No one has to go through this battle solo
As far back as I can remember I have always experienced symptoms of depression and anxiety. From a young age I would replay negative situations over and over in my head, like a movie reel.
Secondary school was a difficult time for me. Every day I woke feeling nervous, feeling sick, unable to explain why I felt this way. Making it to school each day was a struggle. But I was always sure to hide my feelings. I foolishly camouflaged them with anger and bravado. I didn’t open up to anyone.
By my early twenties, I had shut everyone out.
I had refused to talk to family, friends, even girlfriends about how I was feeling. I kept myself at a distance, terrified to talk for fear of being judged and also feeling unable to articulate how I felt.
When I was 24 I attempted suicide for the third time. I think it was more of a cry for help. The people closest to me realised just how bad things had gotten for me. After being admitted to a mental health hospital I began to realise that things could not continue as they had done. I received some amazing treatment during my time in hospital and the after-care was brilliant. The help I received, along with a good support system, has shown me that no one is ever alone in this world.
No one has to go through this battle solo.
My mental health battles (I prefer to use the word battle because that is what it is and you can win!) has affected my life in many ways. I missed so many opportunities and it impacted so many relationships with my family and my friends.
I was miserable,
all because I was too afraid to ask for help.
The first big step for me was to speak up and bear all to the people I trusted. I came clean to everyone around me and began to find the words for what was going on in my mind, how I felt. The response I got blew me away! The understanding and the empathy was unbelievable. It really helped me to realise that we are all in this together. There are so many people out there who know exactly what I am going through. Everyone just needs a voice and someone to listen!
Since that time I have been attending therapy and regularly visit my doctor. I now understand my own mental health in a whole different light. I am able to cope better and have gained so many valuable skills to take better care of myself. I also started volunteering for Aware, which has also helped me in a way I cannot even describe!
If I could talk to my younger self,
I would say “just be yourself”.
I know sometimes it’s hard, but do not be afraid to show your feelings. Never be afraid to admit when you are struggling or down. Most importantly, always talk to someone you trust about how you feel. Simply talking about an issue can help you understand it so much more.
My journey has taught me that opening up and talking about your mental health is absolutely vital and everyone should do it! It will feel like a giant weight lifting off your shoulders.
You are never alone.
You are important.
- Daniel Mcguire
If you are concerned about your own mood or the mood of a loved one, please freephone Support Line, available 10am-10pm, 365 days a year, on 1800 80 48 48. More information about Aware's free Support Line service.