This post is something that I wanted to do for a long time, yet I was and I still am really afraid to talk about it.
Those of you who view my Instagram stories already know that I am dealing with depression and anxiety. I have suffered from them for a while now and I have had a really hard time in the past months. Now living in a new country and working my first full-time job, I have to say that I am more than proud of myself for getting my life back on track. I wish I could say that I never gave myself up but that just isn’t the truth. There were times when I wanted to quit everything. I didn’t see the point of carrying on. Everything seemed hopeless.
I know that depression is different for everyone and that it must be really hard for people who don’t suffer from it to understand what you’re going through. For me it is as if there is always someone following me, telling me that I just shouldn’t trust people, that I am not good enough and that everything that goes wrong is my fault.
I had really bad experiences in the past. Things happened and I never talked about them. I kept silent for years. Being blamed by others made me blame myself. Yes, I have been abused – both sexually and physically. And yes, the abusers were people I knew and trusted. In the end, they blamed me. Because I didn’t do anything about it. Because I had it coming. I thought about it a lot, about what caused people to do those things to me. I just couldn’t find a reason. But because they had told me that it was my own fault I started to believe it. And instead of feeling anger I felt guilt and shame.
Years went by and I never talked about it. I tried to forget what had happened and I learned to live with the guilt that I felt.
It was really hard for me to trust people. I pushed people who were kind away from me because I was scared to get hurt again. When I entered my last relationship I felt relieved. I trusted him. But months went by and I found out about some things that made me doubt him. But instead of telling me the truth he continued to keep secrets. I did everything I could to find out the truth, knowing that it would hurt me. When I did I got blamed for finding out and I took the blame. Over and over again.
Both my mental and my physical health got really bad and I tried to hide it. Because I blamed myself for the things that had happened. I always felt that I wasn’t enough, no matter how hard I tried. Until I couldn’t take it anymore. I suffered from panic attacks, anxiety and depression. I tried to hide from the truth. I tried to hide from my feelings. On Thanksgiving, I ended up in the hospital. I guess it was because part of me finally accepted the truth and another part of me couldn’t deal with it. When I got out of the hospital I went to Brazil – my safe place – where I had made so many happy memories in the past. I went there still hoping everything would turn out right and I came back to find my whole life falling apart. Without a home, a job or a relationship I was forced to regain my strength and figure out a plan B.
I spent Christmas time alone in a place that suddenly didn’t feel like home anymore. I was told that I wasn’t welcome anymore.
I started to apply for jobs in London. A city that somehow always felt like home-away-from-home to me.
On January 3rd I had an appointment with my therapist and she advised me to go to a local clinic. This made me panic, I was really afraid. Of the therapy, the people there and of what others would think about me. I told her that I would come back with a decision the following day.
And I did. I spend the following 9 days in a “crisis” ward of the hospital. It was the right decision for me. I didn’t have to worry about my “outside” environment. I learned how to calm myself down, to accept that not everyone shares my morals and ethics. I met people who made me realise that a mental illness does not mean that you are insane or crazy. It is something completely normal. Something we should talk openly about. Something that can effect everyone.
A week later I went to London because I got offered a job. I did not know what to expect, but I knew that it wouldn’t be easy. Luckily I found a room, my work is awesome and I love the city.
I still have to deal with panic attacks, I still feel lonely and I still suffer from the things that happened in the past. But I am getting better. I am getting stronger.
[ If you know anyone who suffers from a mental illness such as depression, please offer them your help but don’t force them to do something. Don’t say “other people have it way worse” don’t put any more pressure on them. Just be there for them. ]