From Laura (2)

Dear You,

If you’re reading this then well done for seeking out support; These recovery letters helped me in my deepest darkest hours, late at night then I felt lost they showed me I wasn’t alone.

My story:

It started as anxiety, endless worrying and a ball of unexplainable fear in my stomach leading to sleepless nights. I went to the doctors for help sleeping, I was told ‘it sounds like you have depression’ my response: ‘No, I’m a bit depressed I don’t have depression – I know the difference’. The truth? I didn’t know anything of the sort. Like so many of us, I was completely ignorant of depression and mental illness.

Then eventually, after slowly sinking further and further I snapped. I went from being so upset and overwhelmed to nothing. The only thing I felt was empty, numb and exhausted. I tried to hide it from the world, lied to people as to why I couldn’t see them, tried to soldier on at work. Until I eventually crumbled when a friend caught me off guard one night and spotted it, they threatened to expose my suffering to my family if I didn’t go to the doctors. I saw giving in and admitting my struggle as a failure in myself and that I was weak.

Reluctantly, I go to the doctors and I break down and admit everything. That I feel worthless, that I’m angry at being so weak, that I don’t recognise myself. Her response? You guessed it….’you have depression’, she was lovely to me, comforting and understanding.

I took her advice and researched this illness; to my shock there it was, in black and white, word for word: exactly how I described how I was feeling to the doctor. This was the first stage in my journey, knowing it wasn’t just my own weakness but it was an actual illness that more people are touched by that you’ll ever realise.

I won’t go into the many ups and downs I’ve been through but let me say this – it’s a difficult road ahead but don’t lose focus on why are fighting to come out of the fog. For me, it was my family – I love them more than I love myself and for them I could not give up.

I’ve had three relapses over the last year, each time I’ve managed to get back on track quicker than the last time. These recovery letters helped me each time, and I want to play my part.

I know how bleak the world can seem, it’s like you’re stuck in a heavy grey fog that weighs you down. I know how lost you can feel and how you worry you’ll never be happy again. I’ve been there, but as they say time is the greatest healer.

Don’t be hard yourself, accept, like any illness, you are not going to get better overnight. Anti-depressants helped me, talking through things with a psychiatrist helped, therapy didn’t. Each person’s journey is different. You will see the light again, slowly, bit by bit, colour in the world will return.

I still have a way to go in my journey, and being honest I do fear that I will relapse again. But as you’ll hopefully find with these letters, both me and you can recover from this. Don’t give up; the sun will shine for you again.

Laura