Rachel’s story

This post was written and submitted by Rachel Kelly.

Have you ever just been so tired of your shitty mental health? Wanted to give up trying and never leave bed because things don’t seem to get better? And the more people tell you the cliche phrase “trust me it’ll get better” you want to scream in their face fuck you, I’ve tried and it’s not.

Without giving a huge story about my childhood I lost my Dad when I was 14 and as a result I got severe anxiety and depression. I got this new fear of life and death and how easily life could be taken away from you.

This meant I couldn’t get on public transport or be alone without thinking what if I jumped in front of that train? What if I ran in front of that car? What if I jumped off that bridge when I got off the bus? These thoughts swarmed my brain and consumed my mind, I would feel sick, I couldn’t breathe, I’d shake and I’d cry.

I let my anxiety take over my life for 6 years, 6 years of never spending a night alone, never getting on public transport alone, missing nights out with my friends, not going to university because I couldn’t get on a bus, being terrified people would leave me, forming unhealthy dependencies on other people and making people feel awful and blaming them if they left me alone. It’s not something I was ever proud of it was mortifying being 18 and sobbing uncontrollably if my mum said she was going away for a few nights. Guilt tripping her into staying with me and telling her it was all her fault because I was so angry with myself and all these thoughts going on in my head.

But, I couldn’t shake them I seen a counsellor for 4 years, a psychologist who done a CBT course with me then I was referred back to another counsellor. I was mentally drained I was tired of being this way and I was so tired of wanting to change but nothing happening. I felt flat, useless and like a burden.

I then got into a relationship with my partner (he lives in Glasgow and I stay in Edinburgh).

The distance and me not being able to travel to him was an issue it meant after uni he’d have to drive an hour to pick me up to drive an hour back to his then take me home every weekend. He never pressured me into getting public transport he was understanding.

We had our arguments like couples do but my coping strategy wasn’t healthy. We were have a silly bicker over something and he wanted to go home and come back tomorrow. But in my head that meant he was leaving me forever and he wouldn’t come back. I sat in front of my bedroom door and sobbed, hit myself, screamed, pulled my hair and it got to the point my Mum and brother had to force their way into my room. I tried to jump out the window after my partner when he left. This was honestly the lowest and most embarrassing point in my life, the first time I’ve suffered such extreme mental health issues that I didn’t recognise myself. I was disgusted ashamed and knew it needed to change. My partner was luckily very supportive and understanding and came back the next day. I knew things needed to change and I promised I’d get as much help as I could.

So I was referred to a psychologist; I went in scared there was something horribly wrong in my head that would never be fixed. He explained that I just had severe anxiety, depression and a really hard time with controlling my emotions when anxious. He put me on 40mg of Fluxoteine and referred me to a mental health nurse to carry out a CBT course (cognitive behavioural therapy). I went in full of doubt thinking I’d tried this course before so what was going to change?

It honestly changed my whole life now I’m not saying medication is the way forward for everyone and I’m not saying we should treat mental health with medication straight away. But, I’d tried everything and I was sure I was unfixable and something was wrong with me because none of it worked. The combination of anti depressants and therapy turned my life around. The tablets made me feel more level, more able to control my emotions and explain things without getting overly emotional and stopped my physical symptoms of anxiety. Slowly I done work with my mental health nurse and now I get a train alone every weekend to Glasgow, I stay on my own over night, I feel strong, I feel brave and I feel able to do anything. I’m finally going to university to study nursing this September and have just bought a house with my partner.

So the whole point in this long winded post (sorry about that I tangent a lot) is that you CAN fix it. If you’re reading this right now and you’re in that mindset of “I can’t it’s impossible what would she know it’s too hard” I was in that exact mindset for so long. Remember that you’re strong, resilient and you can handle any shit that life throws at you. Don’t be afraid to push yourself and don’t be ashamed when you can’t do everything you want at once. Go at your own pace and don’t give a shit about what anyone else has to say. This is your mental health journey and it’s for you to figure out not for somebody to judge you on, don’t listen to people who put you down. But please, don’t beat yourself up if things aren’t happening at the pace you want, be strong and I’m not going to say “it’s going to get better” because I don’t know how long it’ll take you to get exactly where you want to be. I just really encourage you to seek help for any anxiety/depression issues and to be open with people who are understanding. Be kind to yourself, you’re doing the best you can.

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