07 February 2018

As part of Children's Mental Health Week, service users are sharing their mental health stories. Alex was referred to CAMHS after developing anxiety and self harming, seeking help was instrumental to his recovery.

In his own words...

For many months I struggled in silence, dealing with a combination of family and school issues as well as the way I viewed myself. I developed anxiety and began self harming as a result. I didn't know how to deal with my feelings, I began to worry about everything - no matter how small.

Self harming was an escape and a way of dealing with the constant worry that was taking over my life. It got to a point where my self esteem and confidence was affected massively, and I couldn't understand why I was feeling the way I did.

When my school got involved and I was referred to CAMHS, my life changed forever. I was so scared about getting help, I didn't know what to expect or how it would be. The idea of opening up to a stranger scared me and my anxiety was very high. However once I began therapy and got to know my therapist, I was amazed at how easy it was to talk about everything - which is something I hadn't really done before. I would hide everything going on from the world, because I felt like no one would understand and I was too scared and ashamed to talk about it. Since then I have learned that so many people experience mental health problems and they are nothing to be ashamed about!

Throughout my two years in therapy, I learned how to cope with the anxiety and why/what caused it. Without CAMHS, I wouldn't be where I am today. Recovery isn't easy, and the first step is the hardest but once you begin your journey, it will get better. You don't have to struggle alone! After a long time, I'm happy to tell my story and I hope that it helps you. Please don't hide everything away from the fear of what people will think! You are not alone and you can get through this!

 For more information and CAMHS and what we can help with visit https://camhs.elft.nhs.uk/