My first dealings with depression began very slowly and gradually when I was in transition year of school. In “TY”, while everyone was growing in confidence and making new friends, I was becoming more introverted and had very low self-esteem. As an outsider looking in, you would never suspect or believe anything was wrong with me. By the time I was in 5th year, I had no friends inside or outside school. I just wanted to be in the safety of my own home with my parents. I had a constant sick feeling in my stomach, had no appetite and was slowly losing weight.
I felt so alone and scared. My parents believed it was due to school. I used to overcome how I was feeling by studying all the time. I remember as if it was only yesterday, lying on my bed at night wishing that there were some way out. I just wanted to die. I got so used to feeling this way that I thought it was normal and it would be like this forever.
What finally led my parents bringing me to the GP was when I was doing a beautician course after my Leaving Cert. It was here my depression was at its worst. I began being bullied by 2 people in the class. They were both mature women in their 30’s and 40’s. They were psychologically bullying me by excluding me from the class and making up stories about me. I was once again isolated and without a friend. I remember falling down crying in a corner of my bedroom and thinking of ways I could end my life. I began self-harming and lost loads of weight. I was hardly eating. I was only 6 stone, which was very little considering I am 5ft 6in. The worst thing was the principal and teachers of the college knew about what was happening but did nothing to help.
My parents brought me to the GP who prescribed me antidepressants and referred me to a psychiatrist in a Dublin hospital. My appointment to see the psychiatrist wasn’t for a few months. I continued at college even though it was a big struggle for me as my mood was still very low and I had little energy or interest in life. I felt very guilty about the impact the depression was having on my family. I eventually saw the psychiatrist who adjusted the medication and this lifted the depression.
Even though my depression was lifted, I believed that medication alone was not good enough in the recovery of depression. I believed that a combination of therapies, such as cognitive behavioural therapy and programmes that build on your confidence and selfesteem were needed. However, waiting lists were so over-crowded, that there was little chance of me receiving this help. It was as a result of this that I was determined to find the help myself. I began looking on the Internet and found GROW Mental Health. GROW has played and is playing a major role in my recovery from depression.
Before attending GROW meetings, I wanted to be better instantly.Now, I know that you can’t put a time on recovery and that sometimes you have to be a bit selfish and love yourself a bit more. I used to isolate myself and believed I was completely worthless but now I actually put what my psychologist says into practice. I would never go into a group of people but I am now willing to take risks.
Just belonging to a group and being accepted by a group means more to me than you can ever imagine. Listening to people who have similar stories to me, gives me strength and confidence.