An initiative of the National Women’s Council of Ireland


Zahra’s Story

December 16, 2013 at 9:49

"When I was in my teens and a few things went wrong in my life, I began to feel quite unhappy, having some panic attacks and I started to cut myself. This continued on and off for a few years and when I was 21 the sense of unhappiness and despair really took over everything else. Alongside that I began to really doubt everything about myself, whether or why anyone liked me and I just never knew what to do in any situation.  The self-harm urges increased and I began to think about taking my own life, as I felt that there was no point in going on, that I was just useless to everyone and couldn't bear to feel so bad all the time. Although I was really sociable and did have a lot of friends, I started to become afraid to go out and just spent a lot of time in bed crying.  After about 4-5 months, my mother started to get worried and felt that her reassuring me wasn't enough, and that I needed to see our doctor.  I went to see him, he asked me to explain how I felt and was really sympathetic and listened with great attention to what I was saying.  At the end of the visit, he said that he thought I might be suffering from clinical depression. He explained what it was, gave me some mild anti-depressants to take for 3 weeks and referred me to a counsellor who specialised in young people. I started to see her and it really helped.  Within a few months, I felt much better.  The counsellor got me to read books and do exercises that sort of trained me how to look at myself and situations when I started to get bad feelings. I didn't have to see her that many times and I was able to use what she had taught me when the bad feelings returned.  I think I've been really lucky as I know others have much more serious and longer battles with depression.  But what was such a great help to me was the fact that my mother and my GP really listened, took me seriously and got me treatment, which in my case was very helpful.  I think if they hadn't done that, things would have got very much worse." - Zahra.