August 27, 2016

I am a wild, free spirit. I move countries more than I change my socks, and I chase the sun, the snowfall, and amazing opportunities. Yet for years now, people have been telling me, ‘Charmaine, you are just running away’. Firstly – travelling and my way of life is not ‘running away’, in fact, travelling helps me feel whole. People can be selfish; they can tell you that you are ‘running’ because they actually want you physically in their lives, next to them.

Tomorrow, tomorrow is the day I go back to England to see my doctor. Again. This is not goodbye to my lifestyle, more like ‘See you later’. I have been a resident of Spain now the past nine months, but I have just been so, overwhelmingly ill that going back to the country where my main doctor who speaks my language is seemed like a step in the right direction. I saw a doctor in Madrid, but with my broken Spanish I wrote up what I wanted to say and I handed him the letter. It was something along the lines of ‘I want to kill myself on this medication; I am coming off of it. Do you think it’s a good idea?’ Something told me that this wasn’t the greatest way to communicate this tragic thought. For some reason going back to the country I was born in feels like defeat, like I have lost. When you have lived in countries all over the world, you just understand and learn where your heart truly belongs, and my heart and soul is actually nowhere to be found in England, and is where I find I am at my lowest.

However, tomorrow. It has actually become so bad now that my mother forced me to book a flight back, and my grandparents are driving me to the airport to make sure I get on my plane. With everyone in my family believing this is the ‘right’ thing to do, I will try. I guess. I had no other option. I have depression and anxiety, and it’s been haunting me for as young as I can remember. The toughest part is, my parents don’t understand it. I came out to my dad and told him everything a few months ago, and the reaction was extremely poor – it made me feel like I was completely alone. Like he had just ripped out my heart, and left me standing there alone. He was my best friend, yet he just doesn’t see depression as a ‘real’ issue. Why couldn’t he just wait and listen to what I had to say instead of covering his ears and pretending not to hear me?

My mum, an alcoholic, gets frustrated when I cry and tell her what's going on in my mind. Maybe she feels guilty? Maybe she wanted that perfect ‘girly girl’ daughter, to give her grandchildren, and paint her nails, and go for tea and cake in the sunshine... maybe I'm the reason she drinks? Maybe I have disappointed her? Both my mum and dad don’t want to know, and have never, ever helped or supported me through this whole time. They must have seen that I was self harming when I was 14 years old. They must have seen I was depressed, they must have heard, they must have felt it. So why didn’t they help me?

Even in the past few years before I really understood myself what was going on in my head, I would express to them how I felt. Nevertheless, I think it was much easier for them to turn away and ignore it. So many times I’ve heard ‘snap out of it’, ‘think positively’, ‘you are so moody’, ‘what have you got to be depressed about, you have food, you have shelter, you have family’, ‘you need to sort your mood swings out’. But NEVER have I heard them say ‘Let’s get you help’.

Anxiety and depression doesn’t just affect me, but the relationships around me. If I have ever hurt you, I am deeply sorry and I love you. However, although it looked like me who hurt you, it wasn’t me at all. My illness isn’t me, it doesn’t define who I am as a person. It just isn’t me.

When the day comes when I have children, I will acknowledge how they feel instead of sticking my head in the sand. I will love and adore every step they make in life, even if it’s away from me into a different country. I will always be there at the end of the phone, even if it’s just to hear them cry. I will never be-little how they feel, and I will always, ALWAYS be there to hold their hand as their mother.

Read more personal stories >

Share your story

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.


Family help

My partner has depression, he was previously on medication but was weened off. He was feeling good, then 3 months ago he started to suffer again, it's getting worse by the week, the anxiety has now set in. He won't go to the doctors, he hasn't told anyone how he feels, except me, I try my best to support him and help him but I don't know what to do. He cancels on me constantly, ignores my calls and texts and I have seen him for 1 hour in the last 2 weeks. I don't know what to do now. It's causing me to have sleepless nights and everyone tells me to leave him until he helps himself, but I can't do that to him, I can't leave him to deal with this on his own, but if he won't get help, I know he's just going to get worse until he eventually doesn't speak to anyone or leave the house. Depression is a killer, it's killer him emotionally, he's not the person he was.


Thank you for posting and sharing Charmane. I can completely relate. I have suffered with depression for as long as I can remember (I've just turned 43) and only diagnosed 10 years ago. I'm also in the process of waiting for a diagnosis for adult ADHD. My parents are both 73 and have found the 'revelation' of my mental issues really difficult to deal with and it's only recently that we are able to talk about them. I think it's been tough for them to understand as they are from another colder and less-informed era. I wish I had the courage to 'properly' travel - I ahve met quite a few people around the world (Norway, Sweden, Lithuania) from online gaming and a love of art and photography and I've been to those countries to meet them. But moving there to work - I get distracted just leaving the house and going to work! :D I think you are very courageous and your honesty is humbling. I hope life is as kind as it can be for you and I wish you all the very best and all the luck in the world in your future endeavours. :D x

My fam seems to not get it either

Hello. Ive depression and social phobia and apparently seems like Ive Bipolar too. Though im not sure but based on few symptoms except for mania episodes- just the long term depression. Anyways, ive written my mom several letters (thats how we sometimes communicate) describing my problems and all she says is the same things each time I try to say that my problems are affecting me greatly. Some of the things she keeps saying is to get a job or go to school for my future- i understand that but i cant bring myself to do it. She also tells me to stop focusing on my problems. How could I? I cant help but focus just being stuck at home. Ive written that im suicidal and she did show sympathy but she doesnt talk to me about it. She seems to be ignorant. Ive told her about my anxieties. I tell her hoping someone would help me but i get no help. Most of the time I feel like giving up. Thats their problem if they didnt understand me- until its too late. Ive talked to suicide helpline before, but like always, they cant help unless you help yourself and i feel like i cant even help myself- so how can anyone? I just dont know what to do to make them understand.

depression and anxiety,

There are so many people like you,out there, suffering in this so called caring society , we live in. There is hope out there, and there is, help and support for you. but YOU must go to your Doctors, to start the ball rolling. These Days , you have too ask to get the sort of help and support you need. AS THE OLD SAYING GOES, IF YOU DON'T ASK !, YOU DON'T GET. Some people just don't understand how Mental Health can affects you. I have Two girls in there Twenties that have suffered with depression and anxiety, and one of my girls is still suffering. I have also struggled myself and still do, with depression and anxiety. AND YES ! , I have wished I was Dead, many many times . BUT YES, there is light at the end of the tunnel, and it's Shinning bright, waiting for you. And all of us, that are struggling to cope. I WROTE a poem many years ago. When myself and the people i worked with, was going through a bad time.This is it :- You sent an Angel too show you care, She came down on wings of light, She listened to our woes and fears, And shone her light upon our tears, She said see had to go away, But promise to return some day. And a real someone did. Always have the time, to talk and help, anyone suffering in silence, done too much of that myself in the past. :) From John . xxxxx


This made me realise the beautifulness within life again. You are a hero xox

Its real...write to me anytime...

Charmaine, families today some of them can't get it...I'm here my family are all estranged because they could not support me...I'm here for you for support...always


I totally get this, it resonates with me in so many ways. Whe. I was aged 39, I had a stroke and mental health breakdown, I received very little care, so I launch my own support group. Thanks for sharing. My parents, I haven't seen for five years, they haven't picked up the phone, but fair to say I haven't either. I used to visit, but felt so very low after a visit; it would take me over a week to get over it and the. We would visit again; it became a cycle, a destructive and harmful one, not only for me, but my husband and daughter. I believe it is our nearest and dearest that are the most scathing or disapproving of our illness, but also so are our fellow sufferers. What do you think? Love Me xx

Depression, Anxiety and Self-injury

Your blog post is inspiring. So many people suffering with mental illness have parents who just don't understand. Your blog post will be a comfort to many other's. In my own blog, Finding The Light I stress how important it is not to let your illness define you. You have stated that well in yours. We are not our illness. We are so much more then our illness. We are wonderful people who happen to have a sickness.

What did you think of this blog? Tell us in the comments