Our Ambassador Annika, shares her experience with Mental Illness.
For a long time I thought depression was something I’d experienced after we’d experienced deaths in my family. But as I’ve grown older and understand mental health better, I can identify various times in my teens and my childhood that I’ve been anxious and depressed. I can remember wanting to disappear, to run away, to be someone else because I was so unhappy being me and living my life.
I found personal therapy in writing stories and just writing in general. It took me to a different place and through writing I was able to express myself in ways I hadn’t the confidence to verbally.
As an adult, I sometimes forget about that. Self care is so important and it requires daily practice, but I forget about that. Those mornings when the tiredness is at another level, when I’m falling asleep way before bed time and never seem to feel rested, that is how I know it is coming. Feeling teary for no apparent reason, reluctant to talk to anyone and having zero patience, all of these show me now that something isn’t right. Feeling empty or low or numb or just emotionally heavy, and too heavy to pick myself up, that tells me it’s coming. And it doesn’t last for an hour or a day or two. It says for a week, maybe even three, leaving me exhausted and with no motivation to do anything. Social engagements are hard to keep and challenging, I can’t think clearly, I have no desire to tidy my home or go anywhere, nothing interests me and it slows me down.
It doesn’t stop me. I suppose it did once but I’ve found and created myself a support network. I’ve discovered that it helps to talk, that even when it doesn’t make sense to me it will make sense to someone. It means I know I’m not alone. It’s a relief to know that I’m not alone in my struggles, that I know people who are open about their mental health because it enables me to be open about mine.
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