• Anita Dennison

You can get through this, yes you!

Updated: May 22, 2019

We as a global society can be incredibly quiet when it comes to talking about our mental health and how we are feeling, many of us tend to shrug and say “it is nothing” or “I’m fine”, when in reality many of us would love to scream “help!” or whisper to a loved one, “I’m not okay.”

The black dog of depression can appear when you are making plans, trying to be happy, having a good time with friends, or even when you’re trying to celebrate a birthday. Its growl can take over your thoughts in an instant, but it only gets louder when you try to avoid it. The black dog is inside you at all times, no matter what you do to get rid of it. It can leave its paw prints and return. But the one thing to remember, is that, the black dog is not stronger than you. It may rear its ugly head to try and put you off life, but it will not win. It can make you believe that you do not have support around you, that you are burdening everyone that you care about, but that’s only it trying to play its tricks, its games. You can make the big black dog turn into nothing more than a puppy, it takes time, but it’s all about you remembering why you are here. It’s all about knowing that those around you are willing to help you at any time, and any place. Reaching out a hand to someone to say, “I’m not okay” is a tough step, but it’s the biggest step of all to receiving the help you most certainly deserve. No black dog will win this fight. Your will, your strength and determination will shine brighter than its furry coat.

Recently, I have seen well known individuals on Twitter stating that, “depression does not exist”, that the feeling of worthlessness one too many of us feel is just from a lack of self motivation. Believe me when I say that those who fight depression on a daily basis are the strongest individuals you will ever meet because they know what it is like to feel like there is no way forward yet their true inner strength keeps them moving forward, it helps them to weather the storm in their lives. Please, hear me out when I say that you have NOTHING to be ashamed about if you are fighting depression (I use the verb “fight” because you are a fighter and you can and will win this fight) this illness is by no means your fault. When we cover up our feelings, when we hide away from our loved ones we are providing our demons with strength, but just as something is gained, it can be lost also. Text a loved one, tell them what is going on, tell them that you do not feel yourself that you are trying to fight this battle, but that two minds are much much stronger than one. I say “text” as for many of us we can text without even looking at our phones, it becomes that natural that we do not even think about it, whereas if we were to tell a loved one that we are not okay verbally, we would be composing many different scripts in our heads and just as many endings to the conversation, which makes us feel worse and silences us that little bit more. Your voice is a powerful tool, but remember that a voice does not have to be heard, it can be read also. Speaking up can be done in the click of a few keys, don’t underestimate your power to receive the help that you deserve.

To those of you living with a loved one with a mental illness, be patient. I know it is not easy on you, but please stay strong and be there. I know they may lash out and say things both you and they wished they hadn’t, but I promise you they do not mean it, it is a coping mechanism, believe me, when they push you away they more than anything want you to stay. They want you to be able to see past the “I’m fines” and the fake fronts. You know your loved ones more than anyone else in the world, and during these tough times probably even more than they know themselves, therefore you will know when the are not themselves when they are acting off and that is when you need to step in and help them win this fight before you lose sight of the person you once knew.

To the fighters, keep on fighting and please learn to give yourself a chance. It’s tough, I know. You have conquered fears that you thought were unconquerable before, and I know you can do it again.

Much love,

Your fellow fighter

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