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Depression - Emma's Story


I was in my second year at university, only 19 going on 20 years old when my first episode of depression found me. It wasn’t until my boyfriend at the time pointed out a change in my personality that I became aware that I was changing, my grades at uni had only gotten better and my drive to get up and go was still as driven as before so it left me clueless to how I was changing.

I was watching TV one night when I looked down at my hands to realise I had cut them with my finger nails, the moment I stopped my emotions caught up with me and I couldn’t hold back my tears any longer. I couldn’t face speaking to anyone about it at first, I couldn’t describe it to anyone so I felt like it wasn’t justified as anything of importance and didn’t want to bother anyone with my problems when they felt insignificant against everyone else’s. I went to speak to my GP first, they prescribed me medication which if anyone knows me wasn’t going to go well as I rarely take pain killers when I’m in pain let alone medication for pain that no one knows the reason for. I took the medication and it was horrible, it placed me awake in my mind but sat looking through my eyes with the inability to have the emotion I was feeling. I remember sitting in a lecture and I couldn’t take in any of the information, I JUST SAT THERE.

My boyfriend and mum helped me decided on counselling to help me and try not to use any medication, so I went to my university mental health advisors which supply you with free counselling and support. I attended a number of 1 to 1 session and it was the best decision and direction in helping me I could have taken. I spoke to someone who didn’t know my friends or family and that didn’t know me which made me comfortable in speaking. By the end of the sessions I had realised that my depression had stemmed from losing my identity.

I spent my teenage years riding racehorses and being part of the equestrian world, using my days off from school working on yards and preparing to became a jump jockey the moment I turned 16 years old. I counted down every day on a calendar until my 16th birthday crossing one day off at a time in a black sharpie. My school had helped me with the course and license fees I needed, I had been placed in a magazine as a young jockey to watch and people knew me as that girl wanting to make it as a jockey. 3 seasons, 3 seasons of no luck only disasters it took for me to hang up my boots and walk away. I had literally broken bones, pushed my fitness, given up any social life and weekends only to walk away and go to university. Even though those 3 seasons where bad, I still had my identity that I had spent years building and trying to live up to it. I went from having horses surrounding me and the quietness of Dorset to the hustle and bustle of university life in the North with no escape. I had lost what I thought was me by going to university and it killed me inside because I spent all my childhood being this one person to then realise, I had lost that and I need to reinvent myself and that looked daunting.

Once I realised what was controlling my emotions, I was able to come to terms with it. I am now 24 and I still find myself losing my way but nothing to the extreme of it before. I have spent so many years re-inventing myself and my life that I now don’t get lost in the thought that I lost myself and I’m unrecognisable. Instead I’m more confident in my new identity than I was in my first one. Depression can be stemmed from anything; I am a very strong character so when I lost myself it made me feel weak and out of control which proved enough to sink me into depression. I am so thankful to my friends and family who help me feel more in control than ever.

BBrave clothing are helping raise awareness of mental health and have helped me brave in sharing my story and hopefully others in the future.