From an endless winter of depression to a spring bloom – Nina’s story


After experiencing anxiety, depression and bullying at school, Nina felt like a stranger to herself and the world around her. But with the support from her family, friends and school counsellors, Nina has re-discovered herself and is surrounded with warmth once again.

I’m sharing my mental health journey to celebrate the strength exhibited by young warriors battling depression and anxiety. I hope those grappling with similar struggles will find the vital refuge they need, and relate to my experience or learn from it. Depression and anxiety are powerful, but it’s a battle you can win and help others to win.

My first experience with depression and anxiety was a fleeting, diminutive moment to the world, but for me, a static yet endless winter stretching beyond all hopes, engulfing my entire being and ransacking my life of warmth. The endless winter of depression and anxiety absorbs all the warmth that happiness exudes, and its frostbite gnaws at your entire being.

The bullying I faced when I was 14 heavily influenced my depression and anxiety. I was bullied for my struggles with joint hypermobility syndrome and it destroyed my wellbeing. My kind greetings descended into outbursts, which concerned my friends and family who cared for me. Despite their concern, I could only see them as my enemy and I became estranged from my friends because all I could see was red.

  • I was estranged from reality, living through an achromatic lens.

However, my suffering was foreign to me. I couldn’t open up about my experiences because I was convinced that my suffering was not valid and that no one could help me. I believed I was being bullied because I deserved it. I was oblivious to the painful coldness of my struggles until I could no longer feel nor recognise myself. I had lost all sense of my being and became an utter stranger to myself. 

Anxiety and depression didn’t cease to only take my smile from me, but they ruthlessly colonised my surroundings too, annexing those closest to me into the abyss. I was estranged from reality, living through an achromatic lens I couldn’t detach from.

My sleep was incessantly interrupted by the torment of my thoughts and the fright of the bullying I was experiencing. I constantly woke up with a racing heart, often in tears as the voices of my bullies invaded my head. I stopped eating and my relationships with my family, friends and teachers dilapidated with my mental health.

My decrepit mental health had wholly engulfed me. The emptiness of my abyss was monstrously astronomical, yet no one would attempt to realise the life that had abandoned me. They were cautious of being engulfed themselves - my parents couldn’t fathom my suffering, my friends’ efforts to help me were appreciative yet deficient. I required professional help but was terrified to ask for it.

  • I couldn’t open up about my experiences because I was convinced that my suffering was not valid.

I was a stranger to myself, therefore a stranger to all. Depression and anxiety eradicates one's identity and universalises one's experience under its name, positing itself as the person it had stolen. However, I’ve now learnt that you are not the depression and anxiety that you are fighting.

I am gratefully and proudly conquering my personal battle by allowing myself to bravely feel the warmth of kindness and support that I receive through my friends, teachers and school counsellor. The blizzard of my winter days have transformed into the dancing petals of the warm spring with hope for growth. They have all helped me to discover myself and create the confident person that I am today.

My struggles with hypermobility syndrome and the bullying I faced stopped me from painting, reading and volunteering for my community. However, I’m learning to paint with confidence again, read without my thoughts traumatising me and spend time with those in my community. The road to recovery has been difficult but rewarding.

  • Acknowledging that you need help is a great indicator of respect for oneself.

I’ve learnt that journaling my thoughts can help to regulate my mind, that I can always speak with friends, teachers and counsellors if I am having a hard time. If someone offers a helping hand, there is no shame in accepting it. Needing help is not a sign of weakness; acknowledging that you need help is a great indicator of respect for oneself.

Anxiety and depression are incessant, but with the right people and help, I am confident enough to fight it and win. It is imperative to be informed and educated about mental health. I’ve discovered this through the support from my friends, teachers and counsellor, and have become a Young Champion for Mental Health to be further informed and to help mental health professionals improve services for young people.

You may also be interested in