Mental health is an issue that has had an impact on me from a young age. Growing up, conflict between my parents affected me a lot, although the conflict and negative atmosphere is still relevant to my mental health, I am now older and able to leave my house if things get too much. This relationship with my family always makes me feel ignored and misunderstood, they are so involved in their own problems with each other that they do not realise that I deal with my mental health alone. Because I didn’t receive the support from my family I felt like I couldn’t talk to anyone else about how I felt and instead kept it to myself.
During my time at school I was often bullied because I am not classed as ‘cool’ or ‘popular’. I don’t care to be one of the popular kids but the bullying knocked my self confidence a lot. I am an awkward and shy person and the lack of confidence made me back out of a lot of opportunities because of the anxiety of being on my own around new people who would judge me and fear of failure. Not only by most of my peers, the teachers at my school also knocked my confidence. The art department was reluctant to have me in their classes which made me lose a lot of confidence in my art. To add to this, on a number of occasions the school tried to kick me out of because I was not taking enough ‘academic’ subjects – I only took creative subjects because I had already completed ‘academic’ subjects in previous years.
At the age of around 15 I started self harming, at this age I also had my first serious relationship which only added to my suicidal thoughts and at the age of 17 I tried to kill myself. When my family found out about this they did not give me any support and instead just told me things like I’m doing it for attention which was not true. It’s cliché, but the night I tried to end my life it was scary, I wanted to die but I also had conflicting thoughts of what would I miss out on and what I could achieve. For a long time, I have wanted to help people through my art and this event reinforced what I wanted to achieve in my life, I want to tackle important social issues through my art and photography but I want to keep mental health as a main topic I look at as I can share my own personal experiences to help others. This realisation and ambition to achieve my goals has made me want to achieve great things in my life and has helped my mental health. My relationship with depression is still something I have to deal with, some days I really lack any motivation and I struggle, but I’m the whole I feel better about my life. I am still really quiet and awkward and I still do not have lot of self confidence but I am trying my best every day to achieve what I want. My family still don’t really support me or actually know me or what I want from life which is a holdback sometimes as they don’t understand but I hope I can still achieve my goals. I am currently looking at dropping out of college as the course isn’t personally for me and I want to focus on what makes me happy and what my goals are – my art and photography. With lack of support from my family it will be difficult but with hard work and any support from others will help.
Coral Aston, 18, Scotland
I feel like the way I have written this blog is quite uneasy to follow, but any support for my work is greatly appropriated.