“I was going to stay home and dream about killing myself, but I had to run Beavers that night.”

I was going to stay home and dream about killing myself, but I had to run Beavers that night.

In Transition Year I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety and since then I have been on medication that mimics the lack of dopamine and serotonin in my beautiful malfunctioning brain. I hated life, every part of it. I wished that I would just die and it would all be over. In that situation, you don’t see the good in life. I felt I was a hindrance to everyone, people faked friendships with me and my counsellor was too busy to be dealing with someone like me. It’s frustrating because on a good day you see how your mind is playing tricks on you, but when you’re depressed you just see sludge. During my Leaving Cert I wished that I would die, I didn’t care about anything. Every day was a massive effort, an insurmountable mountain. Physically and mentally I was drained. There was such pressure on me to pick a career and start focusing on points, points and more points.

I would like to say that scouts changed my life. I would come home from school on a Friday evening, wrecked and pissed off and just massively down. I’d go down to scouts and run the beaver section. They just lightened up my life. Yes, I adopted a different persona around them and pretended to be happier than I was, but that really helped me – believe it or not, often when you’re that low, pretending to be happy and acting like things are okay actually has a proven positive effect on your mental disposition. They reminded me what happiness felt like.

Scouts was always the one place I felt that people liked me for who I am. For me that’s no makeup, tracksuits, jackets, hair scraped back, and onesies. It has made me develop as a person. I love my scouting friends. Unbeknownst to many of them, they have given me the courage to speak up, act out and make memories. The beauty of life is mirrored in scouting. Everyone is appreciated and listened to. I have spoken to so many older Scouts and had the craic, only to have my mind blown when I discovered they managed like, eleven companies. Sometimes you come across toxicity, but at those times you remember the reason you are still involved. I joined as a six year old because my father was a leader. At the age of nineteen, I’m still involved. I love every minute of it, every aspect; the uncontrollable sleep deprived laughter on a camp, sipping tea in a log cabin spilling your heart to people you met a few days ago, how acceptable it is to never not wear tracksuit pants.

Scouts is a worldwide movement. We want to make positive changes around us, and we want to create a better world. And thanks to Scouts, that better world still has me in it.

Katie Spillane

Image credits to Zara Bloomer

6 thoughts on ““I was going to stay home and dream about killing myself, but I had to run Beavers that night.”

  1. Josephine little says:

    I found reading this very moving and I could feel myself getting emotional. You should feel very proud of yourself for been so open about suffering from depression as who knows how many people you’ve helped just by speaking out about your own experience.

  2. Selena says:

    Glad to see the courage in this young youth member and even though there are flaws in the organisation it is good to see the positive side

  3. Charlie says:

    I am a bit older than you and I came back into scouting after a few years away for the same reasons you are there and it has helped me I. The same way as it helped you. If doctors seen the way we work with each other and the young they would recommend us to many more people

  4. Crea says:

    I’m a Beaver leader and suffer from bad anxiety. Going to the activities forces me to get out of the house, get exercise and focus on something else other than my anxious thoughts. Even though I’m sometimes a heap of nerves and lose sleep at the thought of overnights I have done every one. I have shown myself that when I overcome my anxiety great things happen, I get to see children smile, laugh and learn and I contribute to that. I’m glad you posted your story.

  5. Breda says:

    Fantastic story written from the heart and an inspiration to all. well done on having the courage to speak out. You are a truly remarkable person. To say that you still went to scouts and helped out even when you were in that black hole of a place and struggling to believe you could add value or even fit in is a testament to how really strong you are. Keep going you are a genuinely wonderful person and scouting is lucky to have you.

  6. Lorelai says:

    So honest and true. I’m so glad to hear that scouting has helped you see some light inside of a very dark tunnel. It’s inspiring to hear the true honesty and bravery you go through and all to help those kids thrive and become great society members and help them have fun in a time of their lives when they learn everything from the people around them. I hope you stay with it, it sounds like not only are they helping you but having someone that they can talk to when they’re older and potentially going through the same thing as you, that they will have an u deratanding ear and shoulder. Thank you for sharing and I wish you all the best and I hope some day that you too will be free from depression and anxiety nd get to enjoy every aspect of your life every day. Thank you from a fellow scouter

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