Where to begin! 500 words to address my mental health feel like it’s too much, and not enough at the same time. Most people that meet me generally thing I am a cheery and happy and would say I’m the last person they would expect to have a myriad of mental health issues. I suspect that many of you can relate to this yourself! To survive my teenage years, I adopted a persona; that a happy, smiley, confident person. In reality I am far from the above, I am nervous, I analyse everything, I constantly question how I have gotten onto the fast-stream, I put myself down and suspect I am here though complete fluke. The rational part of me accepts that the fast stream is a rigorous process and I am here through my own ability, but the inner me doesn’t think this at all!
I was first diagnosed with having depression in my mid-teens after a couple of incidents of self-harm and referred to my local community psychiatry. In part not wanting to address the issue, to bury my head in the sand and in part knowing what to say to get people to leave me alone, I bluffed my way through these sessions until they were happy to discharge me. Depression had a habit of returning at various times over my late teens an early 20’s for no particular reason albeit now with added anxiety and eventually followed by what the doctor called “Obsessive Compulsive Tendencies”. I have been given a range of tablets over the years but always took myself off them as they made me feel “beige”, ultimately perpetuating the cycle. Eventually by my mid-late 20’s I realised that I couldn’t keep living like this, and for the first time in my life I approached the doctors genuinely wanting help.
For me the wild beast of depression, anxiety and “tendencies” takes the form of a toad. He likes to lurk beneath the calmness and stillness of my mind, periodically sticking his eye’s over the surface of the water to assess the situation. But with the help that my family and the NHS has been able to give me I am better equipped for the times when the toad decides to leap out of the water and cause trouble. I accept that he will likely always be there for me, but hopefully as time progresses and using my support mechanisms his effect will (hopefully) diminish.
I’m sure this will resonate with some of you and you might be able to look back and smile at how far you have come on your own journey. To those still struggling with their own beasts, maybe still in silence, know that there is support when you need it, in friends, family, health care professionals and through a range of fast stream support mechanisms.