I took a notion to clean out the bathroom shelves earlier (it’s a job I tend to ignore until there is literally no room to put anything else on them) and I came across something. Two something actually. My emergency meds, and the blade I had forgotten I’d kept on the off chance that I ever decided I needed to cut myself again.

Both of them gave me brief pause for thought, and both are now in the bin. They belong firmly in my past, along with those labels that I needed, hated, clung to and rejected, all at the same time. It wasn’t a tough decision, I simply now know, in a way that I never did before, that I do not need them any more. Do I think I’ll never feel anxious again? Or depressed or angry or overwhelmed? Of course not. Those feelings are all completely human, completely natural responses to difficult situations. It’s not possible to be alive and not encounter them. What’s different now though is I’m not scared of those emotions any more. I don’t particularly like them, I can’t imagine anyone does. But I’m not going to ignore them when they arise, because they’re there for a reason. They’re telling me that something isn’t right, and if I choose to ignore them, or medicate them into submission, I’ll never work out what it is that needs fixing.

I’m painfully aware as I write this of the incredibly privileged position I’m in. What I now know as truth could never have come about without access to the right treatment; and without the financial support you gave me, that would never have happened. I’m so, so chuffed that I’ve been able to turn things around like this, but I’m also extremely conscious of the number of you reading this who aren’t in that position.

I wish there was an easy solution. I wish everyone who needed it could access the right support. I wish we lived in a society where talking was our first port of call, not our last, where we didn’t live with the weight of everyone else’s expectations on our shoulders. But we don’t. We are where we are, and we have to work with what we’ve got. It’s my very real hope that the fact I’ve been able to do such a complete about face on my beliefs and attitudes towards mental health difficulties will at least show you that there is another way. I don’t know how to make it happen for everyone. But I really want you to know that it’s possible. Do you believe me?

This article has 1 Comment

  1. I just want to say that you are an absolute inspiration. I’m a bloke and just getting used to anxiety / panic attacks which came on out of nowhere two years ago. Amazing to read your story. Thanks

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