made me feel like that, and I don’t think they meant to but I needed an outlet and a punishment for it. If I ever felt like I had done something wrong or spoken out in the wrong way, I would take it out on myself.
Q – What would you final thoughts be for everything over the last two and a half years and your outlook now?
A – A lot of these issues have come from that fact that I would feel I’m crazy and people seem to enforce that when you are ill, and that’s the stigma that needs to go away. I think the idea of someone being crazy is wrong and it’s upsetting because there are people in my life that made me feel like that and made me feel worse.
I think that the stigma needs to go away and the idea of a crazy person to go away. But abusing the illness and using it to a personal advantage is unhealthy.
Whatever mental illness you may suffer from, what’s important is knowing you have a support system around, whether it be friends, family or a partner. But what I’ve learnt is that no matter how ill you may be, using your illness to demands someone else’s attention is not okay.
It’s important to be aware of how your feeling and who is here to support you, but it should never be used as an excuse to treat others poorly. I now stand on my own two feet and I will go to friends and family if I have an issue, but in the end I am here for me.
I spent so long hating myself that I now know that I love myself and I will always choose myself over toxic people. But I really don’t like people using mental illness in a way that gains them personally by manipulating others.
I know I was never a saint; I would use it to my advantage because it does things to you. You think you need everyone’s attention at all times, but I now appreciate who is in my life and who has stayed in my life through everything.
I would go back and apologise to people for trying to use my mental illness to make them stay. Even if you are ill you will be able to get through it and you will be okay, I’m thankful to those who have stayed and I’m thankful for my family. I’m happy now.