My Mum was the only person I had in my corner during my darkest days, battling the demon that is depression. She has been my rock, my inspiration to fight on and the only person who’s made me feel loved.
Neither of us understood the first thing about mental illness at the start of mine, so Mum went above and beyond to become an ‘expert’ on the subject.
“It seemed Mum had a magical intuition, as she’d always send me a comforting picture or inspiring quote exactly at the times I’d be feeling my most alone, vulnerable or beaten.”
Mum and I have always been close; I’m an only child and still live at home, so we have become best buds as I’ve grown older. I feared my depression would threaten our strong bond but, thankfully, it’s enhanced and strengthened it to a level I never thought possible.
Mum has been with me to doctor appointments, taken me to counselling and waited outside for me, as well as reassuring me 24/7 that none of this is my fault, that she loves me unconditionally and that I WILL get there no matter how unlikely I feel that is. There is no doubt that without my dear Mum, I’d not be here today.
Mental illness is crippling; really horrendous and the most debilitating condition I’ve ever had the misfortune of knowing. As cliché as it sounds, I am actually very grateful for the ‘black dog’ coming into my life because it has made me the tough cookie I am today.
The stigma surrounding mental illness is still very much present but there are some amazing campaigners out there who are doing a marvellous job in breaking these misconceptions. We must all rally round and support those struggling.
“Support from people who’ve been there, as well as that hand reaching out to you when you feel completely alone is, sometimes literally, a life saver.”
Don’t worry what your illness seems to flair up, or if you feel you’re losing yourself. For example I went from an avid gym bunny, to feeling too exhausted to even go to the toilet! I used to love doing my hair and make up but lost all the will to even brush my teeth. I had really low periods when I didn’t leave the house for months – I didn’t even go to the door if someone knocked. It’s been one hellish journey but, thank God and to my lovely Mum, I have managed to come out of this stronger and tougher. I’ve been to rock bottom, a thousand miles below and back again only to drop right back down again.
However, you CAN recover and you CAN count on at least one person to be there with you every step of the way. Reach out to your loved ones, join online forums and social media groups to connect with people who can become true friends. Never give up and please share your stories to help others.
Together we can overcome mental illness!