It is Mental Health Awareness Week and I thought I would take this opportunity to tell you more about my battle with mental health. There are parts of my fight that I am particularly open with, yet there are parts I keep deep within my soul. Mental Health presents itself in different ways for every one of its victims so it’s only fair I tell the world how my mental health imprisons me.
This is me today. I did my hair and I did my make up and I wore a smile. I don’t do this every day. Today I didn’t do my hair and make up to look pretty, I did it to cover up the bags under my eyes and the red skin. I did it to pretend that everything in my life is okay. As the day has gone on, my hair has got worse. Growing frizzer and unruly. My make up beginning to melt and rub.
Sometimes I like to think that my hair is a representation of what my mental health does to me. Some days, it behaves itself. On the surface it is glorious and glossy, each curl defined and beautiful. Some days, it starts the day soft and kind but it ends the day wild and unfree. Going against everything I try to do. And then some days, it refuses to do what I want. I will try and fail time and time again to get it to behave but it won’t.
This is my mental health.
Some days, I am okay. I can get out of bed, put on the prettiest of clothes and go and change the minds of young souls at school. Some days, the day starts well. I am contempt but as the day goes on little things dig away at me, triggering whatever it is inside of me. Inside I am a volcano. Very good at keeping things in check but sometimes it is the tiniest of things that can light the fire and it never stops. Some days, I am not okay at all. I am exhausted despite having eight hours sleep. I over eat or under eat. I cannot focus, my eyes go fuzzy and I don’t know what to do.
I suffer from un-diagnosed depression and anxiety. Un-diagnosed because I have a genuine fear of doctors. I’ve done all the online tests and I’ve spoken to people and they all agree – I have mental health issues.
My anxiety stops me from meeting new people, going to new places, trying new things. It stops me from getting the help I need. My depression leaves me exhausted, I under eat, I over eat, I can’t bear to leave my room. My anxiety leaves me silent and isolated, my depression leaves me lying in bed.
Nobody at work knows about my mental health. I didn’t disclose it on my application form because I didn’t want to be treated differently. I didn’t want to take mental health days, I didn’t want to be seen to have a disability. That’s my choice though.
There are some days where I don’t feel that I have the right to say I have depression or anxiety. That my anxiety isn’t bad enough, my depression isn’t bad enough. Right now, my depression and anxiety isn’t that bad but there were times not that long ago when I couldn’t face living on this earth any longer. I felt I was a waste of space, a waste of air, a waste of a bed. I couldn’t do it. I had the tablets and I had the sea at my disposal. There was many a night where I wanted to walk into the sea and fight the urge to swim. There was many a night where I didn’t want to wake up in the morning. There was many a night where I looked at the pile of tablets on my desk… but something within me stopped.
I’m one of the lucky ones. There are some where life is too much.
My depression and anxiety are part of who I am now and I don’t think I’m ashamed of it anymore. If people ask, I will gladly talk about it. If I feel it is the right time, I will share bits of my soul. God has given me this life for a reason and I am still learning why He’s thrown all this hardship at me. Maybe it’s because He wants me to encourage others, maybe it’s because He wants me to educate others. Maybe it’s because I can prove to myself and others that this life is full of ups and downs but we can get through it.
It’s Mental Health Awareness Week. It’s time to talk. Do you struggle with mental health? Do you know someone who does? Have a chat over a cup of tea. Thank that person who helped you when you were at your lowest, talk to that person who always seems alone. I know that there are people out there who have a much harder time with mental health than I do. Where people can’t actually get out of bed, can’t brush their hair or brush their teeth. But the way I feel is true and just and I know it is real.