I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) earlier this year. I realise now that I've been ignoring the symptoms for a long time. I was partly in denial and partly worried about telling people because of their reaction. I refused to tell work what was going on until I ended up in hospital. I was aware of the stigma around mental health at my workplace and kept everything a secret.
It’s World Suicide Prevention Day today. Words that are hard to write, and hard to say. They’re hard because 14 years ago (that’s half of my life) my best friend, my beautiful mum, ended her life. I among many others am one of those who are left behind trying to navigate the devastating grief that comes with being bereaved in this way. I believe my mum could have lived.
From a very young age, I knew there was something different about me. It seemed to me that everyone around me was separate and I was encased in my own bubble, my own world and it frustrated me to tears that I couldn’t work out how to make that bubble pop. Soon, my bubble solidified. It became glass. It was suffocating and at times, my glass bubble would fill with water, drowning out the minute amounts of happiness, reason, and calm that I had left.
It’s a question I often ask myself. Should I be honest? Lay all my cards on the table? Do my closest friends and family need to know every little detail about my struggle? If I did tell them, would they even care? Or would they just give me the generic responses I’d heard my whole life? “Everyone feels like that”, “No one likes work, you just do it”, and the ever popular “Man up!” After all they probably have their own issues to deal with, right?