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I got married extremely young but soon realised I wasn’t straight, which made my mental health hit rock bottom. Here’s what saved my life…

By March 2020 my wellbeing had continued to deteriorate to the point where I was thinking ‘everyone else would be better off if I wasn’t here anymore.’ It felt like everything was on top of me and it all came tumbling down. I needed someone to help me. I was googling emergency counselling services and Samaritans kept coming up. But I dismissed it as I wasn’t feeling actively suicidal.  I thought Samaritans was for people who were really at risk. I felt like I didn’t want to be here; not because I wanted to kill myself, but purely because I thought everyone’s lives would be easier if I wasn’t around. But after reading the material on the website, I realised that I could go to Samaritans for emotional support.

I spoke to a Samaritans volunteer called Deborah, it was like being heard for the first time. After 27 years of pretending to be someone I wasn’t, I was not just being listened to, but being heard. Being able to speak to someone totally unbiased about how I was feeling made me feel so seen. She never told me what to do but she gave me the tools to think through what I needed to do for myself.  I have no doubt that she saved me that day. 

After that I sought out talking therapy. Months in therapy gave me back a baseline of resilience. Before that, the smallest inconvenience would send me over the edge. I was on antidepressants for quite some time and I’m still in therapy. It’s really important to check in on yourself as we can all put on a wonderful mask. To anyone struggling, it can be so scary to verbalise things that cause you anxiety and distress. But sometimes, when you say something out loud it takes power away from it and going to Samaritans is a safe place to do that with no judgement. 

It’s hard to pinpoint the exact moment when I understood that my marriage was over. I just remember one day getting home and being about to put the key in the door and thinking ‘I don’t want to go back in.’Covid happened and it made things so tricky for everybody. I left my partner and moved back in with my parents who are my best friends. I started the process of coming out and becoming comfortable with who I am and finding that it was ok for me identify as a gay woman and not fit into a box about how I should look and act. 

I can’t even put into words how much my life has changed. I met an incredible woman who is now my wife. In April 2022 we got married on a beach in Florida. When I think back to that time of my life I just want to hug the young woman I can see was suffering. I was a shell of who I was. Even my mum says to me, the light inside you had gone out but now, when I look at you, the light is back. I look at myself in the mirror and I think, I know her. 

I have a future. It’s mine to make and it’s the most incredible feeling. 

If you’ve stopped doing things you usually love, you’re tearful, not eating or sleeping properly, drifting from people close to you, taking alcohol or drugs to cope or self-harming, then talk to Samaritans, or someone you trust. Samaritans volunteers are there – day or night, 365 days a year. Call free, day or night, on 116 123, email jo@samaritans.org or visit samaritans.org. You can find more info on World Suicide Prevention Day here.