3 years ago I experienced what felt like my whole world crumbling around me. I’ll never forget it. I’ll never forget how scared I was or how pathetic I felt. On 06 September 2016, I did my usual morning routine. I’d got ready for work and I was sat in the kitchen with a coffee. I don’t know how long I had been sitting there when my mum came downstairs and asked what was going on.
I was sitting there in floods of tears. I couldn’t speak, I couldn’t move, I couldn’t look at her. All I could do was cry. It felt like it wasn’t me. It was like I was watching myself and I was screaming at myself to stop it, to pull it together.
For a long time I had been fighting an internal battle. A battle that I had been losing.
I was at war with myself. In a body that was fighting to survive with a mind that was trying to die. Each morning I had painted a smile on my face. And perfectly orchestrated photos on social media hid all signs that I wasn’t ok. Wearing a mask to hide the chaos. The mask cracked.
Thereafter I got diagnosed with depression and was signed off work for some time. My memory of the first few weeks after that is a little fuzzy but I think all I did was cry and sleep. I was always so worried that if people found out what was going on that there would be people that might think – what an attention seeker ‘snap out of it’. But the truth is asking someone to“snap out” of a depression makes as much sense as asking someone to snap out of diabetes. Depression is not feeling down after having a bad day at work or having holiday blues. Depression is a medical illness. And you should never ever be made to feel guilty or ashamed of your illness.
During what I can only describe as a fight to get my life back together I felt completely defeated. I felt ashamed. I felt pathetic. I was plagued with worry about what people would think. That people would think I was incapable or unstable or one of the many other stereotypes that comes with mental health.
I was exhausted from battling depression and sick of dealing with anxiety, paranoia and insomnia – the three Best friends that high five when they’ve successfully tormented you. It brings a lump to my throat when I look back and think of how close I came to giving up on my life.
It’s important to remember that Depression isn’t picky – everyone has potential to suffer; children, adults even the elderly. Depression doesn’t care how much money you have in the bank, how popular you are, how many followers you have on social media.
Look at Robin Williams, a remarkable man with so much talent. From an outsiders view he looked like he had it all and he appeared like such a happy soul. He was wearing a mask too.
Amy Bleuel’s story totally broke my heart. Amy was the inspirational lady and driving force behind Project Semicolon. This project is a mental health nonprofit organization that aims to bring hope and love to those who are struggling with depression, suicide, addiction, and self-injury.
As a result of this project the semicolon has become a source of inspiration for many people and my semicolon tattoo has provided me with hope each and everyday.As said by Amy ”A semicolon is used when an author could’ve chosen to end their sentence, but chose not to. The author is you, the sentence is your life” – Amy Bleuel.
Amy passed away on March 23rd 2017 at the age of 31. The cause of death was suicide. No one saw it coming and no one knew she was suffering. This is a prime example that those who seem so strong and wear a smile on their face are still struggling. There is so much more work to be done towards mental health and it’s so important that we continue Amy’s legacy.
The stigma associated with a depressive illness is very evident in our society. And this stigma is so incredibly damaging. I couldn’t stand to even look at myself during my recovery. Why are we made to feel so ashamed of suffering from mental health?
Suffering from mental health is horrific but suffering alone is even worse. Because of the stigma, few people talk about mental health or let on how they are really feeling. And that’s so dangerous, without support and help depression has the potential to end your life.
The reality is that we are living in a world of people with sad eyes on happy faces. People don’t want to come across as needy or weak. They’d sooner suffer.
And that’s why MH Stories is so SOO wonderful. What an incredible, supportive community. We need to continue to work together to fight this stigma and to talk about mental health. To have real open and honest conversations. ‘Mental Health’ is not a dirty word. Your mental health matters – YOU MATTER.
I’m not weak because I have a history of depression. I’m strong because I’ve faced up to it and I know the signs of it now. I’ve accepted that I will always vulnerable to mental health issues – and not to be ashamed of that.
I know now the most important thing is to share how I’m feeling with the people who love me and are always there for me no matter what. I can’t stress enough the importance of sharing your good days, your bad days, your worries and your thoughts. Keeping those things trapped in your mind will kill you.
I still have my difficult times. But I’m not ashamed to say I’m having a hard time and I have hope that with my strength and the love of the people that care about me that I’ll see this difficult time through.
💜✨‘The greater your storm the bright your rainbow’💜✨
If you’re reading this and you’re struggling with depression just remember that you are not alone.
I know how it feels to want to give up but I ask you to find the strength inside you to carry on.”