I have depression. I have anxiety. I have casual suicidal intent. All these things are true and I profess these truths through the medium of writing. First through my scratching of pen on paper followed by the tapping of keys onto the screen. Just as I have done many times before.
I have been writing since I was ten. I’ve been suffering the mental illness for over a decade. The moment I accepted it is when I typed the words “I may have high-functioning anxiety” for my blog back in October 2016. Writing led to the first step: Acceptance. Since that day, I have worked through my mental issues one word at a time.
Through word after word tumbling down on the page, I have discussed my anxiety, depression and suicidal intentions. The realisation I had by opening up was profound. It became clear that I was not alone. None of us is alone. There are so many people out there right now living with similar issues. It shocked me how many folks I know who suffer as I do. Those same folks who appear so buoyant and happy have considered the option of death. Their mind ravaged by anxiety and their hearts soaked in cold depression.
Whilst it was a shock, it was, unfortunately, a comfort also because I realised I wasn’t alone in suffering. That sounds callous, but by knowing others do suffer as I do means that we can also work together to recover together.
By hearing their stories and writing about my own, I have found the courage to seek professional help from my doctor. I am now on Citalopram that helps level me out and am on my way to therapy.
Finding the root or starting point where your mental ravaging originates is like walking back over the path of hot coals that has been your jounrye so far. It is hard and the process is long. I may have found mine, but to be convinced completely is an impossibility. Even writing it down here, my mind remains sceptical that this was the beginning.
My greatest fear growing up was being a disappointment. Being a disappointment to my parents, siblings and friends. In the first year of Secondary school, my English teacher asked each of us to identify our greatest fear. Even at that age, I knew what fear lay deep within.
Leaving too early
At fourteen, I first considered leaving the party of life early. I had drifted away from many of my friends and had begun to struggle with the demons of sexual confusion. It was in summer between school years, steeped in loneliness and depression. I don’t remember much of that period other than the cold darkness.
I pulled through and fought on. Over the next few years, I accepted the truth of my homosexuality. I discovered a true friendship that binds me to this life. A friendship with someone who will never let me stand alone or cower in the dark. Because of that friendship, I came through another period of suicidal intent at the age of seventeen.
Even after all that, I never accepted or wrote about or actually even considered the happenings in my mind could be anxiety and depression. I believed that was for the weak-minded, It was for those who could not stand strong and let themselves be destroyed by it. My cognitive dissonance on my own mind is common with many of us. We do not wish to accept that we could be weak within ourselves. But that denial and rejection of the truth allow the ravaging to continue unabated.
No longer! When I discovered the power of writing and how it helps sort many of the thoughts that constantly weave violently through my mind. I knew I couldn’t stop. I knew I had to use my skill and love of writing to tell my story and help others tell their own.
Writing is one of the greatest tools at our disposal to help people deal with their issues and save many more lives.