Meet 17 year old Hollie Biss.
Christmas 2013 for Biss was a huge up hill battle, streaming initially from depression and anxiety Hollie was diagnosed with anorexia. Hollie struggled with finding a way to cope with depression, the anorexia she says acted as a ‘coping mechanism’ for this.
I believe my depression is caused simply by biological factors – I’ve had the “perfect” upbringing and nothing that would trigger me to become ill. From that came my anorexia, which I guess I used as a coping mechanism for my depression as I didn’t know how to deal with how I was feeling, so restricting what I ate gave me a false sense of control. Being in hospital (although it was only for a day or two at a time) was very eye opening and scary for me, as I didn’t realise how quickly things had gotten out of control. It was a shock to the system being diagnosed and admitted for observation as I always took an interest in mental health, but I never thought it would affect me like it did.
Mental health services in the media recently haven’t been all that positive. Important questions need to be address. Are the services fit for purpose? Are people getting good treatment? Hollie explains that she was receiving treatment from the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services team (CAMHS) but says as it was during the festive period getting professional support was difficult to find.
I received treatment at CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services), but due to it being Christmas at the time I was diagnosed, it was very hard to find professional support at the time I most needed it.
Hollie says her mum had been the most supportive due to her ‘open mindedness’ and understanding of what was going on.
I believe personally, having that relationship is key to coping with any mental health illness, being able to speak with others about how you’re feeling is the hardest thing to do, but contrasting that, it is one of the best feelings about the whole ordeal.
There are many mental health charities who can support you, Mind is one of those. Hollie approached the charity for help and advice.
Mind were very helpful as I could access their site during the Christmas period when no one else was available. Their site made me feel less alone in the whole ordeal as I was able to access recovery stories and information on treatments and medications, which was very comforting during the time I felt most alone.
It is known that on average a young person would have tried at least 12 times before to speak with someone on how they were feeling. Hollie had been suffering in silence for almost 2 years prior to getting support.
I suffered a long time in silence; I first began to start having periods of low mood and issues with food when I was 12, but it didn’t affect me badly until about 3 years later, when I was 15. I guess I was scared that people would deem me “attention seeking”, or think that because I was so young and I had no circumstantial reason to be depressed, that they thought I was being silly or overreacting.
Finally, I had asked Hollie what advice she would give to others who were coping with similar things.
You are not, and never will be, alone in this. There are so many ways to access help, whether it be through the doctors, or through charities such as Mind. Recovery is possible.