Olivia, 20, Hull, UK

st“I’ve had depression and anxiety since I was 14. I am also dyspraxic, which is a condition. Also, I am in constant pain with my legs, no doctors know the cause of this.

Due to this I cannot walk long distances, therefore I have to use a wheelchair, I used to feel so ashamed and embarrassed to be in my wheelchair. But this is my story of embracing myself and accepting and dealing with who I am.

My depression and anxiety was caused by being badly bullied for 3 years. I didn’t talk to anyone during this time, I was too afraid. People never understood and I didn’t even know about anxiety at the time. I felt like I could never get the words out, there were so many opportunities I was going to speak out, but I would freeze and miss the chance.

I became mute and didn’t speak to anyone until I left school, one of the worst things is having to sit next to my bullies in my classes.

Sadly, these experiences began my long journey of having horrible suicidal thoughts and I longed to end my pain and suffering.

The only things that kept me going and gave me comfort and happiness each day and night were my dogs. I have 5 dogs and they mean everything to me. People don’t understand, unless they have a beloved pet and the pain of losing that precious companion I cannot explain. I lost my eldest dog last year, she was 15 and through the hardest days of my life, at the end of the day she was there for me. Ever since I was a baby till the day she died, she will always be in my heart. I cherish the last moments I spent with her.

After I left school, I began college which I endured for 3 years. I really enjoyed the animal course which I ended up with good qualifications. But my anxiety worsened, I would hide for hours on end, being so afraid to look at people or be alone as I would think people would be thinking or talking about me. I began to have panic attacks and get really paranoid.

The teachers both in school and college were not pleasant, they didn’t understand my mental illnesses or my condition. But in college I found understanding and kindness in the counsellor that was offered to people struggling. I would spend my time when I was alone or had no classes in her room and that to me was my safe place.

After going back and forth to doctors, explaining what I’ve gone through and my feelings, I was put on the right track. I started all sorts of therapies for example CBT and let’s talk. I highly recommend these solutions to people struggling, especially people with anxiety. These sessions helped me cope greatly, I couldn’t even go out on my own or get on a bus on my own before therapy.

I finally gained some confidence in myself, taking the right medication and pushing the unnecessary thoughts of people constantly thinking or looking at me away. I learnt some fab techniques and I always remember them when worrying or if my anxiety gets too high.

I’ve had a few mental breakdowns since then, feeling very low and self-conscious about myself. But with the support of my family, colleagues and the Instagram community I am bettering myself each day.

I also highly recommend self-help books, inspirational quotes or just saying to yourself that you are enough. These are my pieces of motivation and being able to share my story gets me through. I’d love to think I’ll help someone.”


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