E4 have recently started a show called 'My Mad Fat Diary' and I think it's the most refreshing insight into mental health that I've seen in years. I really wish I had seen it when I was sixteen years old.
(Ray Earl in My Mad Fat Diary)
It tells the story of a girl named Ray. Sixteen years old, weighing sixteen stone and just leaving a mental institution to enter the real world. Whilst you don't know the reasons that she was in there for, you do see glimpses of anxiety disorder, depression, OCD, self harm and being a big girl in a world when fat appreciation wasn't around. You instantly find yourself liking her. Maybe not relating to her because in all honesty not everyone is in the same situation. But you start to see, how things made her and others the way they are.
When I first became depressed I was sixteen years old, people said it was because I was a teenager, that I was rebelling. When in reality my parents were divorcing and my 'father' was blaming everything on me (we have no contact now), I was in a relationship with a boy where bullying and beating me was the norm to him and suffering from an eating disorder that still isn't recognised (in recovery now thankfully). I watched the show and wanted to cry with happiness that for once mental health wasn't being laughed at. That the other kids in the show weren't shouting at her, calling her names and staring at her for being different. They accepted her and didn't judge. Maybe something will happen later in the series as there has only been one episode but there is so much promise in the series.
Whilst my depression didn't leave me in an institute, it did however leave me with crippling low self esteem and mental scars that will take years to heal. Once my son was born I ended up with severe post natal depression. All the questions, medication, and problems came back. But this time I had a house to look after and a small child that was dependant on me.
(Kerrang! Magazine - Issue 1449)
I read an interview with Biffy Clyro recently in Kerrang! Magazine and Simon Neil put into perspective that some days he didn't want to get up. He would wake up and cry because he was awake. Something that I can completely understand. I once had taken so many pills that I was sure the darkness would end, but woke up vomiting black matter whilst crying my eyes out as I was still there, I was still awake.
He did however state that things are better for him. He can wake up and function he knows how to survive day to day. He cited the big thing for him was getting married, having someone there that understood and loved him for who he was. And that's so true. I don't think I could have got through those first few months with Max without Scott. I still don't think that I could be without him. He's the one that understands, he loves me for who I am and supports me no matter what.
Back to Ray and her mad fat diary. Her story might seem funny but mental health isn't a joke. In recent times it's becoming more accepted to talk about. More people are opening up about their experiences so that when my son becomes a teenager I hope that we can have an open discussion. And maybe I won't tell him everything that happened, by all means it's not something that I would wish upon anyone. I just hope that he would know that I was there for him. I'm not on medication now and I use writing as a release for my problems and emotions that I don't want to talk about. Depression never goes away, you just find new ways to cope with it. But if I do sink down again then I won't be scared. I have everything and everyone I need.
My Mad Fat Diary is on E4 on Monday nights at 10pm.
If you need to talk to anyone then the following organisations are there for young adults:
Young Minds (http://www.youngminds.org.uk/)