We all remember our days at school - our teachers, our friends, the moment the bell rang for break time. As children it's where we spend most of our time, the place where we build not only our academic skills but our knowledge of life and how to live it. But for some children and young people this experience is not quite the same.
What I am saying is try your best to talk to someone, but also don't not talk to anyone. Otherwise, you'll end up feeling worse. I want to say that I wish I had talked about my personal problems earlier in order to get rid of this burden before it got worse - but how can I regret something that is immensely difficult to do?
Suicide is a difficult topic to talk about because there are so many feelings that go alongside it. For some it can be immoral, too upsetting, something "selfish" people do, too sensitive, too dark, maybe even something that people avoid talking about because it is too difficult to understand why someone would commit such an act...
At the age of 51, Kieren Fallon has retired from race riding and closed an umpteenth chapter in his remarkable life.
I left a part of me on the stage that day - that part was made up of fear, shame and an unwillingness to accept me for me. It took a while, but I am now 100% owning my truth.
I totally understand why we hide, sharing the difficult stuff sounds terrifying and i'm the first to admit that being around me on a day like today when I am not hiding is no fun for anyone! But I think it's equally terrifying being isolated and feeling like you are the only one in the world feeling like this on a day like today.
Depression can be frightening. Often we can doubt whether it will ever get better. Being told that it can, is what we want to hear - even if we may find it hard to believe. Being told that we are the one, who has to take responsibility and do something about it, is not something we may want to hear.
At home, at college, in relationships, in comedy etc I was the laid back funny guy that only very rarely let the mask slip. It wasn't until circumstances in my personal life hit a wall that finally the act had to come to an end and for the first time in my life, I snapped and told someone what was going on inside me on any given day.
Depression can be infinitely confusing for all involved. You have to listen, difficult things need to be discussed, patterns need to be identified. It can't be ignored and it can't be shouted out of people. It's the most subjective of all diseases, and it comes at you out of your loved one's face.
I wish people understood social anxiety in the same way as they understand allergies. They understand that if people allergic to nuts have nuts then they go to the special nut-allergy hospital. I assume. I have not researched this article.
Worldwide, one in four of us may be diagnosed with mental health conditions but that doesn't account for how many people are undiagnosed. It doesn't account for how many people feel alone and isolated because of difficulties they're grappling with and they feel like they are the only ones. They're not. None of us need be alone if we are honest and comedy is the most honest art form we have - comedy is the truth wrapped in a lie.
Depression crept into me when I was very young. I can't recall the first time I could identify the sadness, but I remember frequent episodes where I would float out of my body and not recognise myself. I've always felt like two people.
The relief of realising I was actually ill with an illness not merely "rubbish" and "lazy" has been incredible. The fact I can get better, gigs, Leon and my mum and dad who need me; they're what keep me going.
My experience changed me profoundly and believe it or not, as awful as it was I'm glad it happened. I appreciate happiness differently now. I believe that to know true happiness you must also know despair - one helps define the other.
Since receiving the help I desperately needed, I am happy and in control. My anxiety will never truly go away. I still have my bad days. People sometimes don't understand why I spend all day sulking in the corner. It's OK if you don't understand. We're all a bit different. What if you need a little mental health care? What if you know someone who needs it? What will you do?
A lot of people tell me that I am "brave" for being so open about my mental health problems. But one of the reasons why I am open is because I don't want "brave" to be a connotation for opening up mental illness anymore. I want people to talk about their issues without being scared of people's reaction.