Discovering a new confidence during my mental health journey

I am the middle child with a older sister and younger brother. I have always been more of the naïve and softer one out of my siblings, sometimes even called the child out of the three of us. I am a lover of comic books and films, especially fantasy or fairy tales. Probably with my fascination with these things of fantasy and superheroes, it allowed me to escape into my own world and ignore the situations I faced while dealing with first my parents divorce at the age of 12 and then in my late teens, my sexuality, a decision which I still think affects my family, mainly my father, while I am close to my mother and is my rock. Without her, I wouldn’t be the person I am and I wouldn’t be here.

I have been a late developer in life and that meant meeting someone. I would end up meeting my ex partner which would result in the downfall I endured. It was a relationship I thought I could try and make work and change my ex partner for the better due to his drinking and aggressive personality. Through this relationship, I became a completely different person in a really bad way. I became a really angry, aggressive and, looking back on the relationship, very depressed. I am not proud of who I was back then as its not in my nature to be like that, but with my ex partner saying I was not good enough for him, or being what he wanted me to be, really did make me feel unloved and worthless. His insults would come through when he was drinking and that resulted in me lashing out with all this upset and anger building up and building up.

Without my friends and family, I wouldn’t have gotten the help I ended up getting. I couldn’t be more grateful. My mum was the first. With her going through breast cancer last year, it really made me feel scared I was going to lose her and if she was not in my life, I wouldn’t have that place of safeness and comfort anymore. Despite her going through her chemo, she has remained strong and has fought it. I never even seen her cry, but I know if she was around me or my siblings, she never let her guard down and remained strong. I admire that about her so much. She’s my mum and my rock. During last year, she could see I was not coping and I even felt bad for getting them involved as I thought I could deal with it myself and be an adult. My mum told me that I wasn’t alone and that with my sister and brother I had my family with me all the way. They didn’t like my ex partner from the very beginning, they tried to tell me so many times to end it but I refused as it was my first proper relationship and I was blinded. Also my friend, Melissa. She knew I was not myself due to my aggressive and sometimes quiet behavior. She said to me to get help and said that she would always be there. Even she told me to end my relationship from the very beginning when things went bad between me and my ex. I am grateful for the NHS Resilience Hub for the sessions of counselling I received. They listened to my weekly updates and when it ended, they recommended Penumbra to me to extend my sessions and build up my lack of confidence and get over my anxiety and paranoia.

I would like to thank Penumbra for completing my journey into building up my confidence. To Gav and Karen, they listened to my history, gave me files to read and even gave me little tasks to do for myself to change my routine every now and again so I wasn’t stuck indoors, day in and day out. I even went to visit my grandad in the cemetery and even spoke to him.

The few things I have learned is to speak up and just speak to the people close to me about my problems instead of bottling them up. That was something I always did during my toxic relationship, I was too afraid to say anything and pretended everything was normal, when really I was becoming more miserable over the years. I have even been going out and doing new activities with my friends, even making suggestions when I never had done that in the past. If I focus on doing new and different and sometimes even complicated things I have never experienced before manage to keep myself busy instead of staying in all the time, repeating myself over and over again.

The few things I have learned is to speak up and just speak to the people close to me about my problems instead of bottling them up.

If I could go back and tell my younger self anything it would be to tell myself that I just need to be happy for myself. Be myself and be a good person.

I feel like I have now become a new person. A little bolder, slightly camper (which sometimes can be humorous for my friends to laugh at and with) and honest. Even dropping the name “Andrew” and calling myself as “ANDY” is something I have really liked for a while now as some people called me Andy before but now, I have began to really embrace it and like it even more. It feels new and fresh and with that I feel I am a new person. If I have a problem I speak up. That’s why I think they whole superhero thing comes in, I like to stand up for people when they could be scared to speak up. Even just moving into my own place, where I can experience doing things myself when I have never had to do things before I am learning all the time and just having my own space and independence I feel I have complete freedom over my life. I feel like I have grown up abit as now having my own place, I now have more responsibilities, like cleaning and keeping the house in check. Not in any way needing to be someone people want me to be but my own person. I am very excited to see where my future can go and with my friends and family still with me, even with Penumbra, I know now I have people in my life that care about me and that makes me love them even more.

Finding love with someone new is always on my mind, whether or not I would be able to find happiness or make someone happy. I have been enjoying my time by myself as it has made me truly find myself as a new and completely person from who I was last year. I am enjoying just meeting new people, making new friends and allowing things to happen and for not just to be one sided. It should be a joint effort.

Thank you for sharing your journey with us, Andy.

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