Depression is the worst feeling I can describe. But I can’t describe it. I feel a heavy aching in my heart and in my limbs, and an impending sense of doom, like there is no hope.
I have experienced depression since I was six years old due to bullying and abuse, although I wasn’t formally diagnosed at the time. I was diagnosed with recurring depressive disorder with psychotic symptoms when I was 14, after I had experienced a traumatic event. I was so unwell that I had multiple hospital admissions and received intensive therapy. I was self-harming, hearing voices and abusing drugs and alcohol. I was in an abusive relationship and I felt so low that I tried to take my own life.
Thankfully, it didn’t work.
I started college, met new friends, did trauma therapy and started volunteering with charities. Things got so much better. I finally felt like I had a purpose. Through sharing my story, I was able to achieve incredible things. I spoke in both the UK and European parliaments, I met the Royal Family, I appeared on TV, radio and newspapers and I began speaking at schools and conferences. I was able to share what I had been through, and how things can and do get better.
In 2018 though, my life came crumbling down yet again. I lost a friend to suicide, and my heart broke. The depression and psychosis came back, worse than it had ever been before. I spent five months in the hospital, involuntarily, and had to have staff members with me at all times.
Words cannot describe how awful that time was. I wrote in my diary, “I’m praying for a miracle, maybe one day it’ll come, but for now I’m stuck here, without any sun.” And that’s how it was. There was no light in my life. Nothing but darkness. I tried so hard to find hope, but I found none.
It wasn’t until I was sent to a psychiatric intensive care unit that I eventually got better. With the help of medication, time and connecting with others, I found my strength yet again.
Someone once told me that the will to live isn’t something you can find externally—you have to look inside yourself. And I dug deep. I read books, I listened to music, I spoke to people and eventually I learned that I have hope, simply because I’m human.
Life can be bad, then it can be good, then it can be bad again. But, the main thing to remember is that nothing is permanent in life. Bad times cannot last forever, and neither can good. The sun will always set, but it will rise again in the morning. There is always hope, and the pain will pass. I promise.