Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson has spoken out about her mental health struggle as a student at Edinburgh University.
In an interview with the Sunday Times Magazine she spoke about her struggles with self-harm, depression and suicidal thoughts as a teenager. Her mental health issues started after a boy in her village died by suicide at age 17, sending her into a ‘tailspin’.
Published less than a week after World Suicide Prevention Day, the interview brings to light how important it is to speak about mental health.
The mum-to-be said that during depressive episodes she would drink to excess, self-harm and her mood would fluctuate often towards anger.
She was diagnosed with clinical depression a year later and was given medication, but this had adverse side effects including dark, scary dreams and being unable to tell what was real.
During her second year studying English at Edinburgh University she became so afraid that she would avoid sleeping at night, describing her depression as a ‘smothering black blanket’.
Realising that things had to change Ruth combated her depression with regular exercise, drinking less, coming off her medication and going back to church.
She also revealed that she never wants to be Prime Minister, a job she has previously described as lonely.
Now the Scottish Conservative leader, soon to be mum and an author, Ruth still experiences high levels of anxiety, something she worries will allow the black blanket to descend again.
When she is concerned about this she makes sure her routine is structured and manageable with exercise and manageable outcomes.
If you or someone you know is experiencing poor mental health contact Samaritans on 116 123.