I’m 1 of 5 kids, my parents divorced when I was young. I was racially abused at school and the abuse continued throughout my childhood. I was sexually abused when I was 14. I used food as comfort and gained weight which was another thing to get teased about. I was brought up not to complain. Unless something was bleeding or broken there was no point moaning, so I just got on with things. I have very few childhood memories, I think I blocked out a fair chunk of it. My mum always did her best for us, she was raising 5 kids mostly by herself so it was tough.
Depression started in 2012. I’d been living in London for 12 years but moved to Somerset with my partner because we wanted to start a family out of London. We got married but I struggled to get work. It took me a while to find a job so the debt piled up. My husband wasn’t making enough to support us both. I eventually got a job I hated but we needed the money. We were struggling financially, we weren’t happy. I could feel the depression creeping in and our relationship took a toll. I eventually went to my GP telling her I was depressed and that I think I needed help. She told me the waiting list for counselling was really long and prescribed me sleeping pills! I kept the sleeping pills until a week later when my husband chose to stay at a friend’s house indefinitely. I sat with the pills and a bottle of wine one night, contemplating taking an overdose. Instead I called my Mum in tears and she flew down first thing the next morning. Knowing my marriage was over I drove home to Aberdeen a few days later. It was June 2013, a year after getting married.
I didn’t talk about the depression or my feelings because we didn’t really do that as a family. I’d always been seen as the strong one and I didn’t want to be seen as anything else. After a few months of not doing very much apart from drinking a lot, I got a job in an office, made some new friends and got on with life whilst the divorce was going through. The depression continued but I hid it. I moved in with a sister because I couldn’t afford to rent by myself. Soon after, I started experiencing anxiety although I didn’t really know what it was at the time. I would get cold sweats and feel nauseous at the thought of going out to social events, so I’d cancel on people last minute.
Depression and anxiety continued until Christmas 2016 and I’d had enough. I didn’t want life to be this way anymore and I didn’t know how to change it, so I made a plan to roll my car into a field. I’d picked the spot, checked it out at day and night-time to make sure it was empty. I knew exactly where to veer off without hitting anything. I wrote a note, stuffed it in my bag with my ID and drove out on Christmas Eve. As I was heading out the dual-carriageway, I had to drive passed a road that lead to a sister’s house. Without even thinking I took that exit and ended up at my sisters where she was sitting watching a film with her husband and 3 kids. I didn’t tell her anything, just sat in her kitchen alone. She checked on me, I think she knew something was up, but she let me just sit there for 2 hours. I went home, put the note in a box in my wardrobe and cried.
I was still living with my sister and on Christmas morning I told her what I’d done the night before. It was hard to open up like that for the first time ever. She convinced me to phone a local mental health charity, which I did on Boxing Day. I put a face on it to spend Christmas Day with my family as normal, that was hard. My sisters helped me get through the next few months and I started counselling in April. It was the best thing I ever did. I still have bouts of depression and anxiety, but I’ve accepted it and cope better now. I talk openly about my experiences in the hope that I can help others do the same.