My Story #2
My name is Sinead Ford, I’m a fourth year PE student and for over the last three years I have suffered from varying forms of mental health issues. From anxiety, to depression, through to suicidal thoughts, I have ‘dipped my toes’ in many waters. One of the things I have struggled with the most though is the acceptance that my illness is real. It may not be physically obvious but it physically affects me. And that’s something we need to consider more when it comes to Mental Health – it is a very real and often difficult thing to face in life. We all need to be considerate of the silent battles so many are fighting.
I first went to a doctor in second year after some very close friends sat me down and asked me what was going on. I hadn’t been socialising or making an effort like I normally would – they were concerned and this made me re-evaluate where I was. It took a few goes but I found the right doctor and was started on medication. Medication may not be the answer for some people, but for me, at this point, it is a necessity. For others this could be counselling or a regular routine – regardless it is so important that you give it a good go!
Something that has helped me make a bit of sense out of my experience is the Spoon Theory. The Spoon theory suggests that we all have a certain number of spoons to spend each day – if you’re young, fit, and mentally well you have lots of spoons to spend, but say you get sick? Then a few spoons are taken away. Break a leg? Even fewer spoons. This applies to mental illness. Feeling anxious takes a few spoons, constant suicidal thoughts or feeling down can take even more. But the great thing about The Spoon Theory is that you can gain spoons – draw something, hang out with a friend, bake – doing anything you love can give you a few more spoons to handle that day. Reading this humoured me, it’s a fun way to look at tackling your day – it helped me get through some really tough times.
It has taken me a long time to open up about my struggles, but it has been worth it. From that extra squeeze in a hug from a friend, to a message asking how things are going – all of these little things remind me that I am not on my own, and most importantly, that I don’t have to do it alone. The stigma surrounding mental health doesn’t help, but what does is knowing that people care, and that they want to help.
I’m still battling with things but I have confidence in my hope to get better with thanks to the right people. Keep the people who make you feel good close. Talk to them and they will listen and help you so much, more than you realise.
To the people concerned about their friends – talk to them and be present, anything you do will help.
To the people quietly fighting; I hope that reading this might give you a few more spoons for today as you remember you are not alone and that it’s OKAY TO TALK.
Silverline Note: There’s no ‘sick enough’ or ‘sad enough’, if you want support, it is here. Here are a couple of ways to connect with people who know what’s up:
111 – If you or someone else is in immediate danger
1737 – Free call or text any time for support from a trained counsellor
0508 828 865 – Suicide Crisis Helpline
0800 543 354 – Lifeline
0800 376 633 – Youthline
234 – Free txt Youthline