Giulia, 20, London, UK

“I had a tough childhood with several problems running for years in my family. When I turned fifteen, I thought that these issues had turned me into a strong person. I once wrote in a diary entry that in spite of all the trials and tribulations I had been through I didn’t get depressed. When I look back now I realize how naive I was at the time. As I was completing high school three years later, I really started struggling with depression.

I believe it was the result of my loneliness. For most of my teenage years, I had had no friends at all. My extreme shyness brought me into a downward spiral of social isolation. I was barely speaking to my classmates and was staying home all the time when there was no class to attend. By the time I had reached high school, nothing had changed. I felt very lonely. We were all about to part our own ways in our life and I realized that I was nothing like my classmates. I had failed to create meaningful friendships. I had no one by my side. At this time, I first experienced that feeling of emptiness. Nothing seemed to matter anymore. I used to come back from school and just nap for hours. I wrote a lot and desperately wanted to reach out but I couldn’t.

I went to university and it turned out that the unknown was absolutely daunting. I was not ready for it, mostly because of my lack of social skills. I dropped out and decided to follow my dream. I went abroad for what was supposed to be two months and lived in a hostel. There, I learned everything I needed to. I learned how to socialize and how to live in a community, and how to be more open and outgoing. This experience was life-changing. But still, I soon realized that even following my dreams and doing the best I could wasn’t going to change the truth: I was depressed. I am depressed.

I feel so lucky that I’m living part of my dream today. I’m grateful for how far I’ve come. And yet, there are still days when I wake up and feel worthless. There is no explanation for that hole in my heart. I’ve spent some of the best nights with friends and the scary thoughts still catch my attention in the middle of a beautiful moment. Some days, I wake up feeling so confident about my job prospects and my friendships, and my future but then it quickly all falls apart. I am caught in that bubble again. It’s that voice in my head that keeps telling me how everyone else is doing so great, moving forward whilst I am stuck, I am failing once more. It is the frightening words like ‘I want to end it, I am done, I can’t anymore, I feel numb, I am different’ that keep crossing my mind.

Lately, I read ‘History of a Suicide’ in which Jill Bialowsky tells the story of her sister’s suicide and how it impacted her life. As she shared some of her sister’s diary entries, I realized how similar our feelings were, in spite of our totally different stories. It hurt how much it hit home. In that moment, I felt scared of my own thoughts. I don’t seem to be actively suicidal, yet these terrifying thoughts are holding me hostage. I try to remind myself of this book whenever I feel like I’m on the edge.

I have been looking for a job for a while now. People keep encouraging me to make more efforts. But I have seen people close to me getting what I wanted, and I’ve been rejected when I was the most confident. But on some days, it feels excruciatingly painful to make the slightest effort. Having to hand in your resume in person when you feel like your life isn’t worth living anymore takes a lot of effort — and having to pretend, once again, and just smiling.  They don’t know what it’s like to want to end it and give up the fight. It’s a constant battle to live with suicidal thoughts haunting your daily life.

I wish people had more willingness to break the walls. Sometimes I just want my voice to be heard but it is so painful and hard to speak my truth out loud. For now, I’ll express it by writing.”



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