Worth Living Ambassador Rebecca Theobald
My name is Rebecca Theobald. I am 21 years old and I live in (the not so sunny) East Yorkshire, UK. I am a psychology student at the University of Hull. I find joy in good food, good company, and my dog.
Caution: Rebecca discusses sexual abuse and suicide
“We need to change the culture of this topic and make it ok to speak about mental health and suicide”
If you are reading this and feel alone, I am here for you. You are not alone. There is hope.
I’ve always been fascinated with the human mind. A unified set of cognitive abilities; consciousness, thoughts, memory, language, and judgement. The mind is a powerful tool, which of course is both fascinating and scary given people often feel their mind has turned completely against them. This feeling for me is all too familiar.
After experiencing sexual abuse as a young teenager, I don’t recall a time I was ever just happy. There were good days and bad days, yet everyday I’d always felt like I was giving fear and anger a piggyback. For eight years my way of coping with these internal negative feelings was to overcompensate externally and keep everyone that loved me at arms distance. These avoidance mechanisms allowed me to go weeks even months of feeling “okay” until something (big or small) pushed me over the edge and the fear and anger would consume me entirely. In some of my darkest moments, I truly believed the only way I was ever going to escape the confusion and fear inside my own head would be to end my own life. I always wanted to live, I wanted a life. I just didn’t want a life if I was going to have to spend it all feeling trapped, scared, and depressed.
If you are reading this and resonate with any of these words, please know that things can and will get better. There is hope. And I am here for you. The first step to finding a happier version of yourself is to ask for and to accept help. Call a friend, reach out to a family member or send me a message so I can talk to you and give you the contact information for the relevant people that can help.
Today, I feel overwhelmingly lucky to have had the continuous support from my amazing family and friends who have held me up and reminded me all of the reasons I had to live. Early 2017, my auntie passed me on to a psychologist named Lesley who I have seen just about every week since. At first, I was pessimistic, how much could talking to a stranger actually help me? But it was freeing just to have my truth listened to and accepted. It took me months of weekly appointments before I started to fully trust Lesley and to be completely honest with her about my most negative thoughts and feelings. Since that point, my life has taken a dramatic turn for the better.
I feel it’s important to add that psychologists are not miracle workers, it hasn’t stopped my depressive episodes. But my thoughts and emotions are easier to deal with as I’ve learnt healthier coping mechanisms and I have realised I am not alone in this.
Ask for help. Surround yourself with people that make you happy. Make a list of things that make you happy and read it every day. Be kind to others and be kind to yourself. Talk positively to your reflection every day. Believe in yourself. Write your thoughts down. Take time for yourself. Accept that nobody is “normal”. You were given this life because you are strong enough to live it.