THE BLOG

Having Climbed Out of My Dark Hole, I Want to Help Others Do the Same

10/03/2015 16:27 GMT | Updated 10/05/2015 10:59 BST

"School days are the best days of your life". Let me tell you, mine were not. Going to school was my personal hell that I couldn't escape from. I felt trapped, like I was living in a dark hole with no way out.

I was a victim of bullying. It went on for a long time and became so bad that it affected my home life and my family. It got to a point where my Mum thought it would be best for us to move from Strabane to England and although it was hard to leave home, I was hopeful that this would be a turning point for me. But nothing changed and if anything, it was worse than before. Once, I was waiting for the bus once and the staff there could see what was happening. They called my mum to collect me because they worried something awful would happen to me if I went on the bus. I lived in constant fear. We decided to return home to Ireland.

Of course, the bullying continued once we moved back but I tried to be strong and carry on. I wasn't going to let them take me down. So I stood up to them, only to find that I was the one accused of violence.

That was when I hit rock bottom.

I wanted it all to end and was so desperate I considered ending my life. I stopped going to school because I didn't feel safe. It was then I was referred to Strabane EOTAS and I met The Prince's Trust and joined the xl programme. The course is for people like me who struggle at school, for all sorts of reasons.

This time, it was the turning point.

I was nervous and shy and wary when I first started the xl programme, but the staff and other young people made me feel at home. They didn't make me feel stupid, they made me feel important. It was really, really good. It helped me in all aspects of my life. It made me feel good about myself; it helped me with my confidence and my education; and I met new people, which I really liked. I had friends and I knew life could be good. I was no longer in the dark hole.

I enjoyed it so much I even started taking part in other programmes - I attended every single session over a five month period and achieved my Prince's Trust Level 2 Certificate.

I'm so much happier now, I'm like a different person. I am so excited about my life and what I could do, I feel like I can take on the world! I'm working towards becoming a mental health nurse. Having climbed out of my dark hole, I want to help others do the same.

When I heard I was up for the Novae Educational Achiever of the Year Award at The Prince's Trust & Samsung Celebrate Success Awards, I was stunned. For me, The Trust has already helped to give me back my life and show me I have a future, so the nomination is just beyond my wildest dreams. It doesn't matter what happens on the day itself. I already have my prize.

The Huffington Post has teamed up with youth charity The Prince's Trust to back the Novae Educational Achiever of the Year Award at The Prince's Trust & Samsung Celebrate Success Awards. Taking place on Thursday 12th March in London, the ceremony will recognise young people who have overcome issues such as unemployment, drug addiction, homelessness and depression to achieve success.

The Prince's Trust & Samsung Celebrate Success Awards recognise young people who have overcome homelessness, mental health problems and unemployment.

In addition to partnering the Celebrate Success Awards, Samsung is working with the Prince's Trust to tackle the digital skills gap in the UK by creating digital classrooms at its centres.

To find out more on how Samsung supports young people, please visit samsung.com/uk/citizenship or search #StandTall