Hello, my name is Rachel. I thought I would do this to try to be a little bit braver and share a bit of my story on mental health – I hope I don’t bore you to tears!
I live in Isleworth and work locally in Kingston. I’m currently cuddled up with a duvet because it’s freezing, reading a book by Sally Rooney and watching Love Island (don’t judge!).
One part of my life is that I live with depression and anxiety disorder. I was first diagnosed with severe depression when I was about 17 years old. I went through a challenging time and began to internalise a lot of things, to the point where I felt I was a bad friend, bad girlfriend, bad daughter, bad sister, bad student… “Not good enough and a burden on others.”
Loved ones and people close to me noticed that I was struggling but I also became adept at hiding how badly I was feeling. Until one day I couldn’t, and everything seemed to fall apart. From being a high-flier academically and fairly sociable with friends – I went to not being able to leave the house, talk to anyone and having to drop out of college.
Through a combination of time, unending support, therapy and medication, I slowly recovered from my first episode of severe depression and anxiety. After a few years I was able to return to being “me” again, but I feared ever feeling that way again.
It definitely wasn’t the last episode I’ve experienced, there have been many at varying degrees, but I think that my relationship with my mental health has changed over the years. I feel now that each time I’ve struggled and had set-backs, it can be very painful but I actually learn new things about myself and come out of it feeling that little bit stronger.
It sounds a cliché but you’re not alone. I’ve learnt that after a lot of trial and error, for me personally taking medication daily is a small price to pay to give me a stable foundation for my mental health.
The list of things I’m still learning is endless… but a few things are: meditation; being in nature; breaking things down into very small steps and saying no. I’m learning that meaningful ‘self-care’ needs practice… hopefully I’m getting there!
Thank you so much for reading. Have a great day.