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Are you crazy?

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Mental Health. Something we all know exists yet something none of us seem to want to talk about.

Well, its mental health awareness week so here goes nothing.

Hi, my names Sophie and I have Depression.

Your first thoughts? I’m crazy, insane, an embarrassment? Because those are all opinions I’ve been subject too since my diagnosis. But I’m not crazy or insane, and I’m certainly not embarrassed. I’m still me and you’re still you, there’s just this massive fucking elephant in the room and it’s called mental illness.

Let me take you back 3 years. it’s 2012, I’m 17 and for the past two years I’ve been completely in love with a guy that is completely destroying me. Why didn’t I leave? Well unfortunately when your living  that situation daily it’s not as easy as just leaving and looking back on the situation now, I’m amazed at how easily I was convinced that what was happening to me was normal. When I first hear the words “I don’t want to be with you anymore” I laugh. It’s so out the blue I just think it’s another recurrence of his shit sense of humour but when I realise it’s not. I completely lose my shit. This right here, this is the start of my experience with mental illness.

The following weeks were a blur of heart ache and tears.

We all thought that I’d start to get over it, that things would get better, but they didn’t, and months later I found myself at a point where I was sleeping almost constantly, and when I wasn’t sleeping I was crying. I stopped going to school, I stopped looking after myself, I didn’t eat and I rarely left the house.

I remember seeing pictures of all my friends out doing things that I hadn’t even been invited to. I remember asking why and being told “you don’t even come into school to see us, why should we make an effort with you?”  I was devastated. The people lucky enough to have their shit together didn’t get it. I wanted my shit together too. This wasn’t a choice and it certainly wasn’t my fault.

I physically couldn’t get myself out of bed in the morning and no one understood. After a year I remember thinking that I didn’t want to live anymore. I couldn’t see the point and these feelings, this sadness, it physically hurt. And to carry that pain every day for months, it was the worst thing I have ever experienced.  I broke down, told my mum everything I’d been feeling and she booked me in to see the Gp.

I left that Gp appointment tightly grasping a diagnosis, a referral to counselling and a prescription for antidepressants. Some packs of medication were taken while others lay untouched. I experienced almost every side effect going but in the long term they did help me. They brought me back to a place in which I was finally able to help myself.  

When I finally started getting it together that guy tried coming back into my life and for a while I let him thinking it would make everything better; but it didn’t, and it started to feel like everything was falling apart all over again. This time I made the decision to leave. I was finally strong enough to walk away with the first lesson of my recovery learnt - never go back to what broke you.

The turning point for me, the moment I realised everything was going to be okay was when I was sitting with family laughing; tear inducing, belly aching laughter and I remember thinking “shit! I’m laughing I’m actually laughing.”

I eventually decided to stop medication. In all honestly I was scared. Scared that id forever be relying on synthetic happiness. There were still more bad days then good, but at least now good days existed. Now, 3 years later there’s more good than bad. I’m in college, I’ve applied to university and I’m finally figuring out what I want to do with my life.

I have a love hate relationship with my depression. I’m grateful at how strong it’s made me but I’m angry and sad that I will never be the person I was before this happened. My depression, it didn’t come out of the blue. Looking back through old diaries I realised I’d been running pretty low for years and I certainly wasn’t happy but I had been functioning up until this point. Depression doesn’t disappear either and I still have bad days. Bad days scare me. Whenever I feel low I always worry it’s another low I won’t be able to shift. I’m still learning to deal with these but when they do rear their ugly head I just need to remember that I have so much to live for. We all do.

1 in 5 people suffer with mental illness. Look around you, how many people could there be silently suffering. Be mindful, be kind, and just be there with them. To hold them when they cry, to make them their favourite meal when they don’t want to eat, or to give them their very own “oh shit! I’m actually laughing” moment.

Mental health. Let’s actually talk about it.

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