There’s such a stigma around Mental Health, a taboo subject people feel uncomfortable talking about. Suffering from depression and anxiety myself, I know that it can sometimes feel embarrassing or shameful to open up about it. I’ve got three wonderful babies that I love so much I could sometimes burst, a loving family and great bunch of friends, but even with that good support network I often feel alone and that I’m not doing the best job in being a mother, daughter, friend or even just as a human being.
Feeling this way can be an awfully dark place, there are times where I feel like a visitor in my own body and it can be frustrating (and insensitive) when you’re told to ‘get over it’ or ‘cheer up’, which can occasionally come from the people closest to you. It really isn’t that easy. Imagine feeling scared and tired at the same time, caring about everything then nothing in a split second. Wanting to shut yourself off and be alone but not to feel lonely. Wanting to have your family and friends around but not wanting to be sociable. You want to be productive but have no motivation and the fear of failure exhumes you. This is what it feels like having anxiety and depression, it’s feeling everything at once then feeling completely numb as if you are paralysed the next.
The last few years have been tough and draining on my Mental Health, I reached the lowest of the low this year to the point where I couldn’t see any escape out of it. As a mother, you want to protect your babies from any pain or suffering however when that is all you are feeling yourself, you can feel that the only way to deal with it is to not continue, that expressing how you feel puts a burden on everyone else around you and everyone would be better off without you. You have days where you’re on top of the world, and the darkness you felt before is a distant memory. But it’s not, it’s always lurking in the back waiting to knock you off your feet unexpectedly. When this happens, all you want to do is shut yourself away from the world. Everything is effort; leaving the house and having to face people can be daunting, basic everyday tasks like housework and washing can build up and can make you feel even worse for having let it get like that, even sleeping can be a strenuous job. The feeling you feel is heavy. Heavy on your heart, heavy on your shoulders, heavy on your mind. You want to cry, lash out, runaway and start again. It doesn’t last forever though, these feelings soon pass, having three children I have to force myself out of it, carry on like I haven’t got the weight of the world on my shoulders. Business as usual. It’s those three little faces that keep me going from day to day which I have become even more so aware of as of late. If I didn’t have them to keep me focussed I know how easy I would find it to lock myself away for days and sink deeper and deeper into the darkness.
If you look at my social media you wouldn’t think there was this side to me. As humans, we like to project this idea that life is perfect and we couldn’t possibly feel that sometimes there is no way out. Like what sort of person could feel that way? How selfish can one person be? But it’s not that, depression, anxiety, OCD, impulsivity etc, is not a choice. We don’t choose to feel this way. Trust me, there have been times when I have cried my eyes out wishing I was ‘normal’. What is normal though? I know that I will never be free of the dark days and I will probably be taking my anti-depressants for the rest of my life as I’m terrified of going back to the lowest point I’ve ever been, but I will not let my Mental Health problems define me. They are something I experience not something I am.
Just know that you are not alone. It’s okay not to be okay. It’s okay to ask for help. And it’s bloody well okay to talk about it without feeling ashamed. You are amazing because there is nothing more terrifying than battling strength over mind each and every day and don’t let anyone tell you any different. Don’t make anyone feel like you are doing this by yourself and stay away from people who make you feel like you are hard to love. I promise you this will pass, and although it will return, just remember that you got through yesterday so you can get through today.
For help and support visit your GP or visit www.mind.org.uk