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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Talking about mental health is not a weakness — we need to break the stigma

I remember the day I decided to take my own life, that moment was the first time I’d had clarity of thought for as long as I could remember.  There was a huge sense of relief that I had finally realised how I could take back control over what was happening to me.  The irony was that things in my life had never been so good.  I had just become a father for the first time (my daughter was 6 months old), I had a wonderful supportive and caring wife, a lovely home, and a great group of family and friends around me.  However, by this stage anxiety and depression had taken over.

The stigma is everywhere in this part of the world

My late brother and I were working together in the hospitality sector, running a bar. We were making good money. So, I advised my brother, we should build a house. We worked together on it for more than two years. It was a three bedroom flat each… on one plot.

That’s around the time I started seeing things differently from reality. I thought people were controlling my lights… but no one was there. I was hearing voices. 

Talking is hard enough, being judged makes it harder

Depression can be a face of someone who is smiling, telling jokes and happy, which I am quite often. I have a family, a job and I am alive so why would I be depressed?

It's hard to talk to people when you don’t know what reaction you will get. In the past, I’ve found out that people were talking behind my back, saying I am “needy” or “always on about myself”. But maybe I seemed like that because I needed a friend to lean on.

I have an amazing support system, but I still face stigma every day

Stop worrying.  Chill out.  What’s the matter with you?

I have dealt with depression and anxiety for around two years now, and people still ask me these questions.  How am I supposed to tell them that I can’t stop worrying, that I don’t know how to chill out and that everything is the matter with me?  That I cannot turn off the endless stream of thoughts, that it sometimes it feels as if my own brain is attacking me.

Anxiety is more than being too sensitive

The doctors describe me as a patient with significant anxiety…but really, I feel like I’m just going a little crazy. It feels like people look at anxiety as a modern thing, something that’s new and can’t be easily understood. Some people describe it as putting a label on ‘being sensitive’, that ‘everything has a have a diagnosis these days’. 

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