I’ve never had a big group of friends. I always feel a bit left out. I’m not the sporty type and in my area it’s all about the GAA and being part of that scene. I was feeling really down, withdrawn and isolated. It came to the day that I was thinking of harming myself because I felt like I’d never fit in anywhere. I was in first year in college and things were getting worse. I got a great Leaving Cert and everyone praised me saying I had this bright future was ahead of me, but if I had no friends, no one to share it with, what was the point?

I eventually reached out to my mum. She was a little scared because she didn’t know I was feeling so bad, but she was there to help me. She took me to see my GP, and from there I was able to connect with a psychiatrist and a counsellor. They listened to me, did not judge, allowed me to talk about what was bothering me, and validated my feelings.
I also signed up for counselling at UL. This really helped me out.

The staff were compassionate, non-judgemental, they listened. I felt very vulnerable and very self-conscious being there, just because I didn’t know who to trust (not because of anything that the staff did). I was grateful to them and to UL for their support. If I hadn’t reached out I probably wouldn’t still be in college today.

I also found it very difficult to be honest about my feelings because I had spent so long suppressing them and lying about them. I would tell only the partial truth to the psychologists about how I was feeling. Soon though, I realised that this is part of their job, and my withholding information is only to my own detriment.

Little by little my confidence grew and I joined a social club in the University. Walking in that door was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. But I’m so glad I did it and now I have a group of people I meet every day and hang out with who have the same interests as me. I still have the highs and lows and some days are better than others, but the difference is that I’m not ashamed or hiding these feelings anymore. I have people I can talk to and I recognise the signs and seek help when I need it.

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