I am not a writer and I don’t think that I am winning at life enough to tell others how to do it, all I hope for is that by sharing my experience, I may be able to help one person to feel less alone.
Every experience is different, no two are the same, what works for me won’t necessarily work for you, but everyone deserves a chance at recovery, a chance to realise that there is happiness ahead of them, as difficult as that may be to comprehend when you are in the depths, because how can you possibly see the top when you are so low down? This is my second run of Major Depressive disorder so I know from experience that recovery is possible.
So, a bit about me....
The photo of me is from November/ December '18. I had a relapse with my mental health, after initially experiencing Major Depressive disorder in 2012. The first time I experienced this illness I had no idea what it was, I couldn’t believe that a mental health condition could make me feel so awful physically. I would go to the doctors over and over again and tell them all my symptoms, not linking them to the stress that I was experiencing in my personal life.
How do we know how it feels unless we are educated on it? When I was growing up, there was so much stigma and a lack of understanding with regards to mental health, so it was always kept quiet. My parents both had struggles but it was something that we were made to feel ashamed of, rather than being met with empathy and compassion. Despite my experiences as a child, I honestly believed that depression was a state of mind but I was so wrong.
You would think that after going through this once, it would come along again and I would think ‘oh I remember what this is, yeah it’s awful but I will get over it’ but nooooo, my mind wasn't having any of that. I honestly believed that my life was over. I was so ill that I was at risk of suicide. I made plans to act on my thoughts, but I spoke to people who cared about me who were then able to step in and take action.
I am hoping that if I am open about my experiences, it will help others to feel less alone. Initially, the shame I experienced was so intense that I only let a close knit group of friends and family know what was going on. I would hate for anyone to feel like that, living with a mental illness is horrible enough, without throwing shame into the mix. It makes no sense for someone to judge themself for something that is not their fault.
The truth is, you can recover and have a ‘normal’ life again. After my last episode, my life completely changed, but for the better. I started working as a self-employed hairdresser, a year later, I was working on a yacht travelling the world, where I met my partner James who I now live with. Depression never had me thinking that was gonna happen! Nooooo, depression told me that I was never going to find love, I would never be able to go on holiday or have fun with friends. I proved it wrong once and I will do it again.
Therefore, if I can do it, and I wholeheartedly believed at the beginning that the only way out of this was to end my life, then anyone can. I am still a way off and the panic attacks and anxiety are a battle I face daily but I will prove to you that you can get better because I will. If this helps just one person. I will be so happy.
In future posts, I will share what I have found or find helpful, but this is just what works for me. Everyone’s recovery is unique to them, unfortunately, there is no manual that tells you exactly what you must do to recover. Start by practicing being kind to yourself, try to look out for you and build yourself up slowly. It takes time but we will get there.