Tomorrow – 10th September – is World Suicide Prevention Day. Please talk – because you deserve better than to struggle in silence. You are not alone, I promise.
Things really aren’t good at the moment, the cloud remains heavy despite trying everything I can to shift it. I don’t feel able to write much, but I wanted to share something which reminded me why it is that I do my blog, why it is so important to raise awareness and remove the stigma surrounding mental health issues.
In the midst of the summer holidays, the demons were loud as I expected and even though we were away from home, there was no escape from the persistent depression that follows me around. My Husband and I were sitting in a quiet corner of a play park while our eldest had fun on the swings, our youngest was sat with us enjoying the sunshine. As is the modern way, instead of talking to each other, he was on his phone checking Twitter. He mentioned he had a message from the mental health charity Time To Change, who had shared my blog on both their Twitter and Facebook pages. This was huge for me, they are a big name in mental health and for them to think my ramblings were worth sharing was quite overwhelming.
Over the coming hours and days, I watched the Facebook likes/shares (and the Twitter equivalent) increase in number. I found it quite daunting, to know that so many people were reading what I had written and I was worried about what response it would get.
It took me a long time before I felt able to read the comments – my anxiety (for no logical reason) had me convinced they would be full of abuse. When I did read through though, I was incredibly touched. So many people saying those words we all want to hear “me too”. Just two words that mean so much when the depression makes you feel so alone. There were of course a handful of people who didn’t agree with what I’d written, they weren’t nasty about it, we just have different opinions, everyone’s battle is unique.
In addition to the reactions directly on the Time To Change post, there have been a number of new members to my private Facebook group. Initially I set it up just so people could follow my blog, but it has turned into something much more than that. It is a safe place for people to talk, to share battles and frustrations, to tell of victories that others who don’t struggle with a mental illness might not see the same way. To help and support each other through the sometimes seemingly impossible task of making it through another day. It has been so lovely to have new people come along to the group as a result of the Time To Change share. It helps me to speak with others who understand how I feel, and I hope it is helping others to realise they are not alone in their fight.
Depression and other mental health illnesses make you feel isolated. You push your friends away because you feel like a burden to them. You can’t always explain clearly to those around you how you feel, but you’re desperate for them to understand and tell you that they love you. You’re not lazy, rude or unsociable, you’re exhausted, struggling, scared and feel alone. It is so important to talk, to say how you are feeling. It doesn’t matter who to, whether it’s someone you’re close to or in a group on Facebook where you know no one. Saying it out loud is not a miracle cure but I do think it is an important step to taking back some control from the darkness.
I’ve come across some incredible people since the Time To Change post, some are still in the early days of their journey, others have been fighting for years. What bonds us though is how much we want to be honest about our battles without fear of judgement – 900 odd Facebook shares of the original post prove that given the chance, between us, we can end the stigma surrounding mental health illnesses.
Please feel free to contact me / join my private Facebook support group –