My name’s Amanda. I'm a mother of 4 young boys. It's actually quite hard to type this, but I've suffered depression for years - I have panic attacks and really bad anxiety. There are days I cry all day and don't want to go on. I keep on going for my children, my boys.
I've been embarrassed to talk about my mental health
I've had depression since I was 19. I take antidepressants every day, and I take anti-anxiety medication as and when I need them. I force myself to get ready and push myself to go to work. When I do get out and about I'm glad because I have lots of good people around me that make me laugh and cheer me up. My girlfriends don’t know that I'm not well, my best friend doesn't know. Do you know why they don’t know? It’s because I've been embarrassed.
I've been very good at hiding my illness
I've been afraid to open up because I have been paranoid and really afraid of people judging me, talking about me and making fun of me. I've been very good at hiding my illness, painting a face on it and just getting on. I'm always really bubbly, happy and confident around people - little do they know I'm absolutely crumbling away inside and cannot wait to get home to be on my own again. I find it really hard to open up to people because I've always made myself seem like a really strong person: I'm always trying to look after everyone else and just push everything about myself to the side. Then, all of a sudden, everything creeps up on me and I go in to a depressed state of mind: I don’t want to go out; I don’t want to get dressed – I just want to lie around and be on my own all the time. I try and hide my illness from my children as best I can - I try to be a ‘normal’ mummy but, sometimes, that is just so hard.
I have reached out for help just by talking about it
I think speaking out about my illness is the first step towards admitting and accepting who I am and to own it. I'm starting counselling so already I have reached out for help just by talking about it and not being shamed into silence by the stigma of this illness.
Standing up and being proud of who you are is the biggest step in helping yourself - it has triggered a breakthrough with my depression and aiding my step to recovery. I've been ashamed and embarrassed but I'm not anymore – now I'm taking a stand.