Connor's Story: Overcoming Depression

Depression has impacted my life hugely. I am 18 and depression has defined my teenage years, relationships with people, and has pushed me to make decisions that were in themselves life changing. I've attempted suicide twice and engaged in self-harm. Depression took over my life to the extent that I dropped out of school and I stopped socialising.

I first felt “different” when I was 14 years old, but it wasn't until I was moving from year 11 to year 12 at school until both my family and I noticed that I was depressed. My school referred me to my GP who then referred me to the NHS CAMHS team. I undertook counselling with an excellent psychotherapist who enabled me to understand what I was going through. I feel that understanding is the key to recovery – the more I learned about my situation, the less I feared it.

Counselling helped me to understand how events in my life had affected me. My parents divorced when I was 10 years old and, although I didn't realise it had a big impact at the time, I later discovered it had. In addition, both my mother and my grandad have experienced depression.

After fantastic counselling support from the NHS CAMHS team, I decided that I needed a new start. It gave me the courage to move out of my mother's house in search of a fresh start and to pursue a career in football coaching. My family were incredibly supportive of my decision. A year after I attempted suicide by taking an overdose of pain relief tablets, I am now working within the community at AFC Bournemouth – a professional dream of mine. Depression gave me the hardest years of my life, but I've made something good of it.

I would describe depression for me as a yearning to be different – to feel “normal.” It's the feeling of not having control over things happening around you; feeling irrelevant and worthless, sometimes to the point of a hatred for yourself. It's an extreme set of feelings. I can have massive highs, followed by lows of sheer despair, which can last days or weeks. I've had help in dealing with my feelings and I am now able to recognise them when they take hold.

I know all about the stigma attached to mental health difficulties, and how hard it is to deal with. I want to help end that and use my experience to show people that they are not alone, and they can do the things they want to.

Find out more about:

Talking therapies