As I sit here at my desk, ready to write an article about my mental health journey, I can’t believe how much my life has changed.
Today I am a mentally healthy young person who has a dream career in the arts, is getting married in less than a month, has great friends and family, is active in my community. I even managed to get up at 6am to go to a kickboxing class today.
I have struggled with mental health issues for as long as I can remember, yet I didn’t realise what they were at the time.
During high school, I put on a fake smile and I did my best to pretend everything was OK.
It was exhausting and dangerous. I had completely lost myself within the dark cloud of mental illness.
After high school I went on to study theatre at university and I continued to be a high functioning person with depression and anxiety. At the age of 19 I moved to America to study and work for nearly two years. When I returned I could no longer avoid my mental health issues.
I found myself without a job, living with my parents and unable to get out of bed. My whole life took place within the four walls of my bedroom for nearly six months.
Looking back, I put my life back together by starting to walk my family dog every day. For weeks that was the only thing that I did.
Eventually, I built up the courage to go to my GP and ask for help. I was so scared and anxious that I pretended that I needed a blood test.
The conversation went a bit like this:
Doctor: How can I help you today?
Me: Can I get a blood test?
Doctor: OK. Are you having any unusual symptoms that are worrying you?
Me: Oh, you know — I’m tired all the time, I don’t like doing anything that once made me happy, I can’t sleep, think, get a job or do anything of value. Oh, and there’s a raging storm going on inside my brain 24/7 but other than that I’m fine.