Friday, 10 October 2014

World Mental Health Day - reflections

Today is World Mental Health Day and I have only just heard about it now, it's 9pm. I feel like this has prompted me to say something because mental illness has been a big part of my life since i can remember.

Mental health isn't exactly the most spoke about subject and quite often it gets pushed to the back of people's minds. A mental illness is just as bad and equally devastating as a physical illness yet there seems to be a huge stigma attached to talking about our mental wellbeing.

My personal experience with mental health really widened my eyes and it really changes the way I look at people. 

I am an ordinary girl, people probably see me as a happy go lucky 23 year old, making my way through life and trying to find where I fit in but that is just the outside. I have personally suffered from depression since my early teens and only had the courage to go to the doctors when I was 17 years old. I was scared to tell someone how I was feeling and to be quite honest I was embarrassed and ashamed. I had a loving family, friends and lived in a nice house. What did I need to be depressed about?

I think that is the most assumed thing about depression. People think you need to have a reason and it's not like that for everyone. Depression is such a controlling and vile illness. It grabs hold of every thought in your head and vanishes it into thin air replacing it with only dark, lonely and sometimes frightening thoughts. You feel like you are trapped within 4 walls with no door to escape. There are some days when I crossed the street I would hope to god that a car would hit me and I wouldn't have to be here anymore. Depression has ruined friendships and relationships and I lost someone I loved more than anything because it wouldn't let me see and experience how amazing my life was.

Depression obviously isn't the only mental illness out there and it's important that people don't look at people with mental health issues as 'mental'. We are not mental. Our mind thinks in a different way to yours and that's just the way it is.

What's annoying is the statements people tend to make or advice they try to give you about your situation. 

"Why don't you just be happy?"


"You just need to change your frame of mind."

Oh if it was only that simple. You think I enjoy feeling this way do you? 

When will step back and realise that not everything is in our control? I haven't had cancer but I can sympathise and understand how horrific it is and devastating it is on an individual's life and wellbeing. I would really hope that one day people get to this point with depression and understand that just because it's not visible to the eye, it's there and it's not a matter of 'being happy' or 'changing your frame of mind'. It's about support.

What I'm really saying is, please talk to someone. It can change your life. I suffered for years only myself knowing what I was putting myself through and that is no way to live. Not everyone is going to understand. I once had a close friend tell me 'I don't believe in depression' and I was genuinely baffled. It literally is pure ignorance but I can promise you that not everyone is narrow minded and you may realise that others around you are feeling the same way. I am lucky I have friends and family who have been through the same and are able to offer me support and advice when I really need it.

If you need help or support please go to or ring 0300 123 3393

What do you think about the stigma attached to mental illness?

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