July 2, 2016

I have suffered from major depressive disorder and general anxiety disorder for the last few years. I am slowly recovering. I now want to open up about my struggles, in order to show young people that it’s okay not to be okay. I think it is especially hard on young males; they have a perception that they need to be strong and brave. I think the world needs a real change. Luckily I am still here today to talk about these issues.

We are getting to a place where people are able to open up a lot more. But not we’re quite there yet. Young people are affected by this on a daily basis – as we can see in the staggering suicide rates. Yet we still do not have the resources to help people immediately in need.

I was lucky enough to have supportive people in my life. A loving family. Lucky enough to gain the skills and maturity to battle these illnesses. Lucky enough to still be here today, able to open up about my struggles. Unfortunately, at the time, my demons took over, I lost friends, isolated myself, self harmed, abused alcohol; I was living someone else’s life. A life that wasn’t my own.

I began my recovery through medication and counselling. A well balanced system that worked for me. I stuck out counselling for almost two years, on and off. It helped me to grow strength and build back up my confidence.

I am in a much better place now. There are still bad days. But they come and go. I am happy – I put on a front. I socialise, I laugh, I smile, I live. But this doesn’t mean I am indestructible. I am vulnerable and still battle EVERY DAY.

This is what people need to realise: We do not know what is going on in people’s lives; what’s happening in their minds. For me – it was as simple as a chemical imbalance in the mind. That was all it took to change my life forever. It was out of the blue, and it completely took over me, changed me. I wish when I was that young, hurting, fearing for my life, that somebody had noticed. I wish someone knew the change I was going through. I wanted a hand to hold. Luckily I realised I needed help and opened up.

But that’s not the case for everyone.

I want to live in a world where we stop judging, where we stop criticising and tearing each other apart with every little mistake; where everyone who experiences a mental health problem can turn to their family and friends without fear. I promised myself I will fight in every way to help make this possible. In a way, I am glad I have gone through this experience. It matured me and made me so much stronger. I have gained the strength to be able to open up.

Now I want to pass my strength to the people who need that hand to hold in their dark times. We need to stand together and gain confidence to speak out! In every dark time there is a bright light. Never give up. Never surrender. Never lose hope.

You can find Adam on Twitter: @mradcoleman

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