Warning: contains reference to self-harm and suicidal feelings.
I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety before I even entered my teenage years. An unhappy childhood thanks to my parents’ divorce when I was very young, and years of bullying from my peers, had left me with terrible self-esteem issues.
I hated myself. I began to cut myself, and I contemplated suicide daily for years.
My GP dismissed me, and then eventually sent me to counselling when my mother informed her I had self-harmed on numerous occasions.
Counselling did nothing for me.
While my mental health has improved dramatically in the last couple of years, and I was started on antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication shortly before I started my first year of university, I still suffer from depression and anxiety.
I am a sufferer of depression and anxiety. But I’m also a blogger, a lover of travelling, a photographer, an animal lover, a university student, a daughter, a niece, a friend. I’m so much more than my mental health issues.
While my mental health issues do still affect my daily life to some extent, it’s not my whole world. When I have a bad mental health day and I need to distance myself from the world for a little while, I am now able to remember that it’s not forever. A racing heart or dark thoughts are not all I am.
Mental health is still taboo to some extent, and I often feel that those who struggle to open up about their mental health fear that what they’re suffering with is all people will see them as.
But in the same way a person with a broken leg is still a person with so much to offer, mental health does not define me, you, or anyone else. Talking about your struggle with mental health does not wipe away all the other things that make you you.
My mental health does not define me, and it doesn’t define you either.
THIS WEEK IS MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS WEEK IF YOU WERE EFFECTED BY ANYTHING IN THIS ARTICLE OR FEEL LIKE YOU NEED TO SPEAK TO SOMEONE PLEASE CONTACT THE SAMARITANS