As you know I'm really passionate about mental health and helping to raise awareness. Mental health is such an important topic, one close to my heart, yet society doesn't always see it that way. Society has created so much social stigma and misconceptions around mental health and mental health problems, despite 1 in 4 will be affected by mental health at any point in their lives.
However, within the blogging community I see so many bloggers openly talking about mental health, helping to raise awareness and reduce the stigma, that's why I decided I wanted to do something to raise awareness.
To help raise awareness of mental health I'm starting a series on my blog called "Lets talk about mental health". Throughout this series I'm going to be getting other bloggers to share their thoughts and opinions on topics related to mental health, such as: social stigma, personal experience and advice.
Dealing with depression: Nikki O
Nikki, a blogger, got in touch with me and asked could she share her personal experience about depression, which I'm really proud of her for doing. Despite depression being one of the most common mental illnesses ( depression affects 1 in 3 people), there are still a lot of stigma and misconceptions about depression. By reading Nikki's story I hope you gain an understanding of what it's like to live with depression.
I am praying my story gives someone hope.
I do not know where to begin, so I guess I will start by saying that depression is real. Everything that is being felt during this time is real. It definitely rips you from life itself.
My depression really distanced me from God for a long time. Although I grew up in a Christian home with parents that always instilled in me the faith I hold firmly to today, I still always felt like God was not that loving God everyone makes him out to be.
All through out middle school I was teased a lot. During that time my grandmother had also passed away, it got to a point where I had very little to no self love... Anything that went wrong in my life I would take it upon myself to deal with it through harming myself.
After middle school my family and I moved to a different city. I was excited, I was ready for a new environment and a change. Unfortunately the change was a long and slow process. I started high school, and although I was never teased like before; my insecurities really showed. My mind was always running with hateful thoughts about myself and I couldn't go anywhere without the sharp blade of a razor. I could barely stay in a class without leaving to the counselors office in tears.
During this time I began to have suicidal thoughts, I was taken out of school for about two weeks for therapy. I hated it. I felt like a failure. I always felt like I was wasting my life away. I constantly felt like I let myself down as well as the people around me. I flew by my therapy sessions as quick as I could in order to get cleared again for school. I went by high school the best I could, making sure I was involved in extracurricular activities to keep myself busy.
QUICK NOTE: If I could give any advice to my younger self, I would tell her that needing help does NOT in anyway make you a failure. It does NOT mean you are stupid or letting people down. On the contrary, to finally be able to ask for help and talk things through makes you BRAVE. Depression is not a solo journey, although it may seem extremely lonely at times, you are not meant to go through it alone.
Fast forward to college and I got hooked into a bible study as well as a new church that helped me find stable friends and a community. Slowly my negative views about myself started to change. Things were going well during my first two years of college. Towards the ending I started to struggle with my grades and lost my admission to a school I was accepted into. It felt like my world was falling apart again. I remember turning back into self harming after that big disappointment.
My biggest break through was on July 9th 2015 I decided to get baptized. In just a year God started to show me his healing power. Does that mean life is easier? Absolutely NOT. I still have my shaky moments. I still get my temptations. But here is something I am sure of.. We serve a BIG GOD.
When life was looking good I would praise him, when things were becoming overwhelming I would cry out to him and slowly realized that I did not need to depend on self harm.
Friends, maybe you are going through something similar. Maybe your self confidence is close to nothing and you feel hopeless & alone... as cliché as this may sound YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Do not let your mind play tricks on you, get the help that you need and embrace yourself with friends and family.
Nikki also wrote this fantastic piece on her blog (BLOG LINK: http://tinyurl.com/zmlj2eb)! I would recommend giving Nikki's blog a read as it's filled with so many interesting post, which are definitely worth the read.
I hope this post has given you more of an insight and helped you to understand what it's like living with a mental illness. If you would like to be part of this series then please let me know!