The First Steps to Recovery are the Hardest

Worth Living Ambassador Rachel Burridge


Hello, I’m Rachel from the United Kingdom and I am 22 years of age. I have been on a journey with mental health for seven years now and facing the stigmas and hush hush around it. I am to recover from my illness while helping others to recover as we all go on the journey together.

I’ve always been such an independent don’t want to burden anyone kind of person, always the one to try and pick others up when they are down but never want to have any attention on me kind of person. Always been strong for everyone else, smile to faces and cry behind closed doors.

But mental illness has taught me one thing so far  is that  you can’t hide it and pretend everything is ok. Faking it until you make it as some say is not practical and is damaging even more so to your mental health. I told myself many times it’s just hormones, it’s just growing up, it’s just nerves, it’s just a chest infection causing me to be breathless, it will pass, I’m just having a bad day. Making excuses has only caused me more harm than good.

A year ago I sought help once from a therapist but I never fully hit the nail on the head. I never fully opened up about some of the symptoms I was experiencing because once again I didn’t think they were too bad, I only scraped the surface of what was really happening.

This past October, I decided after another year of trying to get by, not living only existing, and feeling very little pleasure in my life within myself wasn’t going to work. I needed to speak to my GP.

I made an appointment with my doctor as I couldn’t carry on this way anymore. I wanted to live life to the fullest, in the way I saw the life I wanted in my head and the person I saw myself as in my head.

I luckily got an appointment the same day only a few hours wait. This was honestly the most terrifying few hours ever. I was so anxious I even thought about cancelling it, saying it wasn’t worth it, that the panic was giving me a sign not to go but I knew I couldn’t go back to how I was living anymore. When I saw my GP he suggested anti- depressants which I had always been so against. I had heard so many stories about them turning you into a zombie. I didn’t want that even though the thought of numbness did sound appealing. He assured me he would trial me on them and see me again in two weeks while also referring me to a PWP/Therapist. I booked an appointment and collected my medication on the way out.

I waited just over a month to see my therapist.

This was an experience that shot my anxiety through the roof, talking to someone truthfully about how I felt and realising it was real. I wasn’t better and still needed much more help. But getting it off my chest and taking that step was also a great relief for me. I felt like I had already made progress. It was only a small step to a long road of recovery but it was a step forward and not back anymore

Don’t ever be scared to speak to your GP as I was at first. They don’t look at you like you’re crazy no matter what you say to them or how upset you get. They have heard it all before and are trained to deal with whatever comes their way and you are their priority. It’s their job to look after you.

So if you are reading this and know you need to speak to someone, let this inspire you to do so because it will be the best thing you will do. Sooner rather than later is key!

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