This is another long post but I would be extremely grateful if you could read it and any feedback would be appreciated. It explains more about my own battle with mental health issues and provides more of an insight into ‘me’ as a person. So for me my main demon was depression. Not just mild depression but the soul destroying kind. The kind that makes you want to end your own life.
Severe depression is like being trapped in a living hell. There is no joy, no hope, no positive thoughts for the future its just pure and utter agony and despair.
Depression changed my whole personality. I went from being happy, sociable and full of life and energy to someone who was a complete shell of a person. I never laughed or smiled. I became withdrawn and for me the most agonising part was the suicidal thoughts.
I had never been suicidal previously…the thought had quite simply never crossed my mind. I had a wonderful childhood. I was never bullied at school and I always had a great group of friends who would have done anything for me.
Severe depression made me want to die. I looked up methods daily, I planned it in my head. I wanted to die! I remember staring at train tracks longingly, telling my therapist that I dreamed of going to the beach late at night and throwing myself into the sea as I couldn’t swim. Suddenly the world becomes a place where suicide seems like the best option. Trees suddenly become things you could ‘hang yourself from’. The sea…now becomes someplace which could end your suffering. I came close. I wanted to do it but I couldn’t. Suicide may seem selfish but the reality is that when your in that much mental pain you would do anything for that pain to end.
I’m one of the lucky ones. I’m a survivor but so many others aren’t as fortunate. All it takes is one fleeting moment of madness or courage depending on how you look at it and life could be over! There is no coming back from suicide. Suicide is final. They say that suicide is a permanent decision to a temporary pain. That is so true. I never believed I would get better, but I did. For anyone that is feeling suicidal please get help it may just save your life. For those that know someone who is suicidal please listen to them. Take them seriously you might just help save that persons life. I am so grateful to be alive. I love my life and the people in it. I know a few people who have committed suicide recently and its heart breaking. Its heart-breaking for the ones left behind…the survivors of suicide…the friends and family! Imagine how you would feel if someone close to you chose to end your life. For me that is something which I don’t think id recover from. That was my protective factor….. that is what kept me alive. Knowing that I couldn’t put my family through that sheer devastation.
So SPEAK OUT. Tell people let them help you. Ring Samaritans, get in touch with MIND. Pick up that phone and confide in a friend or loved one. Do it now because you deserve to get better!
Telling your parents and brother…..the people that love you most in the world that you want to die is awful! I made my 6 foot 7 brother cry like a baby as he was terrified he was going to lose me. He begged me to get help…….he pleaded with me not to harm myself. I put them through hell! My family were in bits but I couldn’t have cared less.
I was angry at them for forcing me to be alive. I kept telling them that I never asked to be born and pleading with them to help end my suffering. I felt like a burden I thought they and everyone else would be better off without me.
When you are severely depressed you are selfish. I was incredibly selfish. I didn’t care about other people….I just wanted to be at peace. The ‘real me’ is very different. I care about people….even people I don’t know that well. I want to help people. The reason I’m still on my site is because I know what you are all going through. I know how hard it is but I also know that it can get better. Depression robbed me of that it turned me into a bitter, angry, jealous and miserable person.
Every thought I had was negative. ‘I’m ugly’, ‘worthless’, ‘I hate myself’, ‘I’m useless’, ‘a burden’….’a complete and utter waste of space’. I despised myself and the person I had become. As a result I isolated myself from friends and family I pushed everyone away.
For me depression was worse on the mornings. Id wake up in tears every single day. The amount of times I spent sobbing on my bedroom floor because I couldn’t bare to face the world was ridiculous. It took a monumental effort every morning to get out of bed. I had no pride in my appearance…I wore the same clothes every day and I didn’t care about anything. I also did very little. Everyday was the same. Like some god awful Groundhog day. I would sit in front of the TV (not even watching it) all day every day. I was emotionless (apart from the random outbursts of crying), lifeless and had essentially given up on life.
This went on for nearly a year. My family didn’t know how to help me. I quit counselling, I refused help and I stopped taking medication.
Depression exploits your weaknesses and vulnerabilities. For me it focused on work and relationships. I developed a fear of work. Having quite two jobs due to severe depression and anxiety I was terrified to re enter the workplace. I had no self esteem and no faith in my own abilities. I got better through volunteering and slowly building my confidence back up. I volunteered at Cancer Research and the people there saved my life. They were so kind and compassionate and they inspired me to be a better person. That led to me getting a job as Assistant Manager at Scope. Again I was fortunate to work with such lovely people and even though I became ill again they supported me. They really helped me and tried to help me get better. I can never repay that kindness.
As for relationships (in the romantic sense I didn’t have any). I thought I was unlovable, a freak…..abnormal. I believed that no man would ever love me. I thought I had nothing to offer and I resigned myself to being alone.
Its hard not to compare ourselves to others. We all do it, particularly in this modern age of social media (which there appears to be no escape from) its difficult not to think that everyone else’s lives are perfect. I never thought I would meet anyone, get married or start a family. I was desperately afraid of being alone but it seemed that…. that was my future. I’m still single but my attitude and perception has changed. I now believe that I will find someone, that I will one day get married and start a family if that is what I choose. I’m excited about the prospect of meeting someone special but also a little scared.
I’m very open when it comes to friendships but I’m a lot more guarded when it comes to romantic relationships. There always that fear ‘what if I get hurt’, ‘what if they reject me’, ‘what if they find someone better’. Life is full of ‘what ifs’. However things will never change if we don’t challenge those negative thoughts and strive to be better and take opportunities which could be a risk.
Unfortunately there are no guarantees in life. In opening yourself up you may open yourself up to hurt but you also let in the good people the people that will have a positive impact on your life.
I’m very much of the opinion that positivity attracts positivity. The moment you start believing in yourself is the moment you can do anything. Self love is important. How can we expect anyone to love us if we don’t love ourselves? It saddens me when I see so many people on this site tearing themselves down. Those that hate their own appearance or hate everything about themselves. I’m not afraid to admit that I love myself. I’m proud of the fact that I’m still standing today. I’m proud of all I have accomplished and I’m proud that I’m the type of person that wants to help others and strives to make a difference.
For me I needed to change. All of a sudden one day I thought to myself ‘I cant live like this any longer’. I need to get better if not for myself then for my family. This life that I have created is no life at all. I thought about my life prior to my breakdown about all the happy memories I had and I thought to myself what’s stopping me from becoming that person again. I made a decision right there and then to get better.
Recovery is a long and agonising process. It isn’t easy but its worthwhile. It requires a lot of effort and perseverance but it is possible.
Everybody has a survival instinct buried inside. Even those that want to die, especially those that want to die have hidden strength inside which when push comes to shove gets them through it! We all want to survive, we all want to be happy, we all want to live a life that is worthwhile.
I would currently say I’m 100% recovered (although at times I worry I’m edging into mania). I feel very positive about the future and life feels great. My personality and sense of fun is back and my zest for life has returned.
I’m not naïve. I understand depression and anxiety could rear its ugly head again. There are no guarantees in life BUT I promise you this should it return I will fight it with every inch of my being. I will not allow it to destroy me and take over my life.
Id like to think I’m more equipped to deal with it and I’m aware of the things that could trigger me. I am an EXPERT in my OWN mental health issues. I can recognise the signs and patterns and ultimately I am the one that can save myself.
To all those fighting, never give up! There will be a day when you are in my position, when you have made it to the other side and let me tell you this, that feeling is incredible….euphoric even.
Take care and fight….fight with every inch of your being because you WILL GET BETTER. I truly believe that.
Lastly if you are depressed or suicidal or both get help. Do it now. Recovery is achievable but you need all the help you can get. Never be ashamed to speak out. Depression is not a sign of weakness its an illness. Its incredibly tough, but it can be managed. You wouldn’t judge someone with a physical illness so don’t judge someone with mental health issues. Mental health is an epidemic. More and more people are struggling with a wide range of issues. We can choose to ignore this or we can choose to fight, we can choose to make a difference we can choose to make our voice heard. I’m a huge advocate of speaking about mental health. Its important. I have never being ashamed and I refuse to be silenced about it. I am fortunate that I have received nothing but love and support from others…this is not the case for everyone. Some people have no one. No one to confide in. Those are the people that need help. Those are the people we should be listening too. Kindness costs nothing but it gives so much in return. So if someone tells you that they are feeling down or anxious then listen to them….be kind and don’t judge. All anybody needs in life is someone to confide in, someone who will listen without judgement. Take care and keep fighting.