I want to help break to the stigma of mental health so here is my story. My first experience with depression started when I was a teenager.
I had a fairly happy and healthy childhood apart from the severe bullying all throughout primary school. Not only were their girl germs and boy germs in primary school there was also Rachael germs. I can look back now and laugh at it all but for that scared little 7-year-old girl was told nobody wanted to go near her, it was confusing and heartbreaking.
All she wanted to do was fit in. All she wanted was some friends and to play games outside but instead, she hid in the art room. The only escape from the torment of the other school kids.
By the time I got to high school, I was broken. I would do anything to fit in. And that’s when I started to become the bully. I hated myself for my actions but the fear of being unliked was too great.
I sank lower and lower and the self-hatred got stronger and stronger.
I didn’t want to live. I was a horrible person and I couldn’t change otherwise I would be a lonely person and that was worse. Alcohol and marijuana became my medication and that just made everything worse. I spiralled out of control, getting in trouble at school, at home and on the streets. I felt out of control. I knew I was on the wrong path but I didn’t know how to get off. At one of my darkest points, I stood on a cliff willing myself to jump. I am so thankful I never did.
My parents could see my hurt but didn’t know what to do. The organized a stay at a psychiatric unit where I was labelled with manic depression. This was my first contact with mental health services and for me it’s wasn’t the right place. It did start me in the right direction for seeking help though. I recognized the potential for feeling better. I started the long long journey of healing.
All through my life, I have experienced episodes of depression. When I was in my 20’s I tried to deny those feelings, pretend to the world they weren’t there. I had to be strong. I now know that to get help is to be strong, not weak. Let’s band together and show our strength.