“I wish I’d asked for help earlier”

A young person’s mental health journey

Mental Health Week

This Queensland Mental Health Week, a former client of our Child and Youth Mental Health Service has been kind enough to share her very personal road to recovery to offer hope to other young people walking the same path she once did.

“I first started experiencing issues with my mental health when I was 12. I was being bullied at school by people who I thought were my friends. At the time, my grandma, who I was very close to passed away, and that was when everything became too much. Most nights I cried myself to sleep, hoping that I wouldn’t wake up in the morning. I started hurting myself because the physical pain was better than the emotional pain. I was angry at the world and at myself. I felt as if no one really cared about me. I was tired and irritable most of the time and my grades at school dropped significantly. I managed to hide what was going on from my family and the teachers at school. I was ashamed with how I was feeling. I knew that I wasn’t OK and that something wasn’t right. I felt so weak and worthless. I would pretend to be happy and OK, when in reality I was barely keeping my head above water.  I didn’t seek help until I was 15. At this point I was in high school and I was still struggling. One day everything just became too much and I lost it. I was suicidal and I was afraid that I was going to end my life. I reached out to my year level coordinator and told her about the self-harm, about the suicidal thoughts and how much I was struggling. She told me that I needed to see my GP. I ended up at the Child and Youth Mental Health Service and that’s when I found out I had depression

What really helped me was having someone to talk to about what was happening in my life. I had kept things bottled up for such a long time. It felt so good to talk to someone. It felt as if a tonne of bricks had been lifted off my shoulders.  Just being able to talk to someone honestly and openly and having that person listen to me, validate me, show empathy and treat me with respect made a world of difference. Knowing that I wasn’t alone and that people cared about me was the biggest thing that helped me. My recovery would not have been possible if I didn’t have that continuous support.

It was only when I reached breaking point that I sought help.

I wish I had gotten help earlier. It was only when I reached breaking point that I sought help.  If you or someone you know is struggling, please reach out and talk to someone. It could be your family or your friends, a teacher at school, a coach or someone from your community who you trust. People do care about you even though it may feel like they don’t.

There is nothing to be ashamed of. Mental illness doesn’t define you and it doesn’t make you weak. I am so glad that I sought help. I am now in recovery and my focus is on my maintaining my wellbeing. I love spending time with my family and friends and my cat. I enjoy spending time outdoors and in nature, particularly in national parks and rainforests.  I am loving life and I am happy. I am so glad that I got the help I needed because without it I don’t think I would be here today.”


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