Royston woman, 24, opens up about dealing with suicidal thoughts and mental health problems

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sad girl - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A Royston woman who tried to end her own life said she wants to reach out to young people who suffer from mental illnesses.

The 24-year-old, who asked not to be named, suffers from a personality disorder which has triggered a range of problems in her life – but was only diagnosed this year.

She said: “I got diagnosed with depression when I was 14. I stopped going to school because I got bullied. Gangs of people would beat me up. I didn’t want to go to school so I’d self harm and stay at home writing music.”

Things escalated and after taking an overdose, she left school at 15 and taught herself GCSEs. She got good grades and so went to college in Cambridge, but after the stress of coming out as gay to her family and friends, she went to Scotland to work in a bar. She said: “I suffer anxiety and make rash decisions.”

After getting stuck in a physically and mentally abusive relationship, the woman moved back to Royston when she was 19, but soon found herself in another destructive relationship.

It got so bad that in May this year she became unwell and started hearing voices, which she describes as ‘my version of a mental breakdown’. She said: “I was working part time as a mental health care assistant. I left that because I was unhappy. I started taking out loads of payday loans. I was getting worse and worse, and wasn’t taking my medication.”

In June, the woman had an episode in which she threw lager at her partner, burnt her clothes in a fire pit and kicked her wing mirrors. She got arrested and lost her job. She said: “I was at my worse, I thought nothing is going right for me. My family have been very supportive but they all have their own lives to live.”

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She started taking medication a week before the court case, in which she pleaded guilty to the crimes, and says she is now feeling a bit more stable and wants to reach out to others. She said: “I feel better, it’s still a struggle with motivation. It’s easier just to lay in bed.”

Now she is determined to help other people who may find themselves in similar predicaments due to mental health issues.

Her best advice, she says, is to talk to others if you’re feeling down or out of control. She said: “I think it’s always best to tell people. If I had told my parents, none of this would have happened. I wouldn’t have got as ill as I did. I left it until the last minute to tell them.

“It’s better to prevent it and give support to people when they are young. Keep on at the doctors. Especially boys. Girls are more emotionally open.

“People are ashamed, one in four people will suffer mental health issues at some point in their life. It should be treated in the same way as a physical condition. It can cause people to commit crimes. You don’t know how many people are suffering in silence.”

She said: “When I got arrested it made me feel 100 times worse. I realised my career was over. It wasn’t me burning people’s stuff. I knew it was me being unwell. I’m trying to be a bit more positive, because I’m only 24.”

Although she has worked in mental health, she said she struggles to take her own advice. She said: “It’s a lot easier to help other people.

“There needs to be a support group for people in Royston, for different age groups, so people can have a chat.

“I need closure on a couple of things in my life first, but then I want to set up a support group. It’s a constant battle. When I’m happy I worry when I will get unwell again. I shouldn’t think like that. I have still got a long way to go.”

For now, she intends to get involved in charity work, and will set herself small goals on her road to recovery.