I’ve come to realise that I’ve been living in fear, I’ve been hiding. I would like to tell you why.
A few years ago my life as I knew it, fell apart. Since then I have worked every day to re-build myself and my self esteem. When you hit rock bottom, it’s a long climb out of the black, seemingly bottomless, pit.
Last night as I watched a television program about three high-fliers and their experiences of severe anxiety and depression, I found myself with tears rolling down my face because they had managed to pick themselves back up. Their high-powered jobs hadn’t suffered as a result of their illnesses. They had received the help and treatment they needed to get well. I was crying because my own experience was very different.
The reality is that for many people, despite reaching out and talking as we are advised to do, the help simply isn’t there. I tried to explain to my husband that I felt as though I hadn’t just been reaching out and talking about it, telling people there was something wrong, I was positively screaming it from the rooftops, but still the help didn’t come. I lost my job, my career and almost my marriage in the process. And I hope that my daughter will forgive me for mentioning, that I almost lost her too.
Even as I write this, I have tears rolling down my face. I thought I had been doing so well, that I was better, healed. And I am in a way.
I’ve become a much nicer person, I know that. I like who I am now. I really didn’t like the harsh person I had become in trying to keep all the plates I was juggling in the air. The pressure I was under in my demanding job, future leader training and in dealing with constant serious family illnesses, warped me into a bitter and judgemental person.
So why now, what has made me write this?
This morning it has dawned on me that I’m still living in fear, that I’m still hiding. I applied for and was rejected from so many jobs that I’m now frightened of applying for even minimum wage positions. I’ve become a sad shadow of the once courageous person I once was. I am good at encouraging other people to become the best that they can be, but I’ve forgotten how to do that for myself.
I haven’t written this with the intention of seeking sympathy. I simply want to highlight that not everyone who seeks help receives it. If you are one of those then I sympathise all too much.
I have written this as a kind of statement to myself and to the world, that from now on I will stop hiding in the shadows. I want to be seen once more. I want to learn to be courageous again, to be successful. And also to remain a nice person in the process, the kind of person I would love to have for a friend.
So my inner ‘friend’ is giving me a shove out from the shadows. And here I am. I’m not hiding any more. My name is Mary-Ann and I am a nice person. If, like me you have suffered depression and it has destroyed your life, then I’d like to prove to you that anything is possible.
I am an artist and I’d like to show you what I am truly capable of.
You are amazing, when I was little I always wanted to be just like you. You are brave, strong, loving, pretty funny at times 🙂 and extremely talented at whatever you put you mind too, I have envied you for years, I have suffered with depression as well, still do to an extent, so I know how hard it is to admit it to the world, or even yourself, but as I said before you are brave and strong and I am super proud of you for fighting through everything and getting yourself back, i know how hard that is, but you seem to have managed it, and to be honest, all these years later I still aspire to be like you xx
Oh bless, thank you so much Manda. You can’t begin to know how much support you’ve given me, always believing in me no matter what.
I feel like your visit was very much a turning point.
Thank you lovely girl and keep at your new business. It’s amazing! Xxx
A very brave blog, well done for being so honest. I honestly think that the more we talk about it, the more we will overcome it. xxx
Thanks very much Jo xxx
It takes courage to write the way you have. I am so grateful to people who share their stories as it gave me the strength to share mine, and to start asking for help. You’re right, the help isn’t always there for us when it should be. I too am a nicer person for all I have been through, and I am gradually learning to look after me xx
Courage is an interesting subject isn’t it Chloe? When I was sat writing my morning pages early this morning, courage was probably the furtherest thing from my mind. Having realised I was still hiding (it was my fb post about colours that did it), I simply decided that it was time to stop living in fear. My inner creative child then took over and wrote the blog and I posted it immediately before I got cold feet! I knew it was too important not to share. Glad you are getting better. Let me know if you need anthing from my personal anti-depression toolkit xxx
Mary -Ann…you are brave and courageous in just writing this in such a open and honest way! We are all too often defined by our job roles, not only by others but also ourselves. Having gone through a life changing experience 17 years ago, I too have had to battle, not only what others placed upon me but things I placed upon myself and I too became a shadow of the person I thought I was before.
However one thing I have learnt through my experience is this…We are not our job. We should only be defined by our character, the way we show kindness & love to not only our friends & family but to the stranger in the street who cannot repay. We don’t have to be loud and brash to be noticed…even a tiny light in the darkness will draw others to it, so be that light.
Lastly, I know I don’t really ‘know’ you but you have always come across as a kind and thoughtful person. Maybe lacking in a little self confidence at times (but who doesn’t?) but looking excitedly to the future and what it holds. I really look forward to seeing what life holds in store for you as you share your journey.
Stay true to who you are sweet lady.
Thank you Jo. I’ve been astonished today at just how many people who even I know, who have come forward to admit that they too have suffered from being imprissoned by The Ugly Thoughts Gremlin.
In trying to improve myself, I have simply tried to become the nicest person I can be to everyone I encounter and that includes being nice to myself. Little by little this has worked.
You are right, I do suffer from a lack of self confidence, something that in years gone by wasn’t an issue. But I’m getting there now.
Thank you for your kindness and support. Isn’t it interesting how people appear in our lives when we most need them? I count you amount these Jo. So thank you xxx
Oh my goodness Mary-Ann. I have tears streaming down my face just reading that.
Love you. Xx x
Thank you rainy, if I can help just one person then I’ll feel as though I’ve done the right thing xxx
If I’m honest, I’ve spent most of today in a bit of an emotional mess, as the response I’ve received to this mornings blog has been somewhat overwhelming. Thank you all so much for your kind and caring words of support and encouragement.
I will endeavour to stay strong, caring and creative.
Thank you dearest friends.
Wow huni this is so touching and so inspiring. You are incredibly brave also for sharing this. Thank you for sharing it.
Thanks so much Nicola x