Sunday 20 July 2014


We don't understand mental illness very well, and of course, what we don't understand can frighten us. But what is it like to struggle with mental illness? Brave reader Karina explains...

Karina says:
Ever since I was very young, I've had problems; I hear voices. For a long time I thought it was normal and that everyone had those voices, but of course that's not so. If I ever mentioned this in conversation, the voices became negative and threatening, say the most horrible things. I began to realise something might be wrong. Around that time I witnessed a car crash and that was when the visions started - they're too graphic to even describe, but still I didn't speak out… I couldn't.

I was fifteen when I finally told someone. By then I was depressed and cried most days, and every time I tried to tell someone the voices would stop me, saying that my family would disown me.
Eventually I found the courage to ignore the voices and I told my mum, and since that day I have been getting proper medical help. I have medication which helps, and I am re-training my mind to be less negative.

My advice to anyone with mental health issues is not to be afraid, and to talk about how you are feeling. Speaking out is a step forward - you can say, 'I am beating this.' I told my mum and my best friend first, but it doesn't matter who you tell as long as you get some help. You can call ChildLine on 0800 1111 or look at the websites for MIND or Time To Change. They have helped me loads. I waited so long to hear someone say 'You are not alone,' and now I finally believe it. There are many people with the same problems as me... and there is a way forward for us all.

Karina's name has been changed to protect her identity: pics are posed by model.

Cathy says:
Karina has learned that speaking out is the only way to get help for problems like this - and that help really IS out there. I'm so impressed at her bravery and her determination to reach out and help others. COMMENT BELOW if someone you know has struggled with a mental health issue - or if you'd like to send a message of support to Karina.


  1. Well done for speaking out, this is so inspiring and hopefully it will help people in the same situation. I suffer from anxiety and panic attacks and speaking out really is the only way to get help - you just have to remember that things can only improve after you've told someone trustworthy about it. Good luck for the future :) <3

  2. Your so brave Katrina! I hope you have a very happy future. You deserve it! :)

  3. Really well done, Katrina. I agree with Caoimhe Collins; you've been so, so brave. You've done amazingly well. Best wishes for the future xxx

  4. Stay Strong xxx

  5. Yeah u inspiration!!!!!:)

  6. hi i have suffer with mental illness since i was young and i am finally getting the help i need. i am on the right medication that is good for me.if anyone else feel like they are mentally ill YOU DO NEED TO TELL SOMEONE.because it could get worse i have good days and bad days but i am much better than i have ever been.well done to Katrina for finally seeking help i hope your story inspirer other suffering the same to come out and tell someone. i am so better now and wish everyone well.Katrina hope you are well now and remember to stay strong xxx
    ps sorry i wrote a lot



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