My mental illness doesn't define who I am

I’m an army veteran who has been diagnosed with anxiety and depression. For a few years now, I have been struggling to cope with my mental health problems. I come from an army infantry background and I completed a full operational tour of Afghanistan in 2014. However unbeknown to me I was battling mental health issues since I was a child. 

These are words that come to mind: rejection, abandonment, sorrow, suffering and no knowledge. Some would say I was destined to wear a jewelled crown upon a troubled brow.

I have a mental illness, but don't judge me by a stereotype

My name is Aida and I’m diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and a type of bipolar disorder.

When I was a kid, I was very introverted and it was hard for me to make new friends due to my shyness. I had insomnia and so many fears, I was even afraid to fall asleep at night. I was also very irritable but besides all these negative things I was generous, kind and I loved smiling and making others laugh.

I won't let the stigma around mental illness hold me back

When I was diagnosed with mental illness I was very lucky to have people around me who did not stigmatise me, who saw me as me and not my diagnosis. However, when I stepped out of my comfort zone and into society, I was hit with the stigma of mental health illness which many people have to battle with from time to time. 

Depression is not simple - it's more than being 'sad'

I've been suffering from depression for just under four years, and depression has a way of replacing your confidence with pure anxiety and self-hatred. 

The scariest thing I found about suffering from a mental illness is the effect it has on every aspect of your life; it’s not just what’s inside your head. For me, suffering from depression became debilitating as I couldn't find happiness in the little things I used to enjoy doing. More often than not, depression would cause me to sit in my room and cry, usually for no reason at all.

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