advice on getting help

hi so i'm very new here and i just wanted some advice i guess. i'm a 19 year old girl, and i think i've been struggling with depression since i was about 11. i've had issues with very low mood, self esteem, self harm, anxiety (including social anxiety) and panic attacks, and just generally feeling awful most days. i've never sought help for it, i've always just sort of dealt with it on my own, through self harm or drinking alcohol usually. it's had a pretty big effect on me growing up, i am very quiet and reserved, i don't tend to go out much except to college, in the past year or so my short term memory hasn't been great either so i dont know if thats part of it. i think i'm at a point now where i would like to get help with it, but i really just don't know where to begin with it? i'm very scared, i'm not sure who i am without the depression, if it even is depression, and i feel very lost. i'd appreciate a little bit of support maybe, some advice about how to get help? i don't really know where to start, or what would happen to me if i didn't get help

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12 Replies

  • Hello there! I'm 23 and have been depressed since I was 14. I didn't get help until I was 19 which is your age. I waited until I was in crisis and had to be hospitalized. Please see a counselor and tell them everything. He/she might refer you to more intensive therapy, but the worst case scenario is that you'll be in a hospital. They have a separate part of the building that focuses on patients with mental illnesses. It's not anything like the wards you see in movies. They have certified therapists as well as other patients to offer peer support. In other words, you have nothing to be afraid of :). Good luck!

  • hey thank you so much for replying :) can i ask what happened when you were hospitalised? im thinking of getting help when i move back in with my parents in a few months, because im just not really in a situation where i can get help right now. would i just go and see my gp? im not entirely sure what im doing, and im not sure if id be able to talk to a stranger about everything? im just, kinda confused and nervous about it all, i guess

  • I was in the hospital because of destructive thoughts that were invading my mind and I was in danger of acting on them. I really don't feel comfortable sharing every detail about that, but what exactly is keeping you from seeking help now if you don't mind my asking?

  • oh of course i'm sorry i really didn't mean to pry, i just meant like i don't know what to except if i were to be hospitalised is all. i understand you not wanting to talk about it though that's completely okay. but i'm living with people who probably wouldn't be overly supportive if i were to get help, and just, i think it would be better to wait until i'm back with my parents and more settled and stuff. they'd be alot more willing to help me out with getting to appointments or if i had to take meds or whatever

  • Ok. Just remember that your health is very important.

  • I think talk of your perhaps needing to be hospitalised is very drastic and may not be at all what you might need! You have not suggested anything that would lead me to think you need such treatment, rather the opposite in that despite self-harming and using alcohol as an escape you have nonetheless managed to be in college which suggests you are relatively healthy and do not have destructive thoughts. I think following my suggestions would be a more helpful route for you to find help and support than wondering about being hospitalised!


  • I can only agree fully with second hand Rose.

  • Hi,

    I haven't read the other replies yet as I prefer to make my own thoughts about what a person writes - so I would ask you whether you have any ideas about the things that led to your becoming depressed as you reached the beginning of puberty and growing up into a young woman. If you do know what triggered those feelings then I think speaking to a counsellor would help you to begin to sort things out and you could take it from there. However if you do not know then I would talk with your GP about whether you can be referred for psychotherapy which is slightly more in depth although with the cuts in funding it is still pretty short term within the NHS.

    You do not mention your mum and dad which I guess is significant as it suggests you feel unable to turn to them, I am wondering whether that has something to do with your depression and low self-esteem. You say you turned to drink and self-harm but that you are shy and quiet and I am wondering whether your parents or extended family, siblings perhaps, realised how you were feeling or whether you hid it within the home and only behaved in those ways in private or out of the house.

    Parents and family are normally the first port of call for support, then friends, but you do not mention any of them and instead have turned to strangers - that suggests to me that you did not have the kinds of support you have needed while you were growing up? If so then that will have made things difficult for you so you have done well to have remained healthy enough to seek help through this website blog despite being depressed. You mention college but I am unsure whether you are still a student or are now working? If you are still at college then the student counsellor would be a good place to turn to as they are experienced and tend to know local facilities for other kinds of support and help. If you are working then finding support can be more complex in terms of needing to take time off for appointments but it suggests also that you are able to function really well despite your problems and in that case psychotherapy would be helpful and you might be in a position to pay for it privately? If you are not working then it may be that you have a lot of time on your hands and depression can be more difficult to cope with in that situation. So much depends upon your circumstances. Perhaps you have said more in your responses to other people? I will have a look. Meanwhile do think about what kind of help you imagine might be supportive for you and in particular how you might come to understand why you have been feeling so poorly about yourself for some years.


  • If you feel you would like to explain more about your situation and the things that led to your becoming depressed when you were 11 but do not feel ready to share them publicly then do feel free to message me and I may be able to suggest the best route for you to seek help. Suexx

  • Talk to the college counselor or you could always do what I did and informed a doctor during a normal check up. My therapist also personally told me to exercise more as that's "suppose" to help you feel better with regards to depression. Something that does help me that my therapist hasn't told me was letting sun light into my room. I use to have social anxiety but not anymore and I can tell you the only thing that really gets rid of it is interacting with people. The more you do it- the easier and the less scarier it becomes. I know this is bad news because the last thing you want to do when you have social anxiety is talk to people but when I was in intensive therapy, that's what they forced me to do. They gave me a 50 dollar bill, took me to the mall, and then told me to make that 50 dollar bill into two 20's and one 10 and then make those two 20's and one 10 into 50 ones. They also forced me to do presentations as well as to sit down with random people who worked at the hospital and talk to them for 30 minutes to an hour regardless of how scared I was or how awkward it felt. So- talk to new people at your college or if you work- talk to your co-workers during your breaks.

  • I think if you have been dealing with this on your own you have done very,very well. I don't think self harm and alcohol are very good ideas if you do have depression and I would think they might have hindered rather that helped. So you have done extra well in coping in spite of alcohol and self harm.

    This shows a lot of strength and character which will be your biggest asset if you do get diagnosed with depression or anxiety. It is very important you see your GP and explain what you have been going through. As presumably you have n't done this , before seeing your GP write down at least a page of what you've been going through. Don't hold anything back , fixing anxiety or depression is difficult and your GP needs to know everything relevant to stand a chance of helping you. If you have n't talked to a medic before about this you can just hand them your notes . This might be easier than talking and will make sure you forget nothing.

    Your GP should be able to give you help , and unless you're unlucky in your GP, a great deal of help. However as always with these symptoms the biggest help will be the courage and strength you've already shown.

    None of the feelings you describe are the end of the world, far from it, but it is time you stopped trying to fight this without help.

    Your self esteem ought to be very high. Not many older people could have coped with this on their own , believe me. As someone who has suffered with depression for forty years I would advise you to keep the information between you and your GP i.e. confidential.

    If you've come this far on your own your GP's help plus using this forum for advice should make life a lot easier. A close relative or friend who you can unburden to would make things even easier but it should be someone you can rely on to keep it confidential. There are n't too many of those around so choose wisely.

    Best of luck Olderal.

  • oh wow i'm sorry i am only just replying i really never expected to get this many replies! i'd like to thank you all so so much for your advice and help, i guess i'm just really scared to actually take that step of actively seeking help.. but i genuinely think when i move back in with my parents i'll talk to them about my depression, because i haven't ever really opened up to them about it before. i've never really felt like i was even deserving of help at all, but thank you all, you've really encouraged me and i appreciate the support so so much aw

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