If you’re anything like me you’ll understand how daunting it can be to talk about your mental health to anybody, especially being honest with your family for the first time.
I didn’t want to tell my parents at all. I was worried about how they would react, though not because I was scared what they might think. I didn’t want to be a burden and in turn make them feel sad or depressed too.
My friend made my parents first aware that something was wrong (at this point just two friends knew). I used to have terrible panic attacks lasting up to a full-blown four hours, I was at my friend’s house one evening when I had one, meaning I couldn’t go home. My mum – obviously worried – called him to see where I was and in turn she asked me what was going on. I still didn’t want to say anything but I couldn’t think of a credible explanation other than the truth!
Talking to my parents was definitely the first step in the right direction, sparking a catalyst of positivity:
- When I first got PTSD I didn’t know what was happening to me and I could only hope that it would just get better by itself. Unfortunately, it just got worse and I felt like hiding in my room and holding back the tears was the best option, so no one would hear. But telling my Mum and Dad meant I could relax in my own home, immediately a huge strain was lifted and for some magical reason I never had a panic attack again!
- My parents set about getting me some proffessional help. My friend made me go to the councillor at college but she wasn’t qualified to dig deep enough to help me. My parents both knew more about mental health than I did and got me straight to my GP and to a Therapist/Psychiatrist who diagnosed me with PTSD which set me on the road to recovery.
- My Mum encouraged me to explain to my little (but not so little) brothers what was
going on which was no doubt the most heart-wrenching thing I ever had to do and it still gives me a lump in my throat now. However, it meant when my parents weren’t home I could get a hug from my bros.
- They convinced me to tell a close group of my trusted friends which widened my support network, so I always had someone whether at college or out socialising. They were all shocked because I’d hidden it so well but all told me how proud of me they were.
- My family and I are even closer now than ever before, especially with my Dad. He’s not a man of many words but I always feel he is there for me. No matter what I put my parents through they always stayed strong for me.
When I leave on my travels next week I will miss them a lot. But reflecting on the rollercoaster we’ve had I know I would not be the independent person I am now if it hadn’t been for my support at home.