Mental Health My Musings Self Care


My mind has always played tricks on me.

I’m still learning the hard way that nothing and no one has the power to truly make me happy but my own self. This may seem evident to some but for me, it can be painfully hard to apply on a daily basis.

I have suffered from chronic depression since I was about sixteen. I’ve been fortunate to have an amazing childhood, loving, caring family and friends, beautiful homes across the world, I have been blessed. So how could I be depressed some may ask? 

Depression isn’t just ‘feeling sad’, it’s feeling empty yet consumed with negative thoughts, afraid even when there is no real danger, entirely alone while being surrounded. Feeling like you’re suffocating, except you’re choking yourself and you can’t seem to stop. Like there is no way out. Constantly judging yourself, feeling like you’re a total failure and your existence is meaningless regardless of all the accomplishments, love and support you may have.

No, you don’t just sit and cry for a bit, at times you actually can’t move, can’t speak, can’t eat or sleep. You’re exhausted, anxious and overwhelmed. You try different ways to cope by escaping altogether, always finding that in doing so, you lose more of yourself, allowing and participating in your own destruction.

When you sink deeper and harder, you may become ashamed of yourself, of these uncontrollable feelings. The harm you feel you are putting your body through, the absolute chaos manifesting in your own head. You are aware that your state of feeling ultimately being, cannot accurately be seen or understood, only felt within. So you live in fear as you continue to think others may perceive this illness as an exaggeration, a weakness, a cry for attention, a complete lack of self control. How dare you feel depressed when there is so much more suffering in the world you haven’t experienced? You feel like a coward, like you’ve let your loved ones down. And so it continues, the self sabotage accompanied with constant, inescapable guilt.

Matt Haig wrote in his brilliant book Reasons To Stay Alive, “You are no less or more of a man or a woman or a human for having depression than you would be for having cancer or cardiovascular disease or a car accident. So what should we do? Talk. Listen. Encourage talking. Encourage listening. Keep adding to the conversation. Stay on the lookout for those wanting to join in the conversation. Keep reiterating, again and again, that depression is not something you ‘admit to’, it is not something you have to blush about, it is a human experience. A boy-girl-man-woman-young-old-black-white-gay-straight-rich-poor experience. It is not you. It is simply something that happens to you.”

I’ve recently stopped being afraid of admitting to the world but mostly to myself, that I suffer from depression. Speaking out this year as a survivor of abuse from a past relationship, also helped me face my long history with depression. To be honest I still feel uncomfortable about it all. My aim isn’t to announce this in order to earn invisible brownie points for ‘endurance’. I was always reluctant to share because I thought this would be what people choose to remember me by. I don’t want depression to define me but I cannot deny it exists within me. The same goes with abuse, both happened to me.

I’m a human being dealing with stuff just like any other human does. However, I believe it’s important to remind myself that my feelings are indeed valid because they are part of my existence, my reality. Living in denial or in secret turmoil about my inner self battles, my fears and struggles, will only keep me further isolated. 

“Where talk exists, so does hope.” (Matt Haig) 

You may feel like I used to and think talking to others would only bother them. Or worse, that you should be able to deal with everything on your own, after all isn’t that what a strong person would do? Well please stop that now! There is power in showing your vulnerability and there are many people waiting to listen, help, support, love and care. There is immeasurable strength in having the courage to be seen and heard just as you are

I therefore encourage you to reach out, share your voice and experience with others. I turned to two extraordinary friends, whose support and guidance have changed my life. Make the ask.

Remember to be gentle, patient and kind with yourself. Read, write, learn about mental health if it helps. I trust you will be positively surprised by the response because believe me, you are not alone. Mental health has never been so important and it is never too late to take care of yours.

Sending you all love and light, M.