This series of blog posts are part of See Change’s Make a Ripple campaign, an online initiative to help end the stigma of mental health problems by sharing experiences and building shared understanding of the mental health problems that can affect any of us.
Visit the Make a Ripple story sharing portal and speak out against the stigma of mental health problems, read inspiring stories of recovery or share your story.If you’d like to write a longer piece, you can contact a member of the See Change campaign team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This year started off brilliantly. I had worked extremely hard to get where I was and I felt 2013, this will be my year. By the end of January things began to turn for the worse, certain incidents triggered me into a spiral of sadness and anger. Then ultimately I went back into a severe depression. I couldn’t believe it, as it was happening I could see it, I could feel the depression coming back and I fought with everything I had to stay above but the current was too strong. I washed under.
I continued to fight, I believed I could get through this. I was determined it would not take over my life again. I wanted this year to be untainted, I wanted to feel free, I wanted days to go by where I would not have the need to shed a tear. I hoped for weeks that would carry no struggles. I wanted this year to be my most successful yet. All these wants and hopes were slowly diminished. One by one they were discarded as this depression, this dark weight took over.
Slowly I began to lose hope, I was losing faith in everything I believed in, everything I worked so hard for. Everything began to lose its meaning. Down here it is so despairing I even began to question who was I? Who is Mairéad Carey in all this? I felt I didn’t even know. I questioned many things and it was one of the most terrifying times of my entire life. I began to question why am I still here, is it because other people want me to live? Am I only studying psychotherapy because of my past where I was the counsellor for everyone, the job I am in, am I only here because other people want me to be there? All these things I believe I am successful for, am I only successful because other people say I am? Or do I actually believe all these things in my life are result of my hard work and these are the things I believe in.
I spent weeks trying to find “Me”. Usually people have to rid themselves of all the negative comments in their life to help find who they really are but strangely I had to rid myself of all the positives I had received. I did not know if I had become what other people made me or if it was me who made me who I am. It was such a frightening place to be that i began to question life and death quite seriously because this pain was unbearable.
I began to think I am just a result of my past, my past where I was sexually abused as a child, bullied the whole way through school and emotionally abused for the majority of my life. Sometimes I sit here and I can feel my skin crawl. They say nothing can “make” you feel, that only you can “make” you feel, but sexual abuse can MAKE you feel. It can make you feel like only was your body molested but your body and mind too, it can make you feel like your skin is not yours, it sits so uncomfortably on your body. It can make you feel like no wound on the outside could ever convey how deep the pain on the inside is.
In this depression for the last two months I felt at my weakest, everything came into question. I did not know if I wanted to fight anymore, I could not find my purpose in all this. The thing is, when I felt at my weakest it actually turned out it was the point I was at my strongest. When I was in the depths of despair, I hung on, I fought when it felt like I was drowning, I continued to speak even though it felt like I had no voice, I asked for help even though I felt no one could help me.
Everything that came into question was answered by me, I found myself down here, I found who I truly am with no one else’s negative or positive comments, I found me in this despair and I feel more whole than ever. I’ve never felt so strong, so concrete for everything I fight for, everything I work for is what I truly believe in. Finding myself on the edge, facing who I really am, I discovered a new love myself and a new strength. This was the most pain I have ever felt in my entire life, as heavy and dark as it was, I would not change a thing because I found “Me”.
So if you find yourself been washed under by the waves of your depression or if you find yourself in the depths of despair, face it head on. It might be the most terrifying time of your life but facing it will show you new parts or old parts of yourself that you never realised were there. These parts build you up and make you strong. Facing your pain head on is excruciating but you will come out stronger than before with new insights, new strengths, new love for yourself and many more rewarding aspects that you never realised you had. You will come out of this dark destruction more alive than ever before and with clearer vision to see how amazing you really are. So face your pain, ask for help, talk, write, scream if you have to. It can become dark and dangerous down in the depths of depression so make sure you are supported. This is your life, only you can make it beautiful. Keep fighting.
If you’ve been affected by any of the issues in raised here, or if you need to speak with someone, click through for a list of organisations that can help.
See Change understands that there is a complex multiplicity of perspectives on mental health problems and the experience of being unwell. See Change encourages the publication of material that promotes understanding of mental health problems, the experience of being unwell, and recovery. The opinions expressed by contributors to the Make a Ripple campaign are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of See Change, funders, or partner organisations.