How I overcame suicidal thoughts at uni

I went from euphoric to manic moody-blues in just four days

I was (and still am) a slightly narcissistic brat with a handsomely eclectic taste in Film, TV, Music when I started my degree at Royal Holloway. Film, Television & Digital Production was my field at university… for 4 days anyway.
I came to RHUL with shallow ambitions – by this I mean that despite my gargantuan dreams for the future, I knew there was something undeniably wrong with me, though I couldn’t put my finger on it or speak it aloud. During the introduction seminars I was naturally intrigued by the promotion of counselling and other mental health support at the uni – invaluable resources galore; however, my personality and lack of self-awareness at the time did not fit with this.
I was at university for only four days in total. On Tuesday September 22 2015 the depression that I had lived with for at least two and a half years reached it’s climax, and I experienced the most surreal suicidal urge to date. Although this was not an unfamiliar feeling, I had just started living by myself at a big scary university and having left home and moved my life and keepsakes into a new place before coming out as gay and identifying with depression, I found myself very much alone and afraid.
I did not drop out of university. The time came in my life where despite the financial, moral and emotional investment bestowed upon me by others, I came crashing down in my shower in halls. I had at last established the connection between mind and body, so I needed to leave. During the exit process, RHUL were nothing but understanding, empathetic and welcoming of my potential future return.

Picking up the phone saved my life.
“Mum, I’m going to kill myself.”

These are words that I will never forget, and I will always remember simply lifting the phone and opening my mouth to be the most difficult thing that I have ever done. In this moment, although my head was spinning and my bones shaking, I accepted that it was time to come out to my parents, this being something that I had convinced myself I may never do; it was from this state of secrecy and self-denial that depression, paranoia, social anxiety and OCD had developed. The bitter sweet, ironic silver lining is that coming out to my parents is one of the easiest things I have ever done. I felt constant trepidation to the point of speaking, and when I spoke the words felt weightless as my subconscious directed the message.

TATTOO 22 09 15

In the months leading to leaving for university, I set myself a target to come out to at least two of my closest friends. Countless times I started to type out a text message or IM but abandoned it for predetermining the great shame I would feel for coming out in this way. After having come out to my parents I set myself a very different target which, to my pride, I have met – to come out to all of my closest friends in person. Fortunately this was a breeze as my friends are very modern and welcoming of LGBT, and to my amusement none of my friends or family members were particularly surprised by the news.

Through this experience I learned a lot about myself, mostly things that require attention and review. I tend to exacerbate feelings and let paranoia warp the truth and relative reality of situations, when more often than not things are really quite simple.

For the last year and a half of my life, between dog-walking, I have plugged away in my bedroom working on Fine Art, Music and so on – the whole time hating myself and what I’m doing, but knowing it’s the only thing keeping me animate. In April I launched my own company in Photography, Bespoke Gifts and the like, mostly involving dogs. As of this weekend I am busking in public and endlessly enjoying recording myself and polishing everything that I do between the Music, the Fine Art, the volunteer work at my High School – you get the gist.

I could ramble for days, but let me leave you with this – in 4 days only, Royal Holloway made me.

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Royal Holloway, University of London