A diagnosis is a terrifying, yet relieving, confirmation. Confirmation that life shouldn’t be this hard. Many wait years until they are categorised by mental health professionals. And for many people, such as myself, a diagnosis can be a gateway to another difficult and long path.
I realise that my behaviour has impacted those around me, both in the past, and also more recently. I don’t make excuses for the hurt that I’ve caused. And so, I’m writing you this letter because I want you to understand. Because you deserve an explanation and I think this is the best way to give you that explanation. You are honest with me and it is only fair that I do the same.
Today I woke up and for a moment I lay still, staring at the ceiling. I lay there and felt my chest rise and fall as I breathed. It took all my will power to keep my focus on my breath, a mindfulness technique I have been taught. I did this for 30 seconds, maybe a minute, as my husband got up for the baby.
I lived a dual life, a private one and a public one, with depression for many years. To the outside world I had a great life – a lovely family, successful career and healthy lifestyle. But inside I was battling almost every day to simply survive, thinking I didn’t deserve any of it.
I come from an Indian background and have lived in the UK for over 30 years. In 2007, I was diagnosed with severe depression but had had many episodes from 1989 up until then. In 2008, I was then diagnosed with bipolar affective disorder and have had several relapses since that time. As a result, I am now better informed about my mental illness and know how to seek out and get immediate help and support.