Louis, 19, south east England
Both Louis parents were alcohol dependent, making his childhood a difficult one.
When he was 13 years-old he started self-harming and didn’t tell anyone about his struggles out of fear people would think about him differently.
Below he tells #IAMWHOLE in his own words about his experiences with mental health difficulties and how speaking to others can help…
I currently suffer from depression, anxiety, social anxiety and vasovagal syncope. Vasovagal syncope is a form of epilepsy but what it is that it is epilepsy with a trigger. It is not epilepsy with flashing lights or anything like that, my epilepsy trigger is stress, and it can be anything.
I turned to self-harming when I was 13. I didn’t want to tell anyone because I didn’t want to be the person ‘oh he cuts himself’, ‘oh he wants to die of suicide’ or something, no I didn’t want to do that.
I didn’t want to go to school in case someone questioned something, saw something, heard something. I didn’t want to be questioned. Stigma does happen and that is one of the things I was worried about. I was like ‘I can’t go and tell the counsellor that I have got this stuff because what if it goes on a record and the record is left out on someone’s desk or something in the offices and someone sees it?
I don’t think people are educated in mental illness. I am not saying they need to know the ins and outs of it, I mean they need to know what depression is, because I didn’t know what depression was until I had it and then I had to kind of research it myself, even then the doctor didn’t explain it to me. I just googled it myself, but if I didn’t have it, I wouldn’t have heard of it.
I just think that people need to be more educated. If people were more like ‘oh this person has depression, he looks a bit sad, maybe we should go and sit with him for a bit’ it could make a huge difference.