Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Where it all began...

Wear the Green Ribbon this May and start the conversation about Mental Health
Three years ago as a first year student in University College Dublin I was diagnosed with severe Depression. It had taken me months to discover what was wrong with me and to work up the courage to go seek help.

They tell you that your College years are the best of your life, that this is the pinnacle and it all goes downhill from here. They expect you to go out every night of the week, or at the worst, at least one night per week. They tell you that the friends you make here are the ones you have for life. You must join all the societies and clubs, gain new experiences, try something new.
So why was my college experience so different?

It was September 2010 and I found myself living in Digs (accommodation with a family) and in UCD's largest faculty, with almost 6,000 students studying Arts. But I was positive. I was optimistic that I would love college. I introduced myself to everyone I sat beside on my first day, and wasn't put off by the 500+ seating theatres. I went to the student bar a couple of times, I attended the massive Fresher's Ball on my first week. I even nagged myself my first boyfriend. But as Semester One progressed I couldn't shake off the feeling the something just wasn't right.

I had found it difficult to make a solid group of friends. The Arts degree is so broad, so the people I sat beside in Sociology didn't take my Folklore elective. I had failed to gain a social life. While my 'friends' filled their Facebook newsfeed with pictures documenting their nights out, I sat alone in my room only doing my hair and make-up to take a few selfies.

When I came back to college after the Christmas Break for Semester Two I was a completely different person. I no longer took any pleasure from my course (It was English and History, my two favourite subjects and topics to this day). My appetite left me and I only ate when I forced myself to. The thought of food even turned my stomach most days. My sleeping pattern was a disaster and I felt weak and tired all of the time. To this day I still can't quite put my finger on where it all went wrong. But I can remember on the Sunday that I was moving back up to Dublin I threw up. My body was telling me I was anxious about returning, but I kept trying to convince myself that I loved college.

As the Semester progressed my moods were spiraling out of control. I couldn't feel happiness. I would sit in my lectures and start crying, in fact I stopped going to classes to save myself the embarrassment.

I vividly remember one night in particular when I was leaving college, and I decided to take the long route on my walk home. It was dark and I can just remember being alone with the lights of the city and my thoughts. And my thoughts were not healthy. I wished so badly that I was brave enough to step out in front of a car so my life would stop. I just wanted my feelings to stop.

A while later I got talking to an old friend. We hadn't spoken to each other in months, but something clicked in me and I began to open up to her. I told her how I had been feeling and how it was affecting my life. She revealed that she had recently been diagnosed with Depression and it sounded a lot like what I was going through. I was convinced by her to go to the Doctor and seek help.

She saved my life and she didn't know it. To this day she still doesn't know it. I was diagnosed and the healing process began. The first year was rough, and I had a few 'relapses' into self-neglect and despair. But I began the process of working on myself and I eventually accepted my mental illness not as the one thing that defined me, but as a part of me.


  1. Thank you for sharing your experience with us. You are a great example that we can fight depression and win.

  2. Well done for sharing your experience. It's a brave thing to do, well done

  3. I'm glad you had a friend to talk to and were able to seek help xx

  4. Thank you for sharing your story & experience. You are an amazing person xx