From Natalie

Dear You,

I know all too well the feelings of utter hopelessness and self-hatred that accompany depression. I know what it is like to lie awake at night feeling like your head is going to explode because every worry you have ever had, every bad thing that has been said about you and everything you should have done is circling around and around relentlessly.

I know how it feels to live with a heart that is so heavy it almost suffocates you and eyes that refuse to cry. I know the feeling of pure desperation when you plead with the world to just give you a chance or a way through it, a magic pill or something. But with that said I also know what it feels like to break through the barbed wire that I had become entangled in, climb out of the dark hole I lived in that was filled with anger, bitterness and blame and I started to feel the warmth of the sun seep into my skin for the first time in a long time.

No matter how long you have been in that hole, how deep it is or how hopeless it seems to attempt to climb out of it, I am living, breathing proof that it is possible. There was no magic pill that I took that cured me from depression and anxiety although the correct medications do play a role in my recovery.

The catalyst for making the decision that depression would not rule me was the notion that I actually was good enough. I was worthy enough to live a happy, successful, fulfilling life. To me recovery is a daily thing, I have to keep working at it. I try to keep the philosophy that having one bad day does not mean I have a bad life. I learnt to appreciate the smaller things that I never noticed before and I taught myself that life is happier being an optimist than a pessimist. I realised that having a chemical imbalance that causes me to feel depressed does not actually mean anything about me, it is what it is and I can rise above.

I am no longer a scared, hopeless little girl who blames people for her misfortunes. I am a strong, independent, capable, beautiful person who just happens to have a mental illness. I made the choice to make the most of the cards I had been dealt and to try and use them in a way that could benefit myself and others.

I am learning to love myself for everything I am and everything that I am not. I am learning that it is okay to be different and I am learning to appreciate myself. I am learning to accept what I cannot change and instead to embrace it.

The first step towards recovery in my opinion is the decision to be in recovery. To value yourself and put a stop to self-destructive behaviour. Surrounding yourself with supportive and loving influences and remove the negative ones. Be kind to yourself, speak to yourself as you would to someone that you love and don’t get discouraged by the bad times because they will come. If you need medication then that is okay and nothing to be ashamed of. Recovery is a fight for your own wellbeing and it is one that you can win.

I believe that you can do it because you are special and the world needs to know who you are.

Love, Natalie.