Interviews

Let’s Talk About Mental Health – Victoria Whiting

First of all, tell us a bit about yourself?

My name is Victoria, most know me as Vicky though. I’m 25, I live in Manchester and I’m currently a psychology student at the University Of Bolton, about to start my third year.

Tell me a bit about your mental health?

My mental health has pretty much been a problem all my life, growing up I always had anxiety, a fear of socialising, but it was just put down to “being a child”. It was 2014 when it suddenly hit me that I had depression, work related depression which spiralled out of control as a result of being bullied whilst working. I’ve suffered for 3 years with my depression now, I’m on medication, medication which included hallucinations, medication which makes me sleepy all day, medication which honestly hasn’t helped that much. I’m on a whole assortment of drugs for my various issues, and to this day I’m still battling!

How has this affectedness your life?

I left my job, I couldn’t face being around people, listening to people’s sympathy, sympathy I didn’t want. I spent my days in bed crying, I even tried to commit suicide twice. I’ve been afraid to leave the house, afraid to talk to anyone. I’m scared of going to university because I’m worried what people will say to me. My mental health has impacted my life so much that even my own family can’t bear being being around me, it’s been that bad at times.

How are your relationships with the people around you? Do they understand what you’re going through?

My family think they understand what’s going on, they attempt to listen, but really they have no clue what it feels like. They tell me it’ll be okay or to grow up, and yeah sometimes they try, sometimes they do help, but most times I just feel in the way. I’m snappy and shout at them which isn’t nice, but sometimes you want them to try to understand.

Do you have any specific coping mechanisms?

I’ve been going through Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and Emotion Regulation Therapy, and some of the strategies that come with those have really helped me cope. For example my “self soothe” box – small box full of things I love, skittles to eat, playdoh to fidget with, all sorts of items which calm me down, and for me that works wonders. I also use something called “Grounding” – a distracting technique for when I’m mega stressed, in which you think of 5 things you can see around you, 4 things you can hear, 3 things you can smell, 2 things you can touch and 1 thing you can taste!

What does the future hold for you?

Well, currently I’m trying to be more proactive and take back control of my life, not staying in bed all day, getting up and dressed, eating healthier, exercising. I want to look after me! I want to finish my degree without my mental health getting in the way, so I’m taking precautions and planning ahead looking at what could go wrong and how to overcome it. Just little things really to ensure a bright, happy future!

Finally, anything you’d like to say to others in similar situations?

I want people to know that it’s okay not to be okay. That when you feel like you can’t go on, that you’re stronger than you know. We all have days where we feel shit and you know what? We have to tell ourselves “I feel crap, but that’s okay. Today I am going to look after me”. We all need time and space to heal, and it’s okay to be lost. There are plenty of people who feel the same, plenty of people who can help. Please don’t be scared to talk out, speaking out and acceptance is the first step to recovery. You just need to remember to be kind to yourself!

Thank you for your time.

Thank you for asking me to be part of something so wonderful, I hope this is able to raise awareness!


Below I am going to leave a link listing all the main mental health websites around the world, as well as a link with all the international suicide prevention hotlines.

Remember if you aren’t sure where to go or who to talk to, you can call 999, 911 or your equivalent.

Mental Health Websites:

http://www.centreforglobalmentalhealth.org/global-mental-health-websites
Suicide Hotlines Worldwide:

http://www.suicide.org/international-suicide-hotlines.html