MHAW - Emma-Rose's Story


MHAW - Emma-Rose's Story.

It was around a year ago that I was sat in the doctors and told I had severe depression and anxiety. It all seemed very surreal at the time. I hadn’t been feeling great for a couple of months and one day it hit me badly, it was then that I had the sudden realisation that I needed to do something about it.

I’d never imagined I would suffer with depression and anxiety, but in fact, what I didn't realise at the time is that I had been suffering with it for months and just coping with it because I didn’t actually realise there was anything wrong with me.

I’ve always been a natural worrier, however this started to develop into something I couldn’t handle, and it became a huge part of my everyday life. One difficulty I faced was constantly pre-empting bad situations and scenarios, worrying that something terrible would happen to myself or the people around me. I would either avoid situations, or convince myself they would be so awful, it led to them actually turning out that way because of my thoughts. I developed a really negative outlook on life and suffered with a low mood pretty much all of the time, which wasn’t who I was.

I went on to have weekly therapy and my therapist was amazing. She taught me techniques to help manage my thoughts and feelings. A few weeks before Christmas, something finally clicked for me and I knew from that moment I was in control. That doesn’t mean I no longer have ‘off’ days - of course I do, but I feel confident in myself that I can handle it through the techniques I’ve learnt, coupled with the support around me.

Looking back at myself a year ago from now, if there was anything I could do differently, it would be to talk more. At the time, it took me a while to be truly open and honest with people about how I was feeling. But even then, I still kept a lot of it very private and was wary about sharing too much information. Over the months, as I gradually started to share my experiences more and more, I realised how crucial talking about it was.

Emma-Rose's Story

Talking to others, whether that’s a family member, a partner, friend, colleague, hairdresser, or therapist, is so beneficial in helping you on your journey to self care. It opened my eyes to how supportive people are becoming of the illness. I’ve also found this has motivated them to speak up and has allowed me to support them equally as much. Rather than battling it alone, you start to feel more of a team.

Of course, not everyone around you might be so accepting or handle it well, but don’t let this stop you from reaching out to others. My advice would be to keep talking, there are so many new people you could meet along the way and every step you take is all working towards overcoming this stigma and breaking down the barriers.

A friend recently told me of a technique she used that helped her to understand who she had around her. She drew a picture of herself, and around that she wrote out everyone she could go and talk to - colleagues, family, university friends, flatmates (you can also add your therapist, doctor etc). All these people together formed her support network, and it gives a nice and comforting reflection of the people you have around.

There will always be someone you can talk to.

I'll leave this with a quote I read in a book recently. It can't be applied to all situations we face in life, but it might help you to reflect on a few things.

'All you have to do to change your world is change the way you think about it.'