Everything started in fifth year when I began to panic about the Leaving Cert. It started gradually until it got so bad I wasn’t sleeping right and studying night and day. My older brother is very academic and I’ve always struggled with school. I felt I had to get the same grades as him to make my parents proud of me too. There was a lot of stress in my life at that time from a friendship group I was in that turned very toxic with social media bullying being directed at me. It was relentless, day and night. Between the social media taunts and my grades suffering as a result, it felt like the whole world was crumbling around me.

My mother knew I wasn’t well and she called our local Family Resource Centre who offer therapy and counselling. It was there that I finally broke down and admitted that I had tried to take my own life the week before and that the thoughts were becoming overwhelming. I just wanted all the pressure to stop. I wanted to disappear. The counsellor recommended that I speak with my GP who made a referral to CAMHS because of my increasing thoughts of suicide and my attempt. I was so embarrassed about the stress I was causing my family. But this was the first step to recovery and I see that now. I stayed with my local FRC service while I waited to be assessed by CAMHS. Through therapy, I learned so much about myself and the early years of my life which were quite traumatic. What happened to me as a young child had a deep effect on my wellbeing and this was part of the reason why I felt I wasn’t good enough and couldn’t cope. Professionals can help you understand why you may be feeling the way you are and give you coping strategies.

I felt listened to and my experiences and feelings were not made to feel weird. I felt like I had to break down so I could build myself up again. But you can’t do that on your own. I wasn’t going to get the same grade as my brother and I was OK with that in the end. I also learned how to walk away from negative people in my life who were bringing me down. I learned so much and I’m still learning.

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