I thought that feeling like shit was just what being a teenager was! I struggled with the social side of school, felt very anxious, hated the way I looked and didn't like myself as a person either. I thought a lot about climate change and poverty in the world. I was trying to work with activists making change but I felt helpless and burnt out. I didn't seek help. I eventually gave a name to how I felt. I called it depression but only to myself. I still never talked about it. I don't know what I would call it now but I wasn't well.
I think labeling is useful in order to seek help or help yourself. I wasn't doing this so for me the label of depression became a secret excuse to give up. In college I started to really struggle to keep functioning and requested counselling and got through pretty quickly. I only had a few sessions and I was really lucky to click with it and found it so helpful. It was like everything had an opportunity to overflow. At one point she asked my why I was holding back tears and gave me permission to cry in front of her (which I did for a solid hour!) It was so draining but I think it made me stronger. If you missed sessions you had to go on the waiting list again. This sucked because if you're head’s all over the place, keeping appointments isn't exactly easy. As soon as I left school things got better. I was working a job that was ok but ultimately meaningless to me. When I started doing something I love at university everything changed.
I still fall into old patterns and have bad days but it's nothing like the hopelessness I felt when I was younger. I'm so lucky to have this opportunity and that it has been positive for my mental health. I know there's a lot of students for whom it's exactly the opposite! I think my experience shows that while of course there are genetic and chemical factors, your day to day life will make a difference! We live in a society where most people spend most their lives working in a job that doesn't exist to enrich the worker or the community but to make money for someone else.
Now I'm watching my boyfriend who's been my rock through all my ups and downs coming up to two years working in call centres and it's really starting to take its toll! Not to mention how fucking humiliating and stressful and boring the Tories are determined to make unemployment. School really fucked me up too. The system of testing; the social stress that schools don't have the resources to address. The teachers are under pressure to get you the grades they need for the league tables and they don't find the time or the will power to teach life skills, coping and kindness. I know teachers who buy food with their own wages to keep in the classroom cos half the kids are turning up hungry. No wonder childhood depression is rising.
We have a mental health crisis in this country. We cannot let it be individualised. This is a public health issue. It's a structural problem. While quality of life is going down, mental health services are being cut. The number of people who have killed themselves while trying to navigate the bureaucracy of an unfit welfare system is unclear but it's in the thousands. all my friends who need serious help are put on long as fuck waiting lists of months or even years. I know people who end up in hospital while waiting for the care that might have helped them avoid that. We need to fight to build up our services, to end austerity and ultimately change the system that lets this happen.
Opinion On Therapy: You have to find the right kind of therapy and the right person for you.