My first blog post! I don’t know whether to be terrified or excited to be honest. My name is Emily, I am twenty-one years old and I have several diagnosed mental illnesses. I have struggled with a vast array of mental health problems since the age of eight, and to this date I’m still working through so much that I unknowingly swept under the metaphorical rug. This blog is going to be a lot of my own personal experience, how I coped and how I use my experience positively rather than letting it drag me down. I will aim to put trigger warnings on anything that could be deemed triggering, but I apologise in advance if I miss something.
It took me a long time to decide whether this was a clever idea or not, knowing my intentions in future social care careers and to adopt I had to think long and hard whether writing about something as stigmatized as mental illness is going to affect my future, as much as I’d love to say the stigma isn’t there it unfortunately still is. But as I see it, speaking out about mental illness and normalizing the diagnoses are the only ways to beat the stigma. I don’t want to stay silent when I have so much to say which could genuinely help, because in turn then does that not just make me as bad as those looking down on those who are mentally ill- as you can imagine it took a lot for me to decide to go through with this.
I have dedicated the last five years of my life to purposefully speaking out about mental health, raising awareness and shutting down stigma from those around me. It took a long time for me to be honest about my mental health to those around me, in school there always seemed to be an elephant in the room surrounding mental health which in turn made me think that I was the only one struggling which I later found out was completely wrong. It wasn’t till I was seventeen did I actually tell people, in front of a school assembly- I’m still not sure how I did it to be brutally honest. So, after nine years of battling and recovering from anorexia, battling anxiety and depression I had finally made the first step into a more supported future. Don’t get me wrong, I know that I am incredibly lucky that I was met with little resistance and instead had some of the most amazing friends supporting me who I am so grateful for. Then came my diagnosis of bipolar disorder, and despite how open and confident I had become I was knocked. I was so embarrassed; I couldn’t get my head around the fact I had a personality disorder and for the first four months I cried daily looking into ways to ‘beat’ it as if it was some type of cold.
Fast forward to me now, I just finished my undergraduate degree in the middle of a global pandemic and have begun to work through most my trauma with little to no support which I didn’t think was even plausible. I still have bipolar disorder, depression and anxiety; but I am not ashamed of that. If anything I’m proud of that, yeah my life sucks a lot of the time and I’ve had so many curveballs thrown at me in the past thirteen years that I don’t particularly remember a time where I wasn’t weighed down with guilt, grief or pain but I’m content with my life right now. My journey to content has been long-winded and I’ve lost and found myself more times than I can count; but I’ve also received some of the best support which I hope to pass on throughout these posts. The road to learning to love yourself is long and can test you in so many ways but it is important to remember that no matter what YOU ARE A PERSON, you are NOT a diagnosis. Your mental illness(es) DO NOT DEFINE YOU.
So, welcome to The Depression Pit, a name which pretty much describes what my room and life looks like every time my depression takes over but also a self-coined term to represent the fort I make when I need to cry and watch Miranda. This introduction took me forever to type because I don’t like explaining myself, but I have so many ideas banked for future blog posts that I’m so excited to see what happens.
Thank you for reading this far, the next one will be more interesting I promise! If you have a WordPress account, you are able to follow my account which should (hopefully) give you reminders when I post!!