I have wanted to write about this for a little while.
Until now I have never been brave enough (or silly enough?) to actually do it.
I'm considerably private and the thought of being judged or talked about kills me. I wouldn't want to appear weak and vulnerable and although it shouldn't, any sympathy makes me feel awkward and undeserving.
All I'm desperate to be is the strong, easy going, happy person that I know I am but this part of me is becoming harder to find.
Some days I feel 'normal' and day to day life is rosy, crystal clear and beautiful. I am a better me and feel so grateful for everything in my life and excited for the future.
When I least expect it the bright, easy days get darker, my vision turns blurry and my brain becomes so tired and foggy. I am painfully lonely and I truly get lost for a while. Every day I am trying my absolute hardest to find my way back.
1 in 4 people in the UK suffer from a mental illness. If it is so common then why am I ashamed to admit that I am one of those statistics?
Why do I feel so uncomfortable and scared to even talk about it?
Years ago, before I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression, I didn't understand it at all. No way was it a real 'illness' and as awful as it sounds, I thought 'depressed' people were just negative and attention seeking. Obviously now my opinions have dramatically changed and I appreciate the facts.
Mental health problems can be genetic or caused by traumatic life events, but you can also be the happiest person in the world with a wonderful life and just like a physical disease - a mental illness can affect you at any time. It's not as simple as being a bit worried and sad, it's completely crippling and destructive.
I don't want to be anxious or to feel depressed. I hate it. If I could snap out of it, believe me I would. This illness has changed me as a person, halted opportunities, knocked my confidence and ruined friendships. A constant voice in my head that tells me I'm not good enough and everything is hopeless, the first thoughts that enter my mind as I wake up and the last at night. It makes me tearful, irritable, on edge, exhausted and unable to concentrate or make plans.
The worst part is the guilt I feel for how I am. I'm aware there is so much worse going on the world and some people go through more upset than I will ever comprehend. My life is pretty good and in so many ways, I am unbelievably lucky. I also worry so much that my children notice the down days even though I make every effort to shield them from it.
I know I push people away when I'm at my worst and it's not that I don't want help, but it's because I can't stand my loved ones witnessing me in a bad place and I like to make people feel happy, not miserable or awkward. Anxiety also tells me that nobody cares or 'understands me', which deep down I know isn't the case.
As I mentioned before, a lot of the time I can keep everything under control and I'm ok. I look for every positive outcome and treat most issues with a sense of humour. I'm still not certain what triggers my problems and why I go through these difficult periods, but hopefully one day I may understand a bit more. In the meantime, I shall carry on battling and not let the illness win, like so many others. I'm not the only one with issues and we all fight our own inner demons every day.
This was a big step for me and I have posted this for a few reasons. To air my thoughts and feelings, to raise some awareness about mental health and hopefully to reassure someone out there feeling the same. There's definitely not as much stigma towards mental health as there was in the past but it still seems a bit of a taboo to talk openly about.
Thank you for reading.