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In fact, for one in four people in the UK, the answer is yes.
It's like the world's going on around you,
but you're not part of it.
You can be in a room full of your family and friends,
you'll still feel horribly alone and frightened.
-I didn't ask to be anorexic.
-To be depressed.
-To have bipolar disorder.
-To have panic attacks.
To become addicted.
It wasn't a choice.
Being a teenager is hard enough at the best of times.
With a mental health condition, it's often the very worst of times.
But it can get better.
You know how bad it can be,
but you've also got to learn how good it can be.
The idea is to not let it control your life.
I never gave up. I never gave into it.
It was hard but I did get help from a psychotherapist.
-From a doctor.
-From my local eating disorder service.
-From my GP.
-The 12 step programme.
-From my partner.
And my friends and family.
Asking for help is not a sign of failure,
it's not a sign of weakness.
And everybody needs help.
It's not just me, and I'm not the only one.
And I'm not going mad.
Just talking about it really, really helped.
Now I basically want to live forever.
Wake up in the morning,
after having slept for maybe about three hours,
cry because I was awake,
because I just didn't want to be awake.
Didn't want to have to face another day.
'School was hard.'
People just thought I was a bit, generally a bit freaky,
a bit weird.
I'd just be sitting there.
Sort of really numb and empty.
Just staring, glazed into space.
It was almost like, like being in prison.
A prison of your own mind, your own thoughts.
I'd just go into my bedroom and think,
and think and think and get unhappy, and have a cry, and think.
When I could take off the mask at the end of the day...
I'd just cry uncontrollably, as it's the only thing my body could do.
Yeah, it was just a very lonely kind of time.
Even to this day, I don't get why I just suddenly became so unhappy.
It's still hard to really think about.
It's not like I had somebody passing away or something,
or I'd lost my job or I was homeless or something like that.
I had a house, I was in education, I was living with my parents.
It wasn't that great but I always felt, "Why? Why am I so unhappy?
"What have I got to deserve this?"
It was almost like something was eating up inside me.
My dad passed away when I was 17,
so I was left with neither of my parents alive.
That just turned my whole life around.
Everything was taken away from me, like my home, my family,
any kind of stability and support.
I had to become completely independent,
and learn to look after myself and it was really hard.
It was really, really hard.
Well, I started feeling a lot worse in high school,
and I, kind of like, always seemed to take it out on the teachers.
Like I hate authority and, I don't know,
to me it was Mum and Dad that should be telling me what to do,
not other adults,
and because they weren't there, I don't know,
I seemed to have a problem with that.
It's hard to be unhappy 24-7. It's hard to wake up unhappy.
It's hard to try and be happy and it not work out.
# Help, I have done it again... #
And I felt like that this unhappiness was inside me,
and I wanted to get it out, so I picked up this piece of glass,
straight down the arm.
# Hurt myself again today... #
And I felt like, "Oh yes, this is all out of me."
# The worst part is there's no one else to blame
# Be my friend... #
I think I was experiencing a lot of frustration when I was self-harming
because I didn't understand why I felt so down and upset.
# Unfold me
# I am small... #
And I felt like it was my fault, so I felt that I had to punish myself.
So that's what I did.
At the time, you feel like it's going to change your world.
And it doesn't, at all.
I was just so sick of living the way that I was.
You think to yourself, "If I'm going to go through this,
"time and time again,
"why not just end it so I'll never have to go through it?"
There was times, really dark times,
where I pushed myself to that limit, to the fact that I attempted it,
and the worst thing about the first time I attempted it was,
I ran in front of a car but I misjudged it,
so the car didn't hit me.
I just got a lot of abuse off this driver.
I couldn't even do that properly. And that was hard.
That was the worst feeling in the world.
To go and end, physically want to end your life,
and failing at doing that yourself.
It's the most demeaning thing in the world.
I went to the doctor, eventually, and the doctor diagnosed me
Do you or someone close to you feel sad, blue or empty most of the time?
No longer enjoy things that used to give you pleasure?
If you do, consider whether four or more of the following also apply.
If most of the above is true
and you're finding it hard to live life effectively,
you may be suffering from depression.
Just talking about it really, really helped.
It was the fact that someone was there to listen.
Someone was there to give you advice,
and then let you know that it's not going to be the end of the world
and we'll get through it together.
To find out that there was a real problem
and it's like a hormone imbalance in your brain that can cause it.
It's, I don't know, it feels a lot better knowing that it's not just me
and I'm not the only one, and I'm not going mad.
To know that something is actually causing it and something can help.
Going through therapy is really difficult.
When you're in therapy it can seem like a really strange environment.
Basically, you know, you sit down with someone
that you've never met before,
and tell them loads of really personal details that
you might not have told anyone else and that, that is really strange.
For me, it wasn't as it's perceived to be, it was more relaxed.
One on one with each other, which was great.
Nobody there, no distractions.
It was, you get in, you talk about what's bothering you,
and we get to the bottom of it, and we'll help you out.
I think as I started seeing results in myself
and just proving to myself that I could do it,
once I started to see that in myself I wanted to go even further,
and I wanted to do more and I wanted to continue to get better.
The help I got with therapy has changed my life forever.
If you think you're suffering from depression, I would say,
don't suffer in silence, that's the worst thing that you could do.
Honestly, it will just make you feel worse.
There's a lot that they can do.
They can put you on medication, different kinds of therapies,
Now I basically want to live forever.
I love getting up in the morning.
I love doing things, I love getting out and about.
Things make me happy.
I can live my life, I can be who I want to be.
It's a big leap. It's good.
I felt like I just wanted to be good at something.
It was all about being perfect for me.
I felt like the rest of my life was a little bit out of control,
but this was something that I knew I had complete focus and control on.
I describe it like a bubble.
you're just in a dissociated space away from everyone else.
Like the world is going on around you but you're not part of it.
Because all that's going on in your head is,
"I wonder how many calories I've burned
"going up and down the stairs?
"I wonder what I could restrict next.
"I wonder..." I don't know, there's so many things and it just...
..takes you away completely from the world.
I couldn't really focus on what I was doing,
especially on academic subjects.
In maths and stuff I'd just stare at the screen
and because, obviously, when you're not eating properly your brain
is starved and so you can't focus on anything.
I just wanted to be as thin as possible, really,
as physically possible, so,
I'd rather die thin than live
and be a healthier weight or live and be fat.
So basically, like, I'll get as thin as possible,
and if I die in the process then that's fine.
So it was kind of like a long suicide.
It started off just losing weight
and then it almost became like an addiction.
It kept telling me, "If you keep losing weight then, you know,
"you'll be happy, you'll be perfect,
"like everything will be OK. Everyone will look up to you."
And in reality, it's lies and it's so hard to realise that it is lies.
I didn't want to admit that I had a problem
because I felt scared, almost,
because my mum and dad had brought me up so well
and I loved them so much and we had such a great life,
and I just couldn't understand why I had got myself into this mess,
and I didn't want them to kind of stress and worry about it.
To be fair, I can't really put it into words.
It's like one of the worst things I've had to go through and
I know, obviously like Hannah herself went through so much,
so it might seem quite selfish to say that
but you just feel so helpless.
It was actually just after PE, actually.
We were in the girls' changing rooms and she was getting changed,
and I just remember being so shocked by how thin she actually was.
Like I think everyone noticed that she had lost weight,
that was kind of normal, especially like being a teenage girl,
like everyone sort of goes on diets and stuff,
but, yeah, it was just that moment and how shocking it was.
That was like a really defining moment for me.
I just remember looking at her like that
and realising there was something seriously, seriously wrong.
Like, it crossed the line and the illness had the control over me.
That was when I realised, I guess, I had a problem like
when it got to a point where I couldn't eat without just
feeling completely, utterly worthless,
completely disgusted by myself and that it was the worst thing ever.
Well, I was in school, just a normal day at school,
and my mum had arranged a GP appointment
in the middle of the day so I just signed out of school.
In the middle of the day, I just said, "Oh, I'll be back soon.
"I just need to go and get a check up at the GP."
So, yeah, we went to the GP and he weighed me,
and basically immediately after weighing me,
and then seeing my BMI, he said,
"Well, you're going straight into hospital."
And I was there for six and a half months at a specialist hospital.
A lot of people say that being a teenager
is the best time of your life and I was in hospital from 17-18.
I've never really been to parties or, I had that one boyfriend
and that's it and I've just never had a huge amount of a social life,
so I feel like I really missed out on a social life.
I was very tired all the time
and often went to bed about eight o'clock at night,
because I just couldn't keep myself up.
Your skin gets bad, you look almost grey,
you have no colour to you.
When you take off a black t-shirt all you see is just,
it's like snow,
because it's just covered in dead skin cells.
I had really bad downy hair...
..which is a thin layer of, pretty much fur, on your body.
I became anaemic.
My heart rate had dropped a lot.
And I also developed osteoporosis because of the weight loss.
Which is when your hands, your fingers, they all swell up.
I mean the big factor for girls, which happened to me,
was the loss of your monthly period, which if, you know,
you don't sort it out,
it can cause problems for the future as well.
You don't think when you're ill what you're doing to your body
and certainly long term what you can do to your body.
You just don't think about that.
Only sort of when someone's recovering
I think you can actually help.
You have to want to get better first. The most important thing.
You have to want health and you have to want life more than anything.
You have to find something within yourself, some kind of hope
and like, desire for life within yourself,
or you can't get better from it.
Are you, or is someone close to you, underweight,
yet nevertheless very afraid of getting fat?
Harsh with yourself about your weight or shape?
Finding it hard to accept that you are in fact very underweight,
and there is a problem?
Fainting and having dizzy spells?
If you're a girl, missing periods?
Making fewer bathroom trips?
Trying to hide low weight by wearing bulky clothes?
If most of the above is true, you may be suffering from anorexia.
# The rocks, they will always hold in the sea... #
During recovery, especially early stages,
it can seem, like, "Why am I doing this?"
It's so hard, you just want to give up.
But if your friends are there for you it just keeps you strong,
and keeps reminding you that you can do this,
and that you can have a better life for it.
Just knowing that I have friends, like Jo, to just talk to
whenever about anything and not be judged, is,
I feel, has been a vital part of my recovery.
if you think your friend does have a problem,
then you should just tell someone
like either like tell your teachers at school.
Or just someone,
someone that actually knows the proper things to do,
because I wouldn't have had a clue about contacting a GP
or anything like that, I wouldn't have known what to do.
If you think to yourself,
"No, she's the least likely person to have an illness",
like don't ever think that because it can literally happen to anyone.
The anorexia doesn't want you to realise that you need to get better,
and that you need to start fighting against it,
so it takes a lot of energy and courage to kind of come to that point
and say, "Actually, I've got a problem,
"and I can't do this by myself, I need to get help."
I mean at first, like, the therapy and all that, you hated, didn't you?
it was like, she dreaded going,
but over time like it obviously did make a massive difference,
I think as soon as she sort of learnt to separate
the illness from herself, and made it two separate things,
I think that was quite a defining moment where she started to recover.
Like part of anorexia is it's a very,
it's like a secretive illness and it's all very introvert
and it's in your head and so when you open up to other people
it's like a weight off your chest,
and it allows you to separate your thoughts easier
and think clearer and, like, keep strong.
CBT treatment is about challenging the negative thoughts
that you have in your head,
so I would have to write down what the situation was,
what I felt during that situation,
the automatic negative thoughts that were coming into my head.
So, for example, if I was invited out with friends,
my automatic thought would be,
"I don't want to go, because I don't know what's on the menu."
And then you have to challenge that, and look at a balanced thought,
so, it's OK to go out with your friends every so often
and have a treat and I'm not going to get fat automatically,
and it was really just balancing out these negative thoughts I was having
in my head.
My weight's OK and I eat a normal amount.
But the feelings I have around food in that I'm so controlled and rigid,
that isn't normal, so I wouldn't say I'm cured in that sense.
And if I can start eating at different times,
other than the times I've set myself, then I'd say I'm cured,
But until that time, I'd say I'm recovering.
If I'm really, really stressed, even to this day,
I have to like remind myself to keep eating and to keep strong,
like I have to, I always do, because it will never go away completely.
Like now it's like a whisper or like, not even there,
like barely even there, I just block it out so much that it's not there.
Whereas when I was ill, it was like the loudest scream in my head.
Basically the lion is still there, and it's ready,
but it's in a cage and it's all tamed
and it's not vicious right now.
It's just away...
The wedding was quite a big focus for me. Once I got engaged,
I knew I didn't want to start off my married life
with all these negative thoughts,
I knew that I really wanted to get better.
And some people tell you that you live with these anorexic thoughts
for all your life,
but then other people told me, "You can have a life free from it."
And I know from experience that that's true.
You can get rid of all the negative thoughts.
I now enjoy food.
I enjoy all the foods that I used to like.
I enjoy going out with my friends
and I'm back into a healthy routine of exercise and dancing
and just enjoying life, and anorexia is nowhere near any of those things.
So I definitely feel that I've beaten it completely now.
it's difficult but I'm beginning to enjoy food more and more.
I like venison, I've got expensive taste. And I like sweet potatoes.
Yeah. Those are like my two favourite foods.
Well, bipolar disorder mostly is thought of as being highs and lows.
One minute everything's absolutely racing
and everything's going 150 miles an hour but not fast enough.
Other times you cannot get up.
it's not that you don't want to, sometimes you just can't.
You become numb to everything.
The manic side doesn't appear to be negative,
until you're not manic any more.
At the time it seems wonderful.
I'll see colours more vividly.
Every sound I hear is much more bright and vivid,
it's like if you're listening to an orchestra then you'll hear
all of the instruments, but every individual instrument
and everything that's happening all at once.
And it can be beautiful.
It's like the shutters have been taken off
and you can see everything, as new, for the first time.
You talk 500 miles an hour,
you talk way too fast for anyone to even understand,
you'll start off talking like this and then a little bit more like this
and it'll get out of hand.
You'll go, "Oh look, I heard this poem, I read this book,
"I've got this idea and the film's coming out, deh, deh, deh, deh."
You start stumbling on yourself, but you don't care,
because you've got that idea in your head that,
"As long as I've got those thoughts coming, nothing's going to stop me."
Nobody complains to their GP when they're feeling well or happy.
You don't walk into your GP and say,
"I'm feeling really good today, help!"
I couldn't feel pain, I didn't know if I'd hurt myself, sometimes.
I thought I could move things with my mind.
I seemed to have no awareness of traffic at all,
so whoever was out with me would have to keep an eye on me near cars,
to make sure I didn't do anything stupid, like walk in front of one.
You realise that your friends are looking at you strangely
and that you've said things that might be inappropriate,
or you've done things that might be, you know, wrong.
So, yeah, it's difficult, it's difficult.
It's not all the upside, and then the other side is
everything slows down to a snail's pace and sometimes completely stops.
That's the depressive side of it.
Depression is horrible.
You feel down, you feel very low and very upset.
You can be in a room full of family and friends,
you'll still feel horribly alone, and frightened.
Wanting to kill myself was hard.
There's a lot of stigma against people who, you know,
attempt or even commit suicide.
I think people look at it from their own rational point of view.
They look at it from the point of view of,
"I would never do that to those I love."
But it's not a choice, it's a matter of your brain tells you
that this is the only way out, the only thing you can do.
And all thoughts of anything else, and, of course,
it's not that people who feel suicidal
don't care enough about their families to not do it.
That's not the way it is.
It's an imperative, you feel you have to do it.
It took a lot of courage to go to a GP and say,
"Look, I think I need help."
I felt as if something would change, as if everything would change.
As if this diagnosis would suddenly mean the end of the world.
I went to the doctor and he said,
"Yeah, you're suffering from depression at the very least.
Then he started asking me more questions, he started saying,
"Are you always depressed?"
And I said, "No, I've been feeling really kind of hyper as well,
"and really just running around and staying up all night
"and, spending all the money on my cards when I've got no money,
"You know how it is!"
And he said, "No, I don't quite know what you mean."
He said, "Maybe we should get you an appointment for a psychiatrist."
And he did.
And I saw the psychiatrist and he diagnosed me with bipolar disorder.
I saw having to use medication as failing.
I was using a watch to keep time
so I could remember what time to take medication.
And I remember I started dreading hearing my watch go off
because it was like a constant reminder that I was needing help.
Coping with friendship,
coping with any kind of relationships at that age,
it was very difficult.
Well, at first I never knew what it was.
And then somebody told me it used to be known as manic depressives,
so once I heard that I was like, "I sort of know what that is,
"but I'll research it anyway," and I realised what was going on,
what it was, and I went, "Actually, I've noticed quite a lot of this."
It made me feel very, very guilty
that Vicky was having to be my carer,
that she had to do everything for me.
I had to learn how to cope with my diagnosis
and with just trying to have a normal life,
and you had to learn how to cope with me.
Yeah, the worst thing, probably, about bipolar disorder
is it takes away your ability to be who you are.
And be who you, who you really think you are and who you want to be.
It can really stop that in its tracks, if not looked after.
Have you or someone close to you
ever experienced an excessively up or irritated mood
that lasted at least a week?
During that time also experienced three or four of the following -
Had an overly grand sense of your own importance.
Seemed to need less sleep.
Couldn't slow down the ideas
and thoughts that were racing into your mind.
Become more talkative than usual.
Become easily distracted from one thing to another.
Become unusually intent on certain goals at school, work,
or leisure life.
Become swept up in high risk fun activities
that were likely to cause problems later,
like spending sprees or madcap business schemes.
If most of the above is true,
and you're finding it hard to live life effectively,
you may be suffering from bipolar disorder.
# Birds flying high You know how I feel... #
The realisation that I was bipolar, it changed absolutely everything.
It allowed me to be able to reconcile things in my own head
and explain things to myself that had happened before
that I had no idea why they were happening.
And it helped everyone else too.
It helped everyone else understand me,
that was the greatest part of it of all.
# And I'm feeling good... #
I used to be very, very proud, and very individual,
and was a strong believer, and I did not need help from anybody.
Which I now know, is not true.
But I've also learnt that asking for help is not a sign of failure.
It's not a sign of weakness. And that everybody needs help.
Don't be afraid to talk to other people.
Get support. Get people around you. Get people to help.
People will understand.
Make sure you're nearby
and you're always going to be there if they need you,
even if it's just to sit and watch TV or something daft like that.
Just them being normal showed me that I could be normal.
That I could recover, it wasn't... I hadn't stopped being me.
Having a mental health problem is part of who you are.
It doesn't change who you are.
The idea is to not let it control your life,
and to put it in the back of your mind
and have it there that you think about it enough to deal with it.
But, no, it doesn't define who I am.
I'm the music I listen to, the books I read, the films I watch,
the things I do.
I lost a lot of confidence during my initial diagnosis
and became very afraid of social situations but now I'm not,
now I can sort of jump into a room and go, "Hello!"
And it doesn't frighten me any more.
I still have symptoms, you know.
But now I can control them, I can manage them,
and I can live a normal life around them.
I can do whatever I want and it was great to get that power back,
to get the control back into my life.
To be able to do everything for myself.
It was fantastic to have that, it changed everything.
It's just such an overwhelming feeling
that somebody's just brought this big cape of fear over the top of you.
Everything in the world was the worst possible scenario
you could thing of.
I was terrified of passing people, anything to do with people,
even having to do shopping, it was a scary experience.
A friend of mine from school was on her gap year in South America
and she actually died in a bus crash.
So that kind of triggered my first anxious response.
I was about 13, just before I went to high school
I started getting symptoms of my illness.
It just progressed worse and worse,
through bullying and stuff at school.
I can remember thinking I was going to have a heart attack
because I was having palpitations
and for about three years,
I thought every day that that was it.
And I went to hospitals, had heart monitors,
had ECGs constantly.
I used to go down and they used to say,
"Wes there's nothing wrong with your heart, it's just anxiety."
And I'd just say, you know, "You've got to be joking, anxiety?
"You're having a laugh.
"I've got heart palpitations, I think I'm going to die."
This is one of the most important organs in my body,
how can it be anxiety?
Not thinking anything of the word, really.
You doubt yourself.
About what it really is, and when you start to question yourself
it makes you even worse because then you think,
"Oh, is this all just in my head? Is it just me?"
# I'm up in the woods
# I'm down on my mind
# I'm building a still... #
It led to me being agoraphobic,
I was too scared to leave my bedroom.
I'd be sitting at the computer playing it all day and all night
and that was my escape from the real world.
I'd be dependent on this game.
Basically we would be doing brave things and fighting evil and stuff
and it sounded so much better than the reality of everything
that I was going through.
And everything scares you at that point.
It becomes a frightening place.
That you just get lost in your own, your own little world.
It was really difficult for me because, you know,
years before that I was jet-setting around the world
wakeboarding or playing hockey or, you know, achieving things
and now I couldn't leave my bedroom.
It was really debilitating and just a really dark time for me.
Basically whenever the door was knocked on I would tense up,
and it I would put all the sound off everything
and I would just sit there for about half an hour,
till I felt as if they were gone.
People weren't allowed to come into my flat.
It was a terrifying thing having to open the door to this person.
Even answering the phone, mail, it never happened really,
it never happened.
I developed a condition called depersonalization,
where you don't think you're actually alive, you think you're in a dream.
And, you know, looking in the mirror and not really knowing who I was,
or understanding the person I was looking at
and feeling that I didn't know them anymore.
You know I thought I was,
I wasn't really alive so none of it was real,
and I just cancelled everything out around me
and distanced everybody from me.
Erm, because I just didn't believe it.
The disassociation was when things would get too stressful for me,
I'd start closing off my mind and start going into a different world,
where I could control
and that I could imagine things up that I really wanted to be doing
and so that was kind of like another safe place for my mind to be
when things were getting too much for me to handle.
Some of the nightmares I was having were really graphic, terrifying.
You'd wake up and your full body was soaking with sweat
or you'd be crying, or you'd wake up with your own self shouting.
# On my knees and out of luck I look up... #
It's scared to be frightened, all day, and then you go to bed
and you wake up scareder than you were before you went to bed.
# You must know life to see decay
# But I won't rot... #
It hurts cos then you feel there is nowhere to escape.
# Not this mind and not this heart I won't rot... #
Just terrible. It was like being in prison, really.
But I'd put myself there.
Do you, or someone close to you...
Have an excessive fear of some thing or situation?
Avoid the thing you fear?
Feel extremely anxious or panic stricken when exposed to it?
Find that the avoidance or distress this fear creates
causes problems in your life?
If most of the above is true,
you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder.
I'm in a place that I never thought I'd ever be in again.
I'm actually in a better place than I was prior to being anxious.
It's made me a much better, stronger person.
It's a great feeling to just have that relief
of having spoken to somebody
and getting their advice on the situation.
It's just opened my eyes.
I went to the doctors at first
and my doctor had referred me to a CPN, my psychiatric nurse.
She was a constant backbone support through everything,
and I really trusted her,
and she did make me feel as if things could get better
and that they were going to get better.
About a year and a half ago, I regularly, on a daily basis,
considered committing suicide, because it was my escape
out of where I was, but I never gave up,
never gave into it.
Anxiety will doubtfully ever go,
I've just had to adapt my life with it.
If I'm going around the shops on my own,
I'll be listening to my music,
because that just keeps me in the right mindset that I can do this.
It's part of me so I've just learned to accept it and cope with it.
After I was put onto the medication
it was a total relief not to have that constant...
"Oh, everything's...", you're on edge constantly.
Just to have that total weight lifted off your head,
it's like somebody's turned the train tracks down three notches
and the train's going two mile an hour and you're like, well,
I can process this thought and think about it clearly without another
12 being in the way, and it really made a big difference.
If you have any symptoms,
or if you think you might be developing an anxiety disorder,
there's no shame in it or you shouldn't think it's a bad thing.
Don't hide it. Hiding it makes things worse.
You have to let people in and talk about it and talk about it
and not be scared to go against it.
There's so much help
and so much support out there that you can actually get.
Once you can do that, you can move on from the situation much quicker.
I feel like I've been through the hurricane,
and it's now time to enjoy the sunshine.
It's just been such a challenge, such a road,
but I know that I've become a stronger person
and I just want more out of life now,
and that's what I'm intending to get.
You know how bad it can be,
but you've also got to learn how good it can be,
and it's an amazing experience letting yourself learn that.
# If we don't, if we don't If we don't, if we don't
# If we don't, if we don't If we don't, if we don't
# If we don't kill ourselves
# We'll be the leaders Of a messed up generation
# If we don't kid ourselves
# Will they believe us If we tell them the reasons why?
# Do we take it too far, take it too far?
# Did we chase the rabbit into wonderland?
# Lose a hundred grand, will they understand?
# It was all to stay awake for the longest... #
I just really wanted to see what it done to me to be honest.
See what the effects were, just curious.
It really took me out of my feelings,
all of the kind of anxieties of before,
it was just a big escape from everything.
At the time there was excitement about it because it was illegal.
It was the thing you shouldn't do. So we did it anyway.
I started using cannabis and ecstasy
and then just progressed from there into a lot of stimulants,
cocaine, ecstasy, LSD.
I didn't see any of that as really a problem, that I did.
It was just used at the weekends going out with my mates.
It wasn't until I ended up getting into heroin that that changed.
I really didn't know what ketamine was, or what it did to me.
When I first took a line I literally just said,
"Yep, I'll have some of that..." and it went straight up my nose.
You know, I just really didn't know what was happening to me.
It's a dis-associative anaesthetic and it's also a horse tranquiliser.
If you're dis-associated from something,
it means that you're not quite there
and an anaesthetic is something which kind of soothes and calms you.
So it was like tripping but at the same time it's very calming.
And I just took more and more and more of it,
and it became my ultimate ambition to just be in a k-hole forever.
Which is like wanting to not exist.
Wake up early afternoon, because I'd been up most of the night.
Go out with my friends, get high, get stoned,
and do it all over again the next day.
A lot of the time you don't get anything off the heroin
when you're so addicted to it and your tolerance is so high,
so you're just you're just taking it to make you feel normal.
Either there would be some drugs by my bedstead,
which I would snort immediately
just to just to be able to stand up, really.
Or, I would have to jump out of bed
and start trying to raise some money to go and score some more drugs.
At the most I was, I was using about ten bags a day,
which is about £100 worth, so it was.
You stop thinking about what is right and what is wrong.
All you're trying to do is, you know,
do what your brain and your body's telling you,
which is that it needs drugs,
and so you have to get it, no matter what.
I used to DJ, sold my turntables, mixer, stereo,
PlayStation, Xbox, phones, lots of phones.
I've been there with my friends, even.
They stole from their parents, they stole from siblings,
they've sold their own things.
All for drugs.
All you're thinking is drugs, drugs, drugs.
And you can't concentrate on anything,
you can't even sit down and watch a half an hour episode of Friends.
It just drives you mad.
If you imagine ketamine as these crystals,
and these crystals, you're putting them up your nose,
and they're going down your throat.
About here, suddenly, you get this crippling, crippling pain,
which just literally makes you collapse onto the floor,
and start rocking and shouting and screaming.
It's like this hideous burning, and I think the first time you get it
you do think that you're having a heart attack
and that you're going to die.
To this day I don't know what it was whether it was a panic attack,
whether I tripped and fell,
whether it was the two things at the same time.
I fell to the one side
and I kind of thought I had a seizure.
It was something I'd never experienced before,
this weird feeling.
I was short of breath, I was pale white, I was scared.
You know my heart was pumping, pumping, pumping.
I rushed into my mum's room, and I said to her,
"Look, I think I've just had a fit, a seizure of some sort.
And then, from that day, like that, it just it wasn't the same.
I wasn't the same.
The other physical effect of taking ketamine, on your body,
is to get ulcerative cystitis,
which is where the crystals of ketamine
are corroding the nerve endings in your bladder.
And what this will eventually do is make you completely incontinent.
You will be pissing every five minutes,
and you will be pissing blood and it is excruciatingly painful.
The doctor was saying to me,
"You have to stop taking drugs NOW,
"otherwise we're going to cut your bladder out.
"You're going to be left with a bag for the rest of your life."
And I still took ketamine.
You know, this is how insane addiction is.
It starts with the drugs, because I believe the drugs and the alcohol
and whatnot, all led up to panic attacks and anxiety.
I just was scared of outside, the outside world.
I didn't know what was going on, confused,
I was wondering what was going on, if I was going mad,
or just various things that I didn't have a clue about at the time.
Well, it's cost me a lot, so it has.
I mean, I had a good job, so I did, at the time.
And, if I didn't take drugs, I'd have probably been head chef by now,
I've had probably had my own kitchen.
Criminal convictions as well, I've got convictions.
Shoplifting, possession, drugs, assaults, serious assault.
So that obviously still affects certain jobs that you go for as well.
In the end I just sacrificed everything,
because drugs came first, and I lost my boyfriend
and I lost my job, you know,
but I still had drugs, and I thought that was a good thing.
# You always hurt
# The one you love... #
I think what I was doing to my mum at that time was really bad.
My life was to wake up when I wanted,
go to sleep when I wanted, and in between that, do what I wanted.
It sounds horrible,
but you know at the time I kind of didn't care about her.
It wasn't that I didn't,
but it was the way I come across, my personality had changed.
It's heartbreaking, it really is heartbreaking.
I would be at work and I'd be worried about him constantly,
but also, I didn't want to go home
because I was scared of what I'd go home to.
I came home from work the one evening,
I was working shifts at the time,
and Luke was lying on the hall floor,
and I really did think that Luke was dead.
I couldn't wake him up, I was shaking him, I was hysterical.
Eventually he did sort of rouse around.
I got him into bed
and I actually slept on his bedroom floor that night,
with fear of something happening to him throughout the night.
I really did think that I was going to lose my son,
and what would I do without him, really?
When you're young you think, "Oh, it's fine. You can handle it.
"There's no harm in it, because your friends are doing it."
But for some people it can happen and you do end up,
it controls your life, so it does.
Is this you, or someone close to you?
Repeated use of the substance leads to problems at home, work or school.
Use of the substance in a situation
that puts yourself and others at risk.
Continuing to use the substance even though it's causing problems.
You need more and more of the chosen substance
to achieve the same effects as a smaller amount once had.
Relationships, work, social life, or leisure
suffer because of the substance use.
If most of the above is true, you may have an addiction.
Things started to get better for me
when I got in touch with a service in my local borough,
which was like a council service.
They offered me a support worker
and my support worker was someone who I could talk to confidentially.
They weren't going to tell my parents,
they weren't going to get me arrested
for any of the things that I'd done.
And we made a list of goals,
and practical ways that I could improve my life.
I had many mental people talk to me,
mental health people talk to me, sorry!
About all sorts, but I just was a bit stubborn towards it.
A lot of them were very keen to get me on medication,
which I was kind of a big "no-no" for.
It's each to their own, what works for one doesn't for another.
Yeah, I mean a lot of people will be like,
"If it makes me better, I'll take it."
Give it me.
But I wanted to do it for myself, naturally, if I could.
And I have. And I did, so.
There were various rehab options available to me
and the first thing that encouraged me to go
was when I found out that I didn't have to pay for it,
and that my parents didn't have to pay for it.
Because I think,
I thought that to go to rehab either you had to be a supermodel
you know, or a pop star, or you had to have really rich parents.
But when I found out that actually,
you know, you can apply for funding, either from charities
or from the council, if you go and present your case,
say, "Look here, I'm really in need of help, I don't have money.
"I need to go to rehab,"
They will find the money for you, and you can go.
I think the key for me is just keeping busy
and doing a lot of stuff.
I want to work within addictions and just help other people,
that's really what I want to do with my life now,
and that's the career path that I want to go down now, so.
It is important to have people there for you, that's a definite.
Well, he's my baby, you see.
Well, what are we like now compared to when,
We're very, very close.
Yeah, we are really. We'll have a talk about anything,
and then it was just like, you know, now it's simple as that.
It's just like there was a wall between us and now there's no wall,
we're leaning against each other, rather than the wall.
And that's how it is.
Since getting off drugs my life has been great.
I've got a lovely house.
I've got a daughter.
I got an internship in an art gallery.
I live with my girlfriend, we've got a house.
You know, I have loads of friends, I dance, I do things.
I can really do whatever I want with my life, so I can.
Life's just bright again.
Then, it was just me in my bedroom and drugs.
Stuff you want to go, "Boo!" about.
Just stuff, bad stuff.
I had nothing to say when I was a drug addict
because when you're a drug addict
what do you say to someone who isn't a drug addict?
What had I done that week? Nothing, you know.
Other than steal, lie and cheat for drugs.
People think that taking drugs makes you interesting,
but it doesn't, it makes you the most boring person in the world.
I want to get out there and prove to the world
that it doesn't matter where you're from,
it doesn't matter what problems you've had in your life,
you can do anything you want.
And impossible, if you take the I and M off, it says, "I'm possible".
-I didn't ask to be anorexic.
-To be depressed.
To have bipolar disorder.
-To have panic attacks.
-To become addicted.
It wasn't a choice.
We've all got mental health just like we've all got physical health.
They both need looking after.
They both need fixing when they break down.
The only difference is that when things go wrong in your head...
You can't necessarily see it.
We agreed to be in this film.
-Because we wanted to raise awareness.
-And reduce the stigma.
There are so many misconceptions about mental health illnesses
and I think it's important to educate people.
I think drugs education should be from young people
who have been through it to young people who are going through it.
There is a life after mental illness.
And over time you'll see that for yourself.
-We all want to help.
-And it's good to share.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
The reality of living with depression, anorexia, anxiety, bipolar disorder and addiction is revealed through the eyes of young people who have first-hand experience of these illnesses.Through their own, very personal stories, they reveal how they have dealt with mental illness, in some cases continue to live with it, and how they have managed to turn things around and regain control of their lives. The stories range from accounts of their most desperate moments to the optimism of finding a way out of the darkness with the help of specialist support.