When battling with the darkness that seems to seep through every fibre of your being, it can being an Everest of a task to cry for help. When self-loathing is normal, when despair is standard and when hopelessness is eternal, it feels pointless to find help. There have been many times when I felt I would be a burden and even worse I thought people were bored of my illness. I thought people were thinking that I needed to just get over it and stop being so down. There's an intense amount of guilt associated with depression; I felt guilty for being unwell. With this guilt comes a paranoia people are mentally rolling their eyes when I have another depressive episode. So, managing to pick up the phone when despair is coming out through screams is a daunting task.
When I had a major meltdown recently I managed to pick up the phone and speak to my twin through sobbing and screaming. His calm demeanour helped to subside the panic and darkness. With a great support network comes a domino effect of help. My brother lives many miles away from me so he got in touch with my sister who dropped everything at work and came straight to my house. She patiently sat by my side while I continued to scream. I screamed because my head felt like it was on fire. Being mentally ill is physically painful at times and it can be hard to convey to someone who hasn't experienced it. It's like a migraine yet it's completely different. Your mind is being bombarded with horrendous thoughts and it is torture. All I wanted to do was tear my head open and remove my brain to silence the torment. I actually wondered if I was going insane.
My sister's brave dedication to sit with me as the sobbing finally subsided was wonderful. I can only imagine how scary it was for her to see me in such a state and I thank her for the love and care she gave me. That's the thing, unconditional love and support is truly priceless and live saving. My friends and family put steps into place to ensure I was not only cared for but that I was also safe. In the past few months I have had far too many suicidal thoughts and desires to harm myself. Unfortunately some of those thoughts have become reality but even in the sadness of friends' eyes knowing I have self-harmed, they have not abandoned me. I feel very, very fortunate to have such a vast network of support; if I were to write the names of everyone who has loved me recently I would fill a page. It is humbling and it is awe inspiring to be able to find comfort in the care of so many beautiful people.
I know it is a very lonely illness and I know it feels too difficult to ask for help from friends and family, but if your are struggling, if you are staring into the abyss, let the hand of a loved one reach out of that abyss and take you to safety. I am alive because of the power of love and I am happy to be alive and to have currently survived depression.
Need help? In the UK, call The Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90. For more support and advice, visit the website here.