Mental health problems affect 1 in 4 people every year and no one should feel ashamed. By sharing our experiences, together we can end the stigma.

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Sharing my mental health story online helped me find community

Mental illness has been a constant struggle throughout my life. I suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), generalised anxiety disorder and depression. For many years, I kept this a closely guarded secret, because I was too afraid to open up to those around me, for fear of rejection, stigma and discrimination.

I was afraid to get help because of mental health stigma

I’m 39 years of age and have struggled with my mental health for the majority of those years. I’ve known for a long time it’s been more than depression, but I never felt able to tell anyone just how bad things were. I’ve been through long periods of depression and long periods of what I now know to be mania, and these episodes have lengthened and intensified over the years. After the death of my friend at the end of last year, everything intensified and not getting help was no longer an option.

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.

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