THE BLOG

I Was Given The News That My Cancer Was Gone - And That Was When I Fell Into Depression

01/06/2017 15:05 BST | Updated 01/06/2017 15:05 BST

I thought my toughest time came when I was diagnosed with testicular cancer at the age of 20. I went through two bouts of surgery as well as intense chemotherapy.

However, it was only a couple of weeks after I received the all-clear that I found myself falling into depression.

At first, I was buzzing. I couldn't wait to get back on with my life with a new-found motivation to thrive and do all I could to make up for lost time. I wanted to show everyone, including myself, how grateful I was to be here.

But I lost my head. I jumped back into life way too fast and the reality of it all hit me hard. Life isn't a bed of roses and I found that out quite quickly. I just wanted to be a normal person again so I leapt back into work delivering pizza. It was a huge shock to the system being treated so kindly and proficiently by hospital staff to then barely being acknowledged by customers. I really noticed the sudden change in attitude towards me. It was slightly comforting knowing that no customers knew what I'd been through but I just wish people were kinder to each other.

That was the beginning of a battle that was always on top of me, something I just couldn't shake off - no matter how much I tried to ignore it.

I masked my depression for two and a half years. I was in a long-term relationship and my partner was barely aware of it. I wanted people to see me as the happy, easy-going guy I normally am so I kept my feelings repressed.

Don't get me wrong, I had some genuinely great times, but whenever I had time to think, that was a bad thing. I kept myself as busy as I could. I wore myself out but at least it stopped me from overthinking things.

I felt incredibly ungrateful and selfish for feeling the way I did. Why should I feel this way when I'd been handed this new lease of life? I tried to force myself to be happy, but that just made things worse. It was a never ending cycle fuelled by guilt and pessimism. I even developed quite severe OCD. I tried cognitive behavioural therapy, but it was quite the ordeal.

Eventually over time I was able to change my thinking, to turn the situation I was in upside down. I had believed that in order to truly be grateful for what I'd been given I had to show the world that I was happy and living life to the fullest. I was just putting too much pressure on myself.

It took years but I finally came to the realisation that I didn't have to be doing something all of the time. Instead I concentrated on the fact that those little things you do in life are special themselves. Just playing and listening to music, or talking nonsense with family and friends. Those moments are so precious. I still can't believe it took me this long to realise it but I've shown how strong I am now and I just feel the best I ever have done.

CLIC Sargent, the cancer support charity for young patients, have been a huge part of my life and given me incredible opportunities that I have loved down to the bones. I was invited to record a couple of songs in a professional studio with my band, I got to attend a 5 day long music programme which was one of the best experiences of my life, and CLIC was the charity who called me and invited me down to the Royal Marsden Hospital where I ended up having the best treatment I could've asked for. I also took part in a fantastic virtual choir music video.

They don't just wait to be asked for help, they look to see who they can help and how they can help them. I have been in my fair share of predicaments and every time I've reached out to CLIC they have always been there to lend a hand. They literally do everything in their power to support children and young people like me.

Now the charity is trying to raise awareness of some of those hidden costs of cancer, that you don't always see on the first glance, in its #Nofilter4cancer campaign . The emotional costs, and the psychological scars, can be just as damaging. But the most important thing is young patients having the support they need to find their feet and start walking again.

CLIC Sargent took me under their wing from the word go and they haven't let go since. If it wasn't for CLIC Sargent I don't know where I'd be.