Educate Yourself 

So this blog has massively exceeded my expectations! I have had messages and thanks from people that even I didn’t know fought the same battle as me! I have also had great comments from people who have never battled it themselves.

I just want to give a little shout out here, to all the people who have never experienced depression, anxiety or panic attacks themselves, but live with or support someone who does. Our battle is hard and our support network is so important to us. You are pretty badass yourself for supporting someone when you could never really know how it feels! I understand how hard it must be for you too. From the bottom of my heart I thank you.

I have also had more and more people tell me stories of people just not understanding. There are still so many people who don’t believe what they can’t see or just don’t know how to handle it.

There are some things that are really really not ok…

  • Telling someone who has just opened up to you about depression that, “it’s not that bad” or “just be happy” NOT OK

  • Looking in disgust when someone tells you that they have panic attacks, then asking “so when you’re having a panic attack, do I need to throw a glass of water in your face?” NOT OK

  • Telling someone with depression that they are tired all the time because “you obviously don’t exercise enough” and “workout more and diet” as if we don’t worry about that shit enough NOT OK

  • Telling anyone regardless of their state of mind to “just go and kill yourself” ABSOLUTELY NOT OK!

The main reason I started this blog was to help people who fight the same fight. Another reason was to educate people who don’t. I get it, you don’t understand or you don’t know what to say. You have grown up in a generation that didn’t recognise it as an actual issue. You are young and joking about suicide means nothing to you. But here are some tips for you:

You don’t understand or don’t know what to say? Educate yourself. One in four people suffer with mental illness. You wouldn’t tell someone with a broken leg to just walk it off,it’s not that bad. Don’t tell someone with a mental illness to just be happy.

You’ve grown up in a generation that didn’t recognise it as an actual issue? It’s recognised now, it is 2017 people, get with the programme. It is an actual issue and if there wasn’t so much stigma surrounding mental illness, more people would seek the help they need.

You are young and joking about suicide means nothing to you? That is a poor excuse! This one in particular makes my blood boil. It is completely unacceptable in any situation. You never know the battle some people are fighting and those words could be what pushes someone over the edge! It is not a joke and it is not funny. Don’t be the final straw that makes someone give up their fight.

If you want to educate yourself there are so many websites that could provide you with information. There are loads but here are a few:

www.mind.org.uk

www.iam1in4.com

www.nhs.uk

Self care matters!

First of all I would like to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who read, shared and contacted me about my first blog. I have received so much love from family, friends and even strangers. It has utterly blown my mind at how far it’s travelled! I hoped I could help at least one person with my story but it seems I have helped many!!

The problem with mental illness is it creeps up on you regardless of how good you feel before. Today I spent most of the day feeling anxious and sad, my stomach was doing flips and I wanted to cry. I even had to leave my desk at one point before I screamed!

Just when you think you’re doing well, anxiety is like “nope, let’s think about all the things that have and could go wrong just for the lolz”

Mental illness doesn’t just affect people with a bad childhood or a bad life. I had a great childhood, my parents are awesome as are the rest of my family. I’ve had some damn shitty things happen in my life that rocked me to my core. As I said in my last post though, it wasn’t any of those things that made me feel my worst. Today I shouldn’t have felt shitty, I have had so much love and positive vibes coming my way over the last couple of days, I should have been on top of the world.

For those that tell themselves they have no reason to feel this way, yes you do! It is a chemical imbalance, it is real and it is perfectly normal and ok!

So since I felt so shitty today I have gone straight down the self care route. I got on Pinterest and found quotes that made me smile, I told people, I listened to some of my favourite songs and sang at the top of my voice all the way home from work. Anybody that drove past me probably saw me dancing in my car at traffic lights too, I’m ok with that, I bet I looked fantastic!

I have also put a mud mask on and had a bath to recharge, today was pretty exhausting. I’m not gonna lie to you, I’m writing this on my phone while in the bath with my mud mask on. I needed to let the words out. People need to talk about their feelings and take the time wherever possible to take care of themselves. It is so important and it makes those shitty days less shitty.

I now need to get out of the bath because its cold and I cant move my face! Here is a beautiful photo of me in my mud mask to hopefully make you smile! Stay strong warriors! We are Team Badass!

First blog post

me2

First ever blog post! Now this is scary. At any one time there will usually be what feels like a million thoughts buzzing around my head. Sometimes I write them down, sometimes I type them on my phone, just to get them out of my head. Well now I’ve decided to put those thoughts out there in the world. I’ve decided this because I am a warrior in the battle that is anxiety and depression, I am stronger now than I have ever been and that is from being open about my feelings. I figured that if this helped me, it could possibly help others.

 

I know I am stronger now because there is a voice in my head as I type this saying “nobody cares Jade, people will just think that you are attention seeking and that you are stupid and weak” well to that voice I say FUCK YOU!!! I am NOT weak. I am NOT stupid. People DO care. The people that don’t just won’t read it and if me being open about my feelings can give even one person hope, then I have done what I set out to do.

 

So just in case anyone who doesn’t already know me reads this, I figured the first post should be a little bit about me.

 

My name is Jade, I am 26 (almost 27) and I have battled depression for most of my life. The anxiety came later and about a year or so ago, the panic attacks decided to join the party (who said three’s a crowd?!) Depression is different for everyone, there are similarities in the feelings, but it is still different. For some it is reactive to a situation or a trauma, it has been that for me at stages in my life. Three years ago I hit the lowest point in my life, I had felt depressed before, felt suicidal before but this was the worst it had ever been. What made it worse for me was that it was completely unreactive, not what I was used to. I can pinpoint the exact time the tsunami washed over me. I was in work, I was having a good day, it was a slow day so my friend and I had been chatting and laughing all morning. I went to the bathroom and it was like someone pulled down a blackout blind and switched off all the lights. There was no warning, no trigger, no reason. I went from smiling and laughing to an overwhelming feeling of sadness, loneliness, emptiness. It was a long road from that point, I tried to fight it for a while, I only used to talk about my feelings to a select few back then. I can tell you that the most exhausting part of depression is pretending to be ok when you are not. It led to a breakdown, I was signed off work and for two weeks I didn’t even leave my flat. It was the closest I ever came to suicide, thankfully I stopped myself. I called a bunch of my closest friends and family and nobody picked up since it was the middle of the day and most people were in work. I was desperate and fighting the urge to just do it and end my pain. My sister saved me, she picked up or called me back, I don’t remember. I just remember starting the conversation trying to be normal because that was my go to, I couldn’t help it. She knew though, she could hear the pain in my voice, she stopped me and asked me if I was ok. Well I opened the floodgates, I burst into tears and spilled out all the ugly feelings. I don’t even remember exactly what we said on the phone that day, it was a blur of emotions (plus I have the actual memory of a fish, for reals!). I just know that my beautiful sister reminded me that I was not alone and reminded me that I had people that loved me and cared for me and would help me turn on the lights again. Sabrina I don’t know if I ever really thanked you so I am taking the opportunity now to tell you, you literally saved my life, thank you, I love you.

(I have actually starting shaking and was crying writing that so moving on to the recovery process)

I spent a year on anti-depressants, something I always considered a weakness in the past. Well it is not a sign of weakness, going to the doctors and asking for help, then making the choice every day to take those happy pills, that took more strength than I could ever describe.

I changed jobs, because I no longer felt fulfilled there and at the time it was the best thing for my mental health as I needed a fresh start. I made the decision to not hide my depression any more, the happy pills were balancing out my feelings so my bad days were fewer anyway. I eventually came off the pills and finally experienced joy again. Fast forward to now, I still get bad days, I am human and the depression, anxiety and now panic attacks are with me always. I described how it feels to a friend once: I feel like I am walking on a tightrope, spinning a bunch of plates over a tank of sharks (I have a very irrational fear of sharks). Some days I barely notice all of that, I am a plate spinning, tightrope walking master, the sharks are like those ones out of finding nemo (fish are friends not food!), I GOT this. I move forwards, might even do some tricks, laugh, smile and enjoy it. Then other days there is a freaking storm, shit gets real and the sharks get bloodthirsty. I wobble, I might end up going backwards, I drop some plates and I start to panic. The difference between the me now and the me three years ago is now, I remember to look up. I look up and I see my tribe, my tribe is made up of family and friends, some friends I have known for years, some only months but they are my tribe. They are my cheerleaders and my biggest fans, they remind me that I’m not in this alone. I remember that I’ve been here before, I survived it then and I can survive it now, I am a badass after all! I understand now that it is fully ok to not be ok all the time, I don’t fight the feelings, I let them out. I tell people that I am having a bad day but I will be alright, and I believe it! I have read a quote on Pintrest (also one of my saviours, seriously, I use it when I need to read some positive quotes to pull me back. Pintrest is amazeballs) this quote is:

“Don’t forget that you’re human. It’s ok to have a meltdown. Just don’t unpack and live there. Cry it out and then refocus on where you are headed”

Well that quote is life! It is exactly right, you are allowed to feel shitty, whether you have depression, anxiety, other mental illness or you’re just having a bad day. It is ok to not be ok. Once I allowed that I found that the bad days got fewer, sometimes it isn’t even a whole day anymore, hallelujah! I have accepted and embraced my feelings, the good the bad and the ugly and I am stronger than ever. I love myself and I am not ashamed to say so, I love even the bad parts of myself because they make me who I am. My scars are on the inside but they shine through my skin, I wear them with complete pride now. My scars are a beautiful reminder of the battles I have won. I am a warrior!

To anyone who has felt, or feels the same way I have or the way I do now, you are an absolute BADASS! You are not alone, not ever. If you don’t have your tribe yet, don’t worry, you’ll find them. You are not the only person who feels this way, you are not crazy. There are people in the world who feel the same way, even if some don’t, there are people who understand and accept you exactly how you are. You are a warrior too, wear your scars with pride!