From the outside looking in, many of you will probably see a healthy, happy, and confident woman but those who truly know me, know this isn’t always the case.
Since my early teens, I have had a very on and off relationship with depression and anxiety. I say on and off because there have been many times I felt I’d beaten it to realise weeks or even months later I’m right back where I started.
Growing up battling this day by day has changed my perception of relationships, work environments and the world we live in today. I’m not going to sit here and say people have chased me down the street with pitchforks and bulbs of fire but the general statement ‘people are more accepting these days’ to me isn’t entirely true. My first emotion when being diagnosed was an overwhelming feeling of embrassament and the only person I felt I could talk to was my mum, as the years went by I became more trusting in the friends I had around me. In school I’d act out and try and be the joker, as making people laugh was the one thing that made me feel normal. I’d go through stints of bottling everything in just so nobody saw what actually lied beneath. But I soon realised that this was not an illness you could mask and one way or another it will come bursting out of you.
Fast forward to 2017 and I’m now at a place where I no longer feel ashamed, embarrassed or scared. This illness doesn’t define me but is simply part of me. I know that I am not along with 1 in 4 people being affected by this, some of which suffer in complete silence, a silence that can be deafening and the reality is dealing with the illness is a lot easier with a helping hand. I used to think depression and anxiety made me weak and had taken away the person I should of been if I was ‘normal’. But I’m writing this to let you know that that isn’t the case. We are strong and in many ways I believe this illness will make us a better person and here’s why;
We are more in tune with emotions, therefore are able to be more empathetic.
Whether it’s a family member, friend or stranger but we know how it feels to it rock bottom and we wouldn’t wish it on our worst enemies so we always offer a hand, no matter who they are.
We are less judgemental.
We know there is always more going on underneath the surface.
We are more patient.
Being in control is not something we are used to feeling and we understand that sometimes rushing something or someone will not provide a better result.
We appreciate happiness a lot more.
Happiness may sometimes feel like a foreign word to us but when it comes we bask in all its golden glory!
We become more forgiving.
We have experienced enough pain and anger without holding on to anymore, so we find it easier to forgive and move on.
We appreciate the little things.
Whether it’s ordering in your favourite pizza or sipping a cuppa in bed on a Sunday.