My name is Ollie I am 23 years old and I have been suffering with anxiety and depression since the age of 14.
At the age of 14 I was playing football for Caerleon and I suffered from an injury that would stop me playing football and rugby for a year. Both of these sports were something I loved playing and relied on to keep me happy and close with my mates. All of my mates were sporty and we all played together which was amazing. However this injury meant I was missing out on all of that.
I then started to feel down, upset and angry all the time but I couldn’t put my finger on why I was feeling all of these emotions just because of an injury. I have always been someone who never really showed emotions or opened up, I was always the one being there for people and making sure they are alright, so this was very strange for me.
I began pretending to be sick every day so that I missed school and didn’t have to face any of my mates who would talk about sport and the games they played or were playing on the weekends. It wasn’t a bad thing that they were doing this, as normally I’d be doing it with them, but I just found it very hard knowing I was missing out on all these games and events.
It then all got out of hand when I was in year 10 and I missed a lot of school. My family and friends started to get very concerned but I still wouldn’t open up.
To this day I remember talking to the deputy head of the school who was also my football coach and family friend. I sat in his office and I remember crying for the whole time I was there. This is when we both decided I needed to chat to my family and friends and get an appointment with a doctor. This is where my anxiety and depression journey began.
The next 2/3 years were really tricky, although I was back fit and could play sport I really didn’t want to. I lost all confidence, I wasn’t socialising with friends. I wasn’t attending all the house parties or events my mates were. I missed out on so much school which affected my GCSE exams. I was at rock bottom. I got to a point where I began to think enough is enough and I wanted to end it all.
I always remember being out on my bike and I was set to end it all.
Twice. In the space of a week. I had just hit rock bottom and didn’t want to carry on going through it. I was fed up of being a let down. But thankfully something stopped me.
After many years of battling it, having numerous chats with councillors, doctors, family and friends I can safely say I’ve controlled it and am no longer in that dark place. I can’t thank my friends and family enough for everything they’ve done for me. They still to this day help me so much.
However, like everyone I have wobbles and that is what happened going back a few months. I found lockdown very tough as my coping mechanism for anxiety and depression is being with mates, gyming, rugby and socialising. Lockdown stopped us all from doing this.
I was told by a friend that they’d spoken to Aaron at Brotectors and I was adamant I wouldn’t go back to where I was years ago. Back to that dark place. So I got in touch with him and it was the best thing I ever did.
Sometimes talking to a doctor or counsellor can be daunting. It was for me anyway. But with Aaron it was like talking to a mate. He’s a great guy who listens, gives you advice and is a bloke who genuinely wants to help people change their lives for the better.
I am so grateful to be pointed in the direction of Brotectors and I can’t thank Aaron enough. I am now on the straight path, I know I will have blips which is something Aaron said, but I will never go back to where I was. My dark times are definitely behind me!
Thank you Brotectors!