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Black Dog Campaign - Let's Remove The Stigma

Iím 18, this means I have realistically finished my childhood. ďThe happiest years of your life,Ē many proclaim. However for some, including myself they can be treacherous times, from the age of 8 till 17 I experienced some very tough times. A lot of people donít think an 8 year old knows emotions and they may be right, but I definitely began to have experiences which shaped my life. From Teachers ridiculing my speech, too suffering debilitating migraines which knocked me out for a day at a time. This led to my first experience of severe discomfort at the age of 13.

Suicide attempts at the age of 13, nobody can say 13 is too young to experience great emotion. If a 13 year old wants to die they are in extreme distress. Nobody wants to die, everyone wants to live, however if somebody is trying to die they must feel theyíre is no other way to escape. Suicide is an escape, at the time one believes it is the greatest escape. Or maybe even the only way out of the intense pain. I know for me it seemed the only way I could relieve myself from the intense pains I was facing. However a family member discovered me with a rope around my neck and managed to prevent me becoming another awful statistic.

This episode led to me requiring psychological treatment, which led to me having to miss school to attend appointments. This was not a fond idea to me, as I was a young boy I did not want anybody knowing my difficulties, especially my peers. I was embarrassed by my illness, I told the school and friends I had illnesses that i needed to see the doctors about. Nobody questioned me. Everybody believed I was one of the happiest people around. Everybody thought I had it all. Perhaps I had everything external, but I knew I didnít have the most important things in anybodies life. Happiness.

I managed to portray a happy person so well, mask the internal pain with such great ingenuity I enabled the psychological professional assessing and helping me to believe I was a happy boy. She believed me when I told her it was a freak one off, she believed me when I said I never felt like this before and havenít since. I lied.

I continued to go to school, I was achieving outstanding things academically gaining close to full marks in all my assessments at the age of 14 this isnít that important, but to me every mark I dropped was a failure. When I got 148 out of 150 in a maths test with most the school getting less than 100 I felt like a failure. Only managing to see the bad in situations, be this perfectionism or just great negativity both are very bad traits to be learning. Every good event has a bad aspect, if you search hard enough one can find tragedy within, I became most talented at this. From the age of 14 to 17 I can not remember one good thing happening to me, this is bizarre as many people would consider many great things to happen but I managed to catastrophise everything.

Moving onto my GCSE years a very stressful time for most adolescents however for me it was different, by the beginning of my GCSEís I had already been struggling to sleep at night having my head filled with such hatred for myself. I used to bang my head against walls to try and punish my self twang elastic bands against my wrists and smash rulers against my skin to try and create the pain I believed I was causing others. Throughout the beginning of my teenage years I believed I was a hindrance on everybody's lives. I honestly believe I was wasting valuable oxygen and resources for other human beings, I had to do something to reprimand myself.

As I went through the year I lied to more and more people made more and more friends, everybody believed I was happy. But I was not. I was starting to hate myself more and more, the only emotion I felt now was hate, towards nobody but myself. This seemed to be the end. I found myself being on the top of a step ladder more and more often staring at packets of pills holding knives. But still at this moment of time there was still that flicker of emotion keeping me on the tracks. Preventing me doing anything of any significance other than self harm.

Finally the slightest slither of emotion I still beheld was leaving me. I felt it go all of a sudden my life was empty, I was no longer me. I still maintained to show a positive attitude and led everybody into believing I was happy. But I would watch myself my mannerisms my attitude my beliefs and hate every second of it, although I still felt attached to my body. Suicide attempts were frequent still had enough to stop myself at the last moment but just enough. Thoughts of trying to escape the pain were constant, nothing I could ever think of worked. The only way out was suicide. I tried it but was stopped very late on by a friend I believed to be close. This was the end of any hope I was hanging onto.

I was now watching my body from what seemed to be a million miles away, I felt like I was watching a foreign old film in black and white. One I did not understand and could not control, I felt like I was no longer part of my own life or body. I was a spectator to life. I had constant voices in my head telling my its over. Telling me Iíd let my family down. Telling me Iíd let everyone down. The voices would tell me I was making everybody suffer with my existence, people were despairing of me. I could no longer show my face in public. My biggest achievement of the day would be if I managed to get out of bed. I detached myself from everyone. I wanted to be anywhere but alive. Thoughts of suicide were constant, I wanted to help everyone out and end everyones suffering.

I followed a friends final plea for me to get help I managed to drag myself into hospital, alone. I did feel worthy of anyones time. Asked for help dying. This was Christmas time I was hospitalised till early April. Looking back they were the darkest times I could ever imagine. I would have to be helped out of bed and forced to participate in an activity rather than just staring into space. I felt lonely, I would still do anything to die but I was under constant surveillance so I was safe. I had no hope no light in my life. I had nothing, nothing to grasp. I could not even think about an our ahead in my life. I felt like time was dead. I felt like I was dead but my body was still there. I was wasting everyones time, I needed to pay the ultimate punishment.

However after a lot of help from psychologists and medication I slowly regained life, I slowly began to see slithers of positivity in events. I eventually managed to crack a meaningful I would get slithers of happiness and these would be moments Iíd hang on to. The nights were turning to days. The light at the end of the tunnel was becoming visible. My first step to becoming better was admitting it. However this seemed impossible with the current stigma surrounding mental health.

I felt in such a way I had to move schools to continue my study. I am now studying at a new school and very few people are aware of what I have suffered. This is because of a lack of education, people do not understand and make ill informed comments. I am beginning to speak out be the person who is strong and helps others to be open. If people are open maybe this stigma will finally be removed. If the illnesses so many of us face arenít the subject to prejudice and hate maybe we will seek help early. Maybe we wont be hitting rock bottom. I am almost certain if Iíd spoken earlier I may never of attempted suicide. If we all speak out and remove the stigma we may save lives. If itís one life we save that is enough.

Everyone can make a difference. Nobody should suffer alone.

For every hour of darkness there will be an hour of light, if one fights the dark eventually there will be light to enjoy.