Get A Grip shared Saritas contribution to the 'Getting to Grips with' blog series last month.
We would like to now share Alice's inspiring blog post.
Alice contacted Get A Grip with this incredible personal journey to share and help motivate others who may be struggling to cope.
Thank You Alice.
One in four people suffer from a mental illness, I am that statistic, I am that one in four, and I want to share my story with you as a message to others who may be struggling to cope, you are not alone. I had to think about sharing my story for a while, but then I thought, you know what, I’m not ashamed anymore, I’m not embarrassed either. The stigma behind mental health has to be beaten in our society and sometimes you can’t sugar coat what you’re going through.
So, who the hell I am? Well, Hello, I’m Alice, I’m 23, and for those who know me, I’m not your ‘typical’ depressed person from the outside looking in and half of those who know me won’t have a clue about what I have been dealing with, but that’s the scary thing isn’t it? Mental health is not easy to talk about, and this is what needs to change. I still find it very uncomfortable talking about my own struggles with it, and I really shouldn’t, nobody should.
Mental illness is not a definition of your character, it’s an imbalance of chemicals in your brain and you can get better. I felt weak when I got diagnosed. I was officially diagnosed with Depression shortly after Christmas, although looking back I don’t think I have been myself for a few years. I suffered with anxiety badly in the first year of Uni, I took this out on my eating habits. I started to diet and lost two stone, I was eating under 1000 calories a day, and I was obsessed with weighing myself in an attempt to make myself happy. All this did was drive my self-hatred, but I acted like I was happy to hide how I truly felt, I didn’t want to face the deep routed issues that I so obviously had. Looking back this is where I believe everything started.
Dealing with depression has been a rollercoaster of emotions at my worst I just saw no enjoyment in life, my hobbies became a real effort and I kept myself in toxic situations with bad people just to please them. All I wanted to do was to stay in bed and sleep all day, because sleeping was the only time where I didn’t have to think about how much I hated myself and how much I just didn’t want to be me anymore. I had become a depressed people pleaser who looked after everyone else but myself, I had no self-worth and no self-love. I was waking up every day and all I could think about was how much I didn’t want to be here. I saw no hope and didn’t ever think I would feel ok again, I would drive myself mad just wishing to feel normal again. There’s a sense of numbness with depression that just lingers around your mind, even on good days. At my lowest I was signed off of work and I was lost, completely lost.
I remember waking up one Saturday morning and I told myself enough was enough. I refused to believe that this was how my life had to be, I just knew I had more to give to this god dam world then to lie in this dam bed lifeless all day. So I got up, put on my gym clothes and forced myself into the gym. I trained for 2 hours that day, I was pretty unfit and felt like being sick, but the rush of exercise made me feel alive again, and for someone who suffers from depression, that’s a long awaited relief. Exercise then became more than just exercise, it became my therapy.
The following month, I got myself back to the doctors and we decided that the best way forward was to participate in cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and to start on medication. I started to panic at this point, medication?! Really?! But it was the best thing I have ever done for myself. This is when I started to see and feel a change, I started training 4 times a week, I cut ties with anyone who was toxic to my wellbeing and I made myself a priority again. I learnt to love myself. To have a healthy body you need a healthy mind, to have a healthy mind you have to have a healthy relationship with yourself. One thing I have learnt this year is the importance of who you surround yourself with. Find your people, your tribe, those who want to see you flourish. You are your longest commitment, treat yourself well.
Training became a time where I could put my music on and go into my own zone. A zone which allowed me to let the weight of the world go, a time to focus on myself. Endorphins, the happy hormone, is realised during exercise and I thrive off of it. I still get bad days, more bad than good, but I am getting there and I will completely heal. I won’t ever let anything, not even mental illness, beat me. My journey to recovery would not be at this stage if it wasn’t for the mentality that training has put me in, I see depression as an obstacle, a challenge that I can and will overcome.
If you can relate to my story please know that you are not alone. There are people who will help you and you will get through this. A few months ago I didn’t even want to be alive anymore, but I got through. Your own mind can be a scary place, it has been the biggest challenge I think I will ever face, and I’m happy to say that I am now winning. I believe that anyone can win their battle with the right help and support, so even if one person reads this and thinks, ‘shit this sounds like me…’, then use this as the sign you needed, go get help. Learn to live again and learn to love yourself again. Cut ties with toxic situations and heal yourself. As for me, I’m still on medication for my depression, which I am no longer ashamed about, I’m training harder than ever in the gym and I am attending weekly CBT sessions.
Thanks for reading, and for those who are struggling, you’re a bad ass and you’ve got this.