August 8, 2012

Photo of Dale, a Time to Change bloggerI have never constructed a creative piece of writing in my life. I tried to write a book at the age of 10, but sadly, my story ended on page 7. This was despite my best efforts at stretching out the story by writing in huge font sizes and leaving mammoth gaps between each word. Anybody remember the rule at primary school whereby you should leave a finger gap between each word? Well you could fit several large fists between each of mine.

Anyway, this is my first attempt at an actual blog. It may not be grammatically correct or constructed as blogs should be but it will be moulded straight from the heart and will hopefully help others in a similar situation. What I mean by a similar situation is those battling a mental illness. Yes, a mental illness. Those two words jump off the page and slap you straight across the face.

My relatively short life so far has been blighted by bouts of clinical depression and generalised anxiety

My relatively short life so far has been blighted by bouts of clinical depression and generalised anxiety for the past six years. For fear of passing on my problems to others or accusations of attention seeking I can count on just one hand the amount of people who I have made aware of what is an almost daily battle.

I imagine you will react to this blog exactly as a loved one did when I first told them. "You’re just a little unhappy, give it a couple of hours and you’ll be fine" or "Everybody gets down now and again. How can you be depressed? You have friends and a degree and a job and a car etc etc."

Depression can, and does, affect anybody

Forget the amount of wealth and material possession a person has accumulated. Forget the 14567 friends a person may have on Facebook and forget the image of a clinically depressed individual as one draped in loosely fitted, black clothing. Depression can, and does, affect anybody. 1 in 4 anybody’s to be precise.

So why open up now? Especially when opening up in this way is by dropping my thoughts in to a ruthlessly, savage environment that we call the internet and allowing others the opportunity to rip said thoughts apart. I had thought about developing an alter ego as an anonymous blogger, an alter ego with a separate twitter account etc. However, we all know what happened to the Secret Diary of a Call Girl and to those close to me it would be obvious that it was me who had written each blog. It’s also such stigma – the fear that people will question my integrity - that I and others suffering from mental illnesses need to rid themselves of.

People may snigger, take the piss... but if my blogging helps just one person in a similar situation...

People may snigger, take the piss, laugh with their friends, but if my blogging helps just one person in a similar situation, or somebody who is currently locking them self away and battling mental illness, then so be it. Believe me I am no Mother Theresa. For one, I am male and therefore cannot be considered a Mother. But I do know that talking with others in a similar situation does help... Read the rest of Dale's story >>

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Too many people are made to feel ashamed. By sharing your story, you can help spread knowledge and perspective about mental illness that could change the way people think about it.