The majority of my blogs take the tone of absolute dazzling wit, mainly because I possess the gift which evades the majority of Britain: an aptitude for vocabulary, humour and personal hygiene – however the latter is a completely different matter altogether. This blog is an anomaly in the sense that it is completely vital for you, the reader, to understand how important and how serious the matter at hand is.
Did you manage to catch the TV programme “Ruby Wax’s Mad Confessions”, by any chance? For those who were too busy to actually watch something worthwhile and opted for “Piers Morgan’s Life Stories” or some other absolute TV tripe, I will give you a brief overview. Basically Ruby Wax is now the poster-person for mental health adverts, having battled with depression for a good period of her life. The show centred on Ruby meeting three individuals, all of whom have battled with their own mental illness and all of whom were about to divulge this information to their work colleagues. Amongst all of this, the ever-so-lovely Ruby challenged Society’s view of mental illness and how detrimental to any kind of recovery having a universal stigma attached to the label is. The show concluded with the following: for any kind of change to be made within society people have to speak out about their own mental illness, to fully illustrate the 1 in 4 prevalence rate amongst the population. This is what my blog is aimed to do; to discuss with you my own battle with mental illness. This may be an extremely small step and in the grand scheme of things is rendered totally useless, however if more people follow my lead then change CAN and WILL happen.
For those who know me it may come as a surprise to hear that I suffer from depression and anxiety. Beneath this self-assured and fucking sexy exterior lies a whole lot of psychological turmoil. Wow, I managed to sound so dramatic there but it’s very difficult to select words to adequately describe what suffering from a mental illness feels like. At my worst points I was suicidal and had suicidal thoughts more than five times a day. Take a second to let that sink in. I am a twenty-three year old female with my life ahead of me, yet I couldn’t bare the thought of living any longer. Anybody who has been through something similar will be able to fully relate to me when I say suffering from mental illness is like falling down a black hole and not being able to find your way back. In the case of me, my brain just shut down and my body wouldn’t respond to anything. I cannot tell you how irritating it is when people flippantly say “pull yourself together” or “yeah, I feel depressed sometimes, I get over it”. No. Just, no. When your brain is ill and is working against any form of recovery, you cannot just “pull yourself together”. Even getting through daily life is too hard. There was a period of two and a half weeks where I didn’t even eat a meal, solely because my brain had shut off and I couldn’t see the point in living anymore. Not only was my brain ill but it was making my body ill also. Some days getting out of bed was impossible. Some days I used to lie there, going over in my head how I would kill myself when my brain allowed my body to function. Reading that may make some people feel uncomfortable. It is these people who shy away from helping or doing anything about it. At my worst points, nothing could snap me out of the lonely cycle I was experiencing. Hell, even if a chocolate-smeared Jessie J had been lying on my bed, asking me to take her to places she has never been before, I would not have been able to summon the energy to do anything about it. Let THAT one sink in for a moment.
It’s possibly one of the most scary things to suffer from and somebody who has never experienced it will never ever be able to empathise or understand. I still suffer from the same illness and sometimes I find it extremely hard to see the point in anything, just because my brain is wired to be that way. The ongoing battle with depression and anxiety it something that I desperately hope will stop one day but my Psychological studies have taught me otherwise. So for those ignorant people out there who brush off anybody with mental illness as being “attention seeking”, I am telling you that you are part of the problem. These people will never be able to seek out the help they need if you contribute to the stigma. Who are you to judge somebody as not being mentally ill? – I doubt you hold any form of psychiatric qualification, so you should get over your misplaced self-importance. Karma and all. One day you will be lying on the ground with a broken leg, or something of a similar kind, and somebody will walk past and tell you to get the fuck up and stop whinging.
Within this short blog I hope I have achieved what I set out to do. I hope those people reading this who are in a similar position know that it is okay and completely necessary to speak out about their own mental health issues. Once you get it out there, other people will do the same. I genuinely hope it will become a snowballing effect and we will eventually reach a point where there is no stigma attached to mental illness at all; where those suffering in silence can get the help and compassion they desperately need. I also hope those people reading this who have in the past contributed to somebody’s psychological pain and anguish now know how dangerous their actions can be.
By: Laura Hindley – @LauraHindley2