Kirkham-based sports coach Rebecca Worthington was once so terrified to tell anyone about her mental health issues, she had to write down for the doctor the fact she thought she had depression.
But now the 24-year-old has not only produced a YouTube documentary about her personal struggles, she also runs a website, blog and not-for-profit organisation to raise awareness of mental health problems.
The former Carr High School pupil has been suffering with depression since she was 16, but was unable to talk about it to anyone for several years. She was finally diagnosed with the condition aged 20, but had secretly been suffering in silence since her final year in school.
In her YouTube documentary, Rebecca – who is pictured in the opening and closing scenes running across the sand dunes and beach at St Annes – talks of withdrawing from her friends and lack of interest in social activities and things she “once adored.”
She tells of struggling daily with negative thoughts, crying most evenings and having no interest in anything. Things got worse when she started at college and would end up spending hours in a local park, sitting thinking. One day, she contemplated ending it all as she stood on a bridge looking at the trains below.
When Rebecca eventually did pluck up the courage to visit the doctor, she was unable to physically say the words.
She describes how she wrote down “I think I have depression” while in the waiting room to show to the doctor.
Rebecca said: “Two years of emotion suddenly poured out of me.”
She has since been undergoing treatment in the form of medication and counselling – and having kept her depression secret from her family and nearly all her friends, eventually managed to tell her mum – who features in the documentary, and is immensely proud of Rebecca and her website.
Rebecca, who goes into schools across the Fylde coast coaching sports, primarily hockey, said: “I am seeing in colour again and I appreciate life.
“My goal is to start going into schools across the Fylde doing talks/workshops on my experiences and teach others about the importance of early intervention. I also think it’s important for teachers to be trained in spotting symptoms and knowing what help is available for people with mental health problems.”
Rebecca has set up non-profit organisation TEAMReb, along with a website and blog about her experiences.
She started selling wristbands to raise awareness and was soon shipping them worldwide. She has organised events to raise awareness and intends on spreading the word about the importance of talking about problems.
She said: “After my experiences, I want to make sure as many people don’t suffer on their own.”
To watch Rebecca’s documentary, visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIvl3DRyBGE
See teamreb.co.uk or search for TEAMReb on Facebook