I started to struggle with my mental health from young age. I got diagnosed with ADHD, I was very high, I couldn’t sit still and was always getting put out of class.
The teachers didn’t know what to do for me. People would shout at me and say I was badly behaved, but looking back I understand it was my mental health and I couldn’t help it.
At home I was taking medicine about 3 times a day to keep me calm, but I hated it and felt like a zombie.
When I went to high school my anxiety was getting bad, I was put out of class most days. Teachers just looked down at me and said ‘you’re never going to make it, you’re too loud you’re not doing your work.’ In the back of my mind I kept saying to myself ‘I wish I was normal, why do I act and feel this way?’
I felt like the school let me down big time. I just felt I was treated differently from everyone else. So I left school and then my mental health started getting worse.
I started drinking and smoking cannabis every day, I was just trying to block everything out, but every day was a struggle. I started going to more appointments with GPS telling them how I was feeling, but I got told there was nothing wrong with me, I needed to get a grip there is nothing they could do for me!!
It was very upsetting and I was angry that no one was giving me any support, so the drinking got worse and I was getting into trouble with the police.
I wasn’t getting on with my family so I left home and was stayed with friends. I went on to the homeless list, after 1 year I got a flat in Lanark. It was great having somewhere I could call home, but my mental health was getting worse. I was going from extreme lows to high.
I started taking a new medicine that would stop all these horrible thoughts. I went to see physiologist they started doing some CBT to manage my feelings and thoughts.
But I was still struggling, so I didn’t go back after a few months. So the drinking and taking drugs got worse. I started going to addiction services but they kept saying there’s nothing they could do because it’s my mental health. Then I would go to the psychiatrist and they would say it was addictions.
By time I was 18 I was living by myself. Days would pass where I struggled to get out of bed, wash or eat. Everything just felt like one big struggle.
I felt like there was a big dark cloud above me. I had no self-worth or hope, so time went on and I stated getting into trouble with the police. One time I was very low and was sitting on bridge and the police came. Rather than taking me to a hospital they locked me up.
I kept thinking maybe it would better if I killed myself all this pain would go away, I wouldn’t have to put up with this.
I went back to the hospital and was kept in for a few days to detox and clear my head. Once I was discharged I had CPNs coming to see me. I started going to the Hope Café, a small charity that was set up around peer support. Everyone was so friendly and what I loved about it was that everyone that was there had lived experience of mental health.
I began to volunteer there, I built my confidence up, meeting new people getting to listen to people stories.
I wrote down my own story, then for the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival my story was turned into a play. I felt amazing.
I took part in the first Walk a Mile in Edinburgh with See Me, and in Strathclyde Park, where I got the chance to walk with Chris Young.
By the time I was 20 my mental health was in good place, I was volunteering most days I was meeting new people trying to tackle stigma and sharing my recovery to help others. Yeah, for the first time I was happy. People treated me like a human.
But at 21 I was still drinking and occasionally smoking cannabis to self medicate. I wasn’t getting much sleep so I used to get very tired and angry. I would take it out on friends and family.
After a few months the Hope Café came to an end. I was upset because my life was finally back on track.
Fortunately, a couple of volunteers started up a new charity called Esteem Clydesdale. It was based on peer support and offering people a place to come and chat and feel safe and not judged.
We started to do more events. We got the word out there that no one needs to suffer in silence, we are here to help. Life seemed to be still back on track.
I believe everyone should be treated as an equal, the way I see it, it doesn’t matter if you have mental health, physical health different colour of skin if your straight or gay, we should all be treated the same and not judge .
I am a 22 year old man, I have a partner and he is just amazing and he understands my mental health. I still have good and bad days, but I have the right people in my life and life’s good
Now I want to help others, tell people that it’s okay not to be okay and this shall pass. We are human, we all have struggles and problems.
My name is Scott Baker, thank you for taking the time to read my story.
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