Hey Everyone, my name is Amy and I’m a 21 year old apprentice from the Uk and also the owner of My Honest Mentality. This week I was honoured to share my mental health story with Dan on In the Lions Den. He is a wonderful writer who shares the most raw and interesting pieces that help to remove the stigma surrounding mental health. As many of you know this week is mental health week and this month is Tourette's awareness month so me and Dan thought it was the perfect time to collaborate so let’s get in to it!
Spending a year in bed for some people sounds like a dream but for me, it was the worst year of my life so let me tell you all about it...
Before 2019 I was your regular 20-year-old stressed, spending too much money in Wetherspoons but ultimately, I was happy. 20-year-old Amy was living her best life until she was hit with a metaphorical brick labelled depression. I don’t know where this brick came from, it’s not as if a wall was knocked down, the brick simply came out of thin air.
I think that’s the thing with depression, people think something triggers it, but they fail to understand that it can simply just happen. Yep, that’s right!
Depression can just appear like an unwanted shadow and that’s what happened to me.
At first, it wasn’t that noticeable, it just felt like a couple of bad days but then those bad days turned into months and suddenly your girl was bedridden with hair that looked like you could fry chips in it, Pyjamas that looked like they’d been worn in a paintball fight with balls filled with pasta sauce in a room that had more dirty plates and cups than that so-called Wetherspoons kitchen.
The thing with depression is people think it’s darkness, one with tears and sessions of rapid breathing and whilst it can be all of those things it can also be...
Sitting in a room for months staring at a wall, poor hygiene and bad eating habits. If my depression had a face, then that’s what it would look like.
I gained about two stone, my health suffered, and I felt completely cut off from the real world. I isolated myself from friends but just to let everyone know I was alright I posted those all-important throwback pics on Insta. I put on a happy face for work. I pushed myself to complete my uni assignments.
I did everything I could to make sure everyone knew I was ok even though I wasn’t.
I didn’t want to worry anyone but in doing that I made myself worse until one day my mum asked me how I was really doing and that was it.
I offloaded months of emotion through just talking. You know that saying “it felt like a weight had been lifted”. Well, that was true!
I spoke up, I found support and I finally left my bed.
Those first few months out of my depressive space felt like a whole new world, one where my shadow had finally left me the hell alone.
I spent that time talking and finding myself again, I moved out of the apartment where I spent my year in bed, and I moved into a new place filled with the light I needed.
I did all the things I didn’t expect to achieve when I was depressed.
I got my degree.
I moved out.
I regained friendships.
I enrolled in an introduction to counselling.
I volunteered for a student crisis chat line.
I put all those bottled-up emotions and wrote them down in my blog, I then took that blog and created My Honest Mentality.
I knew what it was like to feel alone and isolated, I wanted to create a space for people who felt the same and so I did that.
I am still recovering myself but trust me when I say things do get better.
This week has been mental health awareness week and I have been so honoured to share my story with In the Lion's Den.
So, let me finish with some reminders...
Talking helps even if you don’t want to talk to a loved one, strangers will listen and there are many hotlines available.
Recovery is not linear but it’s bloody good.
Things get better and most of all you are never alone.
Thank you for listening to my story and I’m sending love to all of you with untold stories, stories of struggle and those who are still struggling now. It will get better!
I just want to say a huge thank you to Dan for allowing me to tell my story, he is wonderful and why not head over to my page to read his amazing and sensitive piece about Tourette’s syndrome and managing it not suffering!