My Story: Niamh D

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What were the steps leading up to your diagnosis?

Before my diagnosis things were dark and lonely for a very, very long time. Five years ago my best friend and another friend died, of two different causes, but two weeks apart. After that I was very confused about life. I was only 15 years old and I didn't know how to deal with death and didn't want to accept it. From then I started down a long dark path of self-harming and isolation. I attempted to take my life over 16 times.

I told someone and got counseling and thought I was recovered – I was wrong. I was diagnosed at first with 'low mood' but through the years I relapsed continuously. Two years ago I had a significant overdose, which left me fighting for my life and admitted to an inpatient unit for a month and a half. I still was diagnosed with 'low mood' and anxiety but I didn’t feel like that was right. I felt like I was worse than they thought.

A year ago I started university and struggled to adapt due to a long distance relationship and my anxiety preventing me from making a lot of friends. I was suicidal a lot of the time, but I crumbled and finally sought help, and was diagnosed with anxiety and depression. I was put on sertraline and it's helped me significantly. I've not self-harmed in a long time – four months.

What lifestyle changes have you needed to make?

I’ve had to talk more, open up, fight every single day against my anxiety, which crippled me. I walk more to give my head time to clear. I started DBT with a therapist and I have changed my diet in the hopes of losing weight to feel better. I told my uni tutor about my struggles and this meant I was given extended deadlines for work, which took pressure off.

Who has been there for you? How?

I was terrified of hurting my family any more, so I confided in my boyfriend, my doctor and my therapist. My boyfriend came with me to see my doctor when I was terrified of how things would go as I've had a fear of health professionals following one of my suicide attempts. He's held my hand and let me cry and even took me to get stitches when I self-harmed.

I’ve had to talk more, open up, fight every single day against my anxiety.

There's always someone wanting to help and someone willing to listen.

There's always someone wanting to help and someone willing to listen.

What accomplishment are you proud of?

I never thought I would get into university due to my suicide attempts during high school. Here I am two-and-a-half years later winning my battle against depression and doing the degree I've dreamt of for years.

I want you to wake up one day and finally think 'I've made it'.

What's your advice to someone else living with Depression?

To anyone living with depression, I want you to understand that there is ALWAYS hope. There's always someone wanting to help and someone willing to listen. Whilst not everyone will understand what it's like to feel this way, someone will give you the love and compassion that you so dearly deserve. I want you to keep fighting every single day. I want you to wake up one day and finally think 'I've made it'. You can do this and you WILL do this. Lots of love.

Is there anything else we should know?

I'm only 19 years old and I've fought this from the age 14. I'm finally winning.

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