As many of you I’m sure can relate, mental illness really is ‘the silent killer’. Whether it be depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder or any of the many others, mental illness can really take its hold on you just as bad as any physical illness that you can see. Just because it is invisible doesn’t mean it’s not there. In fact, it can be even harder to deal with as you can’t always pinpoint what the problem is.
It’s been exactly a year since we’ve covered any mental health issues, but this changes today! I’ve dealt with mental illness throughout my life, by sharing my story hopefully it will helps others. Not only this, it will introduce you all to our new campaign ‘Mental Illness- The Silent Killer’ which you will shortly be seeing more of… so keep an eye out!
I hope you enjoy my story- Ash x
I have struggled with depression/anxiety myself since I was about 16 and it’s been a hell of a journey to get where I am today, but a journey I’m extremely proud of. I wanted to share this story to show people that yes – it really does get better.
Despite it being a cliché we’ve all heard at some point, it’s true. But getting to where you need to be doesn’t come easily!
When I was younger I remember gradually getting more and more depressed, I wouldn’t leave the house, speak to friends and barely spoke to my family too. For some people, there may be a traumatic experience that brings on depression but for me, it sort of came out of nowhere. In a way it was more frustrating because I had an amazing life and family around me, I felt guilty like I didn’t have a right to be depressed because I had everything I needed. But I learned over time that was silly, it was an illness and no different a concept to someone being diagnosed with cancer.
Although people around me noticed me removing myself from everything, I always denied it because I hadn’t really accepted myself that something was wrong. But one day I cracked and confided in my mother how I felt.
At that moment, things started to slowly improve. Just by telling someone I wasn’t okay was the first step to getting better. I started to see my doctor regularly and after some time I was prescribed anti-depressants which helped immensely.
At first, I was ashamed to have to take medication to feel okay but then I realized it’s no different to someone taking medication for diabetes or something. Around this time I had started university and I couldn’t handle it, I wasn’t in the right state of mind to go through that so I left and that was a real low point in my life. I felt like such a failure and I wondered how I would ever succeed at anything.
Fast forward to this day and I can’t believe the changes that have come in my life. I found my old journal that I used to write in when I felt down and reading back over it was quite emotional and surreal. Seeing the person I used to be, how horrible I felt about myself and how hopeless I was really was sad to look back on.
But I’m glad I did read it because it showed me in black and white how far I’ve come and what I’ve achieved, things I never thought I could possibly do. I’m now in my second year of university, living in another country and I’m happy, content with life. I couldn’t have done it without the amazing support system I’ve had, my family and my girlfriend who are my absolute rocks.
Although I’m still taking medication, I’m on a lower dose and working towards weaning off them completely. Being proud of myself was never something I felt but how can I not be proud of myself after how far I’ve come.
To sum it up – never give up. There’s so much in life to experience and you are stronger than your illness, you are 100% capable of overcoming it and it will make you the person you are, an amazing person who has the strength to fight one of the toughest things you can experience. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, we are only human and if we didn’t struggle sometimes that wouldn’t be natural.
There is always someone who cares – you just have to help yourself to be helped, I promise it will be the best thing you ever did.
If you are dealing with depression, it’s important to talk to your parents or seek medical advice. You are NOT alone, you can always talk to us if you are unsure on what to do.