November 9, 2012

A woman holding up a sign reading: "self harmed", "suicide attempt", "depression" | Time to ChangeSince I was about 11 I have felt sad. I thought it was because I didn't have many friends or because my mum was quite ill. Things got worse when I became a teenager and we moved countries. I found it difficult to fit in, to find myself and to deal with my hormones. I started to self harm because that was the only way I could find relief from the chaos in my head. I had asked for some counselling but depression was not discussed in my family and they told me it was not an option.

I don't know if anyone realised I self harmed but it was not discussed. Looking back I think it was because people did not understand or know how to help. I felt so isolated and alone. I wanted to end my life and remember attempting suicide at 15. People thought I was just seeking attention.

Things got progressively worse when I moved to England

Things got progressively worse when I moved to England. I felt lost and more alone than I ever knew I could feel. It was crowded and London was so unfriendly. I became an empty shell of who I knew I should be. There was no happiness to be found anywhere and I was a nervous wreck.

I then met my now husband. He seemed to be the only one who really saw me, who reached out, held my hand and kept me from falling into complete darkness. I did many things to him but he stood strong by my side and to this day supports me while I ride my emotional roller coaster.

I felt the world would be better off without me

Just before my 19th birthday, for reasons I cannot even remember, I took an overdose. My life was nothing to me. I felt the world would be better off without me. I was nothing. As I lay on my bed waiting for death, my cat Nikki came up and looked me in the eyes. She loved me and from somewhere deep, deep within me I was told hang on. I can't remember but I must have called an ambulance. I do remember I kept apologising to the paramedics and felt so guilty for wasting their time. My lovely other half came to A&E and he was so upset. To this day I feel awful for having put him through that.

We moved out of London to the countryside and I then slowly began to rebuild my life. I had kids young, which was difficult but the best thing I had ever done. I did have post natal depression after both and did not get much medical support. The kids were and still are the lightness that cuts through the dark fog. I have learnt so much from them and I finally now belong and fit in somewhere.

My kids and my husband make sure I don't disappear

I still get moments where I think they would all be better off without me and I feel like a burden. I still fall into the black quick sand and begin to shut down and disappear. My kids and my husband make sure I don't disappear, they support me and hold on to me. I owe them my life, my everything. We still have Nikki (along with many more pets) and to this day she is my special girl.

It is for my family that I have started a journey to free myself. It really has not been an easy one, and I'm sure as I go along it will become much harder. The first step for me has been to open up and tell people. In this society we are expected to simply plod along and metaphorically put plasters on severe mental injuries. This has got to stop and I am slowly removing all the cover up plaster and bandages. I am finally removing my mask. I’m finally looking within myself and mending things properly so I can once and for all move on.

I started a project called Unmasked

As a photographer, what better way to do it than through photos? I started a project called Unmasked. This was a way to help me and others 'come out' and in doing so educate others and hopefully do our bit to help end mental health stigma. I really hope you will join the project.

I have also started writing a personal blog, which again I hope will help others see they are not alone in their struggles. I know that depression is something I will have to live with but I am getting better at noticing the signs before things get bad, realising things I have to do to help keep it under control and accepting and loving myself. I am not a failure, I am not weak. I am something and I am strong.

This is a hidden illness but hopefully by talking about it people will realise it is not something one can just "snap out of"

I have not found much support out there, either from doctors, community nurses or counsellors, but believe (and hope!) that I can help myself. This is a hidden illness but hopefully by talking about it people will realise it is not something one can just 'snap out of' or 'cheer up'. It is a struggle and so, so difficult, lonely and scary. We are not alone, we have each other and we can get through this and help each other.

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Depression: my story

Your blog moved me to tears. You're very lucky to have your family as I'm sure you know. You describe the feelings of depression so clearly. I hope you continue on your journey to recovery or management of your depression. Thanks for sharing.

What you're doing is amazing.

Hey Jessy, I just want to say that what you're doing is amazing and I'm sure is helping thousands of people out there who need to know that they're not alone. My best friend at high school self-harmed and attempted suicide and I did everything I could to try to support her. It was an incredibly difficult time, but it has taught me so much about what some people have to go through and how saying things like 'cheer up' is next to useless. Please continue with this so that you reach as many people as possible. And hooray for your amazing husband who sounds like an absolute rock :-)

You are one of the most

You are one of the most courageous people I know. Your journey has been filled with mountains and obstacles which you've had to overcome, but you are still strong and an inspiration to other depression sufferers and survivors. You are one of the people who keep me from falling into the black obis that awaits those of often fun themselves alone in their battle. Keep fighting, it is worth fighting for.

An article designed to make

An article designed to make those without family support even more depressed. Soon to be followed no doubt by an article on someone who overcame adversity to become a successful something or other. How about a story about someone who struggled for decades and all they succeeded in doing was dying of natural causes (so as not to upset anyone)? Or a story about someone who struggled for decades before committing suicide. I'm getting into the realms of fantasy now. In order to reduce stigma we must focus on those who recover and become useful and acceptable members of society. If we mention those who never recover we might give the impression that society needs to change instead of us. God forbid anyone should be asked to show kindness to a person who is so crazy they can't fit in. Ever. No, with hard work and determination we can all become well. Those that don't lack willpower.

I like jessy blogg

I like reading jessys blogg because i understand exactly what it feels like not to beable too talk to family and close friends on how i feel and what i went through and still go through on a day to day basis and know i always will but too have coping techniqne in place and like jessy i have one really good best friend and like jessys husband he is there 24 hour a day through the good and bad times he never leave me he my best friend and my right arm his name is( Chris). I always say he is my 3am best firend he there at it phone call away . chris is always keeps me strong, safe ,secure and loved and for someone like me in world were al I have ever known is prejudice and discrimination in both personally home related issues and work related issues,chris is my sanity and most importantly my best friend these days. every girl should have a best friend like chris , and he always knows when i start too become unwell and is there every day . no arguments has chris sayed too me. jessy great blogg.

Been there

It is so hard to write this as I have a family who support me and others that push me aside like I am a lepper or something. They then blame me for distancing. My family at home, like you are my true support that I have learnt the hard way. The older generation who see it as weakness cannot help how they feel. It is how they have been brought up. It is so hard to be accepted by them in my experience. I worry about the effect on my daughter. If I told my other family how bad things have been, they would make me feel worse. I have helped myself which is not weak. It is the strongest thing you can do. I have bad days too but now know depression is part of me and there are many things you can do to make you have a fuller life. Nature and sunny days help enormously. The person who said about 'depression as a new trend' is really not correct. I am really fed up with that attitude. If you really have true depression you know it. I would not wish it on anybody as it can be limiting although there are always things you can do. Little steps. Good luck to all. I know how you feel. The last comment about getting ill naturally - well been there. Sometimes you wish that for everybody's sake.That is an awkward quote to see but is reality for many. In the event of social media we are more connected now. As an older person this scares me sometimes but hey I'm writing this. Learn from things. Take care and thanks for your honesty.

hi jessy your words , really

hi jessy your words , really touched me and moved me to tears. i too hope you continue on the path of recovery and i think you have achieved so much already , thank you

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