Gigi. 25. Depressed. Anxious. Panicking. Frightened. Demotivated. Lost. Hurt. Obsessive (+ 100 other words I will refrain from writing) that describe the intensity that is mental illness. Ambitious? Hard working? Caring? Friendly? Organised? It is funny how we question all the good things about ourselves that people have told us.
Is this sounding far too familiar? My experience with mental illness has been an ongoing battle for around six years and boy do I wish it would leave. My main diagnosis is depression and subsequently anxiety, which to be frank is the not the ideal I had in mind for my life.
When I first experienced depression at 19 years old it was almost as if one day my brain began operating differently and I woke up that morning with an uncontrollable urge to want to kill myself. I was so confused and scared that I would never dream of saying how I was feeling out loud. Luckily, I had friends who were goddesses – they noticed something was wrong and enabled me to see a little more clearly.
“They say take every day as it comes, or even every second and honestly in my experience that is the only way to do it.”
Now, six years later, although my suicidal thoughts are still prominent during episodes, I have left a psychiatric hospital with some hope.
It all sounds a bit heavy when I put it into words, right? That is the reality of living with mental illness and if you relate, please seek help. If you are someone that has not experienced mental ill health, then please continue to use resources like Mental Health UK’s information page and to listen to people’s experiences. All you can do is try to understand and you can help.
I’m not sure why the suicidal thoughts came – my life at the beginning of this journey was actually at a high point where I was at university living independently. My childhood experiences were questionably a trigger. However, the reality is there can be multiple reasons why we experience mental ill health. I cannot tell you what exactly in my life, or my brain for that matter, caused this.
All I know is this is something that I have to deal with and battle each day. Calling is the only way that I can get out of rock bottom, whether that be calling friends, professionals or support lines. At the lowest point I cannot rationalise myself, so I need somebody else to.
If you’re feeling helpless or ever have, my most important piece of advice would be to pick up the phone and reach out for help. Call 100 different people until someone answers if you have to. In this moment the people around you will want to help but only if you tell them. And forget the not wanting to bother people because I can assure you, they want to help – my friends tell me this on a daily basis.
They say take every day as it comes, or even every second and honestly in my experience that is the only way to do it.
Mental illness impacts every area of your life. I was so lost and I felt like I didn’t know who I was anymore because my depression had sucked out the things I used to love. In these moments, all we can do is take it one second at a time and be honest with those around us.
As for going forwards I know there will be good days and bad days, good seconds, and bad seconds and the only thing I can do is ride the wave. This intense wave I have recently experienced has helped me get over the barrier of talking about the topic. It has actually been incredibly freeing to share and realise that we all need to just tell the truth about our lives. Not coping? Then say.
As for responsibility and work I hope that one day I will be able to achieve all of my dreams without the illness forcing me to stop, but for now, I will continue to speak up. I also hope to help people with mental health issues, especially young people in troubled environments as a means of prevention.
Helping people can change lives and, well, it is also the best form of self-help. If you need help, support or someone to talk to, please do use organisations like Mental Health UK and my inbox is always open if you’re looking for a listening ear or if you want to learn more about my experience. I am available on Instagram.
If you’ve been affected by suicide or you’d like to learn more, visit our information page, which provides an overview of suicide, highlights facts and common misconceptions, and signposts to support and educational resources available.
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