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Opinion: We are never alone, even on our worst days

I’m beginning to understand myself, to accept that it’s OK to feel sad, to feel angry, to feel scared. Nobody is happy all the time.

Amy Rea

THERE HAS BEEN so much written and posted about depression and mental health lately, I have decided that one more can do nothing worse than help.

I’m 20 years old and I’m currently studying primary school teaching. I was never really diagnosed with having depression. It was the end of my second year in college when I was convinced by a friend to go talk to a counsellor. After the summer, it took me until Christmas to build up the courage to go meet with the counsellor again.

After talking with her, I decided I would try taking medication to help boost my progress and my mood. After three different types and a few months, I finally found one that started to help. The only problem was that, by then, I was home from college again and had no counsellor.

Lonely and homesick

Being at home helped. I was back with my family, in a place where I felt at home, rather than spending my weeks in Dublin feeing homesick and counting the hours until I got back. This is where my depression stems from, I get consumed with this overwhelming feeling of loneliness and isolation. I sit there, letting myself spiral down, counting the reasons for why I’m so alone and why I have no friends. Inevitably, this ends with me blaming myself for being so alone, believing there has to be something wrong with me.

I would definitely class myself as someone with no close friends, I know a lot of people, but when would I ever get invited to anything? I’m just forgotten about, ignored.

In a way, some of that is true. I spent so long staying in at home, making excuses, not meeting up with people, letting my depression win, that eventually people did give up because I was never around. Trying to get myself back out there into a world full of socialising and ‘other people’ is one of the hardest things I’m trying to do right now.

I decided to do something about it

After a particularly bad weekend I decided I was going to do something about all this, so I signed up for Aware’s Online Life Skills Programme. I would now recommend this to everyone. It’s tough, but it’s helped me to realise how much all those negative thoughts I have aren’t true but had started to take over my life. During a recent college assignment I realised that I had been feeling alone and showing all the signs of depression since the beginning of secondary school. It’s the thoughts that have been there since then, for so long, unaddressed and unchallenged, that are the hardest to tackle.

I’m far from being fixed or cured or whatever people want to call it, and I doubt such a state exists, but I am learning. I’m beginning to understand myself, to accept that it’s OK to feel sad, to feel angry, to feel scared. Nobody is happy all the time and there is no point in trying to achieve perpetual happiness, it simply doesn’t exist.

There are many people out there who have it worse than me. This used to make me feel guilty, that I had no reason to be sad. Now, I know I’m lucky. I have a good friend who pointed me in the right direction and is a continued source of inspiration, a boyfriend who has never given up on me, no matter how difficult I can be, and my family who are always there at the end of a tough day.

I’m lucky. Lots of people don’t have these supports, or don’t realise that they’re sitting there right under their noses, waiting to help them if they need it. There is always someone there waiting to listen, it might be hard and it might take a while to build up the confidence to talk – but do it!

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We are never alone, even on our worst days

Even if only one person who reads this feels like they’ve finally found someone who understands, then I know I’ll have helped. If not, at least I’ve given depression and mental health another moment in the spotlight. Hopefully, eventually, it will have a constant fixture in our lives and our conversations.

So I will leave you with this: We are never alone, even on our worst days. Never give up fighting those dark days and do not let them win. They won’t disappear but eventually, the good days will take over and, for me, that’s definitely something worth fighting for.

Amy Rea is a 20-year-old student living in Wexford and studying to become a primary school teacher through Hibernia College.

May 2014 is Green Ribbon Month, working to reduce stigma around mental health issues.


  • Console 1800 201 890 – (suicide prevention, self-harm, bereavement)

  • Aware 1890 303 302 (depression, anxiety)

  • Pieta House 01 601 0000 or email mary@pieta.ie - (suicide, self-harm, bereavement)

  • Teen-Line Ireland 1800 833 634 (for ages 13 to 19)

  • Childline 1800 66 66 66 (for under 18s)

Read: HSE admits 54 child mental health vacancies are still not filled

About the author:

Amy Rea

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