A guest blog on mental health by Nick Cousin written for All Sorts Charity Brighton
Ever since I can remember, I have always been treated as an outsider. I was that person; the one Someone to laugh at, the one others to blamed their problems on, the one to verbally abuse to make themselves feel better. They made me believe nothing I could do was right. ‘Peers’ labelled me as 'depressive', 'freak', 'emo', 'gay', 'ugly', 'special'.
I was called these names and more, nearly every day of my life. Eventually, I became these words. It’s funny when you think about it; how powerful words are. They have the power to encourage you or humiliate you, to make you a hero or a zero. Something that starts off as a joke suddenly becomes the horror of your reality. Those words became my world, they became me and I became them. I am depressive. I am a freak. That's what I started to believe, because words are what we use to make our way through life.
Words cut deeper than a knife ever could. It would have been kinder for them to have just beaten me up than to hear those words many times every day. I never got a break. People seem to only judge from the superficial level. They never bothered to look deeper or to take the time to get to know me.
Most days, I would return home to parents arguing and a family in crisis. There was no peace. I began to shut myself away from the world. At least being alone I did not have to deal with what was outside. But then again, I was never alone. I wore the words like a second skin. I morphed into those words. The labels from school that my peers have cursed me. Often times disguised as banter and “only joking”, those words became my prison. I lost myself and I lost my way. They say you would not care if they were not true, but by this time I had begun to believe that they were true.who is to judge someone's beauty? Their love? Their race, colour or religion?
The words and the thoughts in my head, the ones telling me that I would never be good enough, that I was worthless continued to take hold of me. I believed that my “friends” were right about me after all.
I sunk into depression. I became needy, I wanted them to fix this and as I got needier, they used the words to make their point, that I was a 'freak'.
When I confronted them about their relentless name calling, they would say “It’s just banter don't be such a girl”. I had no voice, I became the freak.
Eventually, I gave up on them, on me, on life. I was tired of everything. Depression was a huge weight I carried around with me. It wrapped my world in darkness. I began to space out, not focusing at school or even on what was going on around me. I would go in and out of conversations and miss things that were being said or discussed and they would say I was 'special'. Eventually, I would return home, with 'depressive' feeling following me, enveloping me in so much darkness that I could not see a way out of the vicious cycle I was in. . It was a vicious cycle, a cycle that started from a few simple words. I became those words and they ruled my life. I never felt more alone even when I was surrounded by people.
I was tired. Alone. Confused. The thoughts spiralling out of control. Nothing made sense any more. I felt dead inside. I felt hopelessness. I thought that perhaps pain would make me feel alive. Many nights I sat at the kitchen table holding a knife. I was so tired but sleep was out of the question. Tomorrow the cycle would repeat itself and there is no way to stop it. I hold onto that knife, hoping that it could free me from this prison. The pain makes me feel alive.
Some days I managed to pick myself up. I wore a mask and I wore it well. I made people laugh and for that I was the centre of attention some times. Some people were nice to me. But by this stage it made no difference. I felt hollow. No one could understand me. It’s difficult to explain this melancholy of joy.
With time I learned that words only have the power you give them. Slowly I learnt to accept myself for who I am and what I am. The words lost their power. I made friends with people who like me for me. I still bear the scars from that dark period in my life but I wear them proudly.