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.
Image credits to Zara Bloomer