“I started showing signs of Generalised Anxiety Disorder and OCD around the age of nine. I distinctly remember lying in bed on holiday and then thinking I had to unplug everything, or my entire family would die in an electrical fire. Of course my nine year old self didn’t question it and from there it only got worse. It wasn’t until I was 13 I was diagnosed and then again more recently with depression and bulimia. Together they all form a vicious cycle that has left me miserable for a decade of my life and convinced from the age of 12 I would kill myself before I turned 18. But surprise, I’m still here!

“I’ve seen seven different counsellors through various services but after my GCSE’s things started going downhill. My life became reduced to two buildings, home and sixth-form. I couldn’t go out, I didn’t want to be seen by anyone. I wanted to vanish from my own life. I realised I needed help and with support from those around me was referred to YG. I saw a counsellor and a youth worker in combination which was a shock as I’d never had support from more than one person before, it meant I could talk about both the deep-rooted issues I needed to face as well as decisions in the here and now that I was easily overwhelmed by. I can safely say I had never felt more supported than I had during that time.

“My youth worker encouraged me to do the Princes Trust course with YG and after barely being able to leave the house for what felt like most of my life, I don’t think I ever would have considered it without that support. The course helped me build up my non-existent self-confidence and gave me the chance to meet new people and go on a residential that gave me a huge sense of freedom. Before working with YG I had always been obsessed with other people’s perception of me. Now I realise people are free to have their own opinions, it doesn’t mean I have to listen or agree with them. I’m putting myself first in life for once, focusing on what I need, not what other people want from me. I’ve realised you can’t set yourself on fire just to keep another person warm.

“Now I’m at college doing a level 3 course in fine art, taking things day-by-day but enjoying discovering who I am, losing my inhibitions and just being myself. While it’s still not all sunshine and roses, every day I have now is another chance to give myself the kindness I have always deserved.”