This is part 2. A long-time coming part 2.
As I said in part 1, this blog wants you to chat, discuss, question and learn about the mental health hurdles facing young people. What we need to understand, is why these discussions haven’t been taking place decades previously
My beautiful sister prompted me to write this post, because we were having a frank conversation about what it is like for the family and friends of somebody who is suffering from depression and/or anxiety. We tend to almost always say what we mean with each other, after countless arguments echoing “WELL ALRIGHT, if you had just said exactly what you thought, it would have been SO MUCH BETTER. Like seriously, I’m not a bloody mindreader!” And so, honesty now ensues.
I’m a firm believer that people just aren’t meant to be by themselves. I know how much I love my family and how much I love my friends – and how much energy I draw from them. They’re my team. I love hearing about what is going on in their lives and whether I see them once a day, or once every 6 months, I think of them all the time. Basically, my team is pretty great.
A select few members of my team have had to be there to catch me when I was falling hard and fast. And I’m pretty sure they’re ready on their toes these days, just incase. The amount of sacrifice and time and worry I have demanded of them over the last 5 years is indescribable. Their constant, unwavering love and support gave me reasons to be. They have been the most incredible humans you can imagine.
The best bit though? They know that my depression and anxiety are a sickness. I suffer from depression and anxiety, and the feelings associated with these illnesses are symptoms. I, myself, am not these symptoms, but so much more. They (wonderfully) remind me of this constantly.
At the start, they didn’t understand what I was feeling, but my goodness neither did I – we were all flying blind. They had to try and comprehend how their dearly loved daughter or sister, who had the world at her feet, didn’t want to (or couldn’t bring herself to) leave the house. Or why she would lie awake in bed all night because she was afraid that if she slept, she wouldn’t wake up again in the morning. Yep, this was completely rubbish for me, but I know how much it must have hurt my team to watch me live that way. It actually makes me ache.
And what did they do? The best things they could. They listened, they persevered and they empathised. They learnt when to talk, and when to just let me ramble. Anything they knew they could make easier for me, they did. They learnt how to comfort me in a whole new way. If I could high-five them all day everyday, I would. They did everything right. All of it.
It has been such a learning experience for them and for me. I know that they (awesomely) have been sharing their knowledge and acquired understanding, and in extension helping others deal with their own bouts of mental illness.
I truly feel like we’re a tighter, stronger and all-round better team because of our experience. So, suck it depression, suck it anxiety, we’re not going to let you win.