A couple of days before I was allowed to go home from hospital I was approached by the ward sister, and asked if I would like to visit the wards psychologist.
I have had previous experience with counselors, as in the past I have suffered from anxiety and depression caused predominantly by exams, and exam pressure. This was the reason I chose to leave university.
When leaving High School to go to college, I had no idea what A levels I wanted to study, or whether I wanted to study them at all. All I'd ever wanted to be was a hairdresser or work in the beauty industry, but I achieved good GCSE results, and was told by teachers and other adults that I would be wasting them if I went in to hairdressing. So naively I took their advice and decided to go to sixth form college... It was where all my friends were going after all.
I suffered, miserably through my first year of sixth form, all the while losing my confidence, not wanting to see friends, doing badly on tests (which is something I had never done before.) I was arguing with my Mum constantly, and I was gaining weight and not bothering with my appearance.
I remember feeling lower than low, the only way I have ever known how to describe it is feeling as though my brain was filled with a dark cloud, and a weight filled my chest as though I had a baby elephant standing on it at all times.
I briefly turned to self harming. There's no way to explain what makes a person do this. You don't simply wake up one day and decide, 'I want to hurt myself.' All I remember is being in the shower, crying my eyes out, which by that time was something of a norm, and digging too deeply with the razor in to my leg... I felt no pain. I felt nothing. All I could do was watch the blood run from my leg, and breathe a sigh of relief.
I quickly loathed myself for what I had done, and stuck toilet paper to my leg to suppress the bleeding, knowing I couldn't let anyone see what I had done, and promising myself I wouldn't do it again... But I did do it again... When my brain felt like it couldn't hold any more worry or pain, I went to the bathroom and released it myself... Never wincing, no stinging... Nothing.
I am very fortunate that my Mum realised what I was doing before it became a full blown habit (luckily I have no scars,) and after crying with me, and me finally expressing to her what was going through my mind, she booked a Drs appointment and within hours I was seen.
I sat and cried my eyes out to the Dr and finally poured my soul out in to the open. The Dr told me to quit college immediately and she got me on a waiting list to see a Youth Counselor.
Amazing doesn't do justice in describing the work Youth Counselors do. Through my 4 months of sessions with my counselor, I was able to rationalise that it was OK for me not to be happy at college, and I was allowed to make my own decisions.
You'd think I'd have learnt... But I was young...
After 8 months of recuperation, and getting my life back on track... I decided to finish my Alevels. So I went back to college, and hated every minute, but I was stronger, and I did it... This then made me decide to go to university.
As I've told you before, my first year of university was amazing. I loved it. I loved the lessons, the teachers, and I adored the new friends I had made... But exam time was the same. I was physically ill at the thought of having to do my exams. I couldn't sleep, I cried all the time, and my thoughts were leading down that dark path again. I tried, I really tried to convince myself that I could do it, it was only the exams that were doing this to me, but I just wasn't strong enough.
I completed the first year of my degree with a 2:1, something which I tried to make spur me on to complete the degree, but in the end I was too poorly.
One night, when Mum and Dad had gone to bed, I was sat on my laptop, talking to Chris, who was in Barcelona at the time. The tears began to stream from my eyes, and my vision became blurred. My brain felt as though it was being squeezed, as though someone was trying to make it burst, and while typing on the keyboard of my laptop, I couldn't seem to type anything that made sense. My fingers were just tapping the keys at random, while I stared blankly at the screen seeing nothing...
I woke up on the floor, my laptop lay askew next to me, my face was drenched in tears, my head pounding...
There I was again, sat in the Drs, weirdly in the same room, that I had been sat in just over two years before... I was proscribed anti depressants, while the Dr sat with me, her eyes glazed with tears, my Mum sat opposite my smiling through silent sobs, while I once again admitted defeat.
I went to have more sessions with a counselor, this time, I decided there was no going back.
The counselling, along with the antidepressants, were the perfect cure for me, I needed something to level me out, as all my life I have been nothing but a worrier, a ball of anxious nerves (though many people wouldn't realise this... I became professional in the art of hiding my feelings.)
I am not ashamed to admit that I need a tablet to help me feel normal, because the relief I felt when the baby elephant had been lifted off my chest, makes me want to shout it from the roof tops.
After another 8 months or so of convalescing, working part time, and finally becoming 'me' again, I decided to pursue my dream of becoming a hairdresser, and I was finally content...
18th October 2011
After discussing it with Mum, Dad and Chris, I decided I would see the Ward psychologist...