The Only Way Out, Is Through!

We all have those days where we want to be alone, where we are not motivated and where everything just seems too hard. These usually occur on rainy days at home or the standard Monday back at work. But sometimes, there can be a day that hits harder than most and causes these feelings to never go away. Mine was June 6th, 2015.

On a day where I should have been reminiscing of the amazing memories recently created at a friend’s wedding, I was instead confronted with the news that I would never see a friend again.

A four-hour flight separated me from my support network and answers. The entire flight I was left to contemplate how this had happened, why it happened. Questions that we will never have answered. One thing we do know is that the world not only lost one of its toughest and fiercest competitors, but a kind and loving son, uncle, friend and brother. Someone who every day is missed.

You don’t realise how much of any impact someone has on your life till they are gone. Simple things such as moments in your weekly routine to random songs on the radio would take you back to memories long passed.

The next few days I just wanted to be alone, I didn’t want to talk about my feelings or of what happened. I shut myself away waiting for it to pass. Those days turned into weeks, those feelings never went away.  I kept telling everyone I was ok, it was just a phase and that I would get through it. It started to affect me at work and socially, I stopped caring. I needed help.

Even before this event, I was never good at talking about my feelings. I always kept my cards close to my chest. I didn’t want others knowing how I felt. I could never see myself attending counselling. However, after weeks of talking to a stranger about what had happened and how it made me feel, I knew one thing for sure. I wasn’t ok, I had depression.

There was no more hiding behind the term, “I’m fine”. I wasn’t fine. I needed to fight what was going on behind the scenes and to do that I needed to do what I feared the most. Talk about my illness.

Instead of hiding from the conversation I encouraged it. I supported organisations such as LIVIN and the RUOK Foundation, who each day help others fight their battles by letting them know they are not alone. 

If you are reading this, I encourage you to do the same. We have all encountered mental illness in some shape or form. Whether that be through a friend or family member. We all have our own outlets and we must support each other to overcome the stigma that is mental illness.

A wise person once told me that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. We can save the lives of individuals if we change the way society understands and distinguishes mental illness. Don’t let the fear of what people might think stop you from speaking your mind. Everybody is going through something, everybody has had something that they’ve had to overcome.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel, you are not alone in this fight. You will get through.