“My lungs want to live but my brain wants to die”. Words I wrote in a journal in 2019, the year I had to fight for my life. We usually use that expression to describe battling cancer or infection but why don’t we use it enough for battling severe depression and suicidal urges? Because it was a fight, a fight I did not think I would win, but I did- I survived. My brain is an organ like any other, when it gives up, the body can’t live then either. There was no miraculous change when things got better, but eventually I stopped thinking about dying every day, some will in me gradually was rekindled. I’m afraid every day though, of it coming back, because depression has come for me before. There are parts of my brain that would force me to wallow in this, parts that if I listened to, I would never get up again. There are other parts who want to fight, and part of fighting for me is speaking up, using my words to make a difference.
Doing things just for me
So, the end of 2019, trying to find something to bring me back from the brink, I decided to volunteer for Dorset mind. It was, as I described it, something I didn’t know why I needed to do it, I just did. It was something with no end goal, no further purpose then this is something I want to do, so I’ll do it. We don’t do that enough in this fast-paced world of ours. I realised in helping with Dorset Mind their blog and creating content to share, things about myself that I had lost. Things that really, I had always known but had forgotten in depths of mental ill health. I had power, I am a person, I can share my experiences, I can write. So, I sat down, and I wrote, and the crazy thing was, people cared about what I wrote. They related to it, they learnt something, or it reached something in them.
It also was doing the very opposite of what my brain, my depression, told me to: hide away, withdraw, never mention what goes on in your head. So, speaking up gave me the power over my depression.
Sharing my experiences as part of Dorset Mind gave me a positive place to channel some of the frustration, I felt at the mental health system, and a place to make sense of some of the journey I had been through. Reading others experiences and sharing my own has been extremely cathartic. I think that a big part of changing the stigma around mental health is speaking out, voicing our experiences is so powerful.
Thank you to our young ambassador Alice for this moving blog.
If you feel in danger or hurting yourself or feel unable to keep yourself self and need urgent help.
If you need to talk to someone
The Samaritans 24/7 Phoneline –
The Samaritans offer emotional support and a listening ear, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It’s a FREEPHONE number that can even be called from a mobile with no credit.
– Call them on 116 123 (24hr),
– Or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Connection 24/7 Phoneline for Dorset –
A helpline for people of all ages in Dorset who are experiencing mental health issues & need support.
– Call 111 and select ‘mental health,’
– Or dial 0300 1235440 to access support.
Gives help on a wide range of issues – you can call and email them; post on message boards and chat to a counsellor online.
– Call 0800 1111, currently 9am to midnight,
– Or email them securely from your online Childline account.
Papyrus provides confidential support and advice for young people struggling with thoughts of suicide and anyone worried about a young person.
– Call 0800 068 4141 or 07860 039967, 9am to 10pm weekdays, 2pm to 10pm weekends and bank holidays,
– Or email: email@example.com