“You can be a depressive and be happy, just as you can be a sober alcoholic”
– Matt Haig (Reasons to stay alive)
On World Mental Health day 2017, I wanted to write something about how people can be fighting a battle that you know nothing about.
Most of my photos on instagram show me with a beaming smile. Sometimes these are my true feelings that day, sometimes its just for show. And sometimes, its me pretending to myself that I’m not depressed or anxious, trying to pretend to myself that everything is okay.
Very little people in my life know about my mental illness.
I’m a very smiley, confident person. My life, to some people seems perfect. Ive gone to university, completed my masters, I have my own car, I have amazing friends and a supportive family. They see the hard outer shell I have created to get me through that days, to them, how could I possibly be so depressed, when everything in my life seemed perfect?
Maybe I don’t tell people because they won’t believe me. I have many days where I feel great, where the smile I wear is genuine, I can go out, laugh and have the best fun. I don’t have to be crying or panic everyday to suffer from depression and anxiety. Not every day is a bad day.
It’s not until you’re crying your heart out at home alone, that you realise nobody knows how unhappy you are. No matter how strong you are, at some point you can reach rock bottom.
What people don’t realise is;
- I can be in a room full of people, looking like I’m having the best time – when really I feel completely on my own and feel completely empty.
- Every morning its a real struggle to get out of bed, not because I’m lazy but because I mentally cant face the day.
- I rip the insides of my lips to shreds with crippling anxiety.
- That some days, the biggest achievement I can achieve that day is having a shower, or eating a meal.
- I can have moments where everything comes crumbling down and I sob my heart out and have no explanation why.
- My mental illnesses causes me physical pain.
- I am so so strong, yet also so exhausted. I say I’m tired, when actually I’m physically exhausted.
- I have constant thoughts that I will never be enough.
- The some nights; I want to fall asleep and never wake up.
‘Mental health is a real thing. You never know what people are going through’
– Jay-Z talking about the death of Chester Bennington.
But this has made me realise, that I don’t know everyone else stories. The girls with thousands of followers, with hundreds of likes on their photos.. are they happy? Do they feel alone, and cry themselves to sleep? ‘How can they be?’ people say, they’ve got the perfect life. Things go on behind closed doors that people have no idea about, and for people to open those doors and let people in, is so brave.
The main line for mental illness is that it’s an ‘invisible illness’. People who suffer from a mental illness are the strongest people I know. They fight each day putting on a brave face, to show the world they are not beaten. So if someone looks like they are living the perfect life, it does not mean they are not fighting demons in their head.
Everyday should be mental health day, but if today being World Mental Health Day 2017 gets just one more person to talk about mental health, then its one more step to this world becoming a better place.