My name is Lucy and I suffer from anxiety and depression. I know that these terms are thrown around loosely these days, anxiety is shown to be a shy young girl too afraid to raise her hand in class, and depression as a young boy crying in his bed late at night. That isn’t me though.
My issues with my mental health began when I was 11 years old and I got my SAT results which presented me with flying colours across the board. It was at that moment that the proud hands of my parents became heavy on my shoulder. I was branded as “the smart one” out of my siblings and me, and from that point on for the next 7 years no grade was good enough, suddenly a B grade was a failure, and a D grade was simply unthinkable.
By the time I got to sixth form I was trained to be the best, but that came with a price. I began to question myself, because how could it be that with loving parents and siblings, a long term boyfriend, and friends that were more like family, how could it possibly be that with all of this love and support that I felt more alone than ever?
I began to self-harm. I would lock myself in my room for days. I would skip class just to avoid having to face my slipping grades.
I didn’t see a way out.
But somehow, reaching out to my best friend, simply letting him in, even if just for a moment, it became my saviour. I don’t claim to know all the answers, I don’t claim to be able to make things better, but I see me and my experience as proof to myself that even in dark times, it is possible to reach the light again.
In the wise words of Winnie the Pooh: “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think, and loved more than you’ll ever know.” It is wise to trust in the help and support of others, but it is more important to trust in the courage of yourself, and the strength inside that wills you to survive even in the darkest of times.