“I didn't have anyone to talk to” – Ginny’s story
After finishing secondary school, Ginny was excited for summer to begin. However, learning of her mother’s cancer diagnosis greatly impacted her anxiety and depression. Though she struggled at home, in social situations and at school, Ginny has finally found a strong support network around her.
In July of 2022, my mother was diagnosed with cancer. This was around the time I finished my GCSEs and was on holiday with my parents and my brother, relieved and excited that summer had begun. Before this incident, I’d already been experiencing some depression and anxiety, but the circumstances which followed her diagnosis exacerbated my mental health conditions.
I began sixth form shortly after she received her diagnosis, in the beginning of September. I felt incredibly unprepared. There was a lack of support at school, and I felt as though I didn’t have anyone to talk to at home, without taking away from my mother who was suffering and undergoing chemotherapy. My anxiety and depression began to eat into other aspects of my life.
I’ve always been quite academically strong, but my grades were way below my targets. I was finding it difficult to have conversations with friends, or just to make new friends in general. I felt I didn’t have anyone to talk to and I couldn’t actually enjoy the new experiences I was being exposed to. I quickly felt myself becoming really isolated. Some of the people I did surround myself with only worsened how I felt about myself, how I was doing in school and how I was reacting to things.
I quickly felt myself becoming really isolated.
In late November, I was enrolling into programmes to help me further along the line when applying to university. This was already really challenging as it is, and my mum had just been admitted into hospital. Having to take care of her alongside maintaining my studies, with my school failing to recognise I needed help, just made the pressure much greater than it needed to be. Because of this, I was unable to gain many opportunities which would’ve supported me with my university applications.
This year, from June to October, I sat many exams which were important for my academic development. By this time, I’d already found a group of people I could confide in, whom I felt safe to talk to about how I was feeling and what I was going through. I felt I could speak to them without being judged for getting upset over small things. I was prescribed antidepressants which helped with my bad moods and allowed me to focus a lot more on school, as well as balancing everything that was going on at home.
My best way of managing was finding a support system of people who could understand what I was going through.
Through all of this, I learnt that there are many people who care about me and there are many ways to get help, but to do this you have to be willing to accept it first. One of the things which impeded how I moved on with my life after my mum's diagnosis, was how afraid I was to lose any time with my mum, and therefore neglecting everything and everyone around me.
As much as I wish I could change how I was affected and how I reacted to certain situations, I can safely say my best way of managing was finding a support system of people who could understand what I was going through, who tried to distract me from what was upsetting me the most.
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