I was 19 years old when I started uni and I was dealing with a lot of family stuff at home. Things started to become difficult. I wasn’t coping and had no desire to do anything. I couldn’t sleep well but I couldn’t get up in the mornings either. I didn’t want to see my friends, I didn’t want to do anything. Then I started to fail at uni.
My mate from school didn’t go to uni, he worked in his dad’s shop and we had always hung around together. He didn’t know much about mental health and would have found it difficult to talk about. But he knew me and he knew I was not myself. I know it would have been very alien and difficult for my mate to talk to me about what was happening to me. But he did. He said to me, “You don’t seem like yourself anymore”. I crankily said, “What do you mean?” He said, “I don’t know how to say this so I’m just going to say it, but I think you might be depressed.” I got really angry with him. Really pissed. I threw him out of my house and told him to leave me alone. My friend wasn’t the only one who thought I might need some help, my family had suggested it too. I thought about what they said and what my friend said and I later arranged to see a psychologist.
It was hard to come back from this and my mate stuck with me even when I really wanted him to leave me alone. Instead he would visit me everyday and take me out, whether I wanted to or not. He would call me up and say “What are you doing?” I’d say, “I’m in bed.” He’d say, “I’m coming over.” Then I’d tell him “I don’t want you to come over.” He would just show up. Then I’d be angry – I was angry at everything.
We never talked about my treatment but he would force me to get back into some routines. He can’t have known that this is what the psychologist was also trying to do. He never judged me and he may have felt he didn’t know what to do about it, but he wanted his friend back. My mate put up with me and continued to hang around. It can’t have been easy for him. Slowly I started to get better. A lot of factors went into my recovery but my friend was really important.
I know that this approach may not be for everyone. It is really hard to put yourself in the position of persisting with a friend when you are not wanted. But for me and my mate we have a really good relationship. We have never really talked about that period of my life, but he has seen it and seen me come out the other side.