Imagine you’re on the edge of a black hole, desperately trying to climb out. But the black hole is powerful and keeps pulling you back in. The black hole’s strength is increasing and you know you need help. You are alone; you know you have to be strong and move faster before it swallows you up. But you feel your body and brain running out of strength and your hands slipping off the edge of the hole. You stop and think to yourself, how can I beat this? You’re alone, and it feels impossible.
My best friend and I had a running joke that we would moan about things - it started off little things but gradually I noticed the moans got more frequent and less jokey. At one point I read over our messages and noticed that she only said negative things. I was concerned and brought it up with her; she was not aware she was being so negative and insisted she was fine.
I wanted to write this blog for a few reasons: to try to inspire others to challenge mental health stigma; to give a message of hope, and to show that it's worth continuing to campaign because in my experience things are starting to change. Yes, stigma still exists and continued work is needed but my story regarding employment issues has a positive ending.
For three years, the only people who knew what I was going through and why I was struggling mentally were my family and professionals. The what can only be described as horror stories that I was told about our local psychiatric hospital made me reluctant to admit to any friends that I’d actually been an inpatient there myself.