For those of us suffering from mental illness, everyday is a fight. A war waged with ourselves and a daily battle against our mind. It can be hard to explain to the world how this feels, so for many of us we just don’t talk about it at all. But I feel that in buying into the stigma the world has placed on mental illness and failing to talk about our fight we do a great disservice, both to the world at large and ourselves. How can we begin to heal if we refuse to articulate the problem? How can our loved ones help us if they don’t know our pain?
I am a coward. And for so long, fear of the stigma placed on those with mental illness has stopped me from writing about my fight. For many of my family and friends this will be the first they hear of my battles with major depressive disorder and anxiety. I am starting to realize that there is strength to be found in talking about the fight. I feel stronger as I write this and I hope that my account will help someone else find the strength they need to get help, keep fighting and never, ever give up. Below you will find an allegorical account of my fight with depression. Everyone’s case is different and I don’t claim to be the voice of every sufferer, so please remember this is MY story. I only hope it resonates with others out there…
As I walk down this familiar road, my steps are quick but sure. The dappled sunshine is my constant companion and sheds light on my way. As I reflect the brightness of the day I am at one with my surroundings; I smile up at the trees offering me their shade as I go on my way. The birds share their joyful song, filling my soul with contentment. And all is right with the world.
I don’t see the fog that is nipping at my heels until it is too late. Slowly, sneakily the insidious darkness surrounds me; creeping like choking vines the fog begins to cover my feet, legs, torso. The panic sets in and I realize that if I cannot outrun the fog it will consume me. But now my way is no longer sure. My steps falter as I trip and fumble along my once well-known path. My former friends, the tress that stood so strong and proud now mock me in my efforts to flee. The sun has deserted me, as the fog has eclipsed it’s glow. The birds mock me with their song; and the repeated refrain echos in my mind. “You will fail…lie down…give up…no one cares…sink…become one with the darkness.” Unable to escape the madness I fall and cower in the ditches of my path, blanketed with the cold, unfeeling caress of the fog. The refrain continues, “This is good…just lie here…it doesn’t matter anyway.” I cannot think beyond the chatter in my mind and the numbness overwhelms;
I’ve chosen to end my story with a semi-colon, as it will continue, I will continue, to fight.
That is why I felt it was so important to collaborate with other bloggers on Australia’s Hat Day. To raise awareness and share my story in the hopes of helping everyone. Please check out the other posts in the collaboration by following the link below and add your story. Share on social media, talk with your friends and family and link up to the Hat Day collaboration. We can all help remove the stigma surrounding mental illness and fight, together.
- Link up as many posts as you like, either recent or from your archives.
- Ensure you link directly to a specific post rather than your home page.
- Only link up posts that either feature you wearing a hat or are about mental illness.
- Spread the word by sharing on social media far and wide.