Tiffany's mental health problems started from a very young age, it was many years before she sought out help to begin her recovery. She writes about why mental health research means an 'unmeasurable' amount to her.
When I was young I knew that something wasn’t right.
Sitting in class I’d get a flush of fear. This usually resulted in me in tears, which people assumed was for no reason.
To tell the truth I thought this too, I didn’t understand why I felt this way – and didn’t know anyone else that did.
I hid it from everyone hoping that I would grow out of it or it would go away.
Then six years ago, when I had just turned 18, my father passed away and these feelings were triggered again. My whole world turned to darkness from this point, I turned to alcohol thinking I could numb the grief by going out all the time, surrounding myself with strangers that didn’t really care for me – and pushing away others that did.
This affected my jobs as I couldn’t stick anything out, and I was arguing with family at home and letting people down all the time because I was hungover.
I was ready to give up on the world and myself, I could see my family getting on with their lives and didn’t understand why I wasn’t, was I just a burden to everyone? I wanted to give them one less thing to worry about... Me.
Throughout this time there was a small voice in my head telling me this isn’t right and I shouldn’t be acting this way.
It wasn’t until a few years passed I realised that voice was actually my best friend refusing to let me fall deeper. I finally heard her, I remember my mind just stopping as she told me how I could get help and that we’d do it together and we did.
She sat by my side in the waiting room of the doctors, held my hand as I burst into tears in front of the doctor, she spoke the words that I couldn’t get out.
I felt like there was hope again. I got prescribed antidepressants and was referred to counselling.
I attended my first session of counselling which was like an assessment to see how many sessions were needed and after this I was told there was a three month wait until my sessions began.
This news scared me, I was so fearful of what would happen in that time, was I strong enough to stay afloat? I didn’t think I was but I had friends and family that supported me every step of the way. In those 3 months of waiting I managed to get a stable job and I enrolled at the Open University.
It’s been nearly 3 years since I first got help, since then I’ve passed my first module and I’m currently working through the second, I have started up my own charity in honour of my father that focuses on helping those who suffer with a mental health condition as in my area there isn’t much option for help.
The value of research into mental health is unmeasurable, it brings hope to people for a brighter future, it creates courage for people to stand up and share their stories, it gives people faith that there is help.
Last updated: 21 March 2017