Today’s #SameHere🤙Hero is the youngest of the Heroes whose stories we have profiled: 17-yr-old “Phoebe” from the UK.
After a day interacting with 7th and 8th graders, I felt it was important to share the story of this brave young woman, specifically. The beauty in Phoebe’s words are in the simplicity with which she explains the challenges she has faced, and how she has learned to overcome them.
Although the learnings come from some difficult life experiences, it’s refreshing to hear someone just discovering the world, already having learned the importance of talking, opening up, friendships, family support, and perspective. When we break through some of the fancy terms, the answers can often be that simple. Please join me in congratulating Phoebe on her bravery in sharing!
“I am only 17 but I lost a very close friend to suicide in November 2017, and then my mum was mugged a few weeks later. Losing my friend in such a traumatic and sudden way negatively affected my mental health greatly. During this time my diagnosis was unclear and many doctors didn’t know the exact causes of my sadness/outbursts of emotion. Every bad day continued to get worse, and I couldn’t see a way around them.
Since then, I have more recently been diagnosed with bipolar type ll. Losing my friend that way had such a large impact on me. I couldn’t ever find positivity or happiness within any situation. I was exhausted for months because I was being consumed by grief. I had to balance all the emotions at once which I struggled with very badly. I struggled in college because I couldn’t focus on anything. The way I always described it was like being covered in a thick blanket. Imagine in the summer time, when its hot outside and you’ve been sweating. Imagine someone putting a huge blanket over you. I constantly felt overwhelmed, flustered and bothered.
Even before the death of my friend, I had suffered from panic attacks, so my GP had referred me to various mental health professionals such as psychiatrists, therapists and psychologists. I knew that I needed help but struggled asking for help due to embarrassment and shame. But after I asked, things started to get a little better and things were explained to me clearly.
I believe that talking and asking for help is one of the best ways to feel better. Also exercise in a gym or running on the street helps a lot. Talking to someone and seeing that they are listening is the best way of getting relief and feeling a little more calm about the situation. Also talking about other things that I do like, helps take my mind off of my mental health, and my bad days. I am a huge fan of sport, so just being able to have a conversation about sport takes my mind off whatever else I’m feeling. Sport is one of the best ways to relieve stress, especially for me, weights and boxing.
Also a few people know the full story of my mental health including my mum, my brothers and a close friend who I’ve known for years. Telling family and telling my friend were two completely different experiences. I had to tell my mum because she’s my mum and she cares a lot.
Telling my friend was an odd experience for me personally but ultimately a good one! This friends always told me that talking about things was good and I shouldn’t bottle things up. When I told her she listened and tried her best to understand and give advice. I didn’t know how she was going to react. I’d never really thought of what it’d be like to reveal to her, but she was calm and supportive. That’s exactly the type of person she is and everyone struggling needs a friend like mine who they can turn to and be supported by as they tell their #SameHere🤙story.”