For as long as I can remember, I have been fighting a battle with my mind. I don't want your pity, but I want you to understand. I first thought about ending my life when I was 6 years old, I didn't know what I was doing, I just knew I didn't want to be on this planet. I'd go to school and be called ugly, I'd come home and feel unloved, and all I saw was my family in dispute all the time.
When I was 14 I experienced trauma, which turned my world upside down. I felt so much pain, which led me to self-harming and attempting to take my own life. I also started to hear voices, which terrified me. What followed was a blur of hospital admissions, therapy, and unbearable sadness. Thankfully, with time, support and life changes, things started to get better.
What I needed was love, but what I got was judgement. My friends mum thought I'd kill her children because I hear voices, despite the fact I have never been violent in my life. Health care professionals would call me dramatic when I turned up at A&E feeling suicidal. When I found courage to open up about trauma I experienced, I was told I must be lying because I have a personality disorder. In the midst of despair, no one deserves to be judged for being human. So much pain could have been prevented if I would have felt able to ask for help.
Talking can save lives. I know you've probably heard this before, but please, if you're feeling low, or anxious, or even happy, what have you got to lose by sharing it? Why are we all (including me) so embarrassed to admit when we feel rubbish? Is it embarrassing to tell someone you have a cold? It was only when I started talking to people, that I found a new perspective, and finally some hope. I used to think that I was worthless, and that everyone hated me, but, by simply talking to people, I started to believe that maybe I was worth something too. Admitting you're low is not weak, but hiding it is.
The government have a responsibility to us, because essentially they work, for us. Part of that responsibility is to ensure they are doing everything they can to promote mental health awareness, give more funding to mental health services, and improve the quality of live for those struggling with mental illness. People die every day, because they didn't get the support they needed.
No matter whether you're a politician with the power to influence public spending and health policies, or whether you're a plumber, receptionist, doctor, unemployed, a student etc. with the power to change someone's life with a conversation, we all have a voice and we need to use it now more than ever.