Aimee McKay from Magherafelt recently held a coffee morning in support of AWARE and raised an incredible £1683.00! Having gone through her own experiences with both physical and mental health in the past she wants to make sure people know they are not alone, especially in these uncertain times.
Aimee has very kindly shared her personal journey with us...
"In June 2011, my life turned upside down as I began a lengthy battle with my physical health. I practically lived in hospital, relying on NG/NJ tubes and TPN to keep me alive. I remember thinking “I’d do anything to have a mental illness over this, it would be a lot easier to treat.” Because back then, I believed I could just pull myself out of it. As my physical health deteriorated my mental health did begin to suffer. It was always a joke that you’d hear my high-pitched laugh before you even seen me, and that was gone. I lost all my confidence and became very isolated.
People constantly told me I was so strong. How could I admit I was crumbling inside? The stigma attached to mental health is why I never told anyone how I felt. I thought people would think I was seeking attention. I reached a point where I could not cope alone and I nearly became another victim to suicide. When I woke, a top liver specialist told me “I have no medical explanation to explain why you are still here.”
Thankfully, I did get a lot of support from both a clinical psychologist, the community mental health team and the Intestinal Failure team in Belfast city hospital. After 5 months of intense CBT, things began to get better. But the sad thing is, this is all help I could have got had I just asked.
Nine months ago, I didn’t want to think about my future because I couldn’t see one. I am now a waitress in a local hotel and have just been accepted to study children’s nursing in September, a long way from where I was. This is thanks to the people I have around me. One of my best friends made me a positive box, so that any time I’m struggling, I can read a positive quote and know that things will be okay. The people I work with in The Terrace Hotel have been incredibly supportive, without even knowing it.
When I meet people on the street, they tell me “You look happier” and that is the best compliment I could ask for, because I am happier and now, it's not a façade.
I believe I survived what I did, so that I could use my story to help others. My hope is that someone will listen to my story and know that you can be at a critically low point, but you can make it out the other side. Reach out for help, don’t be ashamed. Because as my mum always tells me: “Those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”
I wanted to raise money for AWARE because these donations will allow them to continue to provide support for people who may be struggling with their mental health, so that people know it's OK to ask for help"
Since overcoming her battles Aimee has since created a book of poems about mental health, to let us know better days are coming. Check out one of her poems below!
Thank you Aimee!
If you have been affected in any way by Aimee's story or know someone in need of support please call Lifeline on 0808 808 8000 or the Samaritans on 116 123.