Tuesday, 9 February 2016


Thursday 4th February saw the campaign Time To Talk Day with a view to put mental health in the spot light, and end misconceptions about around it. 
Mental health affects 1 in 4 people in any given year and amongst young people 1 in 10 will experience a mental health issue. Hiday et a 1999 found that “People with severe mental illnesses, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or psychosis, are 2 ½ times more likely to be attacked, raped or mugged than the general population”
Mental health still faces enormous stigma in our society and is sensationalised in the media, portraying mental health illness suffers as violent to others, or tragic victims. With the negative, dismissive, and outright insulting narrative of mental health it’s hardly surprising that people would be ashamed to speak out about their own experiences.

My depression peaked around the age of 18. I was in 6th form. I don’t remember much but I remember that it suddenly became increasingly difficult for me to leave the house, and eventually leave my bed. The nights before school I found myself gasping for air, choking on tears as this terror filled me. The anticipation of the next day was too much.
Naturally it affected my studies and I became anxious at the domino effect as I gradually fell behind with each of my subjects. My head of year arranged it so that I was able to study one subject, but I was only allowed to come in for classes and was not to spend time in the common room socialising.
So I had the pressure taken off in terms of my study but my social network stemmed and any opportunity to not dwell indoors with it. I did not attend my exams and flunked out towards the end of the final year.

I felt like I wasn’t being taken seriously; that I was trying to get out of hard work. That’s the thing with depression; you don’t need a reason to feel sad. It’s a sickness that makes you sad.
 But when I say ‘sad’ what do I really mean? The feelings that come with this illness are more than just feeling a bit teary and tired. No one asked what was wrong. Though honestly I don’t think I could have begun to explain.  How do you describe nothingness? A void that grows inside you, that consumes anything in its path. Joy, happiness, hope, motivation, and in fact any other feelings you might experience.

Image taken from a series by Spencer at heymonster [x]

I felt an immense amount of guilt and sadness as I watched my peers go on to university, starting their new lives, as I sat in my bedroom with the curtains drawn. I got into a vicious cycle of feeling down, then feeling anxious because I was feeling down, and then feeling down because I was always anxious.

But it was the nothingness that hurt the most. Some days I would be grateful for the sadness, if not to feel something. Sometimes you can fall in love with your sadness because the alternative is staring into silence. 
I’m pleased to say in the decade that’s followed I am in a much better place, but my cloud is still there. Some days I find myself overwhelmed with inexplicable sadness and emptiness. I cry out of fear, frustration, and sadness. But I do not know why I feel it. Some days the thought of going out, or doing anything other than curling up in a blanket feels like an insurmountable weight crushing you.
But it can get better. It may not go away, but it can become manageable with the right help and the right resources. I know this isn’t always accessible to people but there are many helplines you can access as well. I will list some below.

Samaritans (for any problem): 08457909090 e-mail jo@samaritans.org
Childline (for anyone under 18 with any problem): 08001111
Mind infoline (mental health information): 0300 123 3393 e-mail: info@mind.org.uk
Mind legal advice (for people who need mental-health related legal advice): 0300 466 6463 legal@mind.org.uk
b-eat eating disorder support: 0845 634 14 14 (only open Mon-Fri 10.30am-8.30pm and Saturday 1pm-4.30pm) e-mail: help@b-eat.co.uk
b-eat youthline (for under 25's with eating disorders): 08456347650 (open Mon-Fri 4.30pm - 8.30pm, Saturday 1pm-4.30pm)
Cruse Bereavement Care: 08444779400 e-mail: helpline@cruse.org.uk
Frank (information and advice on drugs): 0800776600
Drinkline: 0800 9178282
Rape Crisis England & Wales: 0808 802 9999 1(open 2 - 2.30pm 7 - 9.30pm) e-mail info@rapecrisis.org.uk
Rape Crisis Scotland: 08088 01 03 02 every day, 6pm to midnight

Allie Brosh wrote some really relatable posts about depression on her blog. Hyperbole and a Half. Allie is super funny, and her famous drawings equally so. You can find the posts here and here

Remember: you are important. You are valuable. You are loved. You are NOT a burden. Do not let anyone convince you that you are difficult or unlovable. 


  1. Well done for talking about this lovely. I'm glad times are a bit sunnier now. xx

  2. It is so important to raise awareness about mental health issues and something I am struggling with myself so thank you for sharing this xx

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