"If you have five seconds to spare,
then I'll tell you the story of my life
Sixteen, clumsy and shy
That's the story of my life."
Trigger Warning: Reference to Suicide.
Along with everyone else in high school, I was struggling through puberty and relationships, GCSEs, finding yourself and fitting it. But Year 10, my struggle with my mental wellbeing began. Normal activities and environments were difficult for me to deal with or comprehend. By Year 12 I couldn’t hide it from other people as easily as I had done before. Things like the school bell would send me into a panic. To be able to walk to school I had to leave later than everyone else so I could arrive after the rush. I couldn’t look people in the eye, I couldn’t take a bus and was basically a nervous wreck. I believed that anything bad could happen in any situation and with all those situations rushing round in my head I would be overwhelmed and then want to stay in the safety of my room where I could control all those variables. And Yes, I believe that my mental health is more layered and complex than just anxiety but that’s part of my story I have discovered yet.
With my mum finally realising that her daughter was ridiculously terrified of getting on a bus, I went to see my doctor. During the appointment I could not look him in the eye. This is the same man who had seen me for almost 20 years. He told me that I had OCD, which was evident with my obsessive cleaning, collections and routines, and thus anxiety. He prescribed me Citalopram. Personally, I have a love/hate relationship with this medication. But I’ve been on it for almost 4 years. People who are prescribed citalopram are warned that it makes you feel worse before it makes you feel better. And it did.
Before Citalopram I had always been a depressed person. I would sit and think and think and sit. Year 11 onwards I remember times where I wish I had just gone and enjoyed myself or ask for support so that I could have enjoyed myself. I just was uncontrollably sad and didn’t know how to deal with it. Even up to that appointment I couldn’t admit to anyone I was depressed. I felt I was being childish. There was this stigma at schools that depression was something people said to get attention and I didn’t want people to see me as that. But the Citalopram really brought my issues into perspective. It made me feel so depressed that by 17 I had attempted to take my own life. It was the first time I had taken my thought further than just thoughts. I was unable to do anything, I felt like I’d reached a dead end. I was pulled out of my bath and convinced that I needed to finally say something to someone.