Through national school and the first two years of secondary, I was happy, but then things started to get bad.
Nothing particular happened or changed apart from my own feelings. I started to lack confidence. I began to feel different, and I had low self-esteem. Despite this, I got through Secondary and passed the Leaving Cert. I got a place in college and passed the first year. I got an A grade average. I was really dedicated to it and was looking forward to going back to complete the course. However, things didn’t work out that way.
I got a summer job working for a builder. It was around this time that things started to go really downhill. I became very anxious and unsettled at work. I found it hard to interact with my work colleagues and became withdrawn. It was the start of my breakdown, but didn’t realise it at the time.
I constantly thought other people were talking about me in a negative way. I struggled through the rest of the summer but was a nervous wreck at this stage. I didn’t want to answer the door to anyone or talk to people on the phone. In fact, my heart would start racing if the phone or doorbell rang.I would lock myself away not wanting to see anyone or let them see me like this. I even shunned my own family and became increasingly agitated with them.
The hours seemed like days. I was hiding under the covers, hoping,and wishing things would get better. When I had to go back to college, I was literally shaking. I lasted half a day and had to leave but I knew I couldn’t get away from my torment. It was around this time I had my first suicidal thoughts.
A few weeks after this I remember my uncle calling around and getting me to meet my doctor who advised me to go to hospital. The next thing I know I’m in hospital with all these people watching me and analysing me. I felt I would never recover and get out.
While I was in hospital, I thought an awful lot about ending my life. I was in hospital for six weeks, (it might as well have been six years). I suppose I recovered enough to be discharged but things still weren’t great.
After leaving hospital I took an overdose of tablets. I was brought into hospital again. I was only in there for a week. When I told the doctor, he gave me an injection. After the injection, things started to take an upturn. I started feeling really good about myself and I left hospital feeling really confident, elated actually. I was really buzzing. It felt great. I believed all my problems were solved. I believed everything was going to work out for me.However, after only a matter of weeks, things changed dramatically. Almost as suddenly as I had gotten all this selfbelief,it went. Suddenly my mood took an extreme drop. I ended up in hospital again but I was only there for 4 days. On the fourth day, I jumped out of a hospital window trying to end my life. I woke up about 3 days later in the general hospital with a broken arm and badly damaged knee. I had shattered the bones in my ankles and had several other injuries. I was unable to walk for about 5 weeks. I eventually got physically well enough to leave and go home 7 weeks later.
Soon after this, I decided to see a counsellor. I found it very difficult at the start to talk about my thoughts and feelings. However, over time this became easier. I learned a lot about myself during this time. I found visiting the counsellor to be extremely beneficial. It was my counsellor who told me about GROW Mental Health support groups.
I did not know anything about GROW really. So one day I went to see Tess, the local GROW Support Worker. She encouraged me to come along to a meeting. She advised me to stick with it for a few weeks to check it out. My first impression of the group was that it was a caring and understanding group of people. Members gave good and sensible advice to each other. Each week someone tells their personal story.
Every week each member chooses a task to complete for the following week. It’s a bit like a personal goal to aim for each week. I think the idea of getting a practical task is a good thing. It gives you motivation and determination, a kind of pressure, but a good pressure to do something positive for yourself.
The fact that I could still get up or do something no matter how bad I was feeling really opened my eyes and made me realise there was always hope.