Hi, I’m Ashleigh and I’m here to tell you about life with a mental illness. This is such a nerve wracking post to write. Over the past few months I’ve become quite open to talking about my struggles, I’ve even posted a few times on my Facebook about it, but I’ve never done something like this. Right now I’m sitting with my laptop bouncing on my leg as I type, my hands are clammy with fear and my heart..well it’s beating so hard I feel like I can I can hear it. Despite that I know that the time is right for me to reveal my life. It’s time I told my story because there are so many people that need to hear it.
When I was diagnosed with depression I surprisingly felt relieved. There was no sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach or fear about the implications this illness could have on my life because I was too preoccupied by a sudden understanding of my emotional state. I had always thought that it was normal to feel like I did. God, that makes me so sad now. Imagine being eight years old, staring around a room full of kids playing, knowing you’d never be accepted by them. Imagine the sorrow in your little heart, so small it can’t even comprehend what you’re feeling. Imagine reaching ten and writing on hidden walls about how much you hate yourself and what an awful person you are. You’re ten years old and when you think of yourself a pool of disgust races through your body until it overtakes every other thought. It consumes you with its’ fire burning away any hope that it will get better. Twelve years old. Imagine going to high school, excited for a second chance. This will be where it all changes for you. Except..it’s not. It’s the place where you realise that you will always be alone. The place you come home and cry about more often than not. The place that causes you so much pain you pretend you’re sick just so you don’t have to face anyone today.
There is nothing normal about that.
That’s how I felt growing up and I didn’t know any different because no one told me there was such a thing as a mental illness. By the time I reached senior school I was an empty shell of a person desperately crying out for help that no one knew how to give. I wasn’t ready to to leave school and face the world. I dropped out of university within the first year and eventually couldn’t even manage to work. I thought after I was diagnosed that I had to learn to accept that my life would always be this way and when I couldn’t do that I accepted that there was nothing in my life worth living for.
Do you know how hard it is to come back from that point? Can you imagine waking up and crying, distraught, purely because you are alive? I hope you never know. I hope you never have to live through any moment like that. But know reader, that if you don’t, someone else will. It’s not a case of maybe they might- they will. If that’s you then I’m sorry. I’m so sorry for what you’re going through but I promise you it doesn’t have to be that way. I promise you there are people who care, who can help and who can change your life and help to make it better. If you can’t think of anyone then read this again and think of me. The past few months I’ve been helped by amazing people who have given me the tools and the knowledge to overcome the darkness inside. My cloud is shifting and you’rs can too. I’m lucky to have a such a great family by my side to help me because if there’s one thing I can’t truly imagine it has to be how difficult this has been for them.
My recovery isn’t over but I’m ready to document it now. I’m ready to tell everyone about my ups and downs, my achievements and my learning curves and my goals for the future. If I can do it then you can too. That’s what this blog is about! It’s about facing the challenges with me, doing it together and giving the world an insight into our lives. It all starts with small steps and celebrating every success. I’m going to achieve my dreams. I’m going to give back to this world in tenfold the love that has been giving to me. And I’m going to reach a stage where no matters what happens I can say that I’m loving every minute of it.
P.S please comment and share with as many people as possible to give it every chance of reaching someone who needs support. So many mental illnesses are invisible you never know who is on your page that may find this useful. Thank you!