RODBOURNE teen Shelby Myerscough is still studying for her GCSEs but she has already battled against the symptoms of crippling post traumatic stress disorder.
Now the 16-year-old wants to give something back and to fight against the stigma of mental health issues by doing a skydive for mental health charity MIND.
In October 2012, after an horrific attack in August that year, the Nova Hreod student was diagnosed with the psychiatric illness that left her experiencing flashbacks and nightmares and afraid to leave the house.
She said: “It was just really scary and before I was diagnosed I felt so alone because I didn’t know what was going on – it just felt like I wasn’t in control of myself.”
Shelby was prescribed anti-depressants and became an out-patient at Marlborough House, but she felt she was not getting the support she needed and tried to take her own life.
She said: “I was taken to Great Western Hospital several times and then they asked me if I wanted to be an inpatient at Marlborough House.”
Two months later Shelby’s mental state deteriorated, and she was sectioned for 28 days in an intensive care unit, where she began to recover.
She said: “I just felt I had more support around me, and I just felt safe.”
Last October, Shelby was discharged and moved back home, where she continued to make a recovery.
She said: “I feel like I don’t need as much support now. I have been out of hospital for six months and I am not on any medication, I see my therapist once a week.
“My mental state is a lot better and I have got stronger.
“I feel like I can go out on my own now. I still get flashbacks but it’s not as bad and I get a lot more sleep now.”
It was not just her illness Shelby had to battle, but also the stigma and ignorance of other people.
She said: “A lot of people think people with mental health problems are attention seekers because it’s not visible.
“It seems there are a lot of people my age who have mental health problems and people seem to just think they’re exaggerating.”
Shelby wants to raise at least £500 for MIND, who helped her mum, Chantal, 38, a student nurse at Great Western Hospital, offer support during the particularly dark days.
She said: “They didn’t help me directly but they helped my mum know how she could look after me. If it wasn’t for them and the doctors then I wouldn’t be here today.”
To show support for Shelby and her skydive, donate to the cause through her Just Giving page at www.justgiving.com/skydiving formentalhealth.