Guest Post: The Ballad Of Me And My Brain

Monday, 5 September 2016


At age 11, I was sure my extremely low moods, suicidal thoughts, attempts and desire to do nothing was down to me starting at high school, or the death of my grandfather, or the fact I had grown to watch my father spend his days in bed struggling with his own demons. 

It was completely normal for me to go to school, come home, cry for a few hours and sleep, it was almost a routine and even now, 8 years on, this routine is still very fresh in my mind. Almost a year went on and I ended up telling someone who I trusted and was around the same age as me, I remember telling them through MSN and the next day I was called in to my Head of Years office, with my parents sitting there waiting with her. I was so ashamed and embarrassed that my little secret had been out. 

From here, I was seen in school by counsellors. This was horrible, I’d miss classes and have people wondering why I was being taken out of class every week at the same time. My counsellor was uninterested and unhelpful and after 5 weeks I told her I was okay and didn’t need to see her anymore. 

Until a few months later, I was feeling low again, I was about to attempt to take my own life until I heard my little brother laughing – I knew something had to change. I couldn’t see my GP as I was still under 16 – so from ages 12-16 I have gone through school for help with my mental health. School counselling helped for as long as it went on, at times it was completely useless and I had come close 3 times to taking my own life, once my sessions were finished I found myself in a rut each and every time and have only now age 19 started to learn how to deal with it. 

When I was 17, I went to the doctors on my own for the very first time and begged for anti-depressants. I had been on my 5th counsellor by then and knew it was no longer going to help. I was told no and referred to a child and family team – which took over 6 months for me to get an appointment. My first appointment fell a week before my 18th birthday, and at this appointment I was told I would need to go through a different kind of therapy as I could no longer be seen by the child and family team after the age of 18 – I was also finally prescribed Sertraline by this point. 

From here, I went through CBT therapy which has certainly saved my life. I no longer have my awful days, no longer take anti-depressants and no longer go to any form of therapy. It’s been a year now and I’m extremely happy. 

My advice is find something that works for you, it may definitely take time, but finding that help is a better choice than making a permanent decision over a temporary feeling.

Written by Shannon McNeill
Image Source: The 1975

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