This is my story...
Self-harming was not something I’d ever done before. I planned to tell my parents when I was ready, but my dad noticed the marks when I started to hurt myself.
That was the first time I had depression. My name’s Ruth. I’m 19 now but, back then, I was 14 and my sister had just gone away to university – it was the moment my world started to crumble before my eyes. My sister is more like a best friend and role model to me than a sibling. We have the same sense of humour and share a strong, sisterly bond.
When she moved away, I felt helpless and confused by the feelings I was having. I could barely speak. That’s when I started to self-harm.
No one wants to see their dad upset because of something they’ve done. I was so lucky my parents were there for me and that my dad rang NHS 111 for advice.
The day I decided I wanted everything to end was the day my mum knocked on my bedroom door and asked if I wanted a coffee.
That offer of a coffee changed everything. That small act of kindness saved my life.
I sat on my bed, drinking it slowly, appreciating the taste. It made me think of all the little things that make life worth living, like playing football, and all the hours I’d spent playing with my dad as a kid.
That was the first step but there were many more to take. I couldn’t do it alone, even with my parents beside me.
In the middle of the night, when I didn’t want my mum and dad to know I was struggling, I just needed someone to listen. That someone was Samaritans. For me, the best way to contact them was to email and text.
It was such a relief to know Samaritans was there whenever I needed them.
In the middle of the night. First thing in the morning. Samaritans is there for people who need them.
At first, the thought of going over my whole story again with Samaritans was really daunting but I’m glad I just went for it. I could tell the volunteers really cared about me. Samaritans helped me find a way forwards.
My depression relapsed two years ago when I was 17, but knowing that Samaritans is always there is such a comfort. I can email, text, or even go to my local Samaritans branch and have a drink and a chat whenever I need to. Your gift today could make sure that they can continue to be available to someone like me, needing someone to listen.
Thanks to Samaritans, I’m currently in the most stable position I’ve ever been in.
Talking to Samaritans is probably the one thing that helped me the most, and that is why they need a gift from you today – so that they can always be there to answer that text, that email, that phone call from someone desperate to be heard.
I made it through and I’m so happy to be here, writing this letter to you. Today, I play football at club level, I’m a mental health advocate and I’ve even written a book called The Unseen Battle about my struggles with depression. Tomorrow, your donation could help another young person walk away from hopelessness.
If you’re worried about someone you love, you could help be there for them by:
Samaritans is the only listening service open 24 hours a day, every day. We’re here for anyone struggling to cope. We don’t judge, we listen. Every year we respond to more than 5.4 million calls for help. People call us to talk, to find their own way through. We rely on your support to do this.
Samaritans is here for everyone. Our helpline can be contacted around the clock.