The First Time I Opened Up About My Mental Health

I can still remember that day I sat on my bed at university and composed that text to my parents. It was late at night but I didn’t send it until the early hours when I knew they would be asleep. I didn’t like the idea of knowing that they were reading it at that moment, while I sat imagining their reaction.

I’d known for a while that I needed to do it but I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to worry them. Especially being so far away. I knew what I had to say would upset them and I knew it would break their hearts. So I hid behind a mask, storing up my suffering in silence.

Days, weeks, months passed. Desperately hoping that the darkness would lift. Not a day passed by without tears falling from my eyes.

Every time I spoke to my parents I would tell them how much I was enjoying University. I would tell them about all the amazing things I was doing with my friends. And I would tell them about all the meals I was cooking.

But it was all a lie. The truth was that I was hating uni- it only seemed to exacerbate the struggles I already faced. I barely left my room and avoided socialising because I knew I was no fun to be around. I hadn’t eaten a proper meal in weeks. Sleeping was impossible. I was ashamed and scared of who I’d become.

But I didn’t want them to worry. I didn’t want to let them down.

I still remember that day when I composed that text message. It was a few days before they were coming to pick me up for the summer holidays. I had finished my exams and was packing to come home for the next three months.

I desperately didn’t want them to know, I didn’t want anyone to know but I knew I wouldn’t be able to hide my struggles any longer. I wasn’t the same person I was when I packed to leave for uni. I could barely recognise the reflection in the mirror. So, I composed that message. I told them everything. That was the first time I opened up about my mental health.

It was one of the most difficult conversations I’ve had in my life. But it needed to be done. I sent that text almost a year and a half ago. And because off that text, I am still here fighting.

I still struggle with my mental health and I still find it difficult to talk about but that was the conversation that put my struggles out in the open. A weight was lifted off my mind. It was the first steps I took on my path to recovery.

Mental health shouldn’t be something to be ashamed of or shy away from, yet it’s a difficult topic to talk about. But why? The chances are you know of someone who has or is struggling. Whether that person is yourself or someone else, it’s time to reach out and start that conversation. You don’t need to be an expert to listen or be there for someone in need. All you need to do is care.

It doesn’t matter where the conversation takes place, who it is with or how it happens. Mine was through text, late at night, and I was sat by myself, hours away from my family. The important part is that it happened. It’s okay to struggle, but you don’t need to do it alone.

One conversation could save someone’s life. So, wherever you are, it’s time to talk.

Until next time



  1. The True Me

    June 27, 2018 at 5:04 pm

    This is such a lovely post, Karlena. I could kind of feel your emotion coming through in the words. I’d love to read a follow up post one day on how your parents reacted to your text message and how they now support you. Sorry if that’s to personal, great post.


    1. Karlena Clifford

      June 29, 2018 at 10:48 am

      Thank you so much! That is a really great idea, I will definitely do that (not sure when though) xx

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