Katy, 37, Bradford, UK

“I remember being a happy child… lots happened as a child that did not make me happy, but I remember being a happy and bubbly child. Around 15, things changed for me. And from that point on I have been labelled moody, sullen, stuck up, stand offish to name a few. The only thing I remember from that time which looking back should have been a clue was the need to self-harm.

From the age of 19 things really started to get out of control. I wasn’t just sad, I was all over the place. I was angry, sad, happy, tired, high, scared, tortured, drunk… sometimes rapidly going through all these states in an hour, sometimes wanting to hide away for weeks.

Things got worse, I overdosed several times, my self-harming was no longer something I could hide and I was destroying relationships. I was seen by GPs, counsellors, and a psychiatrist. I was labelled as depressed, a silly girl who should know better, an attention seeker.

My family was desperate to help me but I wouldn’t let anyone in. I felt ashamed, weak and angry. I knew I was out of control but I wanted to be like everyone else so kept up as much of the pretense as I could.

I never found a counsellor that really seemed to understand me or challenge my beliefs in a way that I respected. I got told I was too intelligent to behave this way. I had so many differing diagnoses… so many different medications. So many different opinions. But they didn’t help me. I didn’t know or think anything could ever help. All I ever said to people was that I wanted to understand why I felt the way I felt… why were my thoughts so dark and violent. Why was I so convinced people were trying to harm me, why couldn’t I get out of bed. No one seemed to be able to answer these questions.

By the time I got married, I had already been admitted to a mental health hospital so people knew things were not great. But things were so out of control that I had had enough. A month after our wedding day, I made what was the final and most concerted effort to end my life. I was done. No one could help me.

My husband of 4 weeks was so angry. I remember his face that night, how angry and hurt he was. He was determined that this wasn’t the end of the story and asked me to visit a psychologist who he found through work contacts.

I went, unwillingly. I was obtuse and told her she could help me no more than anyone else. She immediately challenged me. That was 10 years ago. She is still my psychologist. And I still fight. But my life is no longer out of control. I am no longer reliant on medication. I rely on everything I have learned about depression, anxiety, intrusive thoughts, rapid cycling… and everything I have learned about me… triggers, coping skills, kindness, asking for help, not pressing self-destruct when I don’t know what to do. I am looking at 10 years this year since I got married, and since I last seriously harmed myself. I have 2 children. I am employed. I have friends. I consider myself lucky and happy.

I am still labelled as moody … but I am more able to articulate myself and my anxieties. I am more open about my private battles to leave the house. I know I have worth. Mostly.”


You can follow Katy’s story on her blog.



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