TW: Suicide, vague mention of Self Harm.
For somebody who dips in and out of being on social media - it's not unusual for me to be gone for days at a time, but this time is a little different. I've always claimed to be open about my depression - but the worse that my illness has become, the harder it is to find words that don't fall flat, or to find phrases that don't make me beg for attention in all the wrong ways. Having said that - what little I've said over the few days I've been on twitter has made it abundantly clear that I'm actually really not coping very well at all.
When you look at your life as a child - you never dream that you might one day struggle with it so much that you want to end it; but I sit here writing that with so much confusion in my head about how I feel about the subject. Last week came in a blur of hysterical crying, urgent mental health assessments and the word suicide being used to describe what I was feeling for the first time out loud. It's overwhelming to write these words, and I'm still doubting as to whether I should - however, around one in four people struggle with depression over their life time; a quarter of the population. I shouldn't fear talking about my illness; in a way that I wouldn't if my illness was physical - and World Mental Health Day is exactly the right time to start speaking out.
To somebody without depression, you can view it as us seeing the colour purple and trying to describe it to you without you ever having seen it. You've seen blue and red, you know what it's like to feel sad and angry and everything that you think that I'm feeling, but the fact is you've never witnessed that exact hue that I'm feeling, you can't quite see that faint violet in your peripheral vision. No matter how many times I tell people that I'm neither blue nor red and I can't tell you what it's like to see purple, or explain why I do, it's something I can seemingly never get others to understand.
Mental illness is by far one of the hardest things I've come up against in my entire life - fighting against yourself every day and not knowing which side that you're truly rooting for is exhausting. Being off work with an illness nobody knew about, or can properly understand, is exhausting. Living a life when you're not sure that that's what you really want to carry on doing? That's the most exhausting of all. I am gone because I am ill - not in a way that requires a cast, or chemotherapy, or dialysis - but in a way that is stealing my life, and causes my parents and girlfriend to hide away sharp objects and take painkillers away from my room. I am ill in a way that is hard to fight, never mind the stigma on top of that, and I am ill in a way that has no hard and fast rules, that still causes people to drop their voices in public.
I am getting help - I have an access team meeting next week that means I am currently being viewed as in crisis; not enough of a risk to myself to be in A&E currently; but enough of a risk to myself that this cannot continue and something needs to be done. I have no words for my illness, and yet I sit here trying to find some on World Mental Health Day as people feeling like I do shouldn't have to worry about how their words will be viewed when they're strong enough to say them.