When the moose made an open invitation for guest bloggers on twitter, I loved the idea of it but wasn’t entirely sure what I would write, and truthfully was a little nervous about what some of my mates that follow me on twitter may make of this. But hey ho, I’ve never been one to be ashamed of my depression, it makes me who I am.
So, as my 21st birthday and 5 year anniversary of being diagnosed with depression, looms right around the corner, here is my very first blog about it.
Looking back, the first signs something was wrong with me were in early 2006 – I remember going to watch my beloved Rotherham Utd away at local rivals Doncaster. After the match, I came home, got in bed and cried. I don’t know why, if I remember rightly we won the game so it definitely wasn’t because my team are shite! Moving on to the summer holidays that year, I found myself not wanting to go out with my mates, instead sitting at home in my room all day, and when it came to our family holiday, I had zero confidence in going down to the poolside with my mum and dad, or going swimming. Which is something I’ve always loved to do. I think I spent most of that two week holiday in our apartment.
Fast forward to my GCSE years at school, attendance was low, as was my confidence, motivation and outlook on life. I was lucky enough to have a brilliant and supportive form tutor at school and was referred to the Student Support Mentors. Eventually, they took me out of my regular timetable, gave me a day a week at a local centre for kids, doing arts and crafts (that was the only thing I still found enjoyment in) to try and help me back to my old self.
Year 11 soon came around, the summer holidays were spent pretty much the same as the previous years, so inevitably, my depression had got worse. Again, it was agreed that I would spend school hours in the Student Support room, the only place I felt safe. By now, my mates had pretty much given up on asking me to go out, who can blame them at that age, not knowing what was going on.
Later that school year, my Student Support Mentors got in touch with my local Mind charity, and once a week a youth mental health worker would come into school and see me. The work Sandra did with me was brilliant, and helped me on my way to firstly getting diagnosed and then recovery. Whilst every other day of the week my mentors were having to come to my house to get me into school, I somehow always found the willpower to go into school for my session with Sandra.
It wasnt until just before my exams started that I finally got diagnosed with depression, after one visit to a child psychiatrist I was put on the lowest dose of Fluoxetine possible. Things began to get better just in time for my exams. I came out with results better than I was expecting, providing I hadn’t been in an actual class for one and a half years. I owe that completely to my mentors at school and Sandra from Mind, without that none stop support, continuing to make me go to school, put hours aside to teach me themselves, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Sometimes I wonder if I woud have made it through at all.
Right now, I’m 20 years old, still taking Fluoxtine daily (40mg now) and despite just last week calling my mental health worker to make an appointment to see her, I am overall happy and content. I’m currently studying to go to university and study Sports coaching and am coaching sports in special schools around my area. I hope to provide my own service helping people with mental health issues on a way to recovery through sport, but that is still a while away.
In the past year, I’ve started to get back the enjoyment I used to feel from playing football and socialising, and as a result of that have made some good friends. They don’t know it, but they go a long way to helping the way I feel right now.
This time last year, I was on the sick for 6 weeks, barely able to get out of bed. As I write this, apart from the odd day (which I have come to accept) I am the a happiest I have been for 5 years.
If you’re struggling, please talk to someone. There’s always help out there, and remember – as much as it doesn’t feel like it now – it gets better.
Thanks for reading
Jess – @jesstemps92