July 17, 2017

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One of the many, many, untold and unseen effects of mental illness is what it does to you psychologically, as well as physically. It affects us in ways you wouldn’t imagine.

Take depression, for example. People think it’s just being ‘sad’, when it’s actually feelings of severe despondency and dejection. People don’t quite understand my story, and by my story I mean my battle with multiple mental illnesses, specifically depression.

I told my friend once that I wanted to die and her reaction was normal; she cried, but she tried to compare me wanting to die, with her wanting to die to see what her ‘ex boyfriend would say’.

This is when I truly believed that she, nor anyone else, truly understands mental health and what it’s like to have a constant battle every day.

There is so much stigma surrounding mental health that to this day still baffles me. Depression stole my friends, my family and my education. But no more - because I chose to fight. I choose to fight every single day until my mental illness is no more. I choose to fight every day for my education and to get the ‘real’ Sophie back - and if that means taking medication for the rest of my life, then so be it.

It's so sad that there are still people suffering in silence due to the stigma surrounding mental health, because it's ‘not visible’. Well actually, it can be. You may see the signs, you may notice someone 'changing' from who they used to be but it’s not always clear cut. Mental illness isn't as visible as a broken arm. Mental illness is harder to identify.

Too many people use the statement 'I feel so depressed' when they have no idea what 'being depressed' is.

I’ve come so far with my mental health and yet I'm still afraid to talk about it. Why? Because you get labelled 'crazy' as soon as you mention the term ‘mental health’, as that's what everyone associates it with. 

Something needs to be done to create better awareness of what mental illness is and what it entails. I'm so fed up of people not truly understanding what it is and how hard it is for people; fighting through every day, when really you want to die. Smiling inside, even though you want to cry. All you really want is for someone to notice how not ok you are and to truly understand what life is like for you.

I'm good at pretending to be ok, but that's not ok. Why should I? Yes, I want to die. Yes, I'm struggling badly but you can't discuss it without being 'judged' or scared, in case there are questions you simply don't know the answer to. Sometimes all you need is a hug and no questions. I wish I could change people’s perspectives on mental health and for them to see it as clearly as they see physical health.

When we change the ‘I’ to ‘we’ in illness, it becomes wellness.

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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.