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Reform Magazine | November 29, 2023

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Here & now: Julie Seal

Here & now: Julie Seal

Julia Seal reflects on frightening mental health challenges

I have recently been diagnosed with depression and bipolar disorder. I was given my diagnosis after battling with several severe breakdowns though the Covid-19 pandemic. This is my mental health journey though lockdown.

Before lockdown, I had several mental health episodes. They were horrendous and terrifying. I heard deafening, uncontrollable screams in my head, and sharp pains that felt like I was being knocked around with a baseball bat. Before lockdown, I was preoccupied. Before lockdown, I had to study, I had to focus on school and on my life ahead of me. But when lockdown hit, all the seams that kept me together frayed away.

My mental health deteriorated, and it was scary. No matter what I tried to do to keep myself occupied, I could not handle the screaming, the banging and the mood swings that came repetitively, day to day. Sure, I had online lessons, theory work and my assistance dog to keep me company, but I missed laughing with my friends, the smell of the firing hot college kitchen where I had worked, and the bittersweet ache from standing up all day.

Over the year or so that we were in lockdown, I was not just locked in with my family, but also locked in with myself. My mental health deteriorated uncontrollably. I went down the dark rabbit hole and I couldn’t find a way out, no matter how hard I fought. I was stuck…

Julia Seal is former youth rep for the United Reformed Church Southern Synod. If you need help and are struggling, please reach out to someone. For support and information, call the mental health charity Mind on 0300 123 3393, or visit their website


This is an extract from an article published in the July/August 2021 edition of Reform

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