Real stories

Before I came to CAMHS I had been suffering with OCD and Anxiety. Dealing with upsetting OCD thoughts made me very tired, and sometimes my anxiety made it hard for me to go out and do what I wanted.

I was worried I wouldn’t be understood at CAMHS, and that the experience would be very upsetting. But the staff I met were very supportive, and I never felt judged. I was helped to understand and manage my disorders. CAMHS helped me to develop strategies for dealing with situations that I found difficult, and I was able to build up to them with smaller, more managable goals.

The techniques I learnt at CAMHS helped me to manage situations that made me anxious, and move past unwanted thoughts. Now I’ve been able to do what I want, and even volunteer to help others recovering from mental illness.

I have been at Ash Villa for six months. Before I was admitted I was very worried as to what the unit would be like. However, when I arrived I was surprised at how welcoming the place was. There are rules you have to follow but these help to keep the structure of the unit for everyone’s benefit.

The staff have been really helpful in my recovery and easy to talk to when times have been challenging. I was worried about what the other patients would be like but once you settle in you become like a family looking out for each other and making friends.

I’m not usually one to post about things like this on here, but I need to say this.

Mental illness sucks. Whatever illness you may have, it will be never be easy. Whether that be anxiety, depression, PTSD, eating disorders, literally every type of mental illness is a battle to fight, and everyone’s battle is different.

For those of you out there who didn’t know, I’m fighting mental illnesses everyday, and have done for years. I’ve had many a counselling session and therapy to help me through this, and I am back in therapy at the moment, and after all this time I’m not ashamed to admit it. It’s not a bad thing if they help you, and I was always afraid that people would judge me saying it would never help, but they really can.

Some days are better than others, and I’ll feel manageable and you would never know that anything is wrong. Others aren’t so good, yet you still won’t be able to tell because at this point you become a master at hiding it. Because you don’t want people to see the bad side, you don’t want people to think any different of you, or think that you’re crazy, because you already think that yourself. Some days are horrific, those are the days I struggle to make it to school and I’ll spend most of the day laid in bed, because sleeping is the only way everything goes away. But then the bad dreams hit and you wonder if anything will ever distract you from your own brain.

I’m trying my best to carry on a normal life, I’m 16 years old trying my hardest to study my A levels, yet I still struggle to do this. I lack the motivation I so desperately need, because I can’t find it and no one can push me apart from myself. And it’s all well and good me trying my best, but for some this still isn’t enough. When I’m sat in their office crying my eyes out because I can’t cope and there’s too much work for my brain to handle, as well as everything else going on in my life, yet I need to try harder and attend school everyday. That’s easier said than done. Surely your mental health matters most?

On the other hand, I’m lucky in a sense that I have so many amazing people to help me through this period, who only want the best for me and to help me. My mum, for sticking by me when I’m in the worst moods and after everything we’ve been through remaining strong around me. Also my boyfriend for his consistent support and encouragement, I won’t say too much because he knows how grateful I am. My friends, you know who you are, for always being there, and for taking good care of me. You all mean a lot to me. When you’re struggling with mental illness it’s important to surround yourself with people who love you because often you shut people out. Please, try and let them in because they can really help you, they want the best for you, and that’s one step closer to feeling better.

I’m writing this because I want to spread even more awareness to try and erase the stigma of mental illness. If you feel like everything gets too much or you feel you are struggling with your mental health, please reach out to someone. Whether that be your family, friends, teachers, anyone who you trust. This is your first step to get help. You are not alone, and there are always people willing to help you.

I hope by reading this you can understand a little more of what goes on in my head, and how it affects me. Obviously this is not the full story, but I feel it’s enough to get my point across. And if you’ve read this far, thank you