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Depression – A word that haunts one in five of us!

Only those closest to me will ever understand the depths that I can sink to. My name is Jessica, I am 20 years old and I suffer with depression.

Everyone knows all of the positives about me and thinks they know the loud bubbly woman that I present myself as. But this is a side to me I never thought I’d be sharing. Please respect my story as I have never had the courage to do this.

I remember the first time I ever had a break down, I was 14 and it happened in school. I couldn’t stop crying, I refused to eat and I had no energy to talk. I was losing weight, turning pale due to anemia and becoming very lethargic. No one knew what I was going through except for my closest teachers.

I believe my depression began after the loss of my Nan in 2009 and I had been holding in all of my emotions until I exploded. Sport was my outlet, I would play for all my school teams and go to all the sports clubs I could until bedtime. I thought that if I could fill the void with sport I would be fine, but playing so much sport and not eating was actually making me worse

I was always hungry, upset and couldn’t regulate my emotions.

I was always hungry, upset and couldn’t regulate my emotions. I pushed everyone around me away and began to isolate myself. I couldn’t sleep, I didn’t know how to explain my emotions and I used self-harming behaviours to control my emotional pain. This was the beginning of my depression and it was a dark and lonely time.

This is the year that I went to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAHMS) and started to see a counsellor there as well as a psychiatrist. I stopped seeing them after a while and tried to do it on my own until I once again broke down and became suicidal.

Yes at the age of 15 I wanted to die… I had very dark, haunting thoughts.

Nightmares and numbness, yet at the same time felt so much pain and sorrow. Still no one knew the depths of my depression because of the ‘face’ I put on and the walls that I built around me, which for many with a mental illness are terms used very often. After having these suicidal thoughts I was put on an emergency referral to my GP and sent straight to CAHMS where I began my first set of anti-depressants and sleeping tablets. I hated them!

The journey from 2010 until now (2016) has been very long. The depression has manifested into a personality disorder, eating disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and severe anxiety. I have been on several different antidepressants, antipsychotics and sleeping pills. As well as medication for the physical symptoms of my illness.

One of the scariest things about having depression is the extreme lows and self-harming behaviours. I am sad to say that I have attempted suicide, coming very close on several occasions. Again, only those closest to me that I let in, knew how serious my condition was. I hated hurting those I loved but I couldn’t find a way out of this black box I found myself in.

I felt like I was never good enough and no one wanted me around. I hated myself and wanted this hell to end, but it wouldn’t. I have sunk so low to the point of involuntary admission (to a psychiatric ward) at the age of 19, it was the only thing to save me.

I spent nearly 3 weeks in an adult psychiatric ward, being fed medication and being watched constantly. In addition to this I have been in hospital on several occasions for overdosing, spending up to a week on a drip, being monitored and bed bound.

I hated myself and wanted this hell to end, but it wouldn’t.

Around this time I had finished my Level 3 course at Shrewsbury College with distinctions and had started playing football for Shrewsbury Town Ladies and living independently in my own flat. My family found it hard to come to terms with me being unwell and it was heart-breaking for them when they saw me on the psychiatric ward. Throughout all of this the last thing I wanted to do was hurt them.

Now I’m 20, in the second year of my degree, still playing for Shrewsbury Town Football Club ladies and playing netball in Shrewsbury. I have the best support network around me that I could wish for, including my mental health team and the staff at Shrewsbury College – who have done nothing but believe in me. I still live in my own flat, I have an amazing boyfriend who is my world, he's supportive and loves me for me, and he listens and shows me love in every way. He stops me dissociating and is able to bring me out of a low mood. I have amazing family and friends and I am still alive!

I still struggle with depression, I still struggle with anxiety, I still struggle with my eating, I still struggle with my sleeping. I still take medication to help regulate the chemicals in my brain and the emotions that I feel. I still see a physiatrist and I have regular meetings with my GP and care-coordinator. I never asked to be depressed and would never wish the pain I’ve felt along the way on anyone. I’ve hurt the people I love most and I’ve also hurt myself.

I have both physical scars and invisible scars from the memories that never leave my head. Some days are very dark and I pray for God to take it all away… But here I am surviving my illness, trying to be strong and have some normality in my life.

I have decided to share a piece of my story with you in the hope that:

1) You will help me break the stigma of depression by talking about it.

2) To show you that you should never judge a book by its cover, you shouldn’t even judge the pages in the book, you should just help the person turn a new page and create a beautiful story.

This piece was written by Jess on 21 April 2016 – in the meantime, although she needed to take a lot of time off university, she has recently graduated with a 2:1 in Sports Coaching and Physical Education.


Jess has now moved out of the supported housing scheme in Shrewsbury that was her home for two years and says:

“I have an amazing support team who have carried me through the past few years.

"Living in a supportive scheme gave me the chance to be me.

"I was independent and learnt the ways of life. I became responsible for myself and despite the struggles I managed two years on my own with the incredible support from Lyn who has believed in me from the beginning.”

Communication specialist - My days are spent telling stories, networking, copywriting, posting on social media and delivering training to colleagues - a bit of everything really! 


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