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How CBT helped me find happiness

Friday, 03 September 2021 Kasey

Kasey finally agreed to talking therapy and it transformed her life.

From a young age, I have always suffered with my mental health. My uncle was an alcoholic and died of liver failure, then a day later, my grandad died of a brain tumour. My nan who was my world and my best friend passed away, while I was in college coming up for my 19th birthday and I felt my whole world crashing around me.

I turned to drink. I used to buy drink on the way home from college and have one before I got home and then drink again in the morning before college. I used to hit things and scrape my knuckles on walls in anger and I was not eating properly. I would say I had eaten to my mum when I hadn't and go without food then binge on junk food. Family life was not great – my sister and I would argue all the time. She had mental health problems which ended up in her trying to take her own life through an overdose.

“I thought seeking help would be a sign of weakness - and admitting that I couldn't cope was not an option.”

I felt alone. I was embarrassed about everything that had happened to me. I thought I would be judged so kept most of it to myself. I thought seeking help would be a sign of weakness - and admitting that I couldn't cope was not an option for me as I was so stubborn. I felt so alone, lost with nowhere to turn. I felt like no one understood me. No one my age could relate and I did not want to speak to my mum about it as she was going through pain and grief too. She did not need me saying I was struggling too.

I was depressed though I did not really know what that was at the time; I just felt like I got no enjoyment out of anything, I felt empty. I did not go to a doctor or talk to anyone and kept even my best friends away, by just putting on a happy face even though I was empty inside.

Through work, I met someone who saved my life. We got to know each other and became friends. She could see the smile I would put on was fake. Nobody had ever seen in me what she saw. She knew that something was wrong. She picked up that I wasn't eating. As I began to trust her, I told her about my past and what had happened.

Opening up for the first time

For the first time I had opened up and it felt great because she did not judge me she just listened. She told me to see a counsellor. I told her no way, but she did not take no for an answer and found me a private counsellor so I could be seen quicker. It was hard and scary – and it is not a quick fix. I remember standing outside for ages not wanting to go in. I was shaking with fear and could feel my heart beating through my chest. From the first session, I felt at ease because you only tell them what you want to tell them. They do not push you to tell them anything, so if like me you are scared of opening up about everything, you can take one subject week by week and deal with one problem at a time.

Once you do begin to open up, you start to see how things have affected you through life. When you open up you discover things that you had buried and forgotten about. Cognitive behavioural therapy, otherwise known as CBT, involves talking about how you feel. The lady I saw had practised in a range of different therapies and decided CBT was best for me to help see what was really going on and where the root of the problem is.

“CBT has helped me build up resilience, gain self-belief and enjoy life as much as I can.”

By talking she helped me realise that this had all started In childhood, from getting bullied to living in a family at war and not knowing who I had to turn to for support. She has helped me to re-train my brain to help me deal with stressful situations and realise just how strong I am. CBT has helped me build up resilience, gain self-belief and enjoy life as much as I can.

Never been happier

I started to play football again, made some new friends, and I won the student of the year in my final year at university. I have a stable job, which I love, great friends, a boyfriend and great family and people who I call family around me. I know where to seek help and when I need it, and I am not afraid to say I am on antidepressants. Life is about learning to cope and deal with emotions and focus on being happy.

Going to seek help is not a weakness, it is one of the strongest things anyone can do. Sometimes we need to be kind to ourselves and remind ourselves that we are great. I have never been happier in my life than I am now and, I know if

I had sought help earlier I could have been a lot happier a long time ago.

I would never normally find the strength to tell my story, but if it can help at least one person to seek help to find happiness it will be worth it.

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